How Stupid Can Stupid Be?

June 4th, 2005 · 36 Comments
by Booksquare

We don’t have much faith in the current Romance Writers of America Board of Directors (their lack of communication with members is unparalleled), and they’ve just given us another reason to doubt their skills as leaders*. Recently, they put their heads together and developed, uh, graphical standards for the organization. Now, our first thought when seeing those words was “huh?” We are now thinking, “Are they insane or just clueless?”

The RWA board has, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the national organization and its chapters must adhere to a new, bizarre set of rules regarding linking to objectional sites. We say bizarre because it’s pretty clear the Board has never once, in their entire lives, taken a gander at the average romance novel cover. If so, they’d realize they have just eliminated 99.9% of all covers:

With respect to all RWA programs and services, the following shall not be depicted or represented: exposed male and female genitalia, exposed female nipples, cunnilingus and fellatio, hands or mouth covering naked female breasts, naked or g-string-clad buttocks, and beastiality. The following words: cock, cocksucker, cunt, fuck, motherfucker, shit, and tit, will not be displayed.

The president of RWA has clarified this regulation, saying this means (and we quote):

. . .if we wish to retain our charter with RWA, we will no longer be able to show jacket covers that don’t meet the standard and we can’t even link to the websites of those authors who might show their own covers, have excerpts that include certain language, or lead to the publisher’s website.”

Uh, right, publishers. This means no links to Harlequin, Dorchester, Kensington, and so on. This penalizes authors who have little or no say in their cover art, because, as we stated above, romance novel covers can be fairly graphic. After all, what is the definition of “representing” here?

And the elimination of those specific words? Why is tit dirtier than breast? Same thing, and the former is also a bird. Now birds are bad? Why not pussy? Why not vagina? Heck, why not ass? Oh, because it could reference a donkey? These words appear to be cherry-picked by someone. Can we suggest that we find violence, in all forms, far more objectionable than sexual references? It’s okay to depict a noose or a gun, but not a nipple? What kind of world are we living in? It’s the human body, we all have one. Most of us have genitalia. Most of us use said genitalia.

We can only assume that the RWA Board feels the above criteria will protect the organization from violating some sort of child protection laws or that it believes its not-for-profit status will be affected in some manner. We can’t see how that could be the case. Protecting children should not mean that adults must be censored as well. If there is a law suggesting that the RWA must behave in this manner, we’d rather see the organization take this to court. It’s ridiculous.

As usual, the RWA board has operated in complete secrecy. Had they opened this idea to public debate before enacting this Draconian rule (and it doesn’t appear to be part of the bylaws, just “office policy”), they would have made a better decision. We’re still puzzling over the fact that they needed to go into a confidential session during the discussion of this agenda item. Someone has suggested that it is because they didn’t want dirty words appearing in the minutes.

Apparently, there are discussions regarding this decision and the board will speak from on high at some point. Again, had they thought to open this up beforehand, they’d save a lot of heartache and member anger. They didn’t.

* – There are two board members who outpace their peers when it comes to communication, but they only speak on specific topics.

File Under: Square Pegs

36 responses so far ↓

  • Bill Peschel // Jun 4, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    “We say bizarre because it’s pretty clear the Board has never once, in their entire lives, taken a gander at the average romance novel cover. If so, they’d realize they have just eliminated 99.9% of all covers:”

    God knows I wouldn’t want to defend this mess of claptrap, but your statement is just a tad over the top when compared with the excerpt.

    Bare breasts? Exposed genitalia? Beastiality? What kind of romance novels are *you* reading?

    Here’s a hint, if you’re looking for romance novels in an “adult” bookstore, you may be in the wrong store.

    No, for snarking purposes, I like this statement from their position much better: “authors who might show their own covers, have excerpts that include certain language, or lead to the publisher’s website.”

    “Might show”, eh? Be wary, authors, if you look like the type who “might” show narsty covers with bare buttocks, nipples, beasts, etc., the hammer of the RWA will slice through your links like, well, a hammer!

