Friday, March 28, 2008

Release day and stuff!

(You know, it occurs to me that if I hunt for "and stuff" in the titles of all my posts, I'd probably come up with a ton.)

I know, I know. I'm late posting today. You guys were probably all miserable and sad, waiting for me to show up. Right? Right? Of course.

So, Day of the Dead is available now! You can buy it here. I'm not going to post another excerpt, because I posted one a while back here. So if you haven't read it, and you're interested, go check it out.

Also, I did a guest blog (about rejection) over at Calendula Witch's blog.

And my audio interview with Kimiko at Tale Chasing should be up at some point soon. It's about an hour long, so make sure you really have time to listen to me drone on while simultaneously shivering and chain-smoking. Seriously, I am the most boring interview on the planet, I think.

I had a rant planned for today, about the RWA and how they fucked epublished authors in the Ritas again by quietly changing the rules, while publicly assuring epublished authors that they hadn't.

Basically, what happened is they changed the rules so that if the book didn't come out in print in the year for which it's being entered, it is not eligible. Period. Even if the book's publisher takes the time to create five perfect-bound copies to enter (as EC did, for example), they will not accept the entry unless the book was actually for sale in print during that year. In other words, if you just wrote one of those nasty ebooks, don't bother.

But oh! Don't think you can enter the Golden Heart contest for unpublished authors either! Because if any work of yours over 20,000 words has been published in any format, you no longer qualify as "unpublished". So, too published for the Golden Heart, but not quite published enough for the Rita. You're the porridge that Goldilocks ate.

But the thing is, a huge part of me just doesn't give a shit. The RWA is a useless organization. It was useless to me as a newbie (I joined thinking it would be hugely helpful, only to discover that it gave me absolutely no information I couldn't get online.) I was a member for four years (until I let my membership lapse in October.) In that time the RWA as a group did one thing of which I approved--going after Esnips for copyright violation. (Of course, Esnips is still around, so...) Maybe if the RWA board pulled its head out of Harlequin's ass for a while and started thinking about what its membership actually needs, it would be different. But honestly? They're not going to. They don't want to.

It's like the PTA. The people who run for PTA President tend to be (I didn't say are, just tend to be) the types of people who care a lot about certain things. They want to run that organization a certain way, and aren't really interested in other thoughts or viewpoints. People who run for the RWA board and win are, I believe, much the same. Seriously, and no disrespect meant, but when is the last time RWA had a President of whom you'd even heard?

And let's take the Rita and the Golden Heart. I've already blogged about why readers don't need to care about the Rita. But it occurs to me, because I saw somebody else say it and now I don't remember who or where but it was a really astute comment, that maybe the Rita would mean more if writers weren't paying to enter it. It just seems a little...I dunno. Like entering yourself for a Nobel Prize (which you can do. Or is it the Pulitzer you can enter yourself for?) It's just kind of sad. I think it takes some serious cachet away from the award, unlike, say, a Nebula Award, or any other sort of award where nominating is done either by peers or by the company producing the book/movie/whatever.

Yeah, I've thought of entering the Rita. I've thought about entering Personal Demons, in fact, simply because it might be fun or interesting and might get my publisher's name out there and might get my name out there too or whatever. I doubt I will. It's not like my book has a chance, IMO. But who knows? Perhaps this crotchety mood will pass and I'll decide to give it a go. That doesn't change the fact that I think it's cheesy for authors to have to pay for it themselves, and that I seriously wonder if, especially in this digital age, the RWA hasn't completely outlived its usefulness.

It seems to exist simply in order to snub people and collect contest fees.

My personal bugbear is the Golden Heart, which I think is absolutely useless. You pay $50 in hopes of getting your ms in front of an editor for final judging? Why not just submit the book to their house? Your chances are pretty much the same, if your book is good. If it's not, and is just the best of a mediocre lot, you're not going to get an offer from the GH judge anyway. So you may have an award, but you don't have a book that will sell. Occasionally a GH finalist will sell, and that's wonderful, but if the book is publishable it would have made it anyway, don't you think?

I see people collect GH finals and wins like my husband collects Marvel comics busts, but in the end it does nothing for them if the book isn't good enough. A publisher or agent may take a look because of the win, but they're not going to offer because of it. I've also seen multiple-time GH winners, still unpublished, offering writing workshops based on their GH successes, which to me makes about as much sense as somebody who's really good with a flight simulator giving flying lessons on a real plane. (Wow, I may have to come back and delete that later. It sounds mean, and I didn't intend for it to. All I meant is, people get so hung up on the GH, when ultimately it means absolutely NOTHING. Nothing at all. Tender writers go into deep depression over not finaling, and it's not worth it.)

So the RWA throws a convention once a year, and holds some contests. Whoopee.

I know some people get a lot from their local chapters, and that's great. I think those local chapters probably would be just as good and effective if the writers in question simply advertised their meetings in a local bookstore, and then they could spend the annual dues money on bourbon instead, which is in my opinion a much more valuable use of funds. But I digress.

The point is, I'm not ranting about the RWA today, and if you want to spend your money on an Orwell-esque organization where some published writers are more equal than others, you go ahead.

