Guest Bitchery from Selah March

Disclaimer: The following is the opinion of a single individual, and does not represent the sentiments of any other person or group of persons.  If you agree with the views expressed, feel free to offer support to anyone involved in the ongoing attempt to create an Erotic Romance Chapter of the RWA. If you disagree, please direct your ire solely toward Selah March. Thank you.

Ah, Spring—when a young (okay, early middle-aged) romance writer’s thoughts lightly turn to the upcoming RWA National Conference. For those of you not in the know, this year’s shindig will be hosted by that icon of romantic love, Reno, Nevada. Yes, that’s right. The city that once sported the rep of Quickie Divorce Capital, USA. Classy, no?

But I kid the RWA, because everybody knows that, as an organization, it’s ALL ABOUT THE CLASS. In fact, it’s SO chock full of the stuff that it recently very nearly didn’t allow a group of its members in good standing to apply to form a special interest chapter devoted to erotic romance.

Read that again. The National Board of the RWA nearly didn’t let a group of its members APPLY TO FORM A CHAPTER DEVOTED TO EROTIC ROMANCE.

Not FORM the chapter.

APPLY to form the chapter.

The jury is still very much out as to whether the chapter will ever be formally recognized, but at least the application process is underway at the time of this Bitchery posting. And I’ll bet even the most uninformed, disinterested non-writer among you can guess why: that awful world, erotic. And, of course, everything for which it stands. Because even after the lot of us agreed, following much outrage and gnashing of teeth, to eradicate the offensive word from our
title and description, nothing has been guaranteed. After all, even if we don’t CALL ourselves authors of erotica or erotic romance, the fact remains that we consistently write about The Act in terms that leaving little-to-nothing to the imagination, and often include same-gender participants and/or threesomes, foursomes and moresomes.

And even those of us who don’t stray far from the more vanilla combos of one man/one woman/one horizontal surface often force our couples to indulge in hedonistic activities like, as mentioned by an incensed author in an RWR* letter-to-the-editor, ORAL SEX ON THE FIRST DATE. This, the aforementioned author insists, is not her idea of romance. She didn’t bother to give an alternate definition, but I’m guessing the word “porn” wasn’t far from her mind. Or maybe “smut.” Frankly, I’d be surprised if she were thinking “erotica,” but I could be wrong. It’s been known to happen.

So, to recap…

We can’t call ourselves the Erotic Romance Chapter because…well, because. No one’s really given us a GOOD answer as to why the word is verboten. Lot’s of blather about “image,” and what romance really IS, and what it ISN’T. None of which has anything to do with the fact that EVERY MAJOR NEW YORK HOUSE is now dipping its toes—hell, its heels, soles and ankles, too—into the erotic waters. Even Harlequin, that bastion of the closed bedroom door, is beating the coochie drum with its new “Spice” line. And yet, RWA remains resistant. Seems nonsensical to me, but what do I know? I’m unpublished, and a trashy, ill-bred EROTIC ROMANCE WRITER, to boot.

I am one member of a potential chapter, among over two hundred, who is waiting to hear if the sitting National Board has the grace to say, “We don’t much like HOW you write romance, but since you’re writing about people in love and including that all-important happily-ever-after, we agree that you DO WRITE ROMANCE. So come on down, girls, and get yourself a slice of the
pie!” But I’ll be surprised if they do.

On the other hand, I’ll be equally surprised if they say, instead, “Sorry. You just don’t make the cut. In fact, you fall so short of what we consider an exemplary group of romance authors that we sort of wish you’d just…disappear. Completely. And take those icky-poo readers who LIKE your nasty girlie-porn with you.” (Rounded off nicely with a delicate, ladylike shudder, of course.)

We should be so lucky to get such a direct, honest response. If I could face the board today, here’s what I’d tell them: Don’t squirt me with feminine hygiene spray and tell me it’s raining. For God’s sake, ladies, if you haven’t the balls to say you don’t like us or the studmuffins we rode in on, at least don’t lower yourselves to hypocrisy. I—and, I suspect, many of my sisters in smut—would respect you more for a little forthright bitchiness than all the genteel double-speak in the world.

