Friday, July 13, 2007

RWA Publisher Eligibility? Don't Go Breaking My Heart.

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RWA's new standards for publishing eligibility (able to take part in National, take appointments, have a special presentation, etc) is now lumping publishers whose primary means of selling books is the publisher's website in with vanity presses. That's a big old WTF? Ellora's Cave, the epublisher who brought erotica for women into the mainstream and coined the phrase "romantica", is a vanity press? I don't THINK so.

Yes, I have a horse in this race (actually two). My mystery with paranormal and romantic elements was requested by a Samhain editor after winning a first line competition. I'm currently working on a submission for Cerridwen, an Ellora's Cave imprint. Did I think about them as potential houses because they WERE (operative word) RWA recognized? I'll be honest and say, "Yes." But if any other royalty-paying, non RWA recognized house wanted one of my manuscripts, I would be just as happy. Will I pull my work because both epubs are no longer recognized. Not on your life. In fact, if they don't like either one of those books, I got a couple of others for them.

What's the draw? Could it be a 40% royalty - which I would gladly take instead of the paltry advances many print houses offer (and who knows if you will sell through the advance and ever get another book published).

I would rather be published by Cerridwen than a house that gives me a $1000 "advance" and nothing else. Sorry- don't want to offend anyone. But I don't just want to see my name on a "real" book, I want to make money, honey!

When I first read the change for publisher "eligibility" I thought they had maybe (hopefully) not written it clearly - I'd hope that they were not lumping large epubs into the vanity press definition. Guess I was wrong. No - amend that - THEY are wrong.

Those epub companies have developed relationships with print pub houses - and that was done because the epubs are a force. RWA has GOT to come into the 21st century. We have got to break the hold on the huge corporate face of publishing and push for a writer's RIGHT to earn a living - no matter what the manner of publishing. Epubs are on the cutting edge of publishing and to have RWA not recognize that is absurd.

We have got to break the hold the box bookstores (including Walmart) have on what they put on the shelves - an indirect form of censorship. I can get any book I want online - whether it's on Amazon or on a publisher's website. That's the wave of the future. I just wish RWA would see that.

I'm a big girl - I don't need to have my professional organization protect me from big bad publishers - I need them to inform me - not limit my choices. Give me the information and let me make my own decision if a certain publisher is good for my career or not.

RWA, help me build a writing career that can support me -not a career of $1000 advances with an RWA eligible publisher.


Blogger Marion Gropen said...

A couple of things you may already know (but your readers might not!):

-- Don't assume that a book lost money for the publisher because the advance didn't earn out, or you didn't make much above the advance. Earning out and profitability aren't that closely connected.
-- E books sell a very small fraction of the volume that the same book would generally sell in print. There are exceptions, but not many.
-- $1,000 advance??? Unless you have a very small press, that's appalling.

Hope the above helps.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Mitz said...

Thanks, Marion.
I hear that RWA will be clarifying it's eligiblity requirements. I'll just keep pitching Elizabeth Peacock and the Body on Abbey Road and hope a reputable publisher wants to take a chance on a funny book with odd characters written by an old woman who will promote the h-ll out of it.

5:59 AM  

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