Wednesday, May 30, 2007

RWA: PAN, PRO, wtf?

Despite my "wtf" in the title, I’m cracking up here. Are any of you in RWA? Evidently (and I’m out of the loop, so I’ve missed the controversy), they want to make the standards for a "PAN" (that’s an Officially, RWA-blessed REAL published author, LOL) that they make at least $2,000 from one book.

I laughed my ass off when I saw that. (Because I know it won’t happen, because then I would qualify, LOL.)

I don’t know if you guys are aware of this leveling system, but there are three levels in RWA. There’s normal, "unpublished" (although, many ’unpublished’ RWA authors actually make a decent amount of money from writing, hehe) folk.

Then there’s PRO, (the meaning of the acronym escapes me at the moment), where authors who have published a 40,000 word work or over with a NON-RWA-recognized publisher, or authors who have FINISHED a novel but NOT published, may join. (Why, I have no idea. I think you get a pin. Or something.)

Finally, there’s PAN, the official "REAL" published authors.

The proposal actually makes sense, because if you can prove that you make money (at least $2,000) from your writing, then you are labeled PAN, or "real."

It is all so ridiculous. The people who originally were PAN, now may not be PAN, and they’re pissed. There are people who want to keep the status quo, and they’re pissed. Finally, there are people who are like: "Cool! I make money from writing, so now I can call myself ’real!’"

Me? I don’t know when I’m going to feel like a "real" writer. Maybe when I walk into Borders, and a whole novel has my name on it. Or maybe when I’m exclusively paying all the bills with my writing income?

But then, come to think of it, I felt like a "real" writer before I joined RWA.

In the end, I don’t do RWA for validation. I do RWA because I get to meet and hang out with other writers. It’s a social thing for me. Sure, I’ve learned things, but ... I don’t really see me going to the trouble of applying for PRO or PAN, whatever the guidelines may be. No one can ever seem to tell me the benefits, outside of ... external validation?

About the whole mess, I say this: the people in RWA are AWESOME! The friends I have made are AWESOME! I have had SO much fun, I can’t tell you.

I just want to meet people and hang out with fellow writers. I say, leave the bickering and leveling to those who seem to enjoy it. We’re too busy having fun with friends, to care!

5 bonus scribbles:

avery,  5/31/2007 12:39:00 PM  

I had a similar event with another organization. They changed the rules in the middle of the game and I took my ball and went home. I don't think I'll ever join another organization again. Too much drama, too much self-aggrandizing amongst the 'elites' for me to handle. The majority of people were cool, though.

spyscribbler 5/31/2007 06:53:00 PM  

I just don't see why people care. I mean, Miss Snark had no idea what PRO or PAN was, so it's not like agents care whether you're PRO or PAN.

As far as I can tell, you don't get anything for being PRO or PAN. (The pin was a joke; I don't really think you even get a pin.) As far as I know, there aren't any secret meetings PRO or PAN members get to attend.

So I just don't see why people are so worked up about it. It's a very silly system, LOL.

Amie Stuart 6/01/2007 10:38:00 AM  

I"m in RWA for the same reason you are. The only reason I applied for PAn status was to get my CP to stop nagging at me.

BTW that's a proposed 2k on ONE BOOK, not overall.

I think what really hacks me off is that I know in the near future, after this hoohah is over, RWA will change the rules yet again and yank that rug out from folks. I realize change is needed but i don't think they're going about it the right way

spyscribbler 6/01/2007 11:34:00 AM  

Cool! So maybe you can answer me the mystery: did you get a pin? Was there something special you got when you became PAN?

I did hear many felt that the new rules targeted e-publishers. Others feel that the old rules targeted e-publishers, LOL. I think whoever ends up being slighted is going to feel slighted.

That's the problem with this leveling system. Are there any benefits that are worth all this drama?

Lori G. Armstrong,  6/05/2007 12:19:00 PM  

Yes, you get a pin. Seriously. How do I know? I'm a member of PRO. Not PAN. Wanna hear my story?

I've been a member of RWA for 7 years. My first book, a pure mystery was published in 2005 - with a recognized RWA publisher. I didn't bother to "apply" for PAN status because in no way shape or form is Blood Ties considered a romance. When my second book, Hallowed Ground, came out, I approached them about getting PAN status because there is a thread of romance in it. I was told NO. I argued. I was told by the prez of RWA that just because I "wrote a book" doesn't qualify me for PAN within RWA (something about marketing, etc, since Hallowed Ground was marketed as mystery by my publisher, Medallion Press)When I pointed out a certain author with a release from Midnight Ink - a publisher who makes no bones about *not* publishing any type of romance, was allowed into PAN, and her book was not marketed as a romance either, I was told it was a different situation and they *still* won't let me into PAN.

So, now that Hallowed Ground has made the final round of the RWA Kiss Of Death Chapter Daphne du Maurier Award, for best Mainstream Mystery, I think it proves there is enough romance in the book to qualify it - and me for PAN.

I've been told by RWA board members that the individual chapters get to select who's considered "published" within their chapter and being nominated for a major award in the romance world still won't get me into the hallowed halls of PAN.

So, I am not renewing my dues. I don't have a local RWA chapter, so really, there is no benefit for me, there never has been. I've never gone to a national conference, especially not since I've been published because the tracks for the "published authors" aren't open to me. I don't need a class on how to write a villian. Or POV. I need to know more about marketing, etc.

The irony? I also write pure hot romance under a different name, Lorelei James. And my publishing house, Samhain, recently received RWA recognition, so I could apply for PAN under my pen name. The perverse part of me doesn't want to apply because I've been paying the dues under my real name for 7 years, that's the name I want on the roll call sheet.

But like another person commented, if I do apply for PAN, they'll probably change the damn rules and I'll get kicked out again. I don't need this aggravation for an organization who does nothing for me, besides make me feel like a loser because I'm not in their little "club." Give me MWA. I'll spend my $90 elsewhere. And I know a ton of other writers who aren't renewing dues to RWA for the same reasons I just listed.