Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

RWA Wants Associate Members Who Foster Relationships Between Readers and Authors

I received a letter today from RWA indicating that I would not be able to renew my membership when it expires at the end of the month. I have posted the letter for you all to read it. While it says that I am a General Member, this is an error that RWA has consistently made. I’ve signed up an associate member for the three years that I have paid my dues. I want to state at the outset there there is absolutely nothing in the letter that is not true except for one thing.

Dear Ms. Litte,

On November 30, 2009 your General membership with Romance Writers of America will expire. We are unable to renew General membership for individuals who have indicated in writing that they are not in serious pursuit of a career in romance writing.

General membership in RWA is open to all persons “seriously pursuing a romance fiction writing career” (Section 4.1.1 RWA Restated Bylaws 2007). On September 11, 2009, you wrote, “I have not written a book nor do I have plans to write a book…” Staff is unable to allow renewal of General membership for individuals who publish statements such as the one cited above.

In most instances, we are able to offer Associate membership to individuals who do not qualify for General membership. However, Associate membership is offered to individuals, “who support the organization and its purposes but do not meet the requirements for General membership” (Section 4.1.2 RWA Restated Bylaws 2007). We have been made aware of numerous posts on your blog and on the “romfail” thread on Twitter that indicate you do not support RWA or romance authors.

This decision is not one that we would have chosen. We feel that authors’ and readers’ interests are closely related and that both have much to gain by a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship. In light of the evidence on file, RWA is not offering you the option to renew.

It is true that I have publicly stated I have no aspirations to write. (See blog post referenced in letter here). It is also true that I make fun of bad books (or what I consider to be bad books). Examples can be seen here.

It is also true that I have been critical of RWA and its inability to provide its members full information on the panoply of ways that publishing is changing for the membership.

It is also true that I have been critical of authors.

I do find it interesting that the justification for blackballing me from RWA is because of my blog posts and #romfail thread on Twitter indicate that I do not support RWA or romance authors. I have supported RWA but I have also been extremely critical of them. I don’t support romance authors individually, but I do support the romance authors in general; and, of course, I support the romance genre and romance books.

I actually had not planned to renew my membership. I joined because it gave you a discount for the RWA conference and you received the RWR but over the past three years, I’ve read the RWR only a couple of times and I decided that this year I would go to RomCon instead of RWA.

I have had a lot of supportive emails sent to me over this. I hope that none of you jeopardize your own membership or standing or position in RWA or with your fellow authors over this issue because I do not want to be the cause of any more disharmony for authors. And I can apparently still be an RWA member if I choose to publicly state that I am seriously pursuing a writing career.

Anyone who reads this blog will know that RWA’s actions will not change my conviction that true advocacy requires a conversation among many different — often contrary and conflicting — views. I will never believe that bad books are a necessity about which we must remain quiet, nor will I relinquish my critical views of a genre I love and an industry in which I have taken an active interest. Hopefully authors know that whatever they get here at Dear Author is candid, honest, and a product of my faith in good books and the readers who love them.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

269 Comments

  1. Courtney Milan
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:17:37

    Pretty much any set of rules we might come up with for Associate Members that would be less fuzzy, but I think it's safe to believe that any of them would exclude book reviewers/bloggers.

    Sure, unless they were specifically included as a category. Which would allow Bertha to come. But I’m fine with that, because quite frankly, I doubt Bertha would have all that much of a following, and I’m totally fine if she manages to save $30 on conference registration, and in the process of doing so, makes romance-haters look petty and feeble.

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  2. Riley
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:19:02

    Consequences Jane. Deal with it. You played and lost this time.

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  3. handyhunter
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:22:44

    @A: if our communication is so unpalatable you're convinced you'd loathe my stories,

    Loathe is such a strong word. Mostly, I am uninterested in reading or supporting stories that are, say, monochromatic, or that might hurt me. I’m not sure why my preference for supporting stories (and by extension, authors) I like – in part by not spending money on books I dislike – is such a problem.

    how can I have any faith in you to discharge your duty to safeguard my health and do no harm?

    Oh, IDK. Medical professionalism? Medical training? That oath doctors have to take? Or they could go the route of TV doctors and choose not to treat or even kill the patient. Oh, the drama.

    Although, I think a more apt comparison is if the doctor wrote or did something you didn’t like — would you still see him or her.

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  4. Jackie Barbosa
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:23:48

    @Courtney Milan: Possibly. I’m just not sure romance haters as that feeble, as a group. They seem fairly powerful to me (cough…New Yorker…cough). I’m pretty sure they’re responsible for the fact that a lot of people would rather be caught dead than reading one of “those” books.

    But I admit, I could be totally wrong… I so often am.

