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This arguments’s been going on for days, and will probably run and run, I can’t be arsed blogging about it, here’s a few links offering opposing view points:
She’sawriter, is basically in
agreement with the guidelines set by RWA, whilst Jordan Summers has a few things to say about the situation.


Paperback Writer tries to get to the bottom of the rumour that Ann Jacobs was refused a request to sign one of her books at the RWA booth, at BEA.

The Smart Bitches, also have a rant by guest author Selah March, but you can just follow the link from the side bar to get to them!

It’s just never ending, and I just can’t be arsed offering up any more opinions on the matter!

15 Comments »


  • Anonymous
    June 9
    1:00 pm

    I think RWA have a point, I don’t consider it censorship, I just happen to think that covers showing naked men and women in various sexual positions is not something I’d want my children to be exposed to.

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  • Anne
    June 9
    1:06 pm

    Get a grip. They see nekkid asses and side views of breasts on TV. A book cover with men or women covering breasts or kissing or even in a compromising position are covered much better than the nekkid stuff you see on TV. Hell, some of the clothes people wear on TV expose more flesh than you see on book covers! This is a form of discrimination and totally unacceptable.

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  • Sarah McCarty
    June 9
    1:22 pm

    Anonymous,

    And I’m sure Borders would agree with you which is why those covers are not in stores and facing out and why publishers who spend tons of money in market research on this subject don’t print them.

    Pretty much, this is the whole problem in a nutshell, Authors have zero say in cover art. RWA has no influence with pubslihers (it’s a support org for writers not a union) yet has set and impemented a standard much higher than industry norm and is enforcing it which means publsihed authors who normally support RWA by giving workshops and speaking will not be able to sign their books at the conference they speak at because RWA fees their books are dirty.

    To put it in perspective, you know that ad for Mederma skin cream that runs on TV 24/7and is in all the magazines where the woman has her arm across her chest (a bit of boob showing below) and her naked midriff is exposed? A book with that cover would not pass the Standards as being set by RWA.

    Pretty much the argument revolves around how much a person feels a professional oranization should be dictating moral issues to their members. And how right it is to penalize them when a cover over which they have ZERO say doesn’t fit the moral standard as put out by a board that met behind closed doors without recieving member input and delivered a fait accompli.

    Sarah, not in favor (what a shock) *g*

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  • Mel
    June 9
    4:51 pm

    Anonymous, how can you say you don’t think it’s censorship, of course it is!

    Sarah Said
    “To put it in perspective, you know that ad for Mederma skin cream that runs on TV 24/7and is in all the magazines where the woman has her arm across her chest (a bit of boob showing below) and her naked midriff is exposed? A book with that cover would not pass the Standards as being set by RWA.”

    If this is true, I am truly amazed, I’m still not entirely sure what the problem is, what, you can’t sex in romance?

    It seems to me that erotic romance is the poor relation that everybody wants to take pot shots at, or pretend that it doesn’t exist, because it’s easy to do so, I just get so mad with that. I just feel that as a nation we are forgetting about freedom of speech and expression.

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  • Anonymous
    June 9
    6:50 pm

    Anne, does the fact that there’s naked people on TV make it less offensive to see sexually graphic pictures of men and women on books?
    If so, then that shows ignorance on your part.

    As an organisation, RWA must cater first and foremost to their members, and I believe the majority of their members are more likely to read books by Nora Roberts than by Robin Schone.

    I absolutely think they are doing the right thing, erotica has no place within such a distinguished organisation, and I applaud them for making such conscientous decisions.

    I notice that the only people who are bleating about how unfair it is blah, blah blah, are the writers of erotica themselves.

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  • Anne
    June 9
    7:49 pm

    Dear ANONYMOUS,

    You have a right to your opinion and I respect that right, but if your going to be spouting off, you need to get your facts straight. Not only are the erotic and erotic romance authors pissed off at this nonsense, but authors of ALL genre’s as well including inspirational.

    What they are doing relates to censorship and if you’re trying to say that authors like Lori Foster, Emma Holly, and Alison Kent to name a few don’t belong in RWA, then you’re insane. They have incredible talent.

    And as far as your calling me ignorant… well, anonymous, sometimes ignorance is bliss.

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  • Karen Scott
    June 9
    8:57 pm

    Anonymous, as a parent, surely it’s up to you, what your children see? As a responsible parent, you would surely keep such books where young children cannot reach them?

    In my opinion, you are completely wrong, what RWA are trying to do can definitely be classed as censorship.

    Sarah, I agree with you, it almost feels as if they’ve set themselves up to be the shining example of moral fortitude. They forget that there’s certain factions of society who have the same narrow minded views on all romance books, regardless of how vanilla they are.

    I sure hate being preached to by moral crusaders.

    Hi Mel, YES, erotic romance does seem to be the poor relation that everyone wants to push into the corner, and exclude from the fun, that’s exactly how it seems!

