Thank you! RWA needs to redefine their purpose and to support authors in a clearer honest manner. Thank you for taking this stand.
I applaud you and Bookends for taking this stand. RWA should be held accountable. Changes need to happen.
Thank you for your post. I became a member in 2019 and I’m sorry I did. I will not be renewing my subscription to RWA.
I’ve not been an active member of RWA for years, now. I’ve attended the conferences, but more as a social event, a chance to meet up with authors who are friends and meet new authors–and I’ve always enjoyed seeing my agent. (Hi, Jessica!!) If I were younger, I might want to stay and fight against the blatant bigotry, racism, homophobia, etc. that appears to be endemic within the organization. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the energy to try and turn the Queen Mary once again—which is how I’ve always compared the effort of making changes stick in RWA.
I’m really proud of BookEnds and the fact that you are standing up for all those amazing authors who have been marginalized by an organization that says its very reason for existence is to help them succeed. I don’t know how this will all end, if RWA will survive intact as an organization that truly supports all authors, or if it will go back to its roots, which were essentially closed to anyone different–and any ideas that weren’t traditional. As an historical example: many of us remember the period when RWA declared that ebook authors weren’t “real authors” because we weren’t writing real books. Ebook authors who had been accepted into PAN (Published Authors Network) were summarily kicked out when someone in the organization decided they needed to go. Ebooks were just a fad, right?
I won’t even go into the nasty comments I heard when Wolf Tales released. Books with interracial characters and couplings, polyamorous and homosexual relationships? The horrors! I caught a lot of flack from people I didn’t even know, but my books were selling really well and that sort of eased the stress for me. I can’t help but wonder, though, if my stories had been written by an author of color or an open member of the LGBTQ community (the series debuted in 2006) if they would have been accepted at all, not just by RWA, but by any NY publisher. Again, it’s that white privilege thing…
I won’t be renewing my membership. I’ll be 70 next week, and while I’m still writing, the fire’s not burning as hot as it once was, and there’s enough dissension and discord in the world without inviting more into my life. I hope RWA gets it right, figures out just how they are failing so many of their authors, but if they don’t, I know there are enough smart and savvy writers out there to create the kind of organization that will meet everyone’s needs.
Honestly? This whole thing just makes me sad. It’s not a competition where one group needs to be in charge. Diversity is what makes us strong. It’s what makes stories work, when characters of color, characters of different genders and gender identification interact on the same stage. We don’t live in a monochromatic world. I think that’s something we all need to remember when we write our stories, that we should celebrate our differences, and our stories should give readers more than one viewpoint on how the world works.
J.R. Ward has written an excellent piece on her author page on Facebook. If you have a chance, read it. She’s said perfectly what so many of us are just coming to realize, how so many authors have fought against barriers that those of us who are white, hetersexual and able bodied never even notice. I’m not sure if this link will make it through the blog process, but I’ll try posting it anyway: https://www.facebook.com/JRWardBooks/posts/10157041782658231?__tn__=K-R
Excellent! Thank you! (Although I’m not surprised. Strong ethics is why I love being repped by BookEnds.)
I’m not a member of the American RWA, but I think I have an understanding of what has happened. Kudos to BookEnds for standing up for the values and beliefs they advocate for.
Thank you for taking this stance!