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  5. Edie
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:27:54

    Aside: The tree sex book was a Dorchester/Love Spell book if I have the right book?

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  6. A
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:30:03

    @Jane:

    Yes, I do make fun of these books because they are poorly written, poorly edited, and they are a poor representation of the romance genre.

    You have every right to your opinion and you have every right to express your opinion in your blog, Twitter, and other communication. No one is saying you don’t.

    But, apparently, RWA has decided that some elements of your work do not mesh well with RWA’s philosophies on advocating and promoting the romance genre and romance writers.

    You’ve mocked and rejected these books as “poor representation of the romance genre.” RWA informed you, respectfully and in private, they view some of your work as a poor representation for what, in their minds, constitutes a true advocate of the romance genre and romance authors.

    For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have declined your membership, but the RWA has spoken. You didn’t want to be part of their musty ol’ club anyways, so breathe deep, let them go, smile, and move on. Pick up a really terrible book tonight, roast holy you-know-what out of it. You’ll feel better in the morning. Have a great holiday.

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  7. katiebabs
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:31:59

    Jane: There’s more than one tree sex romance out there? OMG.

    The one I am talking about is Lord of the Deep by Dawn Thompson from Aphrodisia.

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  8. MaryK
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:39:10

    @katiebabs: That’s funny! They probably think it’s a fake review. :) :) Who’d believe a book contains tree sex?!?

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  9. theo
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:39:16

    @katiebabs: Wait, someone has sex with a tree???

    And I rather liked her Ravencliff Bride. But…sex with a tree? *cringe*

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  10. katiebabs
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:41:21

    Mark K and Theo: The heroine is running away from deranged sexed up priest and the forest saves her. The tree wants a reward. Doesn’t just happen once, but twice. And I am not making this up. O.o

    It took me 3 months to get my review up on Amazon because I was the only one who gave it 1 star and mentions the nastiness.

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  11. Jane
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:42:53

    @katiebabs O_o

    ReplyReply

  12. MaryK
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:43:44

    @katiebabs: So, is the tree the hero?

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  13. katiebabs
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:45:34

    MaryK: The hero is a selkie who becomes a seal. He takes the heroine down to his sponge on the bottom of the ocean and makes her a woman.

    Second tree sex scene he is involved also.

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  14. theo
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:47:59

    @katiebabs: Sounds like this is another good example of why some authors should stick to what they know.

    What would you call that, BTW…menage a tree?

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  15. Pearl Smith
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:49:26

    Dear Jane,

    You don’t deserve to be in RWA and never did. Heck your own statement proves it. You didn’t join to further the genre, you joined to get a discount. Thus giving their argument validty.

    I love it when karma comes back and slaps a person in their face. I’m actually loving the “change” RWA seems to be instituting by getting rid of those bad seeds who make living off of the industry and its contributors.

    Don’t think you do? What would you do without authors and the books we publish? Absolutely nothing. Your site revolves around us and the industry. Not the other way around even though you tend to think so.

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  16. katiebabs
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:51:49

    @Pearl Smith:

    Jane’s making a living off of this? How so? How is she a bad seed by being honest and bringing to light important facts that we should all know?

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  17. Bonnie
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:55:21

    @Pearl Smith

    I’m embarrassed for you. Really.

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  18. Jane
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:58:45

    @Pearl Smith It is true that 3 years ago many people told me that I should join because of the conference discount. Every conference I volunteered setting up the literacy signing, serving during the literacy signing, assisting in the bookstore, and I felt that whatever discount I received I paid back quite a bit in servicing the RWA and its members which I was quite glad to do. I don’t make a living off the industry. I’ve spent a lot of money maintaining this blog and giving back to the genre. I run this blog because I love the genre not because there is any income to be earned off of it.

    What would I do without authors and the books published? Probably blog about something else.

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  19. Robin
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:59:16

    Did someone upthread say that there wasn’t much snide and snotty in the comments? What’s it take to qualify — a machete?

    ReplyReply

  20. Likari
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 18:59:34

    @Pearl Smith: I just have to think your brain is bamboozled by thoughts of menage a tree-ness.

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  21. Janine
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:01:44

    @A:

    Sad to say, the reviews lost any lasting “legitimacy” or credibility for me probably the second time I ever visited DA. Sorry, I would not credit a professional critic's opinion on a movie s/he did not view, why should I credit an amateur reviewer's opinion regarding a partially read book?

    Since I probably have more DNF reviews to my name than any other DA blogger, and most of DA’s bloggers finish reading each and every book they review, I feel that I should expound on this subject just a little bit.

