Change is not always good. Sometimes it’s a shame.

Once upon a time, in a southern state during the last half of the last century, there were women who loved to write and read. But what they loved to write, and read, were books that supposedly most of the reading and writing world did not consider “real” books. They wrote and read romance, or Romance.

So since there was no organization for them (as most of the other writer organizations were composed, for the greater part, of men and men did not take Romance as a genre seriously), these women writers (some published but many not) decided to join together. They created some small groups of writers and when that was made known, more women who wrote and read Romance decided to create their own small groups. And eventually these small groups banded together under one “national” organization.

After a few years they also decided to have an organization inside the big one for writers who were “published.” Rules were devised for this subgroup:

Books written for a flat fee? No, you were not published.

Ebook published? No, you were not published.

Indie published? Horrors! No, you definitely were not published.

Some of those rules changed over the years as the industry changed.

But what stayed the same was most of the membership (from published to non-published) welcomed new members and taught them the ropes of being a writer. Most of that support and teaching occurred at the “chapter” level, some were very small organizations where every member strived for the holy grail of being “published.” There were big Regional conferences and a National conference but if you didn’t live in the conference area, travel and hotel costs were expensive, not to mention the cost of the conference itself.

So most of the women writers depended on their home chapters and the members for support. Many of those chapters were small, with less than thirty members—some of whom had been in various chapter board positions off and on for many years.

Now that may change. New rules will take effect in a year. These rules will change who can be a voting member and who can be a member of a chapter board.

Will the smaller chapters have to disband?

Probably.

Will overall membership in the organization drop?

Likely.

Will there be another organization that will welcome new writers and teach them the skills they need?

Probably not.

And that’s the shame.


3 thoughts on “Change is not always good. Sometimes it’s a shame.

  1. It is sad but true, Mitzi. And the idea that they are hiding under the excuse that the changes are at the behest of a government agency is laughable. Just like their claims of transparency.

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  2. Morgan asked ,e what I wanted for my birthday…coming up soon. I just told him what I want for my birthday AND Christmas is to go to National in NYC next year. I want to be at the general membership meeting. I want to HEAR their reasoning for this.

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  3. Mitzi – they will give you none.This topic has come up at the General Meeting at the last two conferences, with many chapter leaders expressing their concerns. We may as well have been speaking to a wall. These changes were made supposedly because of the IRS but that has been hotly debated with Allison Kelly and the RWA board. Yet they insist it is what the IRS wants. Many chapter presidents have scoured the IRS site looking for where it says this and cannot find it. Still, Allison and the board will not budge. If it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable as Writer-At-Large said above.

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