In an effort to provide the membership with an overview of what major issues the Board is working on behind the scenes, please find below an update on issues that have been topics of recent discussions. Our aim is to be transparent while still recognizing the need for a confidential environment for the Board to work in and the need for membership confidentiality. Items listed do not signal policy changes, merely that these issues are being discussed. The Board continues to work on strategic planning, member communication, and much more, but the topics listed here are ones that have been under consideration in recent weeks and required the board's immediate or emergency attention. As always, we invite the membership to contact the board with questions, concerns, and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Chapter concerns - The Board has been working with two chapters that have ongoing issues. Both are working on proactive plans to make changes to the chapters' environments. Oversight continues.
2. “Cocky” trademark issue – At our request, Amazon put a hold on removing books based on the author’s disputed trademark. Amazon deferred to us and is now referring authors to us for assistance. We have been in contact with lawyers with expertise in this issue. This issue is continuing.
3. Golden Heart – The Board is in the process of communicating with the membership and will continue to do so on an ongoing basis about the contest, measures the Board has undertaken to increase its value in the past, and thoughts about the future of the contest. Any change to the contest can only be made when the contest is not running.
4. RITA – The Board is discussing options to improve the contest, most specifically to address the potential for judging bias and ways to ease the judging burden. Also, we're discussing options that could bring more outside awareness to the contest through judging changes. Any change to the contest can only be made when the contest is not running.
5. Pitching at the national conference – The Board heard the concerns about editor/agent pitching at this conference. After the conference the Board will assess how the pitch sessions worked and discuss options for future conferences.
6. Ethics Code – The Board is undertaking a thorough review of the Ethics Code as it relates to members and industry professionals as part of a long-term commitment to streamlining and revising this section of the Policy Manual.
7. RWA staff participated in a conference call with individuals from the Author’s Guild and a team of high-level executives with Amazon concerning erroneous categorization of romance novels. Staff is working with Amazon to provide them with examples of titles that are miscategorized and clarified the definitions of romance fiction and erotic romance to support our categorization concerns.