    First, I understand why you feel as you do about DNF reviews. I have ambivalent feelings about them myself, as I explained in my opinion piece, The DNF Dilemma. Since I get very irritable when I force myself to finish books I’m not enjoying, and would rather not blog at all if I had to force myself to finish each and every book I read, it comes down to a choice between doing the occasional DNF review, or reviewing only books I enjoyed.

    The first is problematic because those reviews are incomplete, and I can’t give a fully formed opinion of the books, only an explanation of why I stopped reading them. The second is also problematic, though, because only positive reviews make it hard for readers to figure out a reviewer’s dislikes, and to know whether that reviewer’s tastes match up with their own. At the time we did the opinion piece I asked commenters whether they would prefer to see only C and above reviews from me, or whether they would prefer an occasional DNF review in the mix. The majority of the commenters stated that they would prefer an occasional DNF review to help them get a sense of my tastes.

    And that is how I see those reviews — not as a statement about the book’s value (because after all, I didn’t finish reading and therefore cannot offer a fully informed opinion), but as a way to help readers get a sense of my dislikes as well as my likes, so that when I write a review of a book I finished, they will have a better capacity to assess whether or not my opinion is likely to line up with theirs.

    To be perfectly frank, I don’t enjoy writing DNF reviews as much as I enjoy reviewing books I finished. I’m fully aware when I write them that my assessment of the book is very limited by the fact that I did not finish reading it. But the reviews are clearly labeled as such, and readers who want to avoid reading them can do so, knowing that every review with an A through F grade here at DA is of a book that has been read in full.

    I was also recently touched when an author commented that she learned a lot from a DNF review I did of her book. So obviously, these reviews have value to some, even if not to everyone.

    Forgive me, but I don’t see how my DNF reviews take away from any of the other reviews here. Most of my fellow reviewers have finished every book they’ve reviewed. Even if you think a reviewer who doesn’t finish the book is the worst of the worst when it comes to reviewing, why tar everyone here with the same brush?

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  22. Becca
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:03:56

    I used to stick pretty close to mysteries, some romantic suspense, and Nora Roberts, til I discovered this blog and SBTB. I always look forward to Jane’s reviews, because whether I agree with her grade or not, I can always tell whether I’ll like the book. I’ve really branched out in my reading because of this blog, and have discovered several new-to-me authors that I *never* would have read before.

    I don’t know whether the RWA was right in refusing to re-up Jane’s membership or not. I’m not a member, and probably never will be (I’ve tried writing enough to know that I can’t. I don’t go in for tree sex, but it’s pretty bad nonetheless)(tree sex, really? eew.). I just know that I value DA and the reviews here, and all the information about the industry, and even the long and sometimes heated discussions – it helps me have more informed decisions, have more informed opinions.

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  23. A
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:18:28

    @katiebabs:

    @Pearl Smith:

    Jane's making a living off of this? How so? How is she a bad seed by being honest and bringing to light important facts that we should all know?

    Although this post is not directed at me, I have comments.

    1. DA and the Ja(y)nes do provide a lot of news and information as well as critique and reviews of various books. The critique’s value is subjective, not unlike a book’s quality.

    2. Although the site/s are often very informative, I have witnessed multiple examples of information being suppressed at Jane’s instigation. For example, Jane has demanded authors not discuss complexities of the publishing process that impact production and quality of books “because that’s not important to readers and readers should not have to worry about that.”

    3. More than once, I’ve read comments from Jane whose tone suggest a degree of antipathy towards authors. She is always hasty to point out that the hard work authors do is “unimportant” because “everybody works hard.” While I respect her right to her opinion, I do not share it, and I can easily see how writers dedicated to their craft and how the RWA, an association devoted to advocating writers, might find these comments offensive.

    My personal “take” on Jane is that, for whatever reason, she dislikes writers as a group. She is too quick to point out every failing, too thorough in her “brutal honesty” when critiicizing. She deems it “abusive” if a writer declines to respond to baiting comments, opting instead to remain on topic. Note: this is strictly my opinion based on analysis of comments I’ve read and my own personal exchanges with Jane.

    I don’t believe Jane does this for a living — shame on ANY person or company who would pay her to do this! — but I do perceive her as being a little starved for attention and I do think at least some of her entries and remarks are geared toward that purpose. That is where DA fails, from the lack of professionalism. This very entry is an example of that. It reads like Rosie O’Donnell’s blog during her crisis with Donald Trump on “The View.”

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  24. Bonnie
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:24:28

    It reads like Rosie O'Donnell's blog during her crisis with Donald Trump on “The View.”

    Actually, I was thinking the same thing about your posts. Funny.

    And meanwhile, you say how much you enjoy this blog. For the most part.

    Make a decision.

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  25. katiebabs
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:26:21

    Isn’t DA a personal blog though? If people don’t like to read the posts here, then they don’t have to. They can read something else.

