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Small Print Press Unhappy with RWA

So the story that Publisher’s Weekly reported on today is that a small print inspirational publishing house is getting the RITA shaft. The Publishers’ Weekly article says that Tsaba House publisher was barred from submitter her own book, Sanctuary, for a RITA Award based on the fact that Tsaba was not an RWA Approved publisher.

Problem is that Tsaba House Press never contacted RWA until February 2008 which was several months after the RITA entry deadline in November 2007 and that the author/publisher was not entering the RWA RITA contest but some RWA chapter contest. Chapters, apparently, make up their own contest rules.

Is Tsaba House a vanity press/subsidy press as determined by the RWA guidelines? According to RWA it is. Haven’t seen the contract myself, I can’t say, but my eyebrows did raise at the fact that it was teh publisher of the house entering her own book. see comments below.

March 28, 2008, will see an announcement of the RITA finalists. At least this year, the erotic romance authors can’t say that they are being singled out because of an anti-erotic romance author bias.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. veinglory
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 17:44:22

    I thought it was standard for publishers to enter books for awards. Certainly national book awards and the major literary ones. It’s part of marketing and promotion.

  2. janicu
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 23:01:00

    I read the sentence “According to Pam Schwagerl, Tsaba House publisher, Molly Noble Bull was barred from submitting her latest release, Sanctuary, for a Rita Award, because Tsaba House is not an “RWA approved” publisher. “, and I thought that Schwagerl was the publisher, and Molly Noble Bull was the author. I think you *could* read it that Bull was the publisher and also the author though.

  3. Jane
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 23:02:59

    Ah, you are right. That does sound like Molly Noble Bull is the author and Schwagerl is the publisher.

  4. Teresa Slack
    Mar 14, 2008 @ 21:22:04

    My first book was published by Tsaba House in 2004. Since then, I have had four more novels published. I have never been asked for one dime from Tsaba House for any type of production or promotion costs. I even paid for my contract from Tsaba House to be examined before I signed it. According to the negotiator I hired, the contract was completely standard. This person found nothing out of the ordinary that needed attention or raised any red flags.

    I have also submitted my books to other contests like the ones coordinated by RWA. These contests only allow books by recognized CBA publishers. My books have never been turned down for acceptance into these contests. I don”t understand why RWA doesn”t want to recognize Tsaba House as a traditional publisher when no other organizations have these concerns.

    For the record, Pam Schwagerl is the publisher and Molly Noble Bull is another author. In fact, Molly and I are having a romance anthology published in early ’09. Look for it at your local bookstore. It will be available in brick and mortar stores nationwide like all Tsaba House titles.

  5. Victoria Strauss
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 20:50:44

    I’ve asked this question elsewhere, but wanted to post it here as well, if it’s OK with the blog owners. I am looking to obtain a copy of a recent Tsaba House contract so I can see for myself what the argument is about. I do plan to blog about it, but as with all information and documentation sent to Writer Beware, I can promise confidentiality–your name and contact info won’t be shared. My contact info: [email protected].

  6. Sue Dent
    Mar 17, 2008 @ 16:25:13

    Can someone tell me what happened with the matter of Molly Bull being accepted into two RWA Chapter contest(who determine eligibility for their contest on their own without any help from RWA National)and then being denied acceptance into the third one?

    I honestly don’t care how RWA National scurtinizes publishers. That debate could go on forever. Did Molly get kicked out of the other two RWA Chapter contest, one in which she finaled or did RWA National make an unprecedented decision to rule over an RWA Chapter contest?

    I sure would like to know.

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