  • Robin Bayne // Jun 4, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    This doesn’t surprise me at all–RWA recently “recognized” (a term/process which frustrates many members) an extremely sucessful e-publisher whose specialty is “romantica,” or erotic romance. So while they recognize the sales volume of this publisher, and others, they don’t want anything to do with the actual product, or the sales tool of the product, the cover art and blurbs. After RWA’s treatment of another publisher last year, I dropped out of the organization. I did not find the board open to my opinions or suggestions.

  • Jill Shearer // Jun 4, 2005 at 12:52 pm

    I created a Yahoo group, wherein members can discuss the possibilities and pros and cons of starting a new NFP organization that’s a bit (okay, a lot) more inclusive than RWA, and fully supports e-pubs, small presses and erotic romance writers and cover artists.

    Please join, and put your ideas on the table.


  • Susan Gable // Jun 4, 2005 at 5:33 pm

    I’m thinking there’s way more to this. I’m thinking if you want to get the “root” of this, it’s going to boil down to this: RWA and romance writers in general have spent years arguing that romances are NOT all about the sex. (And that’s true about many of them.) The new more erotic stories ARE all about the sex, and so the RWA doesn’t want to be associated with that.

    They’re probably feeling like all their years of hard work to upgrade the image of romance are going right out the window.

    But I still think this is quite crazy. As BookSquare points out, many authors have no control over their cover art. Also, many historical novels have, in the past, displayed some pretty racy covers. (Go and visit the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels to see their hysterical commentary on some of those covers. There’s a link on BookSquare’s front page.) I wonder if loin-cloth-clad heroes are also on the new no-no list? (Actually, they’re obviously not on the list. Why not? Oh, if his butt cheeks are showing, that automatically disqualifies him, huh?)

    I agree that I’m appalled at the lack of communication from the Board. I also wonder if this isn’t part of why they axed the Artemis contest. (Also without ANY input from the members.)

  • Natalie // Jun 4, 2005 at 6:31 pm

    First, I am an erotica author so I have potential to be affected by this.

    Second, the biggest problem I have with the opinions in this blog is one word.


    That says it all.

  • Jane Appleby // Jun 4, 2005 at 9:32 pm

    The policy is bizarre and ill thought out. For instance this means that RWA members can’t link to their publisher’s websites, if the publisher might have published erotica. That lets out all of the major publishers these days. Nor can they link to Romantic Times Magazine’s website– the premiere industry magazine. So RWA members get a choice– create websites that promote their work, or create websites that have no useful content and are thus able to be linked to from RWA’s site.

    The idea that RWA can somehow control downstream content is ludicrous. That’s why professionally designed websites carry the message saying they are not responsible for the content of the websites that they link to. It’s the old game of six degrees of separation– A links B, B links C, and C links five other sites, one of whom happens to sell books including erotica. Is A responsible for what is on the booksellers website? Most people would respond no.

    I’ve heard that at BEA, at least one RWA member was refused the right to sign copies of her book in their booth since the cover did not meet the new “deceny standards.” Letting alone how ridiculous this standard is in the first place, it would have been nice if the fact that there was a new standard had been communicated to members prior to their arrival at BEA.

  • Booksquare // Jun 4, 2005 at 9:45 pm

    It’s the word “represented” that can lead to all sorts of difficulty. A woman on a horse? That can be pretty suggestive. Those heaving bosoms? Those women are just a sneeze away from showing it all. Women kneeling in front of men, about, oh, penis level? Let’s be honest, if you want to “represent” certain sexual acts, a pregnant woman is an excellent clue that something sexual has happened. This is vague, inexcusable language.

    I am the last person to defend these covers, but when you use vague language like “represented”, it’s a dangerous standard.

  • Susan Gable // Jun 5, 2005 at 9:51 am

    Natalie, if you don’t like the assumptions presented here, then those assumptions may need some factual correction. We’re going on what we know so far – which is only what’s now printed on the RWA website.

    Now, I don’t think there’s really a need for an erotica cover that shows genitalia. I think many of the big publishers are putting tasteful covers on their more erotic works, which, IMHO makes sense for marketing, because people who want to read them don’t necessarily want to be embarassed by the covers. How many people have complained that the clinch covers embarassed them?