    I believe Jane and the others here are very supportive but they really do want to promote the best out there and bring to light the worst. Why is it so bad to be critical and talk about something that can improve or bring to light a book that has been written poorly based on a person’s personal opinion?

    Just like with a book I don’t want to read, I don’t open it. The same goes in the world of blogging. You either don’t read the posts here or move on and read those blogs you can enjoy.

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  26. olivia
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:27:41

    Aw, geez, I step away from the boards for a bit to recover from the recent unpleasantness. Then from other sources that there’s a whole new outrcy about something in the Rom World.

    I was very, very unsupportive of RWA for years before I left the organization. They just didn’t know it. Oh, yeah, and I’d stopped writing romance novels and wasn’t pursuing a “romance writing career.” I just liked hanging with friends at conferences, so I stayed. And stayed. They kept cashing my checks and charging my credit card at renewal time.

    It’s a wacky group (I can say that publicly now and not get in trouble.) And hypersensitive.

    This is a wacky and hypersenstive place too. There are plenty of pro-reader anti-author (imo) threads here. Plus a pro-ebook bias and more trad publishing bashing than I can sometimes stomach. But I sort of enjoy the train wreck that these debates can become (I certainly raced back for this one.)

    The RWA board is thin-skinned. Always has been. The membership votes the by-laws, including the membership standards. The members are all authors. The Board evidently received enough complaints about–whatever–regarding an indiviudal and they have the by-laws language to justify their actions. If they look silly in the process (and boy, they sure do) that’s their choice.

    Clearly DA is a useful forum for many. For me it’s more intersting than useful. I appreciate the news and links and comments way more than the reviews.

    Only once did a review persuade me to buy a book. It was by an unknown first-time author (digital and small press published) enthusiastically recommended by a DA reviewer. It sucked, big time, bored me to tears, wasn’t adequately edited.

    All was forgiven.

    As they say on the soaps, Jane will “get on with her life” and RWA will slap down something or somebody else when they feel moved to do so.

    And then something else will happen.

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  27. Pearl Smith
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:27:44

    @Jane I’m sure you would and of course you would become “popular” from trashing that subject as well. I guess you ascribe to Mark Twain’s infamous quote…“be good and you will be lonely.”

    @bonnie Why are you embarrassed for me? I’m embarrassed for all of you that you would come to a BLOG for your news! LOL! Jane does nothing but regurgitate what she’s read some place else or what one of you groupies email her in order to be liked! Try a publisher’s sites, the wire, or a REAL news outlet instead. Or I’m sorry you all like to be entertained in two or three short paragraphs not informed.

    To say you learned something of worth here is like saying you learned trigonometry from Hiawatha’s High’s “Smoke Signals”.

    @Likari close the Urban Dictionary. LOL. how would you know what’s through the trees your sycophant head is so far up Jane’s behind?

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  28. handyhunter
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:29:38

    @A: She is too quick to point out every failing, too thorough in her “brutal honesty” when critiicizing.

    Huh. I’ve often wished DA reviewers were harder on or more thorough about discussing race and gender issues (for my own selfish buying/reading purposes). But I guess that’s a difference between looking at the site from a reader’s perspective vs from an author’s — especially if it’s his or her own book that’s being criticized. I don’t see a lack of professionalism from DA/Jane either.

    @Pearl Smith: I'm embarrassed for all of you that you would come to a BLOG for your news!

    Welcome to the 21st century?

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  29. Blue Tyson
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:38:37

    It is highly amusing for someone that is/wants to be an author to accuse a blogger of attention seeking. :)

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  30. Bonnie
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:43:33

    @Pearl Smith:
    @bonnie Why are you embarrassed for me? I'm embarrassed for all of you that you would come to a BLOG for your news! LOL! Jane does nothing but regurgitate what she's read some place else or what one of you groupies email her in order to be liked! Try a publisher's sites, the wire, or a REAL news outlet instead. Or I'm sorry you all like to be entertained in two or three short paragraphs not informed.

    I disagree, pearl. I think Jane and the others of this site are very well educated and informed and pass this information along to their readers.

    What this means is: I don’t have to search all over the net for romance news. It’s all right here. Plus I get reviews I’ve come to trust.

    And I have read and do read other sites, such as you’ve mentioned and this one happens to be one of the best, IMO. Why? Because they are HONEST. Even when it stings.

    Make sense?

    I am a romance reader. I like to follow intelligent, informed romance people. It’s not a difficult concept.

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  31. maraobj
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:46:41

    DA is my go-to site for all things romance. If I want to buy a new book I look directly at the recent A reviews and then down to Bs if I’ve already read the As. If it’s true that disgruntled romance authors are at the heart of this casting out, then I say just work a little harder at putting a good book out there. Because if Jane reviews it and gets anywhere from C or above there’s a pretty good chance I’ll buy it.

