Here's RWA President Diane Pershing's response to Deirdre Knight's article on RWA's E-publishing position. I'm disappointed in RWA's foot-stamping, I'm-not-changing-my-mind stance on this issue.
Any time it comes up, E-pubbed authors and advocates of E-published authors have been extremely vocal about RWA's need for change on this issue. Having served on the board several times for my local RWA chapter, I can tell you that any time a concern comes up, my local chapter does its best to address it and make its concerned members as happy as possible. In the end, no matter how you slice it, it makes more financial sense to make your customers happy. Anyone who runs a business knows that. No happy members (customers) means no dues, means less money for the organization.
RWA may not founder by losing some disgruntled members, but it will feel the difference, considering they felt they had to raise the dues by $10.00 recently. I don't fault them the rise in dues, as businesses need operating funds, but I do feel that I am paying for services which have not been a help to me in the path to publication since shortly after my initial foray into the pursuit. The best help I have gotten has come from members of my local chapter, books on craft, the library, and workshops that are open to anyone, RWA member or not, for a slightly higher fee.
Nationals may be different, of course, but with my other bills (and a very active toddler), it's hard to justify spending that kind of money getting there and staying there. I find it more useful to stay home and write. If I don't have product to sell (a finished manuscript), I'm wasting my time anyway!
Between RWA and my local chapter, I spend an annual $110.00, $85.00 of which goes to RWA. I wish to God there was a way to keep my local chapter without having to spend the dues on RWA, because CNY Romance Writers has been an enormous help and support to me and I love them. But my return for that $85.00 investment in RWA has not been sufficient for a few years now. So it is with regret that I've decided I can't justify the cost anymore. I will have to leave RWA, and my local chapter once my RWA membership runs out. I would rather put that money into other methods of remaining educated about what's going on in publishing.
It's a sad, tough decision which I have wrestled with for a year now, but I've come to the realization that it's time to move on from RWA. I'm thankful for the friends that I have made in my local chapter, and I wish I could stick with CNYRW. Perhaps when/if RWA outgrows this prejudice against non-vanity small presses, and forms a better way for individual members to be heard, I may rejoin.
If they don't, I'll still write.