For one thing, your average forthright bitch has class. And I can appreciate that, even when I don’t agree with her about much else.

*RWR – Romance Writers Report, a monthly journal distributed to RWA members.

(Smart Bitch Editorial Note: Two paragraphs of unduly sensitive and detailed information that wasn’t meant for public consumption have been deleted by request.)


Selah March, aspiring writer of high-quality smut, won our Another Chance to Be a Bitch contest.

Categorized:

Ranty McRant

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Darlene says:

    Thank you for posting this.  I’m beginning to get a little fed up with RWA, an organization I send dues to even though they don’t recognize my publisher, won’t list my sales in their (our) publications and now is setting themselves up to determine what is safe for members to hear about.

    Frankly, if your romance novel calls for sex with consenting hamsters in the first chapter to drive the plot along, then I’m all for it.  To me the bottom line is very simple—is the story primarily about the relationship of the protagonists, and does it leave the reader believing at the end that the protagonists will be together and relatively happy?  If so, it’s a genre romance.

    I wonder if the writers of gay romance, like Kensington’s Rob Byrnes (IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT—very funny and sweet), would feel comfortable amongst the RWA members with their “you can only go up to _this_ line—but no further” rules about what is romance?

    Thanks for sharing the rant.  It needed to be said.

  2. 2
    Selah March says:

    Just for clarification, I’d like to mention that I’m a full, dues-paying member of five chapters of the RWA, have entered at least 20 unpubbed contests in the last 2 years, judged three, will be coordinating one this year, have served on committees, moderated loops, attended workshops and conferences…

    In short, I’m an RWA slut. I support the basic premise of the organization with all my heart, and I understand the need to define romance as a genre in order to maintain the integrity of the organization.

    But I’m having serious trouble with the vibe coming out of the current administration. It’s one thing to craft a definition. It’s another to use crafting that definition as an excuse to exclude authors simply because you find their work distasteful, or to placate a small minority who will never be satisfied till every fictional sexaul act takes place offstage, between married participants.

    Especially when half the market is moving rapidly in the other direction.

  3. 3
    emdee says:

    Wow, thank you so much for that rant!  I read romantica, erotica, erotic romance or whatever label that you care to put on it, and enjoy it.  I tend to thumb my nose at authority anyway, but if some sort of recognition by the powers that be is what you want, then you should have it.  All you guys are asking for is crumbs, for Pete’s sake, but I suppose their view is give them nothing and maybe they will go away.  Not bloody likely…

  4. 4
    Marjorie says:

    Dude, right on.

  5. 5
    Amanda says:

    You go girl! Supposedly this country is all about free speech- unless I was asleep the day that was rescinded. If the Powers That Be at RWA deny your petition, start your own group.

  6. 6
    jamie says:

    Um. Wow. I just joined ERW myself the other day, and am really impressed with the level of professionalism there—and the level of frustration.

    Call me foolish or whatever, but I always thought the RWA was working toward INCLUSION. Inclusion of romance as a respected genre. Inclusion of romance writers as respected professionals. I thought they had grown to embrace their rebels, the writers who bravely stepped off the cliff into the unacceptable, who broke all the rules and became pioneers into new romantic genres.

    For them to not want to INCLUDE the UNACCEPTABLE erotica writer. . . doesn’t that betray everything RWA is supposed to be about? Is it just turning into an Old Girls Club? What’s up?

  7. 7
    Sarah says:

    I find this entire problem especially ironic since RWA just created a category for the RITA awards about 2 years ago – best mainstream fiction with strong romantic elements. Which to me reads “Best book that’s romantic enough for us to claim, but mainstream enough to lend us credibility for having claimed it as ‘romance.’”

    I mean, people who write suspense like Patterson are RWA members, at least, last I heard the bragging out of national, so if they’re going out of their way to tread into not-so-romantic territory, it is ironic and hypocritical for RWA to then refuse to acknowledge erotica, which often has a happily-ever-after, sometimes even a monogamous one. This is particularly odd in light when individual chapter conferences like NJRWA offer sessions (well-attended, standing-room-only sessions) on writing erotic scenes credibly, hosted and led by Harlequin Blaze authors. I believe one of them said that a Blaze had to have a nookie scene within the first x pages, so to credibly establish sexual attraction was a main discussion of the panel, certainly an issue that pertains to erotica, too.