    But I guess that’s not “supportive” enough of the romance genre?

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  32. Deb
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:58:47

    @ Pearl Smith, you suggest going to a “Real” news outlet. Unfortunately, due to the apparent disdain of romance on the part of the “real news” outlets, reviews of romance novels are very few and far between. The tone of your comments does little to change that opinion.

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  33. Pearl Smith
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:04:28

    I wonder Jane. If you don’t make money off this site and you do all of this for free then what’s up with the Harlequin banner? Maybe you love them so much you just feature it. I wouldn’t be surprised considering 3 of the five books you reveiwed/featured on your home page are from one of their lines:)

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  34. kerry
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:05:51

    Perhaps one person’s idea of snotty is not the same as another’s, but there’s the one about poor people who use book reviews to determine which books to buy:

    I cannot recall the last time I required another person's opinion to decide upon purchasing a book. Probably when my grandfather bought me a collection of Dickens when I was eleven years old or so.

    And the one that I thought really made this into a reader/author argument:

    As for associate membership, IMO, you support what you call “READER'S RIGHTS” over author rights. That disqualifies you for benefits as an associate member of Romance WRITERS of America.

    RWA is an advocacy organization that advocates romance author rights. Why should it allow the benefits of membership to someone who so loudly advocates readers rights over author rights?

    I thought I had other valid points but apparently people just want to pile on about the “do not buy” comment. Handyhunter has pretty much said what I feel on the subject. Obviously people are tired of this being “trotted out” and no one commented on the rest of what I wrote, so I get the point that my comments are unwelcome, thanks.

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  35. Carolyn
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:12:12

    I wouldn't be surprised considering 3 of the five books you reveiwed/featured on your home page are from one of their lines:)

    Oh, that’s just ignorant. There’s always been a preponderance of Harlequin reviews here, because after all, Harlequin=romance, yes? Last I looked, this was a romance blog.

    Also, i before e …

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  36. Robin
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:18:22

    @kerry: I’m confused about your last sentence. Is it directed at someone in particular? I wasn’t referring to you in my last comment.

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  37. A
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:19:09

    @Bonnie:

    Actually, I was thinking the same thing about your posts. Funny.

    And meanwhile, you say how much you enjoy this blog. For the most part.

    Make a decision.

    I’m not the originator of this thread. LOL…I would never post my private correspondences on a blog.

    Who are you? Make your own decisions.

    My decision is this: Jane is not perfect. What a surprise. Despite Jane’s imperfection, she is a well-intentioned person who probably tries to do what she perceives as the “right thing.”

    If the RWA doesn’t value Jane, DA, and the Ja(y)nes…oh well. That’s on the RWA. It does not impact whether or not I consider this site worth visiting, because sometimes there’s some pretty nifty stuff posted here and there are rare, neat red-letter moments when I find myself sympatico with Jane.

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  38. Bonnie
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:21:40

    Robin, Kerry is uncomfortable because a couple of us remarked on the age old “do not buy” comment negatively. And, because of this, we didn’t see the rest of her comment.

    I admit, at this point, I don’t remember her original comment.

    I’m sorry.

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  39. Janine
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:26:56

    @A: Did you see my reply to you at #221?

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  40. Bonnie
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:28:48

    @A:

    I'm not the originator of this thread. LOL…I would never post my private correspondences on a blog.

    Of course not. Who would? But you’re getting pretty close to being as obnoxious as Rosie O’Donnell. Maybe worse because you’re anonymous.

    Who am I? None of your business. But then, I’m not a public figure.

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  41. Jane
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:39:07

    I’m off to bed soon and won’t be able to monitor the comments so I’m just going to close the thread.

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  42. Jane
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:39:44

    @kerry There were a lot of others who agreed with you (or have agreed with your sentiments in the past). Your comments are certainly not unwelcome and I am sorry if you felt that way.

    ReplyReply

  43. Dear Author’s uppity Jane Litte blackballed from Romance Writers of America | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 08:01:51

    [...] Jane Litte, who is to trashy romance novels what Molly Ivins was to the Bush family, has been blackballed by the Romance Writers of America. Whoops. Ron Hogan at Galley Cat gives RWA its well-deserved [...]

  44. Jane
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 11:39:52

    I am reopening the comments threads. I would ask (because I won’t be around to monitor these comments) that everyone try their best to not insult each other. Feel free to insult me, if you like, but try not to insult each other.

    ReplyReply

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    Nov 25, 2009 @ 11:52:16

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  46. RKB
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 12:24:21

    by Miss Kitty November 23rd, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Nice goes much farther than you might think. Mean gets you nowhere.