(Oh, and btw. I do understand the problem RWA has. There are a lot of tiny micro epubs with little to no editing or experience vomiting out books like a sorority girl who's had a few too many Sex on the Beaches, and nobody wants to see the Rita judges overwhelmed with entries along the lines of some of the stuff I've seen in my perusals of the web. Really. Some standards must be set. But excluding an entire category--like say, erotic romance, which is just too dirty for the purehearts at RWA, or those awful filthy ebooks--just because you can't think of a way to set those standards is not only wrong and a disservice to paying members, but a sign of a woefully lacking imagination. How are we supposed to believe these people are good writers, when they can't even come up with a working solution to this problem, or define "erotic romance"?)

And I guess I'm done.


Gabriele C. said...

Lol, when I started a blog, one of the first things I came across while reading other blogs was a RWA scandal, and it's never stopped since.

As outsider, it's fun to watch. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

From talking to folks who are members of RWA it seems the local chapters are really the important part of the support and the national stuff is not as helpful.

calderwoodbooks said...

I'm an outsider, and was never a member of RWA, so I can't say anything (good or bad) about it. But I did think the membership price was a bit steep for a struggling author.
and CONGRATS on the new book! It looks Fabulous!!!!


kirsten saell said...

What D said. Pretty much to a word.

Although part of me does like to think of my books as too dirty for RWA. The image of some priggish old biddy burning her retinas on my prose and getting all irritated makes the devil in me smile and rub its hands together...

pacatrue said...

Nicely done rant.

Jennifer said...

Hey chica - talking about Congratulations - Whooo Hooo! What a great review of Personal Demons by Mrs. Giggles!!!!!!!


December/Stacia said...

Lol, Gabriele, no, it never stops. The rant was actually meant to be more about the futility of contests, the GH specifically, but then RWA had to go and act like a bunch of bitches again, sigh.

Yeah, Charles, that's the impression I've always gotten as well. But for those of us who aren't able to be active on a local level, national really should offer something beyond what I can get anywhere else, you know? It's not cheap to join RWA. You should get something back for that expense.

Thaks Sam! And yes, it's pricey. That's actually why I let my membership go last year. I just couldn't see spending that amount for nothing.

LOl Kis I know exactly what you mean. Heh heh heh.

*curtsey* Thank you Paca. :-)

Oooh! Thanks Sam! I hadn't seen that!

Robyn said...

On ebooks, December, I was thinking yesterday how ancients must have viewed bound books. "Scrolls were good enough for my grandfather, they're good enough for me!" Or movable type. "But why do we need that? They're putting so many monks out of work!"

Like printing out pages, putting them in an envelope and going to the post office makes you an industrious professional, but hitting the SEND button makes you a lazy whore. Grrr.

BernardL said...

Your 'Looking for agents and publisher tips' provided more useful information than the RWA's whole website, which I did check out closely.

You were chain smoking. I thought the smoking was a thing of the past. Oh... for shame. :)

December/Stacia said...

Lol, Robyn. I'm sure that's exactly what the ancients thought. And yeah, it makes a total difference, :rolleyes.

Yeah, Bernard, I started again. Sue me.
And thanks. Yes, even the "Members Only" parts of the RWA site are very low on info.

Mark said...

Great interview over at talechasing. Sounded like lots of fun.

kirsten saell said...

um, have you been by Mrs. G's lately? Might want to go give it a boo....

*rubbing hands together with glee*

December/Stacia said...

Thanks Mark! Don't I sound like a wierdo, though?

Yep, kis, I saw it. I'll crack 90 with that woman one of these days, dammit. :-) (You know I think Mrs. G is teh awesome.)

kirsten saell said...

She didn't even want to review my book. *pouting*

December/Stacia said...

Really? Your Samhain book?

kirsten saell said...


I think it was the f/f that did it, despite the face it's a het romance. She has more of a thing for the guys...

Chumplet said...

Nice rant! Joining RWA was never on my list of things to do, and I got contests out of my system long ago.

That being said, congrats on the new release! See you next month at Chris's blog for our little party. Mine's an old release, but what the hell - I'm having fun.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap this post better work. Blogger's eaten three already because of the worpress openID thing and it's really pissing me off.

I'm trying to remember what I said in my devoured comments but it was along the lines of RWA is a waste of money...

My CP sends me updates from RWA sites and emails, and I usually have the info already from another source. The chapter contests are usually open to anyone willing to pay the fee, and the snooty attitude of the "NY Only" writers is beyond my patience. What those old broads don't realize is that as soon as the iPod generation figures out how to read books on their toys there's going to be a real shift in the industry.

Oh, and congrats on the release!

Michele Lee said...

It's not just RWA, HWA and SFWA are both having problems too. In fact I've heard a lot of these same complaints applied to HWA. I find it funny how incredibly similar the romance and horror communities are.

December/Stacia said...

Hmm. I'm really surprised, kis.

Thanks Chumplet! Yep, I'll see you there, should be fun huh? :-)

I agree, Seeley. RWA is a waste of money.
I don't have a problem with them being NY only, I really don't. I just think if that's the way they're going to go they need to be honest about it and change their focus completely. Stop lying, you know? And stop taking money from people you refuse to serve.

What's going on at HWA and SFWA, Michele?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the made hate for all ebooks by RWA is silly. They should set standards of quality for the industry, not what the industry's format should be.

I actually do not like reading ebooks because I can't tote them around like a convenient paperback. I'm waiting for memory paper or something like that where I can have an ebook that looks like a real book. (Not the kindle!)

Anonymous said...

Flight Attendant School has the largest flight schools and aviation schools list on the Internet. We have every type of aviation school listed on our site. Find the best flight schools helicopter schools.Flight Attendant Schools