    But that’s my point. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some covers from “big publishers” that inolved a naked woman covering her own breasts. What publisher was that? I don’t know. But the new standards do mean that anyone who links to that publisher from their own website will not be allowed to link to the RWA website.

    I agree with what Jane said regarding what a member’s choices will be – to create a website that works for promoting their own work, or “clean it up” and be allowed to link to the RWA website. (How much traffic, especially reader traffic, comes to a writer’s website via the RWA website? I’m willing to bet it’s not that much.)

    But I think it’s really bound to create a LOT of ripples. Here this epub was the first one to meet RWA standards (which shows they’re having some success with their books), they were granted RWA approval, their authors were thus granted PAN status, and now, we have this new brohaha. It’s kind of like saying, “Hey, welcome, glad to have you here” and then turning around and smacking them across the face.

    And it was quite rude, and rather humiliating for that author to be told of this new policy once she got to the BEA.

    I have to go and do direct research. Are they really putting out covers with genitalia on them? I will go and see the covers for myself before I say anything more.

    I’m also confused about the “naughty word list.” So, it’s okay for one of our heroes (or heroines, for that matter) to say shit (I’ve used the word in a Superromance) but it’s not okay for that word to appear on my website? (i.e. I’d better not post an excerpt that includes my hero saying that word.)

    Now, looking at the list, it’s still okay to say penis, or dick, so would all writers from now on, please use the acceptable terms for male anatomy. Clit didn’t make the list, so I’m presuming (uh, oh, Natalie will yell at me for that! (g) ) that clit can be used. Or will they be updating this list on a regular basis for words that are allowed and words that aren’t? Where did the list come from? Who decided what words are not allowed?

  • Kelly Cannon Hess // Jun 5, 2005 at 10:03 am

    I agree that RWA should have its knuckles slapped for not being more open about these standards and about exactly *where* they apply. But I don’t think the standards themselves are vague. They spell out exact words and exact depictions that we all understand.

    I believe the “graphical standards” (an unnecessarily vague term; I first thought it related to use of the RWA logo) are an effort by RWA to avoid making a firm statement as to what direction they want the image of romance to take. Rather than deciding whether “romantica” authors even *qualify* for membership in an organization of romance writers, they’re skirting the issue by accepting them as members but putting drastic limits on them that other authors aren’t subject to.

    If I were a romantica author, I would say “no thanks” to second-class membership status.

    As an author of non-erotic romance, I don’t like to see erotic material classified as romance. I don’t want to be associated with it. Let’s be honest here: Romance already has a bad enough image. If we include erotica under the romance umbrella, it’s a nod of agreement to those stubbornly ignorant people who call romance “porn for women.”

  • Booksquare // Jun 5, 2005 at 11:38 am

    Susan — I agree (and you’re right about the covering the breasts cover — though I can’t recall where I saw it). I have labeled my assumptions as that after considering and discarding others. For example, I briefly considered that this might be a push to get publishers to create better covers, covers that reflect the genre. I rejected that notion because it would be punishing the author for something outsider his or her control. I then considered the possibility that the RWA was implementing a form of censorship — and I rejected that one for obvious reasons. That leaves me with two legal possibilities.

    Given that this rule was made in late March, clarified in late May, and discussed publicly with a very small subsection of RWA members (one or two chapters, I believe), I think it’s fair to ask for clarification. I don’t see a logical explanation for this rule.

    I also think the use of the word “represented” is key to this. Very few covers are overtly graphic (because they are sold in fine retail establishments ) but they are often highly suggestive, even if it not intentionally so. By using the word “represented” (had this been omitted, I might have problems only with the banning of words, not both clauses of the rule), it leaves things open to interpretation.

    A key thing to consider is that a delinking by RWA does affect an author’s Google and other search engine ranking. RWA is a high profile site (with a high page rank on Google). Though nobody knows the true mix of the “secret sauce”, it is generally understood that a link from a highly ranked page helps your ranking. You may not get a lot of traffic from the RWA website, but you did get a boost in credibility. I’m sure this technical aspect wasn’t considered, but it should be.