    Simon Cowell and many others would disagree with you.

    ReplyReply

  47. Natasha Fondren
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 16:26:40

    @Pearl Smith:

    “..those bad seeds who make living off of the industry and its contributors. Don't think you do? What would you do without authors and the books we publish? Absolutely nothing. Your site revolves around us and the industry. Not the other way around even though you tend to think so.

    Um, Pearl, no. The book industry does NOT revolve around authors; it revolves around readers. It starts and ends with the readers, is helped by individuals such as Jane, and thank God it benefits writers, or else we would be unable to continue to write stories for readers.

    And I’ve volunteered with Jane, years ago, at the RWA conference. She worked her ass off. Her contribution to the romance industry has not just been in facilitating readers finding more books to read.

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  48. anotheranon
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 18:08:53

    I know there was a BlackLace treesex book. Wild… something. one word title. Got an F review at AAR, IIRC. (searches for a moment)

    “But then, Avril’s not your normal landscaper. After all, if you saw a tree stump with ivy growing out of it that in the dark looked like a half-bull/half-man with a case of the hornies, would you shine a light on it, or would you approach it in the dark and do all sorts of dirty things with it? I’ve read probably two dozen erotic romances featuring all sorts of shapeshifters having sex with humans and it never seemed like beastiality. This does.”

    http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=6948 <- Wildwood. Is it okay to link to "competitor" sites?

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  49. Jane
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 18:15:06

    @anotheranon: Of course, and yes this is the book I was thinking of!

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  50. katiebabs
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 18:26:28

    @anotheranon: I have visions of the trees from The Wizard of Oz getting way too personal with Dorothy.

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  51. anotheranon
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 18:49:37

    @katiebabs I’m having really disturbing thoughts about those tree dudes in Lord of the Rings…

    And wouldn’t be like… Arboreality rather than beastiality? Bestiality implies animal kingdom, no?

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  52. katiebabs
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 18:52:14

    There’s an actual term for tree attraction is called Dendrophilia.

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  53. Shannon Stacey
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 18:55:46

    The fact you know that makes me want to ply you with alcohol and weasel your secret stories out of you.

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  54. Kasey Mackenzie
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 20:26:10

    The fact you know that makes me want to ply you with alcohol and weasel your secret stories out of you.

    LOL! As someone who hung out with a tipsy Katiebabs in the bar in DC, I can attest that she is tons of fun to try and weasel secret stories out of! =)

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  55. A
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 23:31:31

    @Janine:
    Thanks to Jane for reopening the thread.

    @A: Did you see my reply to you at #221?

    I did read your response, Janine. I appreciate your response, and I empathize with several points you made.

    It doesn’t alter my opinion, however. The DNF reviews alone strike me as “odd” and lacking in professionalism, and it does not help that some of those reviews are worded in a fashion clearly meant to mock the author and/or the author’s work.

    Imagine if I told you, “I’m responding to your post, but I did not bother to read your entire post because I found your form of expression stupid/boring/unpalatable/unreadable/lacking in whatever way.”

    Would you honestly credit anything I had to say about your comments after that?

    My less-than-rosy view of DA does not stem exclusively from the DNF reviews and the rude/mocking reviews; they were simply the first thing alerting me that maybe the site wasn’t quite so “wonderful” as a colleague insisted it was.

    I observed at least two of the “fail” threads, and I was appalled by the ensuing circus of “Let’s Rip the Author/Book/Editor/Publisher to SHREDS because So-and-So dislikes the book.”

    It’s interesting to note that this site does seem to attract an element that really enjoys doing exactly that.

    In short, the DNF reviews are not the ONLY thing I view as “not all good” in the Land of the Ja(y)nes; it was merely the first “warning.”

    I was also recently touched when an author commented that she learned a lot from a DNF review I did of her book. So obviously, these reviews have value to some, even if not to everyone.

    You could have easily attained this same degree of influence via private correspondence which (in my opinion) is the more professional thing to do. RWA offered Jane Litte that much courtesy and professionalism. It’s sad to imagine that, given the excessive criticism RWA has received at this site, the site’s own webmistress isn’t capable of maintaining a comparable standard of professionalism with personal matters. And it is a personal matter. Jane Litte’s membership in RWA has nothing to do with her aspirations as a pro-reader book reviewer.

    Again, this isn’t about “right” or “wrong.” It’s about what one perceives as credible and professional. Clearly DA does have a readership who is fine with this. I’m just going to assume that a person like myself is not DA’s target audience.

