I don’t have anything specific to say on the new requirements for publishers that RWA has implemented that knocks all epubs from being recognized and therefore exempts them from any special considerations at National.
I’ve seen all kinds of theories about it. I know some think that this is an “old girls” ploy to keep the ebook authors out of their club. There is cause to think that, judging by some of the intolerant and superior things I’ve heard voiced at times by NY print authors about ebook authors. So I’m not surprised this is a theory. However, I think it has more to do with what recently happened at Triskelion than anything else. That said, I do think the RWA has not properly handled the situation, not by a long shot, since the language they’ve used basically relegates all ebook authors into the realm of the self and vanity pubbed, which just isn’t true. Actually, “not properly handled the situation” is putting it too mildly. They’ve handled it like a bunch of drunk monkeys on a ferris wheel.
By the way, I’m not looking down my nose at self or vanity pubbed authors when I say this. I think for some authors the self or vanity publishing route is the best course. To my way of thinking, all is choice. I’m not going to judge yours, please don’t judge mine. The thing is, relegating some of the epublishers into self/vanity press land–like Ellora’s Cave–is simply incorrect. A vanity press is a publisher that publishes a book at the expense of the author. Ellora’s Cave is not that. Even though Ellora’s Cave does not pay me any advance for my books, I make excellent money with them, more than a lot of midlist NY authors. A diligent author can actually support herself at EC and that is a rare thing…even at the big pubs. So the language that RWA has used is wrong and is just plain bad.
Now…if RWA is trying to protect authors from future Trisks, and I believe they are, that’s admirable but not realistic. It’s up to us, as authors, do our homework before signing with a pub. It’s up to us to monitor how our publishers are doing. Even so, Trisks will happen. That’s unfortunate, but we are all ultimately responsible for our careers. And each of us have different standards for success within those careers. Money may not always be an author’s measure. It might be creative freedom, for example. Maybe money means nothing to particular author and her ability to write what she wants means everything. Therefore, I’m not seeing the need for RWA to dictate which publishers are “approved” over others. Ultimately, I think it falls to the individual to make those choices.
To sum up (what I never had any intention of writing when I started this post), I think the RWA has good intentions but they executed it…very badly.
I am an ebook author. I started at ImaJinn Books (print) and EC (ebook) in the same week, but the overwhelming bulk of my career has been played out so far on the ebook stage. So, going back to my original point, before I got all tangenty and offered an opinion I never meant to offer, here’s what I have to say to ebook authors who now feel marginalized (again)….
Do not let others define you. Define yourself. Some may try and make the ebook author feel inferior and say hurtful things about this medium, but the only way those things are true is if you let them be true by believing it yourself. You can’t control what others think or say about you, so define yourself as authors of merit…because you are. Really, it’s just that simple.