  • Kate // Jun 5, 2005 at 1:10 pm

    Tarnation, I keep posting my solution and no one says, ohhhh Kate you’re so brilliant. Why oh why didn’t we think of this, Kate?

    If a member’s cover or a title or a webpage content is not PG-13, RWA should put a little hot pepper symbol next to it–no, wait, that’s too fun. RWA should put a solemn little note next to it saying that the content might not be appropriate for anyone under the age of 18.

    THAT’S WHAT COMMERCIAL WEBSITES DO. ….DAMMIT! Warn the readers, but let them make their own decisions.

    IT’S THAT FUCKING SIMPLE> oh, wait, sorry. Just pushed your blog into the EVIL Zone.

  • Susan Gable // Jun 5, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    Here’s another question – after a quick search, I came up with some covers on Amazon that definately do NOT conform to RWA’s new rules. I saw one set of totally exposed female breasts, and some nekkid butts, too. So, does that mean that any RWA author (or chapter) who links to Amazon will now be delinked from RWA unless they give up their link to Amazon? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Also, I did go to Ellora’s Cave website and do some firsthand research of their covers. I did see some nekkid butts, both male and female. I did see a couple female breasts being covered by hands – sometimes the woman’s own, sometimes an obvious lover’s. None of the covers I saw struck me as overly offensive.

    I did NOT see any genitalia.

    As for bestiality..well, I did see some sexy covers that also included
    animals, but the animals weren’t, ummm… “involved” in any way with the
    humans I saw. 🙂

    I did see a couple covers that indicated there were more than two people involved in the sex. (But that wasn’t on the RWA list of no-nos. Maybe they forgot to put that in?)

    For whatever it’s worth…there ya have it, the results of my firsthand
    research. Oh, I also clicked on a couple excerpts, and I don’t think I
    found any of the really “bad” words. I did read one excerpt that had the
    word sh*t in it. (That word is on the list of unapproved words, and I have used it in one of my Superromances.) I didn’t stumble across any excerpts that actually had sex, although I didn’t read too many of them.

  • Susan Gable // Jun 5, 2005 at 1:34 pm

    Oh, and I guess we’d all better steer clear of linking to any site that might have some of the Calvin Klein ads on them, going all the way back to Brook Shields. I’m pretty sure she was pictured covering her own breasts, wasn’t she? If not, then I know for sure that one of the newer ads has a woman in a similiar pose – although it may have actually been the man’s hands covering her, I can’t recall.

    Now, while that’s not romance, it IS in print ads all around us.

  • Booksquare // Jun 5, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    Kate, you are so brilliant. Though I am of the mindset that a more, uh, symbolic symbol should be used. I’m sure I’ll outgrow my childishness. Eventually.

    Susan, your Amazon example was exactly what I was thinking. Where is the line drawn? Who draws it? If Nora posts an excerpt with banned words (does this feel like George Carlin to anyone else?) on her site, will she be delinked?

  • Robin Bayne // Jun 5, 2005 at 2:10 pm

    I just wanted to share a link to my own blog entry about this– I write Christian romance and still think this policy is wrong.

  • Lori Soard // Jun 5, 2005 at 3:02 pm

    I didn’t know about this blog until a friend sent me a link today. I’ve bookmarked your site and will be reading through everything. Looks like a great informational source for readers and writers.

    I did want to mention that there is free membership at WRW and anyone who wants to join is more than welcome. It’s a nice supplement to any other orgs you might be involved in.



  • Susan Gable // Jun 5, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    Okay, I did some more searching at the Cave,and I did manage to stumble across some covers that even *I* find icky. One of them didn’t show genitalia, but it did show male pubes, which made me go, “EEEWWWWW.” I’m sorry, but that’s neither sexy nor appealing. Didn’t make me want to rush right out and buy that book.

    I guess that some of it is going to come down to “what exactly qualifies as a romance?” There is a line (albeit a very fine, gray line) between very hot, sexy, erotic ROMANCE, and plain old erotica. But again, who is going to police this? I’d think there’s still going to be subjectiveness to applying the definition.

