Friday, March 4, 2011

To Join or Not To Join, that is the question

Whether 'tis be nobler in mind to suffer
the indignity of the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune
Or to take up arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, perchance to sleep

That's enough of that. I can't believe I remember that. He isn't called The Bard for nothing. Talk about motivation. How many of us want to lay down our arms at one point? All of us. We wouldn't be human if we didn't. We all have questions. Writers turn those questions into books.

Today's question (I'm thinking about making this a series for my blog. What do you think?)
Should I join RWA?

I see the question frequently in chat at,
so I thought I'd address it.

It's not cheap. Even in times of economic boom $110 is a lot of money. For some that just isn't feasible. For others it's a hard choice to make. For me, it was a no brainer, but that was before Savvy Authors and there really wasn't another organization to join. I'm a proud member of both.

Here's why.
1. You can never have too many writing friends.
2. You can never have too many opportunities to hone your craft.
3. You can never have too many opportunities to pitch your book.
Those three reasons, in that order, are why I belong to both organizations.

Savvy Authors is a much smaller organization, though by no means small, and this offers a level of intimacy and I don't feel lost among the crowd. I get the same feeling from the chapters I belong to through RWA.

I joined my state chapter (Maryland Romance Writers) because I didn't want to be alone at my first National Conference (2008). I am now my chapter's librarian. This month our speaker is Rosemary Ellen Guiley. Her book Encyclopedia of Angels, which I first bought when it came out in 1996, is one of the main resources for my current WIP. We've had a former CIA Operative and an expert in body language come.

When I move this summer to Boston, I am looking forward to joining The New England Chapter of Romance Writers. This month's meeting is critting each others first five pages. I'm not going to be able to go to Nationals next year, but I can make their regional Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference. Donald Maass is there this year.

(If you want to know what your local chapter is, do a search for your state and RWA.)

I see you in the back raising your hand, so politely. You have a question. "What about me, Miss Jeanie? I live in the middle of nowhere."

Fortunately, I just live on the edge of nowhere. I have to drive two hours to go to my MRW meetings, across the Bay Bridge (which I hate with a fiery passion. The bridge, not the distance). One of the benefits of belonging to an organization as large as RWA are the online speciality chapters. No matter what your sub-genre there is at least one speciality chapter for you to belong to.

Here is a sampling:

Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal: FF&P is now the largest. When I was researching joining RWA, I learned about FF&P. The second I got my RWA membership number, I joined. Here is a listing of some of the things i got through FF&P
1. I "met" Liz. Yes this is number one. I <3 Liz. Through Liz I learned about Savvy in its infancy.
2. The crit group, the mudpuddle.
3. The yahoo loops. There are several. This is where I get to "know" people in my sub-genre and Angie Fox made me cry (in a good way). Often when I'm talking with someone online, I grab their book, so I can explain to Hubby who I'm talking to. Sometimes I compare them to his guitar idols for reference.
4. 60 Days to Pro. Because of this event in 2009, I finished my novel, became PRO and got my first partial request.
5. Access to editors through their members-only blog. The first time I got to talk to Heather Osborn, then editor at TOR Romance, was through FF&P. I seem to keep running into her.
6. The Gathering. The yearly banquet at Nationals. Most specialty chapters do something at Nationals.

That's enough about FF&P. If you are a member of RWA and write FF&P, including urban fantasy, you should join.

Yes, next question.
"What about me, Jeanie? I write Romantic Suspense or Regency or about hot guys in kilts."

You're in luck because there is something just for you. And these are like potato chips. You don't have to eat just one. Here they are in alpha order (because that's how RWA lists them and I really don't want to type them all in again) Because I don't just write about angels, but am one, I'll give you the links to them, so you can investigate yourselves.

The Beau Monde Regency Special Interest Chapter: Jane Austin left out the sex. I can put it back in.

Celtic Hearts Romance Writers: Sexy men in kilts and the women who love them, any time period, and even ones with fangs.

Chick Lit Writers of the World: Here chicky, chicky, chicky

Electronic and Small Press Authors Network: New York, New York? We don't need no stinkin' big city press.

Elements of RWA: There's more to life than love. or "And they didn't live happily ever after."

Faith, Hope, and Love, Inc.: Stuff your mother can read and show her church group

From the Heart Romance Writers: All I have to keep me warm is my computer and my ideas.

Fantasty, Futuristic and Paranormal: In that order because it's alphabetical. No really, we voted on it.

Golden Network Chapter: I got a shiny gold heart, now what? (Golden Heart finalists and winners, RWA's contest for unpubbed writers)

Gothic Romance Writers: It was a dark and stormy night, and so is the hero.

Hearts Through History Romance Writers: Romance has been around since that first cave man clubbed his first cave woman and she kicked him in the balls.

Mystery/Suspense Chapter (Kiss of Death): Knives and poison and guns, oh my.

Outreach International Romance Writers: We are the world, we are the children (well not really. Children shouldn't read this stuff)

Passionate Ink: Stuff you [I]really[/I] don't want your mother to read.

Published Authors Special Interest Chapter/PASIC: I made $1,000 on a single book (jumping up and down) I made $1,000. (Requirement to join PAN)

Rainbow Romance Writers: Love comes in many forms.

Romantic Women's Fiction: Eat lots of chocolate, pray for a contract and love

RWA Heartbeat: Paging Dr. Hottie, Paging Dr. Hottie

RWA Online: Meeting online, all the time.

Scriptscene: Lights, camera, action (lots and lots of action)

Young Adult Special Interest Chapter: Star light, Twilight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the guy I wish tonight.

That's a lot to digest. Go surf around. See if anything appeals to you.

1 comment:

  1. Love your voice and the information is awesome. This needs to be a 'go to post' for new writers especially.