Romance Writers of America is a nonprofit professional association whose mission is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy. As Romance Writers of America is one of the largest genre writers’ associations in the world, publishers and agents who are included in RWA’s Qualifying Market for Publishers and Agent Updates and/or who are invited to present workshops to or take pitch sessions from RWA members are afforded significant credibility, because the members naturally expect such publishers and agents to conduct their businesses in a manner that can be described as honest, fair, transparent, and professional.
The following Industry Professional Code of Ethics (“Industry Code of Ethics”) serves as RWA’s code of professional conduct for Industry Professionals. Violations of this Industry Professional Code of Ethics may result in loss of privileges such as (but not limited to) listing in Market and Agent Updates, participation in workshops and pitch sessions, and the opportunity to advertise in RWA’s publications.
- Confidentiality. Author’s financial affairs are private and confidential. Industry Professionals may not share this information except for that customarily disclosed to interested parties as part of the process of placing rights, that required by law, or information for other purposes, if agreed upon with the author in advance.
- Compensation. An Industry Professional who represents an author in the grant of rights in any property owned or controlled by the author may not accept any other form of compensation or other payment from the acquirer of such rights. Industry Professionals shall not represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction. An Agent’s compensation for all transactions shall be derived solely from the author. Editors/Publishers shall not require authors to participate in the costs of production of their written work in any manner, including but not limited to publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing, preparation, and/or distribution.
- Funds. An Industry Professional takes responsible measures to protect the security and integrity of authors’ funds. Payments for money owed to the author are made in a timely manner. Books of account, with respect to transactions concerning an author, are opened to that author upon request.
- Honesty and Integrity. An Industry Professional shall perform his/her duties with honesty and integrity. The Industry Professional shall not mislead, deceive, dupe, defraud or victimize clients, members of the organization, the general public, or any person with whom RWA does business as an Association.
- Inclusivity. An industry professional shall not refuse to work with any member on account of that member’s race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, or religion.
- Information. An Industry Professional shall keep each author apprised of all matters relating to their agreements and promptly respond to the author’s reasonable requests for information.
Once an industry professional is removed from RWA’s Qualifying Market for Publishers/Agent Update, he or she may reapply for inclusion after three (3) years providing the prior Code of Ethics Violation has been dealt with to RWA’s satisfaction and that no other Code of Ethics Violations have occurred.
Industry professionals with a history of unresolved or repeated violations may be permanently banned from RWA and from participation in all future RWA sponsored activities.
Filing a Code of Ethics Complaint
To file a Code of Ethics complaint, a member must send a signed letter stating which provision(s) of the Code of Ethics have been violated to Deputy Executive Director Carol Ritter at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 832-717-5201. Members must also provide supporting documentation for the complaint. Emails are acceptable as proof if they are forwarded complete with header.
Upon receipt of the complaint, RWA will send a letter notifying the publisher/agency of the alleged violation of RWA’s Code of Ethics for Industry Professionals and request the Accused to provide a response within 30 days.
If the Accused fails to respond or is unable to prove the accusation as false, the publisher/agency will be placed on probation and will be required to resolve the complaint within a reasonable time period as stipulated by RWA.
- Probationary status will be part of the publisher/agency listing in RWA’s Qualifying Market for Publishers/Agent Update.
- During the probationary period, the publisher/agency will be barred from advertising in the RWR and attending RWA’s annual conference as an Industry Professional.
If, at the end of the probationary period, the violation has been resolved and no other Code of Ethics violations have been reported, the probationary status will be removed from the listing.
If the violation is not dealt with in a satisfactory manner, the publisher/agency will be removed from RWA’s Qualifying Market for Publishers/Agent Update. If the publisher/agent is an Associate Member of RWA, membership will be forfeited.
Once a publisher/agency has been removed from RWA’s Qualifying Market for Publishers/Agent Update, it may reapply for inclusion after three years providing it has dealt with the prior Code of Ethics violation to RWA’s satisfaction and that no other Code of Ethics violations have occurred.
Publishers/agencies with a history of unresolved or repeated violations may be permanently banned from participation in all future RWA sponsored activities.