Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Saguaro Romance Writers?
A: We are the Tucson chapter of the national organization Romance Writers of America. We held our first meeting in June 2005 with over 30 people in attendance. Check out our website at http://www.tucsonrwa.org for more details.
Q: What is Romance Writers of America?
A: Romance Writers of America is a not-for-profit organization promoting the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking, advocacy and education. The association represents more than 100,000 members in 145 chapters offering local or special-interest networking and education. For more information, go to their website: http://rwanational.org.
Q: Can I join Saguaro Romance Writers without joining the national organization of RWA?
A: No. In order to have chapter membership you must also be a member in good standing with National RWA.
Q: Can I be a member of RWA and SRW even if I'm not writing a romance novel?
A: As long as your fiction contains strong romantic elements and you are at least 18 years old, you can be a member of RWA and our chapter. Please refer to the Category Descriptions of RWA's Rita Awards (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/contests_and_awards/rita_awards/contest_rules#CategoryDescriptions) for information on what is considered acceptable novels.
Q: Can I attend a meeting and not pay? I don't need to eat lunch.
A: The meeting fees contribute toward the programs budget, and allow us to bring in the top-quality speakers we have at every meeting. The fee we charge is the fee to attend the meeting, regardless of whether you eat. Even if you only come to the morning or afternoon session because you may have scheduling conflicts, the full meeting fee is required.
Q: I'd like to contribute to the success of the chapter. How do I get involved?
A: Talk to one of the officers (President, Vice President of Programs, Vice President of Membership, Treasurer, and Secretary) or any volunteer. They'll point you in the right direction. And whenever a request for help is announced, feel free to raise your hand!
Q: I sometimes have difficulty in arranging childcare, and I don't want to miss any meetings. May I bring my child(ren) to the meeting?
A: Most of us are parents and we understand this dilemma. However, this is a professional organization for adults and sometimes the content is not suitable for those under 18. Also, as membership in the chapter requires you to be at least 18 years old, guests under that age are not permitted to attend.
Q: What is SRW's definition of "published author"?
A: If you have fiction or non-fiction of at least novella length fiction published via electronic, traditional print, or through a self-publishing company and your work is available for sale to the general public, we recognize you on the local level as a published author.
National RWA's definition is narrower. To be eligible for membership in the Published Authors Network (PAN) at the National level, any RWA General or Honorary member in good standing must have either 1) earned at least $1,000 in the form of an advance on a single romance novel or novella published by a non-subsidy, non-vanity publisher or 2) earned at least $1,000 in the form of royalties or a combination of advance plus royalties on a single published romance novel or novella published by a non-subsidy, non-vanity publisher.
Q: What is the difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing?
A: While both avenues will get your book into print, there are dangers of which you need to be aware. With both types, the author must put money up-front to publish the book. However, with self-publishing, all monies received from the sale of the book go back to the author, so you do have a chance to recoup your initial investment.
With a vanity press, the author must pay for every aspect of publishing, and will receive only a portion of the money made from sales. The author must pay a fee for editing, another fee for marketing, yet another fee for distribution. Very quickly the outlay of cash can extend into the thousands.
With both of these, be prepared to have space in your garage set aside to hold boxes of books, as you are solely responsible for distribution and marketing of your books. Be aware, too, that very few brick-and-mortar stores (i.e, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.) are willing to sell self- or vanity-published books.
Q: What about electronic publishing?
A: Electronic publishing with a reputable publisher is a viable alternative to traditional NY print publishing. You must do your homework, though, and make sure you are signing up with a publisher who has (a) an effective distribution plan, (b) professional editing and art personnel and (c) a good reputation. As with any type of publisher, make sure you've done as much research on the company as possible before you sign a contract. We have seen firsthand in the e-pub market how companies that seemed legitimate crashed and burned, and took our authors' books down with them.
Q: Can I sell my books at chapter meetings?
A: Authors who have been requested by the VP Programs to be a speaker may sell their books at the meeting in which they give their talks.
Q: Will RWA or SRW publish my books?
A: No. We are a group of writers who meet to network and learn about the craft and the industry. We are not publishers.
Q: Does RWA National or the chapter offer editorial services?
A: No. From time to time on the local level our published members may offer up limited critiquing services as a raffle donation, but we are not editors and do not offer editorial services.
Q: Can you set me up with an editor or agent?
A: We do not facilitate introductions to editors or agents except through our Write for the Roses (WftR) program. Within the scope of that program we bring in editors and/or agents one or two times a year, and participants in WftR who have completed their manuscripts may be afforded the opportunity to pitch their project as long as the editor/agent in question accepts/represents the book's genre or sub-genre.
Q: What is Write for the Roses (WftR)?
A: WftR is our ongoing effort to encourage our members to write and finish a romance novel. The reward is the opportunity to pitch your finished book to an editor or agent at a regular chapter meeting.
Q: Can I use the member Yahoo loop to report a request for a manuscript or the sale of my short story/novella/book, or promote my books?
A: Of course! We encourage members to share good news with each other via the Yahoo group, especially since we have some members that can't make it to our monthly meetings.
We do ask that items of a more personal nature (i.e., if a member posts a message about a death in the family or the birth of a child/grandchild) be responded to off-loop. That is, send your response directly to the other member rather than replying to the message on the loop. Too many loop replies put too many unwanted emails into our members' inboxes.