According to an RWA Hot Sheet, RWA has changed the way that it will recognize publishers and authors.
Taking into account emerging trends in publishing that may offer opportunities to writers, the task force recommended that RWA adopt methods used by other trade shows and conventions and to shift its method of evaluating publishers as a whole to evaluating publishers by divisions, imprints, or lines.
Under this revised method, RWA will extend invitations to a wide pool of publishers. Invitees may only represent their non-subsidy/non-vanity publishing programs (imprints, divisions, or lines) at RWA's conference. Space for spotlights, workshops, and booksignings will be allocated to lines, imprints, or divisions that best meet the requirements for "Qualifying Markets." This new process of evaluation will likely increase opportunities for small presses and e-presses that previously have been excluded.
The Board amended the definition of subsidy/vanity to read: "Subsidy" or "Vanity" publishing means the production of books in which the author participates in the costs of production or distribution in any manner, including assessment of fees or other costs for editing and/or distribution. This definition includes publishing programs that withhold or seek full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties, including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs; publishing programs whose authors exclusively promote and/or sell their own books; and publishers whose business model and methods of publishing are primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and associates.
Based upon the recommendation of the task force, RWA will no longer designate publishers as "RWA Eligible." Instead, RWA will have a conference allocation system to identify "Qualifying Markets," which must be a non-vanity/non-subsidy publisher or a non-vanity/non-subsidy division, imprint or line of a publisher.
Since RWA will no longer have a classification for Eligible Publisher, the Board approved definitions for "Eligible Novel" and "Eligible Novella" based on the non-subsidy/non-vanity production of these works. This change will allow members to qualify for PAN, participate in Romance Sells and trade shows, report first sales in the RWR, and receive a "First Sale" ribbon at conference as long as the terms of the definition are met. Because policy prohibits the changing of contest rules while the contests are in progress, the Board will address the eligibility requirements for the RITA contest during the July Board meeting and will continue to work diligently to address the issue to reach a fair and equitable solution that will benefit our members without compromising RWA's mission to support the professional interests of career-focused romance writers. Policy provisions regarding entry into PRO will be addressed at the March Board meeting.