Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Outgrown ourselves?

I've been musing occasionally in the past few weeks about the RWA problems, and the recent column on RTB in which Tara Gelsomino from Romantic Times sought feedback about the magazine, and it seems to me that perhaps romance as a genre is just too big and diverse to expect any one organisation - or magazine - to be able to cover it.

Given that romance books make up 55% of all mass market paperback sales in the US (and similar in other countries), and there are over 2000 new titles each year, it's way bigger than most other genres put together.

Would it be so bad if there was more than one writers' organisation, catering to different sections of the genre? The organisations would not have to be competitive with each other - RWA presumably maintains friendly relations with other writer's organisations in other genres, so why not in different branches of romance?

And, assuming there's a market for it, I think it could only be a good thing if there were more magazines catering to romance readers - one might be more fanzine, another more review focused, another could be more literary style - or whatever the readers want. Without trying to please all in one publication, which must surely be impossible. (Note: I've never read Romantic Times, because it isn't readily available here.)

Maybe one organisation can serve us all - I'm not sure. I wish I was able to go to the RWA conference in Reno to participate in the AGM, but unfortunately I can't. However, I've given a friend my proxy, so at least my vote will count if critical issues come up.

I wouldn't want to see a split of the organisation in anger - but perhaps we should be discussing and asking ourselves whether we have grown (and grown up) enough as a genre that we can establish friendly, co-operative but seperate organisations to support the members interests - and work collaboratively when appropriate to encourage growth in the broader genre.


THIS! Christine said...

As always Bron, thought provoking.
I think ultimately what you've suggested will happen, in a small way I think it's already begun.

The AGM will be very interesting, at least I hope so. Despite my own feelings about the Graphical Standards, once the dust had settled I found myself more outraged by the manner in which the board presented it. First one reason, then another, and then another.

Maybe all their (the board's) reasons were pertinent to their decision. But feeding those motivations to the membership piecemeal (as though trying to decide which reason would be more palatable) made me, and many others, suspect the motives and the validity of such.

Anyway, didn't mean to go off on a tangent.


Lyn Cash said...

i'm late reading this one, but have to say that your assessment is astute, as always. a family under one roof would suffocate from proximity with so many doing the same thing and never branching out without parental permission, and growth is nearly impossible unless all grow in the same direction as with RWA's and its affiliates' current set-up. so this makes perfect sense to me.