May 16 2007
Thank you for offering me the opportunity to comment.
You are most likely aware that RWA's mission is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy. In striving to fulfill its commitment to members, RWA established standards that publishers must meet to participate in RWA programs such as the annual conference. RWA recognition generates a significant amount of credibility and free exposure to the publishers who appear on RWA's list.
The following statement, which explains in part RWA's reasons for reviewing recognition standards was included in a notice sent to RWA members on March 20, 2007:
RWA standards for publisher recognition determine which publishers will be allowed to attend RWA’s annual conference and listed in RWA’s Market Update to solicit works written by RWA members. Unfortunately, the standard has been construed as a “stamp of approval” by RWA. That was never the purpose in setting the standard.
A publisher’s recognition by RWA is not a guarantee of an author’s publishing success. RWA’s standards merely indicate that the publisher pays royalties, is not a subsidy or vanity press, has been in business a minimum length of time (1 year) and has sold a minimum number of copies of one romance title (1500 hardcover or trade paperback or 5,000 in any other format). Each author must evaluate the company, carefully read the individual publisher’s contract and decide if they are willing to accept the conditions put forth in the contract.
Confusion as to the meaning of RWA-recognized status was not the only reason RWA's board felt the need to review current standards. Standards are something most associations must review regularly because of changes within the industries each association represents.
I can confirm that due to the ongoing problems authors are reporting with Triskelion Publishing, and the company's latest announcements regarding print titles, changes in editorial staff and management, the invitation for Triskelion Publishing to participate in workshops and editor appointments at RWA's 2007 conference in Dallas has been rescinded.
Allison Kelley, CAE
Romance Writers of America, Inc.