I joined RWA only three years ago. That means I don't have much of a history or understanding of a lot of the political ins and outs of the organization.
History? I don't need no stinking history.*** I have a secret weapon: my critique partner Marie Tuhart.
Marie has been a RWA member for many years and is blessed with a looonnnnggggg memory. She had a post on her blog for July 17th here that I thought was very interesting. Since she stores her posts by week, you'll need to scroll down to the one titled "RWA's New Rules," but it's worth a read.
Marie Of the Long Memory says that, some years ago, RWA tried to charge publishing houses a $3,000 flat fee to send as many editors to RWA National as they wanted.
I don't know what the conference fees were at that time, but let's say $300 for a round number (so I don't have to actually do math). That flat fee would have required a publisher to send TEN editors to break even.
I'm sure Harlequin and the bigger houses probably do send ten people to RWA National. But it's unlikely smaller houses would send that many staff to RWA National. And, as far as e-publishers go, some e-publishers probably don't even have ten employees in total.
I'm not surprised that this initiative didn't fly. Complaints from publishers and RWA members stopped the RWA Board from pursuing it.
Marie speculates that RWA may be revisiting this flat fee issue via the backdoor by making e-publishers non-eligible through the new definition and requiring them to pay for admittance to National.
If so, that's pretty diabolical.
Trust me, if you have a question about RWA, Marie Tuhart is your man . . . um . . . lady . . . um . . . the person you want to ask.
*** Apologies to Humphrey Bogart and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but I like the Blazing Saddles version of the line better.