Selah March

December 8, 2005

In Which No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

**UPDATE THE SECOND: 12-12-05
Again, please check the Haloscan comments for two separate posts by author/editor Terese Ramin on this issue. Ms. Ramin makes some good points, asks some good questions, and makes a few exceedingly reasonable requests.

Thanks to her for commenting.
~Selah


*UPDATE: 12-9-05
Check out the Haloscan comments (as in, NOT Blogger comments) below for a note from Gail Northman, Executive Editor at Triskelion. She clarifies some details of the arrangement between the publishing company and the authors of BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED.

Thank you, Ms. Northman, for taking the time to comment.
~Selah

* * *

I’m sure there are two sides to the story. There always are, right?

And there are so many other, more important things about which to feel weary and sickened and angry. People dying, children hungry, families torn apart by a stupid, meaningless war…

But I’d hoped for better.

Triskelion Publishing, a small press and electronic publisher, put out a book called BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED. Some of the authors contributing to the book — and remember, this is just a partial list — were Mary Jo Putney, MaryJanice Davidson, Alesia Holliday, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Gena Showalter.

The book did well. So well, in fact, that Triskelion was able to apply for RWA recognition based on its sales numbers.

The results of this application can be found here and here and here, on author Ellen Fischer’s blog.

There was an initial tussle over “but…but…it’s not really ROMANCE!” that was effectively squelched when the Board was reminded that a Chick Lit novel won the RITA this year.

Then there was something iffy about how maybe BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED isn’t really a novel, or even an anthology of novellas, but merely a grouping of short stories because of the length of each offering by the different authors. And yet each section in the book is delineated as a “chapter” and NOT a separate story, which, to me, would indicate that the book IS a novel written by all the authors listed, much like a book written by two authors — like, for instance, the upcoming release from Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer.

But, apparently, what it finally comes down to is that because Triskelion chose to give away the proceeds from BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEVAMPYRED to charity, the book is ineligible for recognition. At least, that’s the case according to someone or a group of someones at RWA.

And I can TOTALLY see the logic behind that. Because…you know…you let ONE small press/epublisher get away with giving away profits to the less fortunate among us and reaping the reward of the coveted RWA Recognition, and soon ALL the small press/epubs will just be THROWING cash at the Red Cross…the Salvation Army…criminy, AIDSWork won’t know what to DO with all the money…the Children’s Defense Fund will be sending the cash BACK…

Like I said, I’d hoped for better from the new RWA Board of Directors. In this case, holding to the letter of the law instead of its spirit seems, at best, short-sighted and stupid. At worst? Punitive. Spiteful. More concerned with looking good than doing good.

And heaven knows, the RWA is looking SO good these days, aren’t we?

God bless us, every one.

9 Comments »

  1. I read about this on somebody’s blog, and I thought of you straight away!! Lol!!

    Comment by Karen Scott — December 8, 2005 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  2. Yes, Karen, I’m nothing if not predictable… :p

    Comment by Selah March — December 8, 2005 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  3. I’m repeating myself, but…

    The way things are laid out about the royalties, I think RWA is in the wrong.

    But the book isn’t a romance. And it doesn’t MATTER if a chick-lit book won the Rita. Those are apples and oranges. If Triskelion tries again, and achieves recognition, ALL Trisk books could enter the appropriate Rita category (assuming they fit), whether those particular books are classified as romance or not.

    But the one book that gets them recognition has to be a romance.

    Comment by Natalie Damschroder — December 9, 2005 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

  4. This makes an interesting and salient point, Natalie.

    I’m off to buy the book to see if I’d consider it “Romance” — the formal defining of which I believe the organization has put on hold, at least for the time being, no?

    Comment by Selah March — December 9, 2005 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  5. I honestly don’t get all this angst over RWA recognition, the second class citizen discrimination, etc.

    Who cares what RWA thinks about you as a writer as long as you’re happy and fulfilled as a writer? How can a lousy PAN membership suddenly make you fulfilled and legitimate as a writer if you don’t feel that yourself without any external recognitions? External recognitions, etc. are nice to have, but not something you must have to be happy.

    BTW — I find it interesting that Triskelion was able to put out books with such blockbuster names in romance by promising to donate all proceeds to charity and now using the book to qualify for RWA recognition. If it had been a regular book, would Triskelion have been able to attract Mary Jo Putney, Mary Janice Davidson, etc? I think not.

    Comment by Angelle Trieste — December 11, 2005 @ 3:29 am | Reply

  6. Hmm… one of the reasons it probably did well is because it was covered when it comes to marketing at the RWA conference last summer. I still have a postcard announcing it somewhere.

    Comment by Annalee Blysse — December 13, 2005 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

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