Saturday, December 06, 2008

RWA - Same old song and dance...

Recently the Romance Writers of America ( announced rule changes for their most coveted award...the RITA. The rule change is this, all books entered must be published by a non-vanity (author didn't self-publish), non-subsidy (author did not financially assist in said publishing) and the book must be mass-produced.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of mass-produced is: to produce in quantity usually by machinery.

Personally I don't care that they threw in the 'mass-produced' qualification - my issue is that once again, RWA is using non-quantitative terms for a rule that clearly has an undisclosed quantity attached. What is RWA's definition of mass-produced?

I've heard the random sum of a minimum print run of 500 books being bandied about. Okay - if that is the rule they are using, why not just fess up? Print it and there can be No Question as to the number of books produced at one time (ie mass-produced) rather then forcing the publishers to 'hope' they meet the mark?

After this declaration came out I spoke to management of some of the small presses, the same publishing houses that would possibly be excluded with this ruling, and this is what they told me:

- RWA has requested copies of distribution agreements - distribution agreements are the contracts between publishing houses and distributors like Ingrams and Baker & Taylor. In most cases, these contracts are confidential.

- They have also requested sales records - once again, proprietary information.

- They have also requested copies of discount schedules - I believe these are the discount levels given for either purchase amounts (meaning if Ingrams purchases 1000 copies they receive X amount off or if they purchase 5000 copies they receive xy) once again, this information is confidential and different for every publisher.


For those of us old broads, doesn't this smack of the nonsense that went on in 2000 and 2001? Back then it was the discussion of what constituted a published book - the first number was 1500 copies sold (in which RWA requested sales records and distribution agreements - see above) and then it was magically changed to 5000 copies sold.

What is it with RWA that they feel they should be privy to information that no publisher would ever think of turning over to them? If a publisher were to give them a copy of the distribution agreement (which is negotiated with each publisher) it is well within the distributors right to either sue or negate the contract. So basically RWA is asking the small presses to put their professional relationships on the line in order to enter a contest that most readers don't know about anyway. about no?

A message to RWA:

When are you going to become inclusive rather than exclusive? Over the years the board has wasted a great deal of time (and money) coming up with rules that are ultimately thrown out or altered later when they realize the error of their ways.

If 500 mass-produced books is the magical, unwritten target - what is to stop a POD publisher from ordering 500 copies of each title for authors who want to enter the RITA?

If the publishers buy a super-fancy copier that can bind books and they create 500 books at one time - don't they qualify?

I am so deathly sick and tired, tired and sick, weak and weary of all the crap the board comes up with to try and keep 'those books' out of the reindeer games. At this point I honestly have to ask myself - what are they afraid of? Are they scared that a small press title will win the RITA and then (gasp) all sorts of small press authors will want to enter?

I've got news for you - a small press book already finaled in the RITAs years ago - Oracle from Lionhearted Publishing - a publisher that would not be allowed to enter today...

RWA's attitude toward small presses is so 1970's - are they ever going to see the error of their ways and quit trying to disenfranchise a growing segment of their membership.

Or maybe the bigger question is, when are the small press authors going to wise up and tell RWA to piss off instead of getting their panties in a twist over a ruling that will have no impact on their careers?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm Bloggin'

Come on over to:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

WLW - Just keeps getting better and better!

Yes, it's scale time - I've lost (drumroll) 3.8 lbs this week. WOOT!

Of course I want a Snickers to celebrate. :)