I usually don't comment on hot topics, but I'm a little baffled by a few things. Everyone knows how much I want to be published. I've done everything I believe is right in the way of getting published. 1) I write all the time. Completing books and sending them out to contests and editors/agents. 2) I network, going to conferences, hanging with like-minded published/unpublished authors, talking with editors and agents. 3) I read what I want to write. This will let me know what is out there and what editors are looking for (with my own personal twist). 4) I have web presence to get my name out there, includes a website, blogging, and writing articles for my local chapter's newsletter. 5) I study my craft by reading books and articles on writing and attending my local chapter's meetings.
So I expect one day soon I'll get that all important call that will be followed by being a published author. Because I'm a member of the RWA, my member status will changed to PAN (Published Authors Network).
Now for the hot topic, I was reading on another blog about some wording RWA changed on the RITA awards. They claim it boils down to ebooks vs. printed. (If you email me privately I'll give you the link, otherwise, I rather not attach it to this for now. Everyone has a right to their opinion.) I'm a firm believer there are two sides to every story and I've only heard one. Since I remember last year’s (or was that year before last) discussions on various loops and blogs about the change RWA made on PAN membership of "recognized" to "eligible", I know a lot of misinformed and blown-out-of-apportion observations were made then and I’m pretty sure they were made this time.
Several of the comments on the blog were from former members of RWA saying they had dropped out of the organization because epublished authors were being discriminated against. I’ve heard that song and dance before. I’m not a epublished author, but I read them. Does that count in knowing what I’m talking about? No? Then let me say, I’ve been discriminated against because I’m female, white or overweight. I understand what is perceived as discrimination can hurt. Everyone at one time or another, if not every day, has experienced it. But sometimes what is perceived is not always directed at you. It can appear to be but until you have the whole picture, you may be wrong.
My baffled part is if you’re satisfied with who you’re published with (epublished, POD or whatever), why does it matter if RWA recognizes you as published? I assume it’s because of the RITA. I understand how a RITA can make the difference in being acknowledged by other writers and even editors and agents, but it’s not the be all, end all if you don’t win or even final. I guess it can make your sales improve if you only have a 500 or 5000 print run. Then again I rather “win” the title of NYT best selling author. I know Linda Howard and Sherrilyn Kenyon and many other NYT best selling authors never won a RITA and may never have been a finalist. RWA doesn’t show finalists on their webpage.
But when it comes to being PAN or not being PAN, I believe the benefits are not that much different than being PRO or a general member. Sure you can’t go to some of the workshops at National. Considering I’ve only been able to afford one National conference, I don’t believe it mattered. I go to more and sometimes better workshops at local conferences. Heck, I get more editor/agent appointments at the local conference too. Sure as a PAN member, you get to be on the internet loop with other published authors. Whoopee-do.
I guess a lot of this uproar has to do with ego and what that certain person believes is fair. Everyone repeat with me, LIFE AIN’T FAIR! If it was, I would’ve been published twenty-five years ago with my first book. But thank goodness I wasn’t because it was a stinker.
For those who are PAN, besides declaring to other RWA members you’re published by an eligible publishing house and what it means to your ego (and we all have an ego and it’s okay), what does it do for you? Just curious. And those who are not published, besides the declaring and ego thing, what does it mean to you? Remember, I'm talking about the PAN part, not the published part.
Oh, if you’re wondering if I’m PRO. Yes. Why was it important for me to send in the paperwork for that? 1) I get editor/agent appointments whenever I go to National conference before general membership. 2) I got the cool little pin. 3) Self-satisfaction in knowing I’m really working toward the goal of getting published. If not for 1) and 2) number three would’ve been plenty.