Blog Archive

Since when…

did ignoring a problem make it go away?

There’s all sorts of bickering and sniping going on about RWA and epublishing and digital education but there are also some very lucid, intelligent arguments and more importantly, excellent questions and points being raised. This post is a good jumping off spot for the 411. It has links to several posts dealing with different viewpoints.

MY question is this. How is ignoring a problem going to fix anything? There are widespread concerns about epublishing. I say good. There are valid reasons for being wary of many publishers out there. What I don’t understand is how anyone thinks ignoring the issue helps authors. I get that the RWA is concerned. I get that they don’t want authors being taken advantage of. I get that they really don’t want authors signing contracts that are detrimental to their careers. But how is ignoring the issue going to solve anything?

If the answer is to simply exclude any and all epublishers, bar workshops and publisher space at national, then I want to know what is being done to educate the authors who belong to RWA about the potential pitfalls. What is RWA doing to educate its members on the issue of digital publishing. Is anyone explaining to these authors WHY such care should be taken? Is anyone pointing out possible decisions that could harm an author’s rights?

Believe me when I say, I could give a rat’s ass whether XYZ publisher is given RWA recognition. Seriously. I. don’t. care. RWA recognition in no way affects my paycheck, my sales, my contracts. At the end of the day I’m as published by an epublisher as I am with Berkley, Silhouette and Ballantine. I don’t need or want validation from the RWA. What I’d like to know, however, is WHY, given the seeming huge concerns for the disadvantage being handed to authors, are there no efforts to educate members of a professional organization.

If members of a writer’s organization think that digital education only affects those authors publishing with electronic only publishers, then their heads are firmly planted in the sand. I’m not one of these people who is decreeing that print books are going the way of the past. I don’t believe that will ever happen. HOWEVER, digital sales are increasing all the time. I see an increase with each royalty statement. For authors who say digital sales are only a tiny portion of their sales now, I can guarantee they will increase. It WILL become increasingly more important of an issue. I believe RWA could provide a great service for ALL its authors by addressing digital issues across the board and not just for its epublished authors. Say it with me. It’s not just an issue of epublishing. It’s an issue that affects all authors no matter who their publisher happens to be.

I also firmly believe that if RWA would take on education as a service to its members, that perhaps many of its authors would not go blindly into a contract that isn’t beneficial to them with regards to epublishers. On the one hand we’re dismayed by the number of publishers taking advantage of its authors but on the other hand we cover our ears and eyes and refuse to address the issue. We shove the publishers out of our organization thinking that will somehow protect our members simply by withholding “approval” when providing them with concise information would go so much further.

And yes, there will always be authors who choose to ignore clear signs of “danger! danger!” but hey, at least the RWA would have provided a service to its members. What the members choose to do with that information is up to them.

3 thoughts on “Since when…”

  1. azteclady says:

    I wish I would have said this, and just like this.

    But then it shows you write for a living :wink:

  2. Jody Wallace says:

    Hi Maya — I get the impression that by pointing out how such publishers don’t offer a $1000 advance and hinting that means they are nothing but author mills is sufficient in the eyes of the current RWA President, who is presumably speaking for the Board. Their assumption these small publishers get something for “nothing”, have zero risk taking on authors, zero costs associated with taking on authors, is one of the big stumbling blocks in education and moving forward IMO. In their eyes the failure to offer that $1000 advance means the publishers aren’t giving their authors a professional vote of confidence–aren’t invested in the authors and thus will do nothing for the authors’ career.

  3. joyroett says:

    Well said!

Comments are closed.