I rarely post twice in one day, but I did a little bloghopping and the mood struck, so here goes…
RWA’s criteria is as follows:
- A RITA-eligible publisher is defined as a non-subsidy, non-vanity publisher that has released books on a regular basis via national distribution for a minimum of one year and has sold a minimum of 1,500 hardcover/trade paperback copies or 5,000 copies of any other format of a single fiction book or a novella or collection of novellas in book form.
I’m not so sure the reason RWA gave for asking publishers to re-qualify was the truth. Sounds to me like they wanted to clean a lot of publishers out and were maybe HOPING to catch a certain one in the net, too.
In any case, it’s way too arbitrary. If you’re going to have requirements, state them all. If book size is a consideration, put it in the requirements. If re-qualifying each year is a requirement (like paying dues is for us) then give the publisher their re-up date deadline so that they have plenty of notice and can gather the info ahead of time. Having more approved publishers is a plus all around, isn’t it?
Is it so hard to be THOROUGH when making decisions that affect 9000 members? Seems to me we’ve had too many knee-jerks in the last year, especially. Why not have a list of criteria and the publisher has to meet 60% or 80% of the requirements in order to qualify.
- Must be able to sell (# of copies) of at least one book during a calendar year.
- Publisher’s Contract with Author falls within acceptable RWA guidelines.
- Must distribute books within brick-and-mortar stores.
- Must distribute books with at least one national distributor.
- Must be open to submissions.
Maybe include a requirement about regular distribution of royalties accompanied by an earnings statement, etc… etc. (These are just off the top of my head – and others may have much better criteria.)
Then the publisher has to meet 4 out of 5 criteria, or 3 out of 5. Maybe one could be deemed a ‘must have’ criteria.
In any case, this is just one idea, but surely if the board put their collective heads together they could come up with a fairer assessment of who should be a recognized publisher. What is the intent of having RWA recognized publishers anyway? Surely it’s not to let as few members into the ‘Pubbed Club’ as possible???
I’ve seen too many people sell multiple books and novellas, receive regular royalty checks, schedule book signings, publish a website and do publicity only to be told by RWA they’re still not considered published. It’s sad, that in an industry where we’re innundated with rejection that we have yet another “R” from our own organization.