    If RWA wants to render itself obsolete by ignoring a trend, that’s its prerogative, but it also does them a great deal of damage, particularly if the authors and publishers in question form their own organization.

  8. 8
    Beth says:

    Not being snarky at all (not a RWA fan myself) but genuinely curious/confused: Why DON’T romantic erotica writers begin their own organization? What’s the big deal with being part of RWA? Frankly with the way they treat y’all, I dunno why you’d WANT to be part of them and with sales the way they are for erotica, who needs the Ole Biddies’s’s validation?

    Eager to hear discussion on this topic, really. Which I will clandestine-like monitor from my work computer, shhh.

  9. 9
    Monica says:

    Great rant Selah.  With the momentum erotica has, I’d personally love it if y’all would tell RWA to kiss your collective rears.

  10. 10
    Sarah says:

    I think part of the problem in starting your own organization is that, whoever takes on the starting up part has to face an enormous amount of administrative organization that by joining as a chapter of RWA one avoids since RWA is equipped to deal with that administrative operation. From databases to mailing lists to creating newsletters to soliciting for new members and following up on the dues payments from the old ones to contacting publishers, editors, agents, and let’s not even go near founding, promoting and hosting a conference, that’s a lot of work for people who are also trying to establish careers as writers.

    I was thinking about this when I said, in essence, y’all should take your toys and build your own sandbox (emphasis on the box). But the administrative nightmare is not something I would want to face, and I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to either. Anyone else have an idea how to make the administrative end of forming a writer’s organization easier? Maybe the erotica folks need better guidance than I can provide.

    Although, for fun, ponder all the great names an erotica writer’s organization could use for itself!

  11. 11
    bsc says:

    In light of the fantastic sales that erotica/romantica/erotic romance has, RWA’s hesitation to recognize one of the fastest growing sects can only be detrimental to its standing on romance as a whole.  Women and writers join RWA to find acceptance not only in their reading loves, but also in what they write.  Having the group that holds itself as the shining example of why the romance genre shouldn’t be condemned do some condemning of its own is very bad form. 

    I was talking to a Waldenbooks manager just the other day about Ellora’s Cave’s affect on his sales and he did nothing but rave.  Woman are pounding on his doors on the day that he receives his shipment, demanding the newest titles.  He has two whole wall bays dedicated to that publisher alone (and shelving by publisher is not usually a Walden’s policy).  But when women come to him with titles from other erotica publishers, he is often unable to even find them in the computer database.  The truth of the matter is that without the backing of a large organization (like RWA) and the press of being recognized, these smaller publishers will not get picked up by the Borders or Barnes & Noble corporations.  It is sad because there is little doubt that these books would equal the success that Ellora’s has had (especially in the midwest where some of the sales figures I’ve seen would make your eyes pop out).

    Here’s hoping that the RWA realizes that it needs to be as open minded as it wants everyone else to be.

  12. 12
    Stef says:

    “girlie-porn”. I love that.

    This is a frequent discussion on listservs. My personal opinion is, I don’t go where I’m not wanted. They think they’re better than me, fine. I have this weird spinal deformity: I am incapable of bending over to kiss anyone’s ass.

    Being an ebook erotica pub, I don’t have to kiss ass, or suck whatever to get ahead. Write about it, publish it, but not do it.I don’t need their “recognition” to tell me I’m a publisher. My authors do that for me.

    When they finally stop playing their little highschool clique games and realize that we’re actually putting out BOOKS here, I’ll consider joining.

    Maybe.

  13. 13
    Monica says:

    Sarah, As far as the administrative stuff, the Topeka, KS chapter of the RWA, Kansas Fiction Writers, kicked the RWA to the curb and disassociated.  The chapter grew and thrived without the RWA.  The administrative stuff isn’t that hard.

