In spite of the resignations from the governing board and a new interim president appointed, Romance Writers of America continues to experience a flood of resignations. More local chapters are getting to the point where they have too few members to create a board and conduct business. The board and volunteers of the New York City Chapter submitted resignations effective March 2020. Las Vegas chapter dissolved early in the controversy.
But the Orange County Chapter is moving forward as a chapter and navigating the needed changes ahead. RWA-San Diego is also staying active, although it appears more difficult to find speakers at the moment. Whatever happens, I am staying in the national organization and my chapter. I’ve always believed that change happens with less stress from the inside. Along the lines of having a really bad headache wouldn’t cause you to cut off your head. Usually.
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, a blog that keeps up with all the trends in Romance novels, had a good overview of the latest happenings at “The Board of Hollow Women (Not their actual name).” Apparently, people to whom they looked for future leadership have given up and resigned. The blog brings to light the fact that the past board had a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of another party and not in their own interests. They missed this simple and easy to comply with duty over and over until people pointed it out. And instead of acting like sane people when the issue came up, they punished the person who called them out.
RWA is going ahead with the conference in July. The cost has dropped from $499 to $199. Apparently, con attendance has left Nordstrom’s and is in the 99 cents stores. Publishers’ Weekly on January 9, listed these houses as no longer interested in RWA authors. “As of this morning, publishers including Avon, Berkley Romance, Entangled, HarperCollins Canada and Harlequin, Kensington, St. Martin’s, Gallery Books, and Tule Publishing have all pulled support from the RWA and the national conference, and a tweet citing an email allegedly sent by Sourcebooks says that that house will also not support the conference. The statements all cite increasing diversity and/or inclusion in publishing as a priority, as well as condemning recent events at the RWA.”
Wait, Tule Publishing? I may have just flushed away the future of my book. Meghan Farrell, now the Executive Editor, agreed to accept my manuscript, waited patiently for me to finish it, and returned it with awesome feedback and a willingness to see it again when I changed it up. Well, I’m going to continue to move forward with Crazy for Trying and hope RWA resolves into a better organization soon.
Nobody likes the idea of this organization going totally away. What most of us want, I believe, is more authors of color and diverse lifestyles being supported and promoted. More inclusion in decisions and the face we show the world. I want the publishing houses listed above to show instead of tell their commitment to diversity. And I want the wonderful group of authors who make up my local chapter to come through this with our heads up, looking ahead.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.