Breaking up

It's been coming on for a couple of years, I guess.

You know how it hurts when someone you care about disses you? You spend hours trying to solve it, allowing encounters, conversations to run over and over the mental gerbil wheel until you feel sick or, occasionally, come up with a solution.

Yeah, none of that is happening here.

I think it's when you didn't answer my first email that I started to wonder if we'd reached the end of our years-long relationship. I just sent my third and even if you do answer, I wonder....this might be enough.

 The end seriously started with a misunderstanding--on my part, I apologize. Then you were supposed to say, oh that's okay, Kate.

Naw, RWA, I wasn't surprised you did NOT say "even though your writing partner isn't a member, we'll let your book stay in the contest," even after I offered to pay the higher non-member fee.

Hey, I could have sworn Bonnie was a member. I thought I saw her in a group RWA photo.

I was slightly taken aback when you didn't accept my offer to allow her join up and make the book legit for the RITAs.

I got the email in which you firmly reiterated the fact that the book is out of the contest. Okay, okay. I didn't really think it would win. I entered because I can and because I buy lottery tickets.

It's when I wrote to ask for my money back and you didn't answer that I began to wonder why.

I expect if I make a fuss, I might get the money back. But even as I considered what to do next, the whispers of doubts had taken hold. Why did I bother to enter? lead to Why do I bother to stay?

You've done a lot for me in the past. I appreciate it. Because of an RWA meeting, my book got to Hilary and Kensington published me. Because of RWA, I've met a lot of people I admire and like. 

But lately, it's meant work for me and nada from you. This work is on local level, I admit it. Even locally, I'm a pretty invisible member--but I do my part. I'm currently the main coordinator for a local contest and that has a lot to do with my grumpiness about you. Gad, I hate that sort of work. Other people do it cheerfully, efficiently, and without grousing. Not me.

 But the other sort of chores, I've done happily enough. For years, I lined up speakers. I've judged and coordinated parts of contests that I wasn't qualified to enter (open to unpubbed only). I've talked to unpubbed members about who to call when. I've given workshops, critiqued manuscripts and done that whole Give It Back thing.

RWA is a fabulous place for those who are pubbed and well-known. I see the lines at the book sale. I love their workshops. I also see the authors sitting talking to their neighbors and being ignored. When I did the sale, that was me. Hey, I enjoyed talking to Pam Rosenthal, so I didn't mind so much. But still, I knew enough not to do that again. . . .And as for giving workshops. I don't think I have much to say that someone can't say better.

RWA is an even better place for the unpubbed -- yes, yes, join, by all means! It's a wonderful resource.

But for people like me, eh. I guess the only regret I have is that yearly conference.
Workshops about craft? I love them, but can find them elsewhere.
Meeting and greeting industry members? I'm not good in person. I either talk too much or hide in my room.
Seeing people I know and like? That's the sticking point, absolutely. Hmm. 

I've always loathed the phrase "what have you done for me lately?" That doesn't mean it isn't popping into my head a lot at the moment.

Truth is I know you wouldn't miss me, RWA. Maybe I wouldn't miss you either.

You keep the entry fee. Small print rules say you're entitled to it. As someone who's dealt with chapter contests for years, I know the urge is to say screw off, doofus, you should know better.

Okay, I do.

UPDATE: Now my mild indignation is deflated because they answered me about a minute after I posted this (and a couple of hours after my 3rd email) so it wasn't my whining in public that got an email from them. They'll ask the bookkeeper about a refund. But despite the fact that they are professional and eventually answer, the basic fact remains.

RWA feels slightly out-of-date for me. I'm not a mover-shaker and they're the ones who can get the organization to work for them (and who work hard for the organization. I'm not an adolescent who's scornful of the natural joiners).

You new romance writers? Join ASAP.


  1. You don't have to be a member to go the annual meeting though -- I'm not a member but I went a few years back and am debating going to Atlanta this year.

  2. I joined RWA a couple of years ago and I, too, felt like breaking up with them. It wasn't until I went to my first local chapter meeting a couple of months ago, that I understood what a lot of people kept telling me.

    Their local chapter is what keeps them in RWA, not the national organization.

    Yep, I get that now. As a newly published author though, I can be Pro/Pan because of the length of my story. Nor can I entered any contests with my finished, unpublished stories because I'm published now.

    Now, that's sucks.


  3. I keep paying my dues because I still read the RWR from cover to cover every month and because, as someone making income from my writing, I can write the dues off. So can you, Kate. Hang in there.

    I also pay my dues because I like RWA. I like the "sisterhood is powerful" vibe, I like the online resources they are offering these days, and I adore the conference. I have never, ever regretted attending, even the times I attended when I couldn't really afford to. What I noticed this year that I hadn't noticed before ... although it's been happening for a while ... is that every single person I talked to attended a completely different conference. You mix and match the workshops to tailor the conference to your specific needs, and a conference that was all about writing and craft for a newbie attendee was all about industry insider tips, tax strategies, marketing and self-publishing for the midlister -- and God alone knows what it was for the big stars. Someday we'll find out.

    I do fear it's becoming a dinosaur, but I hope not yet.

  4. Marika--the rules on who's published and who isn't change all the time. I can't keep up and I bet RWA can't either.

    Diane, they should send you out as an RWA proponent for the people who're published but unsure what the group has to offer.

    I was grouchy when I wrote this. I'm still grouchy but feeling less like I need to slough off everything.


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