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RWA SUCK

Apparently RWA aren’t renewing DA Jane’s RWA Associate membership, because apparently she doesn’t support RWA or romance authors.

Huh?

Jane tweeted that apparently the powers that be at RWA weren’t all that happy with Romfail or some of the past blog posts at Dear Author.

This is so not a surprise to me. From what I’ve witnessed over the past few years, RWA aren’t comfortable with full and frank discussions about the genre, and they seem to really hate progress criticism.

Some people will obviously be dancing a jig over this news, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s just one more reason to take the piss out of RWA. From a reader’s point of view, I think they suck pretty hard.

I think it’s amusing how everybody’s applauding them for taking definitive action against Harlequin after the HQN Horizon announcement, but I still don’t think they had a choice in that. I sincerely believe that had they even suspected that one of the biggest romance publishers in the world would dare to go over to the dark side, they would have given themselves more wiggle room.

This thing about not renewing Jane’s associate membership smacks of that whole ladies-who-drink-tea-and-who-knit-and-do-lunch-and-only-say-nice-things-to-each-other. No rebels allowed, no discordant voices, no rocking the boat, no pushing the envelope. How much do I hate that?

It seems that If you’re not the ultimate RWA Fan Gurl, you can’t join the club, and I guess to be a member of any club, you have to love it, but does that also mean that as a member you can’t criticise anything about the club? You can’t hold it to a high standard? Really?

Never mind RomFail, this is epic RWAFail in my opinion. Damned fascists. Urrggh.

For the full story, pop over to Dear Author.

26 Comments »

  • Apparently the cover of the RWR, the publication put forth by RWA, is “What Can Internet Communities Do For You?”

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  • Janet W
    November 24
    2:55 am

    Gosh, do we all have inexhaustible bank accounts where we can buy every book that’s published? I live for HONEST reviews — they make me a better consumer of romance books. I can only speak from the heart: Jane loves romance books for their BESTNESS (just made that up) … so yeah, for example, His Lordship’s Mistress gets huge mad props from her and Wolf’s lesser books (I’m trying to dial back my online Carlin’s seven words) get labelled as such. I want that.

    I read DA every day — definitely don’t agree with everything that’s done and said but to say Jane Litte is not supportive of the genre, that’s crap.

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  • I don’t think the honest reviews being posted are the reason, something else deeper and darker is at play. RWA has become Darth Vader?

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  • I don’t get the reasoning behind this at all. I can’t remember where I said it, but Jane is one hell of an advocate for romance. She’s educated, intelligent, eloquent and honest… if she hates a book, we know it, but if she loves a book? We KNOW it. She’s a great voice in the romance world and I don’t see how this benefits …well, anybody.

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  • I’m about to the point of boycotting Harlequin. Hell, I don’t even know Jane really, but this is a pretty infantile way to treat someone who has paid their membership for years.

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  • I was left totally speechless by this. I don’t even know how to react to something like this. I am with Katie in saying that honest reviews aren’t the main reason for this course of action by RWA.
    I admire Jane for taking this all so calmly and collectedly as she does. I would have blown a gasket by now.

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  • I’m going to go with the dissenting minority on this one. RWA has over 10,000 members. If a significant number of them complained to the board over the years about Dear Author, I can understand why RWA chose not to extend Jane’s membership. As they can hardly impinge on her right to free speech, the only recourse they have to “punish” her is by exercising their right to refuse to renew her membership.

    Personally, I don’t agree with their reasoning. But if a number of members complained, I don’t see how they could have acted in any other way. And by sending Jane that letter, RWA would have been well aware that they could expect it to be cut and pasted for the world to see.

    If the consequence of this is that I never have the opportunity to meet Jane in person at the annual conference, that’s a real shame.

