It’s Official!!!


I finally took the leap and became an official member of  RWA (Romance Writers of America)!

I can already feel the RWA magic fairy dust rain upon me.

…all my publishing dreams and wishes will come true…

O k….maybe this isn’t quite as magical as I’m making it out to be but it is a big deal, for me.

This is the first “serious” writers organization I have joined. I honestly do feel like this is the right “first step” to take on the path to publication and a long term writing career.

If you haven’t already joined RWA and your a writer of Romance (of any genre) then take the time to check them out.

Before I go any further, let me just say that I tried researching what RWA had to offer before committing $120.00. I couldn’t even find any reviews on the organization itself. That either means:

  1. They are really good and no one has a complaint (not likely)
  2. They are really good at keeping their members in line, in which case my follow up blog post will be “It’s official, I was thrown out of RWA!” 

{{GULP}}

Honestly though, I’m writing this review for the people who have been on the fence for years. It’s hard to commit so much money to an organization without really seeing what they have to offer. So, hopefully I don’t get in trouble for this. Here goes nothing!

If you’ve been on the fence about joining because of the cost, let me fill you in one what RWA has to offer it’s members.

{Keep in mind this is a “first look” behind the curtain review}

Career Benefits 

RWA offers its members:

  • Romance Writers Report – a monthly trade magazine that will be mailed to you and that can be viewed online.
  • RWA University – education that RWA offers it’s members where you can take online classes year round. The classes range from Free to Paid and cover any writing topic you can think of.
  • The RWA Annual Conference – where writers, authors, agents, and publishers come together.
  • Help in Developing Professional Relations – RWA provides members with up to date info on publishers and agents looking for romance material and who meet certain criteria. It will also give you their current contact info and instructions on how to submit to them.
  • RWA eNotes – a semi monthly eNewsletter that has info on association and industry news. It is sent to your email.
  • Subscriptions– deals where members can purchase subscriptions to Nielson Book Scan, Publisher Alley and Publisher Weekly at a discount.
  • Recognition of your hard work – RWA offers it’s members two main contests a year where you can get recognized for all your hard work. RITA is the competition for published romance fiction novels. The Golden Heart Award is for exceptional unpublished Romance fiction manuscripts. You can also get noticed for any volunteer services you do for RWA and the Romance genre.

My RWA” is your RWA online homepage where you can access anything in regards to your account (purchases, your favorite forums, the chapters you’ve joined, etc…)

Chapters are parts of the RWA organization where you can either join and attend local meetings or join an online group. The local chapters are usually designated by geographical location while the online chapters tend to be designated by genre and special interests.

RWA has communities of practice such as PAN (The Published Authors Network). PAN is a community for published romance authors to help foster the right connections with leaders in their industry. PRO is a network of communication and support to effectively promote and protect romance writers in the areas between manuscript submission and publication.

Now let’s looks at RWA, it’s background and it’s current numbers.

  • RWA started in 1981 as an idea that 37 women had to create a group that will help nurture and support their romance writing careers.
  • A few of RWA founders are Rita Clay Estrada and Parris Afton Bonds.
  • Their Mission statement is to “advance the professional interest of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy.”
  • They currently have around 10,000 members worldwide with at least 2,000 being traditionally published authors. Check out their members page to see if some of your favorite romance authors are RWA members!
  • The RWA can be found in 31 countries and has 145 local and online chapters.

My opinion after searching through the website as a Member:

I’m unimpressed.

Yes, there is a lot of information available to you as a Member that would be harder to obtain on your own (like current contact info on publishers and agents that are excpeting and looking for romance material) but there is hardly any writing resources that I can click through and browse (there does seem to be articles that cover those topics in their eNewsletter and RWR magazine). The classes and courses were much fewer then I thought. I realized the new courses were going to cost $ but I thought that all those archives of old classes (which aren’t very many for some reason) would be free or at least have a free preview. There seems to be a lot of chapters that stem from RWA but guess what, you have to pay an additional membership to join them as well. If your thinking of maybe joining a chapter instead of the whole RWA organization you can’t. You have to join RWA first and then you can join other smaller chapters if you like. That’s the prevailing theme, $$$.

However, that being said, not having an abundant stash of resource links to easily browse isn’t a deal breaker. I think almost everyone who joins RWA does so for the connections. You can finds hundreds upon thousands of links one whatever subject you need but solid connections in the writing world are hard to come by. RWA states from the beginning that it’s an organization for writers/authors who take their writing career seriously and that’s true because no one who is writing romance as a hobby will be comfortable shelling out $120 and more.

If you are

  • truly serious about wanting to advance in your career
  • looking to get a solid start on your path to being published
  • hoping to gain connections you wouldn’t be able to make on your own
  • trying get noticed by publishers and agents that are trusted and looking for what you have to offer

Then you will be willing to pay, no matter the costs. Well, within reason and what your bank account will allow 😉

So am I glad that I paid $120 for a RWA General Membership? YES

Is it everything I expected and more? NO not yet.

Do I believe RWA will help me obtain my dream of becoming a full time romance writer? YES (without a doubt)

***Update: October 2014***

I’m about 4 months into my membership and I can now safely say (with a smile) that I am happy I took the leap to join RWA.

In these first 4 months:

  • I have received a monthly magazine , the RWR, that is filled with incredible advice for writers (something that I now look forward to at the beginning of every month)
  • I have had access to all the old classes, workshops and audio recordings from conventions. (it still iritates me that we have to pay for some of that but oh well)
  • I have taken a class through their university which was not only easy but fun and very educational.
  • I have perused their forums which is a hotbed of answers and connections.
  • I have voted for the next members of the board which was extremely user friendly.
  • I have lived vicariously through the lucky members that attended the 2014 RWA convention. (I will be at the 2015 convention come hell or high water!)

The most important thing from this membership is really the community. It’s not just made up of people who are fun and friendly but of people who take the time out of their own busy day to help support their fellow writer. Whether it be through advice, a positive message, or to help promote someone else’s work through their social media channels.

As with any organization you become a part of you only get out what you put in. Meaning, you could spend the $ that it cost to be a member but that won’t guarantee you will get what you need from the organization.

You need to do the work. You need to actively connect with other members and business professionals, you need to take part in conversations in the forums, join classes in the university, etc.

It’s up to you on how much your RWA membership does for you.

As long as your serious about your writing career then RWA is the organization for you!

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About Darla G. Denton, Writer

I am a Contemporary Romance Writer for Curvy women and the men who love them.
This entry was posted in Writing Resources and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to It’s Official!!!

  1. Ronovan says:

    Congratulations! I was going to follow you on Twitter to see your future updates of publishing and your famous followers but I ALREADY DID! 🙂 Great name for a Romance Author. Look forward to amazing things.
    Much Respect
    Ronovan

    Like

  2. winterbayne says:

    Found one author on RWA list and she also runs a publishing house. I’m going to hold off for now. Give you a few more months to settle in and see what they have. 😉

    Like

  3. Harliqueen says:

    Congrats, that’s great news! 🙂 Every step forward is a good one.

    Like

  4. Pingback: RWA’s 2015 Golden Heart Competition | Darla G. Denton

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