Romance Writers of America and GLBT

Romance Writers of America (RWA) has started a new chapter called “Rainbow Romance Writers” (RRW) for the GLBT authors. Be still my heart.

I am sooooo not excited about this group. I’ve never been to a RWA meeting. Nor do I want to fork over the $110 membership dues ($85 a yr after first). Nor do I want to fork over the $25 additional membership dues to join RRW. I just don’t see the benefits. Perhaps later, maybe, if everything actually comes along. I don’t see that happening. I could be wrong and, in a way, I hope I am. And, no, I do not consider it a bad thing to wait to see what happens once the glitter stops falling.

RWA has argued letting in GLBT writers for years. Perhaps this “chapter” is their way of quelling the riots (that may or may not exist). So far, the website for RRW is promoting what seems to be all gay (male) fiction with perhaps a transgender and perhaps a bisexual novel listed on the “bookshelf” page. The “links” page lists Lambda Literary (but not GCLS) and a bunch of publishers (some even lesbian oriented).

What I find missing from the sparse website is this: what are the benefits (specific to RRW)? what happens to the GLBT romance books (of members) now? will they be put on shelves alongside het romance (how would the bookstores know?)? will Nora Roberts’ books be just a few shelves away from mine (alphabetically)? It all comes down to: will joining RWA and RRW create more sales and/or help me to be a better writer?

RWA membership has some benefits, depending on how one looks at them.

    Advocacy (contract assistance it seems)
    Romance Writers Report (newsletter)
    eNotes (email newsletter)
    Chapters (local, online, special interest)
    Members-Only Resources (“Find valuable information and resources only available to members.”)
    Contests and Conferences
    Subscription to Nielson Bookscan (for an addition $58), Publisher Alley (an additional $30 reduced rate), and Publishers Weekly (30% off subscription rate)

Nope, not for me. The money is too steep and the benefits are too minimal. I get more from my $10 a yr dues to Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) in the form of friends, networking, and a cool yearly conference. For another $30 minimum, I can join Lambda Literary Foundation and get emails and newsletters specifically for GLBT readers and writers.