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  • Mireya
    November 24
    11:52 am

    The reasoning is fairly simple and prevalent in romance communities: If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. Yes, that is what the dinosaurs at RWA consider “support” of the romance genre. As I posted in the thread over at DA, I consider the blog one to be pro-author, pro-industry, and pro-writing. Anyone with more than two brain cells and knows how to read can SEE that off the bat. Just because they are not sugar and spice and everything nice doesn’t mean that they don’t love the genre, or support it. They are just honest enough to see some things that could be improved and talk about them.

    I guess this is the beginning of the witch hunt.

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  • Gwen
    November 24
    1:19 pm

    Jane can go to the RWA convention if she wishes– as a member of the reading public surely she is welcome at the literacy signing?

    Aren’t readers welcome at the literacy signing?

    Complaining about an associate member is not reason enough to refuse to renew membership.. or at least it wasn’t in the past.

    I was informed that there have been issues of plagiarism and issues involving personal threats made by members against other members that did not result in revoking of membership.

    Issues were left to rest until the members involved chose not to renew.**

    Those issues mentioned above, should they have occurred, would seem more damaging to membership than a readers blog.

    But then, what would I know of the reasoning of the powers that be?

    **Of course, in the current climate I should probably add a disclaimer to that…to the best of my recollection , etc.

    Guess you could call me cynical.

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  • sallahdog
    November 24
    2:37 pm

    ehh, jane already said she wasn’t going to renew anyway… I frankly think the RWA got a lot more out of Jane going to their conventions and blogging about it (actually creating some interest in the organization and letting aspiring authors they were there), than the RWA ever did for her…

    Frankly I think sticking more to the consumer end is a smart move for Jane, because one of the things I love about her blog is that her reviews and posts are consumer driven…

    More than one blogger I loved became an author or involved in the industry and their blogs became boring to me, because I have no interest in that side of things… My opinion only, I realize a lot of people love to look behind the curtain…

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  • sallahdog
    November 24
    2:40 pm

    I havent posted for a long time on DA, I didnt realize they have gone to moderation… can see why… I remarked to Miss Kitty that she had posted 3 times counseling Jane about being nice and not bitchy, which frankly after the first time, came off both bitchy and not nice… It kinda “got on my tits” as Karen likes to say…

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  • Nora Roberts
    November 24
    2:55 pm

    As I posted on DA, I’m really sorry this happened.

    However, it gets really old having members of RWA referred to as dinosaurs–or by a comment at DA, ‘hanky-waving old ladies’. I’m a member of RWA and I am neither.

    I wonder why it’s so hard for some to disagree, even strongly, with a decision or a policy of RWA without being insulting to the organization or its 10k members.

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  • What Shiloh said. I do think the industry is changing and RWA is so not on the leading edge of the curve. I completely respect and admire the tough decision they made re Harlequin Horizons. The decision to refuse Jane membership I see as short sighted. And wrong.

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  • @Nora: Nothing I have read about RWA makes me think that their admins are “forward thinkers”. I apologize to you if I offend you by using said word. For clarification, I am not labeling all of its members as such, as that would be extremely unfair and gross generalizations is not something I like, however, nothing I’ve seen so far coming from its administrative heads (and I clarify this time, administrative heads, not its members) has changed my mind so far.

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  • What I’m worried about, and being a member of RWA, is someone going to the powers at be and complaining about me as a blogger who reviews and is honest and sometimes is critical about RWA and sometimes the romance industry.

    If they can do this to Jane, what’s stopping them from doing it to others?

    But then again, if they boot me out, I’ll take my $100 dues and my knowledge and use it elsewhere.

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  • For the record, you don’t have to be a member to attend the RWA annual conference. Anyone can attend. The only difference is that non-members pay a higher registration fee – around $75 last time I checked. I know countless people who have attended conference in the past who aren’t members.

    Also, for the record, I firmly believe this has absolutely nothing to do with critical reviews. At all. If that were the case, my RWA membership (I’m an affiliate member – which is reserved for librarians and booksellers) would have been yanked ages ago over my long-standing affiliation with TRR (the grandmother of “mean girl” romance review sites). I reviewed at TRR from 1999 to around 2007. I’ve been blogging since 2003. I’d have to double-check my membership card, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been an RWA member since 2001.