    I do feel like we need a lot of clarification from the RWA board as to exactly how this policy is going to work. I know a lot of them are at BEA, so perhaps by mid-week, we’ll have more information.

  • Selah March // Jun 5, 2005 at 4:53 pm

    “As an author of non-erotic romance, I don’t like to see erotic material classified as romance. I don’t want to be associated with it. Let’s be honest here: Romance already has a bad enough image. If we include erotica under the romance umbrella, it’s a nod of agreement to those stubbornly ignorant people who call romance “porn for women.” ”

    As defined on the RWA main site, a romance is “a central love story [with] an emotionally satisfying ending.” How much or how little sexual content that love story contains, and how much it takes to push it over into the “erotic” category is a highly subjective thing. Who will draw the lines? How many explicit scenes make a book erotic? Five? Eight? And what acts must be depicted? And in how much detail? It seems to me, so long as a tale is a love story, and comes to that satisfying ending mentioned above, it meets the stated criteria of the organization.

    Ellora’s Cave and several, if not most, of the e-pubs and small presses catering to the same audience and vying for RWA recognition tout themselves as purveyors of erotic ROMANCE–not EROTICA. Erotic romance has as much right to exist beneath the RWA umbrella as romantic suspense, inspirational romance or any other sub-genre. Until a good reason can be formulated and agreed upon by a majority of the membership as to why erotic romance should not be included beneath the umbrella of general romance–something a little better than “it makes me uncomfortable,” please–it belongs there. Anything less is hypocrisy.

    As far as it being a “nod of agreement to to those stubbornly ignorant people who call romance “porn for women?” On the contrary–I believe excluding erotic romance out of fear that it will tarnish our image is merely kissing the ass of prejudice.

  • Susan Gable // Jun 5, 2005 at 5:43 pm

    Another update: This is information that’s kind of third-hand, but someone who spoke to an RWA Board member said that the words are only an issue if they are ON the COVERS. Nothing else.

    So, like I said, I wait to hear from the RWA Board directly how all of this is supposed to actually work.

  • Lauren Dane // Jun 5, 2005 at 6:00 pm

    Oh yes Kelly, because romance never includes sex! The answer is to just find someone else to beat up on so let’s exclude erotic romance from romance, that’ll make sure everyone respects romance!

    Come on! For goodness sake! Is the answer to simply push out everything we don’t personally like? Oh and don’t forget that tens of thousands of readers are buying erotic romance so they feel like it’s romance and that it meets a need out there.

    So I say cock instead of “throbbing muslce of love” I still write romance. I just don’t close the door. So thanks, Separate But Equal was a messed up idea in the 40’s and it’s still stupid and bigoted.

    And anyway, who decides what romance is? You? If so, what qualifies you? Me? The same question applies here. How about we let the readers make that choice.

  • Booksquare // Jun 5, 2005 at 6:24 pm

    I am (strongly, strongly, strongly) of the opinion that people write what they write. Romance is a huge umbrella, and any attempt to create a one-size-fits-all definition is going to backfire. The key is the relationship — this type of emotional discovery is clearly a central aspect of the human condition. Everyone gets there differently, but it’s clear to me that our species is strongly inclined toward strong family relationships. I’m not comfortable with the exclusion of any aspect of this.

    As a reader, my tastes are eclectic. I often joke that the only thing I won’t read is a story with a man with a mustache (hey, we all have our breaking points!). I think the thing that keeps most of us reading in the genre is the fact that what seems so simple is so very complex — how two people fall in love is filled with infinite possibilities. I like to be challenged in my reading as well. I’m very comfortable with what I believe, but I’m also very curious about what’s happening across the street…

  • Kelly Cannon Hess // Jun 5, 2005 at 8:37 pm


    I have nothing against erotic romance. My own novels contain explicit sex; I believe it’s an indispensable part of a satisfying love story.

    >Who will draw the lines? How many explicit scenes make a book erotic?

    This has already been decided by the publishers. Why not use their categories, subjective though they might be? This is a subjective business all around.

    > Erotic romance has as much right to exist beneath the RWA umbrella as romantic suspense, inspirational romance or any other sub-genre.

