No, not to you, my fellow Roses. Never to you. I cherish the camaraderie and support of this group and look forward to many more years together.
No, last month I did something I've thought long and hard about for the past three years. I let my membership in Romance Writers of America lapse. I didn't simply forget to pay my dues--I made the conscious decision that after many years together, we're going in different directions and no longer have much to offer each other.
This was not an easy decision. My membership was measured in decades rather than years. I first joined the organization after LaVyrle Spencer, one of the original grande dames of romance, gave me the contact information for the Minneapolis chapter in 1990. I had written my first manuscript but had no idea what I was doing. RWA taught me my craft. Over the years, I belonged to two chapters in two states and attended four national conventions. I met so many wonderful writers and made (I hope) lifelong friends.
So why give it up? Change. I've changed. My writing has changed. The publishing industry has changed. And I think RWA has changed, too.
When I sold my first book to a small, non-advance-paying press in 2010, I was thrilled. However, RWA was less impressed. I was not eligible to become a member of the Published Authors Network. I understood their position regarding the money and still do, but that doesn't soothe the sting of being considered "second class."
After three books with my original publisher, I decided I wanted to try going indie. Other writers were doing it, and it looked fun--perfect for someone who wants to be in control of every aspect of the process. It works for me, but once again, RWA withheld their seal of approval. I have made enough money now to qualify, but I no longer care.
To be fair, the organization has made a number of changes and concessions over the past couple of years, but for me, they've come too late. I have no interest in attending self-publishing workshops at nationals. After three books, I'm past that point. I've figured this thing out.
Even then, I probably would have continued my membership if I still had a local chapter available. Nothing beats sitting down with other writers and sharing the ups and downs of this crazy business. Unfortunately, the closest local chapter is now an hour-and-a-half drive from me. Fortunately, I've met a couple of compatible local (non-romance) writers, and online sources and opportunities to network with other writers abound. When I realized I didn't miss RWA at all, the split became inevitable.
For those of you who are active members, I'm happy for you. I hope the organization continues to serve and inspire you. That's how it should be. For me, it's been a very amicable divorce.