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Should I Renew My RWA Membership?

January 8, 2013

Renewal time has come for me and I find myself seriously asking if I should renew or not. I’ve been a member of RWA for a few years now and as I think it over, the only things I have gotten out of my enrollment fee were a discount to the RT Convention and a monthly magazine.  It doesn’t seem worth it anymore.

Which is why I’ve decided to ask you all for your opinions. Should I renew my RWA membership? What do you get out of belonging to RWA? Do they actually do anything for you? Provide any kind of helpful service? I literally get a magazine from them once a month. That is it. So I’m wondering what else they do and how I can—if it is even possible—maximize my investment.

Maybe a lot of my problem is that my local RWA chapter is a joke. I’ve never met the ‘president,’ she doesn’t participate in any of the online forum discussions, in fact the forum is nothing more than two people’s person promo space. I get messages like, “I’ve written a blog post! Come check it out!” I wish I was kidding. I am not.

They also don’t hold meetings because it might snow. Snow is very dangerous even when it doesn’t snow at all. Because it could. It was in the forecast for the week after all, so maybe we shouldn’t chance it. And when they do hold meetings, it is a bunch of women sitting in the B&N coffee shop talking about how maybe they’d like to get published one day. Possibly. If they can find the time. No speakers. No workshops. No exchange of ideas.

So I’m really, really wondering, what does RWA do for me? What do I get for my $95 other than the ability to say, “I belong to RWA”?

I’d love for you all to tell me if you would what you get out of your membership. Because I’m sure there are things that I’m missing. There have to be. It can’t all just be a magazine subscription. Right?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2013 4:13 pm

    I’m prejudiced here — I’m president of our local chapter in Orange County for 2013. We have almost 200 members, and on average 70 or so come per meeting. It’s a wonderful group, and we do have speakers every month — really good ones. I’m totally spoiled in that matter. So it’s much, much different.

    But have you made suggestions? Maybe to do more?

    • January 8, 2013 4:19 pm

      You are very lucky. Emily Cale and I actually discussed staging a coup, but it would require a lot of time and an immense amount of effort and I honestly believe people would not thank us for it.

      I’d actually love to remain a member of RWA, I’d just like to get something out of it and I don’t how to do that or even what opportunities exist.

  2. January 8, 2013 4:24 pm

    That’s really unfortunate, regarding the lack of a local presence. I wish I lived closer to my chapter. I personally came close to not renewing my membership there as I don’t have the opportunity to attend their events and monthly meets.

    If anything, the occasional free and discounted workshops, are how I justify the cost.

    In the end, if it isn’t working for you, money is money, and during a time of economic hardship $95 is a lot of money that can be spent elsewhere.

    • January 8, 2013 9:40 pm

      I’m just wondering if there is more that I can get for my $95 than a monthly magazine. I’m trying to figure out what exactly RWA does for me and I can’t think of any answers.

  3. January 8, 2013 6:25 pm

    I haven’t joined RWA – matter of finances right now unfortunately.
    But if the local chapter is doing nothing, I’d opt out and perhaps stay with the national. Perhaps the local one will regroup.

    • January 8, 2013 9:39 pm

      It is the national that I have the option of renewing at the moment. I’m seriously wondering if it is worth it. Maybe there are benefits I am just not seeing? Perks I just don’t know about?

  4. January 8, 2013 6:51 pm

    I’ve been an RWA member forEVAH. I get NOTHING out of it anymore. RWA doesn’t recognize me as a published author, despite five books with three publishers. One of those books was a RITA entry. Essentially RWA told me, yeah, okay, we’ll take your $40 to enter our contest, but we don’t actually recognize you as a published author because your book is too short. How does that work, for you? I’ll tell you how it works for me. Take your ridiculous PRO pin and stick it.

    • January 8, 2013 9:42 pm

      Yes, as an ebook author I know what a second-class citizen I am in the organization. I am quite aware of their disdain. Are you still a member Taryn? What made you decide to renew?

      • January 8, 2013 10:27 pm

        I am still a member. I renew because I must in order to remain member of my local chapter. When I started out, as a newbie, I formed invaluable friendships and learned invaluable lessons from my local chapter. I learned so much, grew so much as a writer — all because of the local chapter. But I think my local chapter’s a lot different than the chapter I loved for many years. Or, maybe I have changed. But I gave a lot to the chapter over the years and I don’t feel it gives me much back anymore. I just don’t have time for the gag-me-with-a-spoon kissy face stuff it seems to be mainly about now. So…unless it ends up that I want to go to National — and if it’s going to be in Kansas or wherever, that’s not remotely likely — I am leaning toward not re-upping.

  5. January 8, 2013 8:47 pm

    I’m not a member anymore although I did really love my local chapters in Phoenix and Omaha! But finances vs what I actually get out of it when I could attend the meetings…finances won out. It’s a personal decision. But for me, it’s the authors I know and connect with on a daily basis that make a difference in my writing life. Not an organization.

    • January 8, 2013 9:45 pm

      I agree Kathleen and I have meet some of the most wonderful authors through Twitter and FB, totally independent of RWA. As a romance author I have been told since the very first manuscript I submitted that I MUST be a member of RWA. I’m just trying to figure out why. Because for the life of me, I have no idea what they even do for me. What are the benefits of my membership? I can’t seem to figure that out.

  6. January 8, 2013 9:54 pm

    Well, if I wasn’t a board member of YARWA I wouldn’t be a member of RWA at all. I get absolutely nothing out of it. Since the convention we went to together I’ve had nothing to do with them… Which sucks.
    RWA Australia is pretty crappy too. I’ve never met anyone through it, doubt I ever will.
    And that, my friend, is my two cents 😛

    • January 8, 2013 11:48 pm

      I appreciate your two cents! Thank you. After that conference, I pretty much decided that I was not going to do the RWA conference ever again. I like RT so much better and you don’t have to be an RWA member to go.

      What you said – I get absolutely nothing out of it – I’m afraid that is just the simple, total truth. I was hoping there were things that I just didn’t know about, perks and benefits I had somehow overlooked, but I’m beginning to see that my money doesn’t buy me a single damn thing. Hell, they don’t even have a snazzy membership card.

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