    Multiple elements in DA convince me that not only is DA a “pro reader” site, it is actively “anti-author.” Unless, of course, DA really likes the author. I don’t judge DA and its contributors for being anti-author; they have the right to be anti-author if they choose. But I’m not going to pretend I don’t see it and pretend I don’t understand why an organization like RWA may have decided Jane isn’t qualified for membership.

    With all that said, I believe the Ja(y)nes have a purpose and they do their best to live up to it. I think in some ways they do a great job and in others, they could do better. I don’t view that as a problem. DA isn’t a popularity contest to the best of my knowledge.

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  56. A
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 23:53:36

    @Bonnie:

    @A:

    I'm not the originator of this thread. LOL…I would never post my private correspondences on a blog.

    Of course not. Who would? But you're getting pretty close to being as obnoxious as Rosie O'Donnell. Maybe worse because you're anonymous.

    Who am I? None of your business. But then, I'm not a public figure.

    Bonnie, how do I say this? I don’t care if you think I’m obnoxious. I don’t care if my anonymity offends you. Your approval is not my goal.

    Even if your approval was my goal, however, this thread is not about me; it concerns RWA’s intent not to retain Jane’s membership which, according to Jane, Jane did not intend to renew, but for reasons unknown felt compelled to share RWA’s letter with DA.

    Edited by Jane because I requested the commenters not insult each other. A I think I’ve warned you numerous times. I’m now placing you in moderation and will be editing future comments.

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  57. A
    Nov 26, 2009 @ 00:01:04

    @Jane:

    I am reopening the comments threads. I would ask (because I won't be around to monitor these comments) that everyone try their best to not insult each other. Feel free to insult me, if you like, but try not to insult each other.

    Persecution complex much?

    You’re going to be fine, Jane. Really. I want to tell you something I really love about DA. It’s the least I can do since I’ve said plenty about what I don’t like.

    I like that you read. I like that you offer good, “meaty” reviews sometimes. It’s always a pleasure to read one of your more enthusiastic or even temperate reviews.

    I admire your effort with DA. In fact, exploring DA is probably a lot like reading a good book — not a great book, but a good one that isn’t quite what you want it to be but it has its moments.

    I’m not sure if the RWA “rejection letter” bugged you more than you’re saying it did and you posted it at DA seeking validation from sycophants and readers alike. If so…Don’t sweat the small stuff. Many people care about and respect the work you do. If you are comfortable with your own performance and give DA your best, at the end of the day you answer to you more than anyone.

    Have a great holiday.

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  58. Karen Scott
    Nov 26, 2009 @ 05:35:28

    @Pearl Smith:

    I love it when karma comes back and slaps a person in their face. I'm actually loving the “change” RWA seems to be instituting by getting rid of those bad seeds who make living off of the industry and its contributors.

    Don't think you do? What would you do without authors and the books we publish? Absolutely nothing. Your site revolves around us and the industry. Not the other way around even though you tend to think so.

    Hey, is that you Jamaica?

    Just kidding, of course it’s not Jamaica Layne, she wouldn’t stoop so low as to pretend to be someone else would she? Erm.. never mind.

    Anyway, you sound rather bitter my darling, what did Jane do to you? It’s ok, you can tell me. I promise I wont tell a soul.

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  59. Lori
    Nov 26, 2009 @ 13:26:01

    Something I don’t understand about this is why would RWA ban someone for what’s said on Twitter? Jane on Twitter is Jane, not DA, not a professional well… anything.

    Even if Twitter is a social network, it’s still not a professional thread. Does this mean that RWA is watching what everyone says on Twitter and if the wrong thing is said by an author does that mean they can be banned also?

    My best friend and I trash books we’ve read in private conversations. Can we be kicked out for not supporting the genre?

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  60. Carolyn
    Nov 26, 2009 @ 13:53:16

    Multiple elements in DA convince me that not only is DA a “pro reader” site, it is actively “anti-author.” Unless, of course, DA really likes the author. I don't judge DA and its contributors for being anti-author; they have the right to be anti-author if they choose.

    I’ve never noticed that DA is anti-author. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. But then, I’m just a reader and as a reader I appreciate warnings about badly written books or books posing as romance.

    Just because you (generic) are published, doesn’t necessarily mean you (generic) are a good writer. With all the romances out there, I appreciate a heads up. With examples. Oh lord – with examples!!

    Is it that the ‘published’ part is more important and because a person is published they are above the bad writing and the ridiculous story lines? With the number of romances that are released, a reader needs all the help she can get. I’ve never seen a review here that ripped the author. Only the book.

    On the opposite side of the coin, without DA I would never have discovered The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, or Flowers From the Storm or Lord of Scoundrels, to name a few. Because I wasn’t into romance when many of them were published. And I appreciate more than I can say being pointed in their direction.

