Who Should Have a Vote in RWA?

Update from the Membership Classification Team

by Cindy Kirk, RWA President-Elect

In addition to being President-Elect, I am the chairperson of the Membership Classification Team. As you’re probably aware, RWA’s Board of Directors (BOD) has been tackling some tough issues related to membership. The purpose of this article is to make you aware of the one question we’ve discussed at length: who should have a vote in our organization?

As we all know, having the ability to vote in an RWA election or on a proposed Bylaws change gives that person a say in the organization’s future and direction.

RWA’s mission is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy.

Since the organization exists to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers, it follows, both from a regulatory and strategic standpoint, that those granted a General (voting) membership — and thus steering the ship — should be career-focused romance writers — writers who show up at the page most days (if not every day) with the goal of producing income from the sale of their books.

Changes are usually difficult, but in order for RWA to provide the programs and services that members need to keep up with the quick pace of today’s business world, RWA must ensure that career-focused romance writers maintain control over their organization.

Here are some changes the Board of Directors is seriously considering.

To qualify for General (voting) membership, an individual must:

1. Have published a Romance Fiction novel or Romance Fiction novella of at least 20,000 words that is or has been commercially available. Note: commercially means that one (but not all) of the books an author has published has to have been offered for sale to the public for a monetary amount at some point in time.

2. If never published in Romance Fiction, you must have completed an unpublished work of Romance Fiction of 20,000 or more words, excluding collections of short stories or poetry, within the previous two years.

Question: If this change is approved by the Board, who will be reclassified as an Associate (non-voting) member?

Answer: Those who have never been published in Romance Fiction and who haven’t completed a work of Romance Fiction of 20,000 or more words in the last two years.

Additional point of clarification: If you’ve ever commercially published a Romance Fiction novel or novella, you would be a General member and would not have to show proof of a new completed manuscript every two years.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts and questions on this matter. E-mail me directly at CindyKirkAuthor@gmail.com by August 31.

This article originally was published in the August 2014 RWR.

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