    RWA is a private organization. No one has an inherent “right” to be a member. RWA can include or exclude whomever it wants, as long as they don’t discriminate against any federally protected class and they follow their own established policies.

    > Until a good reason can be formulated and agreed upon by a majority of the membership as to why erotic romance should not be included beneath the umbrella of general romance–something a little better than “it makes me uncomfortable,” please–it belongs there.

    I agree with this. For the record, I didn’t say erotica made me uncomfortable. It doesn’t. I don’t read it, but then I don’t read any romance other than historical. I don’t read erotica for the same reason I don’t read inspirational or anything contemporary: It doesn’t hold my interest. That doesn’t make it bad.

    >As far as it being a “nod of agreement to to those stubbornly ignorant people who call romance “porn for women?” On the contrary–I believe excluding erotic romance out of fear that it will tarnish our image is merely kissing the ass of prejudice.

    I used to feel this way about an entirely different issue, which I won’t go into here because it might send the discussion off on a tangent. But the moral of my story is that sometimes, you have to acknowledge that you are a very small minority, and you just have to go with the flow. As long as it isn’t a “give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death” kind of issue (which this certainly isn’t), it’s better to pick your battles. If you’re itchin’ for a fight, go petition your city council to build more homeless shelters.

    Anyway, the main thrust (oops!) of my post was that RWA should make a decision one way or the other about erotica. Either include it (which I personally wish they wouldn’t but it won’t break my heart if they do) and give its writers the same privileges as the rest of us, or exclude it. I just don’t like to see them sitting on the fence and offering erotica authors a sort of second-class membership.


  • Name Withheld by Request // Jun 5, 2005 at 9:03 pm

    Once again, the Powers That Be in RWA have shown that they haven’t the vaguest idea as to the state of the romance market. This new “guideline” suggests an overwhelming and frightening influence of the tyranny of a specific religious evangelical faction trying to press their reactionary prudery on the market.

    Get with the program, girls! Romantica is big business. Even in the small press and electronic press that RWA disdains so violently that the leadership has attempted to destroy the reputations and careers of those who are its advocates, those who can write effective erotic romance are making money. Censorship of the type RWA is now promoting is so 1950’s. But this is 2005.

  • Linda Rooks // Jun 5, 2005 at 10:44 pm

    I’m waiting eagerly for the BOD to explain the scope of this ‘standard’. After Susan said she’d heard the word list only applied to TITLES, I did some checking. Nothing at the EC site had any of those words in it. However, Amazon had some. I guess that’s one site that’s going to be ‘delinked’.

    What’s that going to do to RWA’s website’s credibility and ranking, BookSquare?

  • Cyn // Jun 5, 2005 at 10:59 pm

    What is funny is that 2 years ago, RWA instituted a new category for the RITAs and the Golden Heart– women’s fiction with romantic elements. That’s right. Chick lit doesn’t have romance in it, but most times it has romantic elements. Erotic romance does have romance in it, though most erotica does not, however it does have romantic elements.

    So, we’re saying it’s okay for Chick Lit to be allowed to be part of the RWA because it’s not as risque? Hmm, does this mean that because publishers are actively acquiring hotter romances and erotic romance that they’re in the wrong.

    The choice lies with the public. They’re buying hot, steamy sexually based romances. There is a HEA(Happily Ever After), what does it matter if it’s between one couple or a group or if there’s graphic, stimulating sexual interaction between the characters? We’re not living in the land of Puritans, people. We’re grownups who are sexual beings.

    Then again, RWA has been trying to expand their realm to women’s fiction….which means erotica and erotic romance. They can’t have it both ways. Hopefully they clarify this. As it is, they’re going to lose many people over this foolish behaviour.


  • Booksquare // Jun 5, 2005 at 11:27 pm

    Dear Linda,

    I am so not sleeping with you in Reno. You know what that means. You get to sleep with her. HER.

    [Now ignoring Linda, though she makes an excellent point]

    What is romance? What is romantic? What is offensive? What is, and this is the critical question, women’s fiction?