    Also, I know many people who were at one time affiliated with AAR, who are RWA members. I can’t speak for the current team over at AAR, but I imagine they have at least one person on staff who is a member of RWA.

    I think this is a culmination of many things. Namely Jane’s visibility at the past several RWA conferences (she has given workshops), DA’s popularity, romfail, and the fact that some RWA members have likely filed complaints. My guess is that critical reviews are pretty far down on the totem pole.

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  • Douger323
    November 24
    7:53 pm

    It may have something to do with Jane saying she would like to see Harlequin sue RWA in the recent thread about the organizations being mad at Harlequin.

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  • I think romfail, which was cited as a reason, could be described as a form of “negative review”.

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  • ReaderGrrl
    November 25
    1:00 am

    I agree with you, Wendy. (On a side note, I remember reading your reviews @ TRR way back when. Loved your review of The Black Rose!)

    I am a long-time reader of DearAuthor. I think it had only been up for a month when I found it. Jane has accomplished some good things in the online romance community, no doubt about it, but it seems like in the last year or so she has gone off on this weird mean streak that makes no sense.

    She has invested so much in the romance world these last few years that it’s baffling to me that she’d engage in such destructive behavior.

    As with the whole HarHo thing, I don’t think RWA had much choice. As you said, the combination of her prominence in the community (including doing workshops at National, for heaven’s sake) plus RomFail were more than RWA could countenance.

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  • eggs
    November 25
    2:05 am

    TBH, I think the letter to Jane was poorly thought out (we are keeping files on you!), but the denial of membership doesn’t really seem like such a big deal. Jane clearly didn’t meet the membership criteria, and she’s made it clear that she herself wasn’t interested in renewing it, so: big deal, not so much.

    When a blog is as prominent in Romanclandia as DA, then you would have to assume that many RWA members are reading simply because they have mutual interests (romance books) in common. It was inevitable that numerous Members would notice Member Jane wasn’t meeting membership criteria and some of them would complain about it to their organization.

    The problem here is not the RWA enforcing their membership rules. The problem is the ham-fisted way they have gone about it. They should have waited for her to ASK for membership for next year before sending her a letter saying she couldn’t have it. That’s just embarrassing. You always wait to be asked to dance, before offering your refusal.

    The letter itself was also embarrassing. You just need a simple “you do not meet membership criteria” letter to deny membership. Putting all those half-baked reasons in the letter just made them look, well, half-baked. The problem with the RWA lies not with their rules, but with their lack of a halfway decent PR person to vet the official communiqués going out the door.

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  • Dittoing what eggs said, pretty much word for word.

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  • I do think there has been a change in tone at DA recently.

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  • Hmm. On further evaluation, I also like what eggs said. I’ve been resisting Twitter, so pretty much knew nothing of romfail until I read about it here and at DA just yesterday. Sometimes I’m so behind the curve. Wait. Didn’t I say that about RWA…???

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  • I don’t belong to RWA and I don’t know much about DA or Jane. But IMHO, if an organization is offended by a member’s actions or what she/he says, one would think they’d rise above the pettiness they believe that member is showing and approach them in a manner befitting the nature of their angst. And if their reason for this decision is valid, why didn’t they tell her before now? All things considered, their timing here does seem a little too comfortably coincidental.

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  • I probably should not say anything but I will leave it at

    I do think there has been a change in tone at DA recently.

    and I think the twitter Romfail thing was something that was noticed by way too many people and not in a good way.

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  • I’m a regular reader and a fan of Dear Author and Jane & company’s honest reviews–even when they bite.

    But when I try to broaden my writerly mind enough to accept romfail, I fail. Just can’t do it. While the books being *failed* might not be to my liking, neither is the method of, uh, reviewing them. So, like most authors, I suppose, I stay away. But that said, it’s Jane’s party and she can review how she wants to. As to why RWA made the decision not to renew membership, I guess the same can be said.

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