    Anonymous wrote
    (As an organisation, RWA must cater first and foremost to their members, and I believe the majority of their members are more likely to read books by Nora Roberts than by Robin Schone.)

    What the hell kind of statement is this? Do you have an in with the RWA members that we know nothing about? If you ask many staunch NR readers, you’ll probably find out that yes, they like reading sweet romance’s, but sometimes they want something different, something grittier.

    I heartily object to sweeping generalisations, that are made without facts to back them up with, and your one was a doozey.

    By the way, have you ever even read an erotic romance book? Or do they offend your sensibilities too much to go down that route?

    If you haven’t actually read any, then as far as I’m concerned, your comments are null and void.

    As for the only people who are bleating about the unfairness of these guidelines being erotic romance authors, you really need to wake up and smell the roses. I’m not a writer, but it sure as hell pissed me off.

    No offense, but I sense sexual repression all over your post.

    Well said Anne. I do love your rants (grin)

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  • Anne
    June 9
    10:23 pm

    Karen, Maybe if Anonymous posted her name, we could send her a really hot Ellora’s Cave book and one of Devlish Dot’s vibrators and she could take care of that sexually repressed attitude.

    The bottom line is.. like it or not, sex sells!

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  • Anonymous
    June 10
    5:35 pm

    Karen wrote:
    No offense, but I sense sexual repression all over your post.

    My sexual life are absolutely none of your business, and has no bearing on this “debate”.

    I have been happily married for over twenty years, and me and my husband have a fulfilliung sex life thank you, not that it’s any of your business anyway.

    Anne, perhaps you need battery operated devices to get pleasure, I certainly do not.

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  • Maven
    June 10
    8:07 pm

    Let the marketplace decide. In the end, that’s what counts, isn’t it?
    RWA is an organization to help writers, not police an industry. They have no say in the decisions made by NY publishers. I’m more concerned about their censorship of certain words and phrases within books than their impotent railing about covers.
    I vote with My dollars.
    Maven
    (Writer and lapsed RWA member)

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  • McVane
    June 10
    8:42 pm

    Karen, Maybe if Anonymous posted her name, we could send her a really hot Ellora’s Cave book and one of Devlish Dot’s vibrators and she could take care of that sexually repressed attitude.

    *ears perk up*

    I think all porn books are dis-gust-ing! And all Ellora’s Cave books are RUDE!! Why, my mite once caught a glimpse of a EC book. I KNOW his eyes WILL burn in hell. I curse you all!

    [Do I get a free EC book? :D]

    [P.S. Seriously, I think it is wrong to assume the state of a person’s sex life on basis of the person’s reaction to book covers or other issues. Where is logic in that?]

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  • Karen Scott
    June 10
    10:09 pm

    Maili Wrote
    “P.S. Seriously, I think it is wrong to assume the state of a person’s sex life on basis of the person’s reaction to book covers or other issues. Where is logic in that?]”

    You’re right of course, I was having a bitchy moment, I’d sworn I wasn’t gonna offer up an opinion on this subject anymore, I guess it’s not in my nature to rise above things (g)

    Apologies to Miss Anonymous, the sexual repression comment was uncalled for.

    See, Jenn, I can admit when I’m in the wrong (g)

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  • Lynne
    June 22
    12:35 am

    I’ve read romance from one end of the sexual content spectrum to the other. Most of what I write falls smack in the middle between both extremes. I do have a couple of stories, however, where the content is what I’d call “less traditional” and would therefore probably be considered spicier. I’ve never submitted anything to Ellora’s Cave, but I’m strongly tempted to, now that it feels to me like they’re getting picked on. 🙂

    With regard to RWA, it’s starting to look like there’s a deliberate attempt on the part of the board to put the screws to Ellora’s Cave. The part about screwing up EC’s paperwork for editor appointments at National was pretty fishy, IMO.

    My renewal comes due in November. If much more of this baloney continues, I won’t be renewing my membership, even though next year’s National is in a good location for me.

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  • Anonymous
    September 11
    3:42 pm

    The RWA-thing has my attention as a reader. I imagine there are many eyes scouring over pages and pages of information found on the internet about various RWA-related topics.

    With the recent posts indicating the type of nonsense accepted by editors and publishers (in the e-world which is more accepting of erotica) as good writing from so-called great writers, no one should be shocked. In this new world of ours, you can have a creative idea and develop it into a full fledged story and publish it. Never mind if you can’t spell. Never mind if you don’t have command over the English language or any language at all. Forget the fact that you don’t know the difference between an adverb and an adjective or if it is even important. The public will forgive and the publishers who publish you will turn the other cheek. They’ll look the other way and why not? The readers who read it will never notice. So, if you’re reading this post and you can follow along, you are a writer in the works and just don’t know it! In the e-world, come one and come all! If you have an idea, jot it down. Find a friend and publish away!

