Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My last post (and it's a shortie) on the RWA Conference

This afternoon all Romance Writers of America members who attended the recent conference in Reno received an e-mailed invitation to take part in an online post-conference survey. I clicked on the link just now and completed mine. It took just a couple of minutes, and I was very pleased with the questions that were asked and the abundance of white space that was provided for my comments.

Yes, they asked what I thought of the awards ceremony.

The survey was very nicely done, and I think it demonstrates that the RWA leadership is already making good on its promise to correct the mistakes that were made with regard to the awards ceremony.

You may be interested to know that only 2,100 of RWA's 9,000+ members actually attended the awards ceremony, and that a large portion of the bloggers and commenters who have been complaining about the video presentation never saw it with their own eyes. Further, some of the RWA board's (and particularly the RWA President's) most strident critics aren't even RWA members. I think that puts things into perspective.

I'm closing my file on this thing now. I just wanted to encourage all RWA members who were at the awards ceremony to participate in the survey and make their voices heard. The members who weren't in Reno can express their concerns about the botched program by writing to one of the board members.

As for the rest of you, please excuse us. This is a family matter.

19 comments:

Sharon said...

Precisely why I've never brought it up, or discussed it or offered an opinion...I wasn't there. And well, there's also the fact that I just don't care. There's a new right wing conspiracy every day you know. ;)

My bestest buddy went, and she didn't have much to say about it either other than complaining of how long it went.

Brenda Coulter said...

There's a new right wing conspiracy every day you know.

Oh, absolutely, Sharon. I'm surprised people even notice 'em anymore.
;-)

Anonymous said...

As a member of the right wing, I rememble that remark! :)

Actually, I wonder how many of the rabid complainers are just miffed they couldn't attend? :D

Mir

Anonymous said...

You may be interested to know that only 2,100 of RWA's 9,000+ members actually attended the awards ceremony, and that a large portion of the bloggers and commenters who have been complaining about the video presentation never saw it with their own eyes. Further, some of the RWA board's (and particularly the RWA President's) most strident critics aren't even RWA members. I think that puts things into perspective.

I have to disagree. Nora Roberts and Jenny Crusie along with several very well-known and highly visible writers have protested and criticized the presentation. I think that says a lot about the award ceremony.

Furthermore, given that the nature of the award show was semi-public -- anyone w/ a ticket could've seen it live -- I don't think non-members have no right to say anything.

After all, jurors don't need to see the actual crime being committed in order to have an opinion, do they?

Brenda Coulter said...

I can't agree with your suggestion that the opinions of "well-known and highly visible writers" are more valid than anyone else's--particularly when many of the "well-known and highly visible writers" (including Nora) were not there. (Jenny was there, and I was delighted when she won a RITA for her excellent Bet Me).

No, there's nothing wrong with having an opinion. I just don't like seeing people who were not there describing to others what happened that night and what the "agenda" was. Since you brought it up--no, jurors don't need to see the crime in order to convict a defendant. But heresay is not admissible evidence in court, is it?

Also, while you're correct that anyone with a ticket could have attended the event, the only way to get a ticket was to be a RWA member or the guest of one. The event was not open to the public.

Brenda Coulter said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry if I sounded a little abrupt there. I have no objection to honest, nonhysterical debates. Thanks for visiting my blog

Anonymous said...

As for the rest of you, please excuse us. This is a family matter.

Well, the thing is, if I understand correctly, family can't go on unless more family members are added to it. If you want to think of the RWA as family, that's fine. But unless you figure out a way to reproduce internally, your family is going to get smaller and smaller if new people aren't willing to join.

I don't know about most people, but I give careful consideration to joining any group, especially one that asks me to fork over some cash to do so. As a non-family member, I still have an interest in what goes on so I can decide if I want to "marry" into it. I need to know if I'll be a part of the Huxtables or the Waltons or the Sapranos because I will be associated with this family, too. My reputation might someday be on the line, so I do have a reason to stick my nose into the family business.

No, I wasn't there. No, I'm not an RWA member. But I can read. And I can form my own opinion. And if the RWA only wants family members that follow along blindly without questioning when things don't seem quite right, shutting out the opinions of all others who they haven't welcomed into the family bosom, then it's not really a family.

I'd actually call that a cult.

Brenda Coulter said...

Wow. We're talking about cults now?

...if the RWA only wants family members that follow along blindly without questioning when things don't seem quite right, shutting out the opinions of all others who they haven't welcomed into the family bosom...