    I can get you in touch with a somebody for advice if you want.  Just do the same stuff the RWA wants you to do anyway.  Set up bylaws, organize meetings, appoint a trustworthy board and officers.  Put up a website—an erotic romance website would get as many hits as any chapter does, I bet money. Host fund raising events.  Yep, you can even have a conference without the RWA blessing. 

    You don’t have to rush to incorporate, but with as many members as you have already, raising the $500 bucks (more or less) to do so will be no biggie.

  14. 14
    Sybil says:

    I really don’t know why more people don’t tell RWA to go fuck themselves.

    OF course I am not a writer so that is easy for me to say.

    But hell at this point leave them to go play in the corner with their inspirationals and they can hope to god he does what they want.

    The seem (and I say seem cuz I haven’t really looked into it) to be a bunch of bully’s wanting to play king of the hill as long as they are king.

  15. 15
    Stef says:

    But when women come to him with titles from other erotica publishers, he is often unable to even find them in the computer database.

    BSC, can you contact me? If they truly want some more titles, we have our ways.

  16. 16
    KarenS says:

    Talk about shooting themselves in their own foot. Gosh I hate sanctimonious I’m-probably-shagging-my-cat-because-sex-before-marriage-is-a-sin type of people. *sigh*

    Some people just need to buy a clue.

  17. 17
    Sarah says:

    Monica, you raise a good point. It cannot be that difficult, should one keep it simple, and should one have dues. However, the idea would sure seem daunting to me as busy as I am in a day.

    If there are enough writers to band together and form such a group though, more power to them.

    So why did Kansas kick RWA to the curb?

  18. 18
    Laura says:

    Remember this when reading the text below:

    1. I’m not an RWA fangirl. I think the organization as a whole is a good idea and useful for some authors, depending on their level of skill, and the amount of support needed. But I hate the catiness and bitchfests that go on in the organization.

    2. I have nothing against romantica/erotica romance. I started a website for erotica romance http://www.eroticaromance.com just so I could showcase the erotica romance authors who were getting overlooked, or not able to be found readily at the romance site http://www.theromanceclub.com

    3. The text below is just a guess (Lord knows I have no “ins” at RWA, and I even quit the chapter I founded – but that’s a whole ‘nother issue)

    My GUESS is that RWA (in general) views erotica romance as romance, as long as the sex is between one man and one woman. Look at a lot of the “accepted” romance that’s erotic – Bertrice Small, Susan Johnson, etc. And even some of the sex scene dependent books (romances with oodles of gratuitous sex in them that doesn’t move the story forward).

    RWA has never had an issue with these books being considered “romance”, even though some have the heroine banging more than one hero over the course of the book, even when she’s not necessarily in love with all the heroes (as long as she’s in love with the one she ends up with in the end).

    My GUESS is that RWA’s issue is with the fact that erotica romance includes storylines with a heroine and 2 heroes, gay sex, and other sexual situations that don’t fall within the 1 hero/1 heroine at a time assumed-definition of the genre.

    Years ago, when RWA was founded, no one had to consider boundaries for the genre, because they already existed, in that romance novels were, plain and simple, stories about 1 couple (a man and a woman), who fell in love, overcame obstacles, and lived happily ever after, with or without open door love scenes.

    Romance (the community) has always stressed the focus of the genre on the EMOTIONS, rather than the sex act itself.

    When Ellora’s Cave started, even though much of the focus was on the act of sex as opposed to the emotions, there wasn’t much of an uproar, because the stories were romances with a lot more sex, and whether or not it’s a fact, it was at least assumed that the majority of the sex was between one man and one woman.

    I’ve noticed the stories have become bolder, not just in the amount of sex, positions or devices used, but in that the traditional boy/girl that romance has traditionally depended upon is not necessarily the what the romance reader will find. She may, in fact, find a threesome living HEA, or two women or two men.

    Again, my GUESS is that the genre lines have been blurred in this new phenom. Before, there was romance, gay romance and erotica, three distinctly different genres. You really didn’t have authors of gay romance beating down the doors to join RWA, an organization created for traditional romance authors. Nor did you have erotica writers doing that.