    Why would anyone be shocked that the RWA must tighten their reins? Sure, the authors you mention above are notable writers with impeccable writing skills but let’s talk about some of the writers who are out there publishing and they can’t even spell. Why would RWA want to see these writers among their elite? Why should WE as readers have to tolerate them?

    Today, there are numerous authors out there writing erotic romance. I know many of them personally and have respect for several of them but yet there are many of them that can’t spell and shouldn’t write. Still, they sell to an adoring public because they have a great shifter story idea or a fabulous out of this world idea that will sell to readers who have obviously grown accustomed to poor writing from e-published authors. Would you like to know why these readers continue to read on? It’s the sex. Yes, it has to be the sex because it sure as hell isn’t the great writing. Many of them cannot write!

    When you find a truly bad story, awful in fact, with a writer’s name on it that is selling books but you can tell by reading in groups and blogs that the writer doesn’t have command of the English language, then you have to bow your head in shame. Pity the publishers who published them and the editors that have to correct their stupidity and hope like hell for a better day. These are the authors who need to be reeled in and put in their rightful place. These are the authors who need to find a hobby other than writing so the rest of us can get on with reading the kind of quality that you really do find from some of the authors mentioned above (Lori, Robin, Nora, and others).

    When I go to a bookstore I want to find a book that is well written and not one that someone felt the need to publish just because they felt like they had a great idea for blue-hot sex. I want a story with a story line and many of the erotic authors today can deliver that but there are more and more of them that cannot.

    People wake up! You would be surprised to find that a good fifty percent or better of the authors published by e-publishers today are published because their editors write the book for them. It isn’t a big secret that one of Fictionwise’s best selling authors for months had her stories rewritten by her editor and she continued to hit erotica’s best seller list but the talented editor never received commendation. If this is the way the e-pubs operate today then we should place the following on the e-published books “Written by Josie CantSpell and her editor, who in fact wrote the greatest portion of the book” and then perhaps everyone could take credit for the mess.

    Come on, RWA has good reasons behind some of their decisions but the fact is you can blame it on the e-publishers who went into the literary business as just that, a literary business. You do know that a lot of the publishers out there in this business were first writers and those who failed at getting published anywhere else. You do know this right?
    Some of them will never publish the better authors because they are in fact, inferior to them and some of them will take a chance on a new author with a fresh idea because they know they can change their writing. That is, if they help them write it in the first place.

    The above does not apply to all e-publishers but it does apply to a large percentage. I’ve perused through several books from a large amount of e-pubs lately (admittedly so, after the recent e-pub closings) so I could decide where the true talent lies and be more selective with purchases. There are a few publishers out there that should gain a fair amount of praise and RWA’s profound encouragement. Loose ID, Ellora’s Cave, Phaze, Amira Press, Samhain Publishing, Total E-bound, and a few others but the rest of them? Take a good long look at what’s behind the scenes. You’ll find writers who cannot write. Readers who apparently cannot read or don’t care to notice poor writing and publishers who cannot publish quality work.

    It’s a good thing I read only the true masters of this genre and many of them are published by Ellora’s Cave so there you have it. Perhaps it is the new blood in the publishing industry that is ruining it for everyone. Then again, two of my favorite erotic authors are at Amira Press and Total E-bound so we cannot assume all new e-pubs are in the business to fail miserably at capturing quality writing and succeed only at capturing the profit.

    Regardless of the RWA debate and the many facets of it, there are some things to remember. A lot of these debates wouldn’t be necessary if there were some educated and knowledgeable people behind the e-publishers that continue to open up for business. It occurred to me that with the recent closing of Mardi Gras Publishing that the reason so many are turning back to look into the RWA debates is because of recent closings. I imagine this has been noted somewhere and I missed it.

    It isn’t a secret that Mardi Gras had some “different and unusual writing styles” over there but it isn’t a secret that they also had some great talent there too. I followed one or two authors from Samhain and Phaze over to Mardi Gras and found another one there that wrote for a popular gaming magazine I read. Writing talent existed there but come on people, where were the credentials found in the publisher? Did the publisher have the background to succeed in publishing? No, she didn’t so no one should have been surprised or shocked to discover closing doors and guess what? You’ll see many others follow and probably sooner than you’d like to think.

    In short, if RWA is going to tighten its standards now, I say go for it. Long overdue. As a reader, I expected this a long time ago. As writers, you can fuss, moan and groan about it but it comes down to this, what are you willing to do to change the industry that you claim to love? What can you do, if anything, to insist that your publishers take on quality work? If you can insist that the publishers out there publish only finer works of fiction and non-fiction, then you’ll see more sales as an author. You’ll see readers respond and it will make a positive impact on your profit and the potential for it.

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  • Karen Scott
    September 11
    3:49 pm

    Hey anon, you made some good points, it’s a shame this post is two years old!

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