As I sit here (Saturday night) watching the live tweets from RWA 2013 National Conference in Atlanta announcing the RITA and Golden Heart winners, I’m a writer torn in two.
Romance Writers of America is a fantastic organization geared toward helping writers in the romance genre. Founded in 1980 in Houston, there are 145 chapters – both physical and online. RWA offers conferences, workshops, an online ‘university’ with classes given by published authors. I’ve been to two chapter conferences and had a blast. And next year I plan to go to the National Conference.
I’ve met so many supportive authors through RWA that I would recommend it to any author trying to break into the romance genre.
So what was the tough decision?
Whether or not to self publish. Annually, RWA runs two contests that can garner an agent and/or editor for an unpublished author or boost recognition for one already published. These contests are the Golden Heart and the RITA. And as a self-published author, I can’t enter my work into either one of those contests. Luckily the local chapters allow self-published authors to enter their contests, but my work will never get the chance to be seen at that national level.
So why be a member? Because of the resources. I’ve learned so much from the writers I’ve met through RWA. I enjoy meeting other authors at the conferences I’ve been to and ones I’ve met online through different forums.
From time to time I send work to an agent. At the chapter conferences I still make appointments with the agents and editors. Even if they don’t end up taking the manuscript, I’ve learned from my short time with them.
While it stings a little to have that ‘prejudice’ against me as a self-published author, I’m glad I pursued that path. I know I’d be sitting here frustrated that no one had offered me a contract and might have given up. But the few reviews I’ve gotten and friends reactions to my stories let me know that I made the right decision for me, at this point in my writing career.
Congrats to all the RITA and Golden Heart winners and to the finalists. Hope you all had fun in Atlanta and had a safe trip home. I’ll see y’all next year in San Antonio!!