    Then comes erotica romance (or romantica), which is, as a whole, incorporating all of these genres into itself. You are erotica romance if your 2 main characters are the same sex or different sexes, you are erotica romance if your main characters number 3 or 4 or 5, as long as they all live HEA together.

    So my GUESS is that erotica romance (as a whole) does not fit within the traditional definition of romance that RWA was initially founded upon.

    (continued in next post)

  19. 19
    Selah March says:

    At this point, the brave souls who began this venture have committed to sticking it out and seeing how far they get with the sitting board. The RWA, as it stands, has much to offer the fledgling writer—instruction, advice, support and, above all, industry contacts. (Of course, when you start leaving editors out in the cold at your National Conference, it’s hard to prove that last one.)

    There’s a spirit of “never say die” in the air that’s very inspirational, even with all the frustration floating around. Most of the group wants to keep trying, just to say we gave it our best shot and didn’t quit at the first sign of adversity.

    Most of us are pretty intimate wtih the whole rejection thing, after all.

    Should our efforts come to naught, we will undoubtedly come up with a Plan B.

  20. 20
    Monica says:

    Sarah, Mainly to open up membership to fiction writers who didn’t want to join the RWA and/or romance wasn’t their focus.

    And Sarah, you are going to have to do the same sort of stuff (or more) for the RWA.  I have seen the paperwork as the founding Pres of a chapter myself.  Sheesh. 

    The RWA’s saving grace is the clout it has as an organization. Hopefully, because of the market demand, you’ll get that clout behind you.  Eventually.  But I wouldn’t advise you to hold your breath waiting.

  21. 21
    Laura says:

    (continued from last post…)

    So my GUESS is that erotica romance (as a whole) does not fit within the traditional definition of romance that RWA was initially founded upon.

    That’s not a bad thing, for the traditional romance community or the erotica romance community, really, when you think about it. I think all of us who’ve read erotica romance agree that it’s very different in many ways from traditional romance, and in fact, the only thing binding the two is that they both have characters who are in love and, by the end of the story, are on their way to living HEA.

    There are really a lot of books that aren’t traditional romance that have these characteristics (love and HEA).

    The first question I would ask would be this: Would RWA accept a chapter of erotica romance authors whose books fit within the definition of traditional romance, in that they have the 1 hero and 1 heroine living HEA (with the addition of lots of sex and even experimental or kinky sex)?

    In other words, straight erotica romance, like Bertrice Small.

    If not, it’s OK if RWA rejects these erotica romance authors, as long as it no longer considers Bertrice Small’s (and other authors like her) erotica romance books for their awards or as “recognized by RWA”.

    If they will accept such a chapter of erotica romance authors (that have the traditional formula), then maybe they aren’t being exclusive of erotica romance, but just the stories that have been labeled erotica romance that stray from the traditional formula.

    I really don’t keep up with what RWA is or isn’t doing. Have they accepted other chapters where the basic formula (1 hero/1 heroine falling in love and living HEA) isn’t the norm?

    If so, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t accept an erotica romance chapter.

    If not, then maybe it’s OK for RWA to more strictly define what constitutes a romance for their organization (where they really didn’t need to do this when the organization was started, because it was a “given”) and erotica romance authors can start their own organization with *their* definition of what constitutes an erotica romance.

    Or maybe there’s another writer’s organization that doesn’t have deal with a specific genre, but is inclusive of all genres, that erotica romance authors could start a chapter under their non-profit umbrella.

    If the erotica romance authors were to form their own group, they would have MUCH more freedom to do as they please, to have their organization envelop all aspects of erotica, because they wouldn’t be bound the national organization’s rules (and they are a-plenty). And it’s really not that expensive or difficult to form your own non-profit, provided there’s a board, dues, and people willing to devote the time necessary.

    Just some thoughts from someone who has written an erotica romance and is not active in any RWA chapter, who is trying to see the situation from all sides (can you tell I have kids who argue a lot?:))

  22. 22
    Laura says:

    Monica, you mentioned the clout RWA has. One of my pet peeves with the organization was that it really did not seem to use that clout to help open doors to writers or correct certain situations within the industry that needed their attention. In fact, it seemed as though the board and membership refrained from doing ANYTHING that would piss off the powers that be because, well, let’s face it, their livlihood depends upon “being liked” by NYC.