    I don’t believe there should be a distinction, but I am a realist. Marketing rules. RWA needs to come to terms with the broad nature of what women (and men) are doing, or they need to create boundaries. Both are hard and uncomfortable. But to move forward, you need goals. What is the vision?

  • Kate // Jun 6, 2005 at 6:06 am

    and booksquare brings up another issue: Is RWA strictly M/F?

    What about romance between two women or two men? I’m not a gay male, but stories like Kiss of the Spiderwoman get to me in a big way because they’re about love and sacrifice….hmmm. Not sure about the HEA on that one. Anyway, there are wonderful gay and lesbian love stories out there. They’re absolutely romance. Is there a stance on that question?

  • Kate // Jun 6, 2005 at 6:09 am

    Lori S–

    the website for WRW says “as of November 15th, 2003, the nonprofit organization World Romance Writers, Inc. was dissolved.”


  • Robin Bayne // Jun 6, 2005 at 6:41 am

    Kate— they dissolved the incorporated version of the group (WRW)– the one with dues and bylaws. Now we are an online loop-group which is free to all : )

  • PBW // Jun 6, 2005 at 7:06 am

    Normally I don’t pimp my weblog posts on other people’s blogs, but I contacted Ann Jacobs, the author whom RWA refused to allow to sign her novel at their BEA booth, and asked if she would tell me what happened. Her response, along with a .jpg of the cover art for the book in question, are posted over at my place:

    Wherever you are on this issue, forget about the rumors and get the facts.

  • Tracey Lyons // Jun 6, 2005 at 7:47 am

    Man, oh Man! What a hot topic this has become. This whole new graphics standard by RWA makes me want to go out and write my own erotica romance just for the heck of it! I’ve pubbed in historical with sex and sweet historical. I think what disturbs me the most is the fact that members pay dues to the organization and they should be supporting the first amendmant issues not going against our freedom of speach. I am also left wondering what all of the publishers have to say about this? I’m more uspet about the fact that they specifically target what is acceptable or not on bookcoers. It doesn’t matter how you cut it, this is censorship. I would also wonder if erotica authors couldn’t come up with a class action law suit, that this organization is now infringing on their rights. I don’t know just some more of my ramblings.

  • Kate // Jun 6, 2005 at 9:17 am

    Wow. That cover? Was BANNED?

    The fact is that the board members of RWA are probably wishing they’d run for some local government board instead. I would if I were them– in fact I wish they had and I’m not them….(what a thankless job)

  • Robin Bayne // Jun 6, 2005 at 11:47 am

    PBW–thanks for posting your blog link. Very helpful.

  • Yasmine Galenorn // Jun 6, 2005 at 11:56 am

    So, maybe we should avoid offending everybody and make all covers stark with only titles created from an approved list of words?

    Sheesh…censorship in action. Shades of Fahrenheit 451. If we go out of our way to offend everybody, there won’t BE any books. Back east, somewhere, someone took action to ban one of my books from their local library due to content. I know how that made me feel, and I can easily imagine how it would make me feel if I belonged to an organization who willingly took my dues but refused to promote my work because of cover or content. Especially cover, over which authors have so little control. Methinks a storm has broken within the ranks of RWA.

    Yasmine Galenorn

  • Lauren Dane // Jun 6, 2005 at 12:54 pm

    Tracey – excellent point!

    And Kelly, we aren’t talking about rights in the classic legal sense, we’re discussing them in a broader sense. Now I personally find your arguments to be specious wrt erotic romance, but you have a right (both legally and in the broader sense) to express them. Whether your like erotic romance or not, it isn’t a very small minority, tens of thousands of readers buy it, big brick and mortar publishers are now doing erotic romance lines (including berkeley jove, harlequin, etc). More than that, as authors why on earth are we begrudging each other so much?

    RWA is all too eager to take money under the guise of being all about the authors, but when it comes right down to it, apparently there are authors and there are authors. Frankly, it embarrasses me that writers are so eager to see other writers get pushed out the door, it seems counterintuitive.


  • Lilly // Oct 13, 2007 at 3:25 am

    “most of us have genitalia”?