Where are you getting all of this? You have entirely missed my point, which is:

1. Many (but by no means all) RWA members who attended the awards ceremony thought the video presentation was breathtakingly inappropriate.

2. Some of those who didn't like the program shrugged, said, "Well, that sure didn't go over well. I think we can safely assume RWA will never make those mistakes again," and moved on.

3. Others weren't satisfied with the explanations and apologies. They want Tara Taylor Quinn's head on a platter. All I've been saying here on this blog is that I believe those people have gone off the deep end.

4. And finally, I simply can't imagine why this issue would be of more than passing interest to people who are not RWA members. That is absolutely all I meant by the "family" reference.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, sometimes, people just want to find a reason to be ticked off.

I agree with you. People who aren't in RWA or who are't prospective joiners (ie, want to write romance and are thinking of joining) have no real reason to be interested in what is, really, in perspective, not all that big a deal.

I'm a member of RWA, and I just don't see this as that huge a deal. I'd much rather the energies be focused on getting more books sold and improving the skills of the membership and in getting writers more money and better contracts and in figuring out why the heck all the Regency lines are folding. I mean, are the readers really gone or is the marketing poop?

Oh, wait, I digressed. :D

Mir--misses Carla Kelly

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your remark about family. From what I read, it seems you are taking issue with those who are NOT RWA members discussing and, even worse, criticizing, an event that those same non-RWA members did not attend. That unless you are a member of RWA - a part of the "family" - you aren't welcome to voice an opinion, or if you weren't actually there, you have no right to even form an opinion.

And my response is simply that I don't think you have to be a current member of RWA to have a vested interest in what goes on there. If you have anything to do with the romance industry - now, near future, distant future - you would do wise to keep your ear to the ground when it comes to the largest professional organization reprenting romance novel writers.

Unfortunately, this past year has been my first of seriously considering joining RWA and the first year I've paid close attention to the goings-on behind those closed doors. And a few things have really bothered me, enough so that I've delayed joining the group. This last debacle - and loved it or hated it, you can't deny it wasn't controversial - is something I can't just ignore in light of other issues.

I think it comes down to that old saying of where there's smoke, there's usually fire. I'm just trying to keep from getting burned.

Brenda Coulter said...

I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your remark about family.

Thank you. But with respect, I'm guessing that today is the first time you've visited my blog, and that you followed a link and arrived here expecting to be offended by my remarks. That might explain why you keep misunderstanding and misstating my position. Of course you have a right to think about and discuss this issue. I've been discussing it with you, have I not?

If you're still considering joining RWA, I would urge you not to make too much out of all this. I don't believe a fiasco like this will be allowed to happen again. And we'll have a new board in just a few months, anyway.

I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Brenda,

Nora was supposed to emcee the event. She saw the original script. She also saw the revised script and still said no.

I don't understand why her opinion must be discounted because she wasn't there when she'd seen both versions of the script with her own eyes.

Her opinions aren't more valid because she's a highly visible writer. I was merely using Nora and Jenny as two examples to refute your statement that: "Further, some of the RWA board's (and particularly the RWA President's) most strident critics aren't even RWA members." It seems like Nora and Jenny are pretty harsh, especially when Nora made it very clear that she does NOT like TTQ anymore after this and that she feels manipulated and lied to by TTQ. (If you don't believe me, go to http://www.adwoff.com to read Nora's comments on this fiasco.)

Would you have preferred the original script with the 911 footage (with the towers collapsing) and Columbine massacre and Oklahoma bombing? AS a person who saw the twin towers get struck and collapse with her own eyes outside her office window, I don't. I bet other people wouldn't, either. So this begs the question: What in the world were the award ceremony committee and TTQ thinking?

If they don't have the common sense to figure out that the video was inapproriate, can we trust them, esp. TTQ the President of RWA, to lead RWA? These things concern me because I'm a due paying member of RWA, and I care even if I hadn't seen the entire video with my own eyes.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no heresay. It's all about testimony -- after all, it's OK for the court to accept testimonies from witnesses for murder trials. I'm quite sure it's acceptable to accept testimonies from other members who were at the ceremony.

There is no mass hysteria. The only thing I want to know is where's TTQ's official statement? She was the board award ceremony liaison who told the board members that everything was going great. Why hadn't she resigned instead of issuing conflicting statements which are causing even more confusion and raising more questions?