    To *me*, the thrust of their efforts seemed more like excluding authors – e-book authors as an example (I’m sure it drove some of RWA mad when they had to accept EC as a recognized publisher because the sales were so phenomenal). Precious Gems authors is another example – they brow beat the authors (not the publisher) because the pub didn’t pay a “royalty” on the sales at Walmart, and if I recall, they didn’t accept (or at least didn’t want to accept) these authors for PAN. But in fact, Kensington was paying what would have been the equivalent of the royalties the books would have earned as an advance.

    In all the time I was involved in RWA at least semi-actively, I don’t recall them going head to head with any publisher over things that really were unfair to authors (like, say, the tiny royalty HQ/Sil authors get on book club sales, even though the pub is making far more on those books than the books they sell through a distributor where the royalties are higher)

    RWA *could* have a ton of clout, simply because of the sheer numbers of authors involved. But the authors in RWA will not “strike” or do anything similar that, say, a union might do, in order to make the conditions better – because they could very well lose a contract as a result (and let’s face it, there are always unpublished authors who would gladly cross those “picket lines” for a chance at being published).

    So RWA is rendered little more than an advisory organization where publishers are concerned, and the main focus is on creating more visibility for the genre and defining the genre when they feel it’s necessary. On one hand you can’t blame them (it’s their jobs, after all), but on the other hand, as an author, the best you can hope for is to learn your craft better and perhaps promote your book better.

    DISCLAIMER – the above holds true unless RWA has changed drastically over the last couple of years.

    I really don’t see how any group of authors will get more being with RWA than by being on their own, except, perhaps, the RWR and the big convention.

  23. 23
    Cece says:

    *holding up my lighter*
    Selah you rock babe!

    I cannot tell a lie, not only have my characters had ORAL SEX on a first date, so have I.  Yes yes I’m being a snarky bitch :)

    If the newly formed International Thriller Writers can do it—then a bunch of smut peddlers can too…form their own organization that is.

  24. 24
    anu439 says:

    As a reader who knows little to nothing about RWA, I am puzzled by this rant. Sure, it sucks that RWA has a stick up its ass about erotic romance, but so what? Erotic romance became/is becoming a presence in the romance community without RWA’s help or say-so. Why wring your hands over a clique you don’t need?

    You’re gaining acceptance from readers and from NYC publishing houses, which are creating romantica lines. It’s not HQ/Sil thoughtabout RWA when it decided to create the Spice line. Surely the two groups that will actually make you money are what really matter, rather than RWA, which seems to be all about sucking it up.

  25. 25
    Darlene says:

    The reason erotic romance writers don’t want to just blow off RWA is because it claims to be _the_ organization that represents writers who’ve made a commitment to the romance genre. 

    If you’re going to set yourself up as the representative organization which can speak to agents and publishers with some authority, then you should be prepared to represent all of your members, not just the ones who fit into narrow categories of what’s acceptable.

  26. 26
    Caro says:

    Selah, I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not to renew my membership in RWA (which lapsed a few years ago when I took a break from writing romance)—and you just gave me a good reason why I should.

    In some ways, it’d be terribly easy for writers of romantica/erotica to walk away, but I don’t think you should give them the satisfaction.  It’s ridiculous that the current administration is being so lily-livered that they have to pull stupid shit like “losing” the EC paperwork…for the second year in a row.  They’re hoping the erotica writers will throw up their hands and walk away because then they don’t have to deal with them.

    I don’t write erotic and I’m probably not going to start any time soon—but you’ve given me reason to rejoin and say, “Look, I don’t write in this genre and I think y’all are acting stupid.”  The voices need to be heard, not just from the people who want to form the chapter, but from other members of the organization, saying that they support their fellow writers and their choice in what to write.

  27. 27
    anu439 says:

    But Darlene do RWA’s claims match reality? Exactly how does it represent romance writers? What benefits does it provide that authors cannot get through other means? Do they go to bat with publishers on money, for instance?

