Thursday, April 10, 2008


So, I finally got around to applying for RWA PAN (Published Authors Network) status last week and received the congratulatory email yesterday. And I felt completely blah about it. Champagne didn't fall from the heavens. Doors didn't open. Velvet ropes didn't part. (I'm a Nicolas Cage fan.) Why? I don't see the tangible benefits of PAN. Seriously, what does the following statement mean:

The purpose of PAN is to establish within the RWA framework a network of communication and support to effectively promote and protect the interests of published romance authors; to open channels of communication between those romance authors and other publishing industry professionals; and to encourage professionalism on all levels and in all relationships within the publishing industry.

Very vague, isn't it? And, um, shouldn't RWA being doing this for ALL members?

The only thing I've heard about PAN is you get first pick at editors and agents at conferences. Unfortunately, I don't attend conferences. My Clark Kent-job schedule is hectic and even though I have 4 weeks of vacation, I have to schedule them around monthly closes, quarterly closes, and plan time, which stretches from May to September. My local RWA chapter organizes a conference every two years, but I've been snubbed by these people. (I contacted them three times about joining and they never replied. Since their 6 published authors are NY-pubbed, they might not want an e-pubbed author in their midst.) think that's the only benefit.

Oh, wait! I now get a link on the RWA Authors page. Woopee. Somehow, I don't think that's going to bring me the same amount of traffic as an ad on the Smart Bitches site.

Anyone care to correct me?

EDITED TO ADD: Coincidentally, JA Konrath is discussing writing organizations and their relevance.


Jennifer Dunne said...

Actually, your comment of "shouldn't RWA be doing this for ALL their members" directly explains why you don't get anything out of PAN.

PAN used to have its own newsletter, geared explicitly to published authors, their concerns, and their needs. The unpublished felt that it was filled with secret publishing handshake information unfairly being kept from them, so the newsletter was "folded into" the regular RWR. But the first time one of the published authors used the same tone as had been in PANdora's Box, and was jumped all over by unpubbed who thought she was ungrateful and a bad person, pretty much killed that idea.

Similarly, there used to be a PAN retreat, at the National conference, where speakers were chosen to explicitly address the concerns of published authors. Unpublished authors once again protested that secret information was being kept from them.

Even the PAN-only sessions at RWA conferences had to be removed, because someone protested that restricting them was discriminatory, and the industry professionals who were willing to talk honestly about some topics to published authors were not willing to talk about those same topics to unpublished authors.

Anonymous said...

secret publishing handshake information unfairly being kept from them

Seriously? I thought the publishing steps are:

1 - You write the story
2 - You edit the manuscript to within an inch of its life
3 - You submit to publisher
4 - Publisher accepts

Anonymous said...

Jennifer - I'm warning you now that I'm going to use your comment as the topic for another post. But I'll do it on my own blog so you ladies don't share in the backlash.

Amie Stuart said...

LOL I ONLY applied because my critique partner kept sending me the ap. My reaction to being "approved" was much the same as yours was.