By Sharla Rae
Just my opinion but The old gray RWA Conference ain’t what she used to be. And I hope she keeps up the good work!
At first glance the 2012 RWA Conference may look pretty much as it has in the past. It is and it isn’t. And no, I’m not touting something I had a hand in. I am merely making an observation as an RWA member.
I’m not just talking about workshops that never would have happened a few years ago. I’m also seeing a new attitude.
As late as two years ago we were still hearing nasty remarks from traditional publishers, agents, and authors that referred to self-published and indie authors as hacks who lacked the talent to publish with a legitimate publisher. OUCH!
E-book workshops barely existed at the national conference and in fact, among the powers that be, many predicted that e-readers (Kindle etc.) were a fad and that readers would lose interest in the badly written and horribly edited books.
A cautious mama, RWA was reluctant to credit authors not published with traditional publishing. I don’t doubt everyone was talking about e-publishing at the conferences the past few years, but, there seemed a sad shortage of workshops on the subject. Cautious Mama doesn’t give approval easily and in fact seemed to remain caught in the claws of the old ways.
But in the end, cautious mama did what all good mothers do. She rolled her eyes, heaved a sigh, then stood back and observed with the eye of a hawk. Never mind that some of us were gnashing our teeth with impatience. Finally, mama jumped on the E-train -- with caveats, of course.
And there was more teeth gnashing.
This year’s conference, however, already promises great strides for writers. For the first time in years, I’m excited! It won’t be the same ol’ same ol’. I’m seeinglots of how-to workshops on indie publishing and author media marketing. Of course, the online media how-tos can be just as effective for traditionally published books so either way it’s a win.
I especially like the idea that these workshops are happening in a Mama-sanctioned setting because, while I’m often impatient with her, I do trust her.
As a result of these changes of attitude, I think we’ll see at least a “slight change” from the Traditional publishers attending conference. No, I don’t expect to be wowed. Don’t get me wrong, my books were published by traditional publishers.
Traditionals went into e-publishing kicking and screaming with the almighty dollar winning out. Perhaps it’s like the old saying, if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em.
Right now, they seem to be scrambling to figure out how to maintain their title of King Of The Hill. What can I say? It’s business.
Still, I relish hearing what they have to say at conference this year! Maybe I’ll like it. Maybe I won’t. But I think they have to discuss the elephant in the room. After all, we’ve got choices we didn’t have before. While traditionals still teeter on the mountain top they are no longer the be all, end all. That’s got to bring on some change.
And what about literary agents? Some are scrambling to reinvent themselves. Mega blogs have discussed the ethicality and now that RWA has embraced e-publishing, I'm sure we’ll hear more – the good side and the bad. Juicy stuff!
E-publishing news that used to be ignored by RWA is now headlining news in a very good way!
And because our cautious mama has accepted that e-publishing is here to stay and that writers need and want these career choices, she’s making sure we do it right by offering workshops and opportunities that will make smarter decisions easier.