    I also appreciate being warned about the dross, and I would think anybody would feel this way, be they reader or reader/writer.

    JMHO.

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  61. Carol Thomas
    Nov 27, 2009 @ 05:16:01

    As a former librarian, my conditioning tempts me to automatically condemn anything that looks like censorship. But I am not an RWA member – I lack the creative imagination needed to be a writer of fiction – and I am not in a position to judge the validity of the RWA’s action.

    The letter you reproduced, though, cites the phrase, “supporting the organization” as a requirement for membership. In my view, “support” involves more than “praise,” with which the letter seems to equate it. “Support” may require individuals to speak out against practices they feel will ultimately be detrimental to the organizations or groups to which they belong. In that sense, criticism can also be a means of support. It is regrettable, and sometimes self-destructive, when such organizations fail to recognize this.

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  62. Nora Roberts
    Nov 27, 2009 @ 08:33:37

    Pearl and Natasha:

    I’d say the books industry revolves around books–the writing of them, the selling of them, the reading of them. So to my mind, that means it revolves around writers and readers.

    One can’t get very far without the other.

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  63. Natasha Fondren
    Nov 27, 2009 @ 12:34:45

    @Nora Roberts:
    I have a total fangirl crush on my readers and I write specifically for them, but that’s a good point, LOL. I guess it’s kinda like making babies. :-)

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  64. Edie
    Nov 27, 2009 @ 16:53:12

    It is a bit chicken and egg..

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  65. silvia
    Nov 28, 2009 @ 02:29:25

    Absolutely ridiculous. Review sites like this one should be applauded, not excluded.

    There are many, MANY sites out there that review not just books but clothing, food, and other household products that constantly churn out bland or inappropriately positive reviews of substandard product, and those are the blogs that should recieve some serious critisism — for serving the public, the consumers, poorly and unfaithfully.

    Review sites should not be geered towards cheerleading any and all products for sale, regardless of quality.

    This is the thing: An honest review site with constructive criticism is not anti-author because it is pro-reader. Users will trust and act on positive reviews at that kind of site, because they know the author writes negative ones. What is a positive review worth to an author, on a site that only says glowing things about every single book? Why would a reader trust this site? That’s like if all newspaper movie critics said every movie coming out was perfect and 4! stars! Why would you even read the articles or care what movies they suggested to you? Movies can really benefit from positive press, because negative press widely exists. You need one to make the other have significance. That’s what the RWA is not getting… Dear Author IS supportive.

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  66. A
    Nov 28, 2009 @ 22:22:10

    @silvia:

    Absolutely ridiculous. Review sites like this one should be applauded, not excluded.

    So far as I can tell, Dear Author is not excluded from anything.

    Review sites should not be geered towards cheerleading any and all products for sale, regardless of quality.

    I agree books are subject to criticism. Book reviews–written for the public–are also subject to criticism. Not all review/ers are created equal, just as all books are not created equal.

    An honest review site with constructive criticism is not anti-author because it is pro-reader.

    This is absolutely true. Being pro-reader does not mean one is anti-author. Being anti-author means one is anti-author, regardless of clever labeling.

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  67. Dear Author: Digital Books from the Consumer’s POV | Digital Book World
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 21:04:03

    [...] Jane Litte is a lawyer, an avid eBook reader, and the co-founder of the popular (and sometimes controversial) DearAuthor.com, “a romance review blog by readers for readers”. If you’re a romance author or publisher, you want her to love your book, and probably cringe at the thought of being featured in the notorious #romfail tweets that led to the Romance Writers Association not renewing her membership. [...]

  68. WTF?
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 23:03:34

    That is ridiculous of RWA not to renew your membership. Someone tattled to the teacher and they tried to slap your hands.

    Stupid move on their part. RWA’s tactics bodes of censorship.

    My TBR shelf and nook are full of recs from Dear Author AND other book review sites. At least I know I can get an honest review of a book here and monitor feedback from the readers and authors.

    Even bad reviews don’t put me off buying a book if I find the plot somewhat interesting. I’ll buy it and decide for myself if it was a stinker or not. Keep, donate, sell, or delete. I decide.

    I haven’t noticed any anti-author campaigns going on much less pro-author.

    One last thing just in the interest of water safety. Did you have a life jacket on in the canoe? They do tend to get in the way. ;) Kayaks are a challenge… Will I get chachblocked now? Do I really give a rats ass?

    Bend Over RWA. I’m taking my toys and going home…but I’ll always come back to DA.

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  69. Tuesday Midday Links: RWA Tips Hints and other stuff | Dear Author
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 10:00:51

    [...] is coming up and even though I have been degowned (as opposed to defrocked) I am going to meet up with editors, authors, publicists, and other [...]

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