    I will continue to read and buy erotic romance/romantica regardless whether RWA considers it worthy. And as long as the subgenre makes money, the industry will pay attention. So if someone can explain how it hurts erotic romance authors to not be affiliated with RWA, maybe I can see what I’m missing. Cause right now I don’t see what’s to get worked up over. Yes, RWA is being sucky, and I get that it hurts, but does it really matter?

  28. 28
    Candy says:

    Laura brings up, to me, what lies at the heart of the matter: My gut feeling is that the RWA doesn’t want to accept the erotic romance chapter because of the one man-one woman issue.

    And certainly RWA is free to define their membership rules in as narrow a way they want. But can they really be said to represent romance writers everywhere, then? Or should they be a lot more explicit about what they stand for: Romance Writers Who Write Novels About Monogamous Heterosexual Love of America (Black Members Please Use Service Entrance)?

    In a lot of ways I think what’s happening is kind of paralleling what happened in the past with inter-racial marriage and what’s happening now with gay marriage. Marriage between the races wasn’t an issue for a long time because of geography and cultural mores. That you were going to marry someone of your own race (and very like the same socio-economic class as you) was pretty much a given. However, once globalization and immigration (voluntary or not) of people started happening in a significant way, and people wanting to marry others of different races became a very distinct possibility, Steps Were Taken to exclude mixed unions because they freaked people the fuck out—change tends to do that. Then later on, people realized: what the fuck are we doing? What the hell were we thinking?

    So my advice to the RWA (should they want it, which I doubt) is this: Be as inclusive as possible without breaking the unbreakable genre rules. Don’t be asshats now, because you’ll regret the asshattery later.

  29. 29
    Amy E says:

    I joined the erotic romance writers on the second day after Sylvia created the group.  The focus of the group from the beginning has been to become a special interest chapter of the RWA.  Those who joined the loop because it was a yahoo group where a lot of erotica/erotic romance writers hung out, well, that’s awesome and I’m very glad to meet you all, truly, but that’s NOT the focus.

    The reason we’d like to have a chapter is because RWA does have some clout in the industry.  They have gotten publishers to rewrite troubling clauses in their contracts, just to name one thing off the top of my head.  (I could probably think of more if I wasn’t stoned outta my gourd on migraine meds right now.)  They’re big, they’re established, and romance publishers do listen to them—much more than they would to a brand new group of only a hundred or so, IMO.

    For me, I’d like to see this special interest chapter become a reality because I’m already a member of RWA.  This is MY organization.  They are supposed to represent me all the time, not just when I’m writing single-title stuff, but when I’m writing smut, too.

    I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone, but I for one am getting heartily sick of hearing, “Oh they don’t like us, let’s pack up our shit and go play elsewhere.  WE won’t allow THEM in our clubhouse and see how they like it.”

    Did anyone really think they’d just throw the door open wide for us?

    No.  Of course not.  We say cock and pussy, tits and clit and all kinds of fun words.  We say, forget “the dance as old as time” bullshit, these people are fucking like bunnies in heat, and we don’t blush when we do it.  Our characters aren’t timid when it comes to sex—they like it, they want it, and they go out and get it, any way they like it and every way they can try it.  So yes, I can see where this might stray from RWA’s original purpose, but you know what?  Times change, RWA.  Pull your head out of your industrial-strength girdle and smell the Nag Champa. 

    Change is much more easily effected from within than without.  I just made my very first sale this week of an erotic novella, and my publisher isn’t RWA recognized.  Do you think I’m going to weep bitter tears when I get the checks?  No.  But I would like to petition MY organization for my publisher to get that recognition—and that’s more effective from within.

    So I’m not packing up my toys and going elsewhere, and I’m not going to let every single little roadblock make me rant and rave.  I’m in it for the long haul.  I’m very glad to see so many other smut writers are, too.

  30. 30
    Stef says:

    I kinda saw it at RT in a physical way. Erotica authors over here, romance over there. Clustered.

    Though it seemed the erotica folk was having a lot more fun.

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