Brenda Coulter said...

Sorry. I'm finished talking about this subject now. I'll leave the comments open so you all can discuss this among yourselves, but I have houseguests arriving this afternoon and I just don't have time to answer any more of these arguments.

Wishing everyone the best. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Candy said...

"You may be interested to know that only 2,100 of RWA's 9,000+ members actually attended the awards ceremony, and that a large portion of the bloggers and commenters who have been complaining about the video presentation never saw it with their own eyes. Further, some of the RWA board's (and particularly the RWA President's) most strident critics aren't even RWA members. I think that puts things into perspective."

OK, OK, hang on here--if you apply this kind of logic to ANY other area of one's life, you realize that what you're setting up is a situation in which it'd be impossible to offer an informed opinion on anything except one witnessed it/experienced it onself or belonged to the pertinent organization, right?

That means unless Mir is or was formerly a Muslim, her criticisms about how it's a "false religion" can and should be completely discounted.

Unless someone has witnessed, performed or had an abortion, their opinions on the issue are moot.

A police investigator's work is completely meaningless unless he witnessed the crime himself.

Archaeology and forensic sciences are worthless fields, since their work requires reconstruction of events that happened in the past to which they did not bear witness. And in the case of archaelogy, pretty much no possibility of eyewitnesses!

My point: It's perfectly possible to have an informed opinion about something one hasn't witnessed. It's also possible to have an informed opinion about a group or an individual within the group, even if one is not a member. Otherwise, by this logic, people can't say diddly about the Democrats, Republicans, NOW, KKK, ACLU, Focus on the Family, etc. unless they were members themselves.

Anonymous said...

I read TTQ's statement shortly after the conference was over. If anyone missed it, I'm sure it must be posted somewhere. I got it through an RWA chapter email.

I'm just saying that those who haven't heard both sides should at least consider they don't have the whole story and seek out the other side.

And while I agree with Nora and Jenny that the content was inappropriate, it's still hardly the biggest offense, and it's not related to writing. So, this shouldn't keep folks from joining RWA.

And when it comes to matters of deciding whether a religion is false or true, that's not an appropriate analogy, since one can read the primary documents and make philosophical inquiries thereby. :) One doesn't have to murder to decide murder is wrong. One doesn't have to join Al-Qaeda to decide Al-Qaeda is evil. I don't have to strangle my little niece to decide morally/philosophically that killing a five year old is pretty nasty.

And yes, one can comment on the RWA award ceremony without having been there or being part of RWA, but one would wonder why one would be so concerned to post several times if one is not a member of RWA, that's all.
Mir

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Brenda. I think some people show up just cause they wanna argue. :)

Candy said...

"I read TTQ's statement shortly after the conference was over."

So did I. I read Nora Roberts' detailed rebuttal; she pointed out many, many inconsistencies in TTQ's statement.

"And when it comes to matters of deciding whether a religion is false or true, that's not an appropriate analogy, since one can read the primary documents and make philosophical inquiries thereby."

How is this much different from reading first-person accounts of what happened at the awards ceremony, official statements from the RWA (such as the graphical standards rules), scrutinizing the past behavior of the organization and other such things? Admittedly the RWA doesn't have as much impact on one's life as a religion (or one would hope not, anyway), but the process of information gathering, critical thinking and analysis aren't all that much different.

"One doesn't have to murder to decide murder is wrong. One doesn't have to join Al-Qaeda to decide Al-Qaeda is evil. I don't have to strangle my little niece to decide morally/philosophically that killing a five year old is pretty nasty."

Exactly. One doesn't need first-hand or eyewitness experience to make an informed judgment (as Brenda seems to be saying). Similarly, one doesn't have to be at the ceremony to know that footage of national disasters doesn't belong at an awards ceremony for romance novels.

"And yes, one can comment on the RWA award ceremony without having been there or being part of RWA, but one would wonder why one would be so concerned to post several times if one is not a member of RWA, that's all."

Because as an avid romance reader and someone who is acquainted with authors, I have a rather large interest in the romance industry, and the RWA is one of the powerhouses in said industry?

And if Brenda hadn't made what I consider a logically suspect statement, I wouldn't have posted these comments at all.

none said...

I am so moved by all this hysterial that I am actually going to join RWA so I can vote against people like TTQ!

Anonymous said...

Maddie, that's the democratic process. Join, vote. I'd encourage anyone who wants to write romance/Women's fiction to do so.

Mir