Thursday, April 2, 2009

RWA, MWA, LIM, EPIC, NY - What These Initials Mean To Me

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I seriously wrote fiction after a presentation by Chicago-North RWA at our local library in which the members told everyone how they got their start. Listening to them made me realize that authors are real people. If I tried hard enough, maybe I could be like them and get published.

I joined the chapter, made some wonderful friends, and learned a lot about writing from critiques and conversations. I served as secretary, manuscript chairperson, president, then chapter advisor.

Chicago-North RWA is one big reason I finally got my first publishing contract in 2006. So, Romance Writers of America, RWA, does mean a lot to me - yet, again, it's a source of disappointment. Not my local chapter, but the national organization which goes out of its way to protect NY publishers and snubs many small presses who valiantly struggle to make a decent livelihood and support their authors.

MWA - When I first started writing, the first conference I attended was Of Dark and Stormy Night held by MWA, Mystery Writers of America. There I learned that mystery authors were a different breed than romance authors, yet just as viable. Then I went to LIM, Love Is Murder, another great mystery conference, where I met Janice Strand, my Senior Editor at Hard Shell Word Factory. That meeting resulted in a contract for Two Wrongs and later for Girl of My Dreams .

MWMWA, the Midwest Chapter of MWA is very dynamic, with wonderful and sharing members. I'm glad to serve as Library Liaison for them, gathering up photos and info into a bulletin and e-mailing it quarterly to the libraries. Still, I'm disappointed in the national MWA organization, which leans toward elitism instead of accepting all published authors as equal.

EPIC - Electronically Published Internet Connection - I can't say enough good things about this organization which recognizes all authors published electronically. No discrimination there, just acceptance into the fold.

NY - New York - What can I say. On the one hand, I'd love to get a book published with a NY publisher, get a great advance and better distribution. On the other hand, I like being with an independent publisher and getting more say in my finished product.

One thing I've noticed. If you're also an author, you may have noticed this as well. Readers don't ask what publishing house you're with. They just want to know how to get your books. So, make it as easy as possible for them to find out. One way is by including buy links when you mention your books, as I did above.

What other ways do you use to get your books known? What's your take on writing organizations? Please share.

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Morgan Mandel
http://www.morganmandel.com/
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com/

19 comments :

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. I want to add a link to a friend's book coming out soon for Children's fiction, but I am "blog challenged" and have no idea how to add the links. Does Blogspot show how to do this?

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  2. Blogger is very easy to deal with. Basically, you go to the dashboard where you post new posts. Click on LAYOUT then ADD A GADGET. You can do all sorts of things, from adding links and book covers to adding banner ads and video.

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  3. Hit send too soon. Morgan, this is such a great post, with the pros and cons nicely spelled out. Thanks for sharing it. I'll have to check out your blog more often.

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  4. Brava!

    I've come to feel the same way about national organizations being elitist and not recognizing the worth smaller, independent publishes have. As long as the story/book is good--the reader doesn't care! I haven't met one peson who has said: "I only read HarperCollins books," or whatever. There is a *world* full of people wanting to read good, entertaining books. But those national organizations "of America" have yet to realize this and that's their loss.

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  5. I see Brenna answered Christine's question and the answer looks right to me. Thanks, Brenna.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
    http://blogtalkradio.com/booksandblogs

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  6. Thanks for the advice! I appreciate it. And I also enjoyed the pros/cons of the organizations we belong to as well. I am an RWA member and love my local chapters, but I had shied away from e-publishers for querying based on the cons listed if, please, someone take a chance on my books. But after a lot of thought about it, I've decided it's about getting the story out there and letting people discover it--regardless of the venue. After the first draft, I'm not doing multiple revisions for me, I'm doing it for other people (future). Why revise if I limit my options?


    I've been lurking here quite a bit and I enjoy all the posts. Great blog.

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  7. Brava, Morgan! What a great article.

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  8. You hit so many points right on the money. Well said. And you are absolutely right, readers don't care about the publisher, they just want to find the right book. Making it easy for them to find a small press/epress book is our challenge.

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  9. Christine,

    The truth is, there's a lot of "sky is falling" stories about indie/e, but you really can do well there. If you'd like them, I have articles about finding a reputable indie/e publisher on my blog. It's worth a look, at any rate.

    Brenna

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  10. Christine, if you google "Blogger how-to" you'll get a couple of YouTube videos that might be useful for newcomers to Blogger. FYI.

    As to organizations, my suggestion is to join one regional one for a year to see how you like it. That gives you an opportunity to connect with folks in person if you'd like to.

    Dani
    http://twitter.com/blogbooktours

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  11. SCBWI. I owe years of inspiration to this organization for children's book writers and illustrators. Thanks for sharing your favorite initials.

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  12. Thanks Brenna. I am going to follow your blog and research this more closely. I just made PRO and I feel I have so much more growing to do professionally. This is the first foray into that realm.

    And thanks for the newbie blogger info with YouTube videos. Another good thing to know!

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  13. Enjoyed the blog. I hope organizations will begin to recognize the smaller publishers one of these days in order to better represent all their members.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton
    http://janekennedysutton.blogspot.com/

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  14. Good point, Jane.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

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  15. My faves are Story Circle Network, www.storycircle.org and International Women's Writing Guild, www.iwwg.org. I've met wonderful teachers and their conferences are great for networking.

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  16. Organizations can both help and hinder authors, but it's how the authors used their information and groups to help more. Organizations I have joined have helped me. For one, meeting other authors in all facets of publishing that I can asked questions and get to know answers. And there's something about being part of authors/editors organizations that is good for an author--others who understand where said author is going though, etc..

    Pamela K. Kinney aka Sapphire Phelan
    http://FantasticDreams.50megs.com

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  17. LOL, that's a lot of letters! I, as a reader, could care less who or where a book comes from, if a story is good, that's all that matters to me.
    Great post, Morgan!

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  18. Good info, Morgan. I'm just getting started in writing and have been wondering if I should join some of these organizations.

    Can non-MWA members attend the MWMWA meetings? Can anyone join the MWMWA forum board? I live in IL.

    Neko Kin

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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