I wrote my first complete romance novel in 2005 back when I really didn't know anything about anything. I didn't even know Romance Writers of America existed. After I finished my story, I sent it to two friends who were avid romance readers for feedback. If they had hated my story, I might not have continued writing. Good thing they loved it. Encouraged, I submitted synopsis and query about my story to one of the sub genre's famous publishing houses. A full was requested & subsequently rejected by a very nice editor who told me I had potential and to join the Romance Writers of America to hone that potential.
I joined RWA in 2005. At that time, I eagerly devoured the RWR--Romance Readers' Report. I started entering contests for feedback (back before electronic entries existed), I found two other romance writers, unpublished, and we banded together as a critique group. I found a local chapter and joined. I moved, joined other chapters in my new state as well as in Georgia. I continued to learn my craft by attending workshops, programs, and conferences at the regional and national levels. I learned about the industry. I volunteered. I grew as a writer and through many ups and downs, I finally got that CALL for my first sale in 2013. I was on my way! All this was due to the incredible resources available to me via RWA's powerful & professional organization.
After I sold, I decided to go all Indie. I had made PAN (Published Author Network) a year after my initial sale. The publishing landscape has changed drastically, particularly for romance authors. Now there are so many ways to become published and there are more authors competing for their piece of the pie. The pieces are getting smaller, but I decided that my career meant more than making a huge income in order to be a success. I wanted control over my time and control over the kinds of stories I write and publish. I enjoy that control. And writing is so much fun again that I am happy I made this decision.
RWA's membership is around 10,000 with about 7,000 eligible to vote in the general election. But there are many more romance authors out there operating on their own without benefit of membership because they A-they don't feel RWA has a place for them anymore or B-they are marginalized or were excluded in the past from RWA's benefits based on their sexuality, skin color, or the romances they wrote which target the LGBTQ, People of Color, and more. As a white, straight woman who writes one man-one woman romances, I've never had to experience that exclusion but I hope I have always been a welcoming person. I believe love is love. Period. So does the current RWA. You can learn more about how RWA has actively worked to change that situation in Bree Bridge's Blog here: About RWA: The Past Week and the Future - VOTE) or C-They can find the information about marketing & craft develop via other sources online, in Facebook Groups, and more. D-They are networking online versus in person due to time constraints or due to being discriminated against because of their sexuality, skin color, or the romances they wrote which target the LGBTQ communities.
During the last several years, RWA's National Board has undertaken the challenge of building roads to publication for ALL of its members. They have reached out to those who have left and encouraged them to return because there is value to being a member regardless of our backgrounds and differences. They've encouraged diversity and have a diversity council. They've fought for the rights of all authors in matters regarding getting rights back from publishing houses, ensuring that pirated books on vendor sites are taken down and more. They continue to expand their educational platform and this year's national conference was a reflection of those changes. I'm proud to be a member of this organization. It does good work and will continue to work for every author/writer in this ever changing industry.
I will always remain a member of the National Romance Writers of America because it is my professional organization and it takes care of me, the independently published author, whenever I need advice or help in dealing with professional issues that I can't resolve on my own. I need the might of RWA behind me to help navigate my small business waters. My dues give me access to their legal department along with access to education and resources to better my career and my craft. I'm not a big money-making author with tons of resources to fight for my rights. But I am an RWA member in good standing and that means I still have someone in my corner willing to go to battle for me.
RWA is making sure EVERYONE has someone fighting for them--for their "road" to get to the marketplace and for EVERYONE to be protected by the RWA Professional Organization umbrella.
If you are a romance author/writer who no longer has a membership, NOW is the time to reinstate. YOU CAN VOTE within days of reinstating your membership. If you are a romance author/writer with membership in RWA, NOW is the time to VOTE for the future of our industry.
Read the candidates' bios and answers to the candidate questionnaire here: www.rwa.org/page/candidates.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or if you’re a voting member and do not receive voting instructions. The voting period ends September 15.