Why Does RWA PRO Exists?

Two notes before I start:

1.  Thank you to the gals of ENLR for handing me the blog for today. I appreciate all the support y’all have given me every time I come here.

2. If you are an RWA member, you need to be on the lookout for your passcode to vote in the 2010 Board Elections. Voting starting Tuesday September 1 and runs through Wednesday Sept 30 at 5:oo pm (CST). One of my friends got her passcode today and thought she had to wait until Sept 30 to vote. NO NO NO! Voting has started.

Now, on to today’s topic…. What is RWA PRO and what purpose does it serve?

PRO was created for RWA members who are actively pursuing a career in romance, have completed at least one romance manuscript but hasn’t get gotten “The Call.” Members have to show evidence of submissions of this manuscript (for most of us, that means we have a manuscript that either an agent or editor passed on.) However, this isn’t always true. With the new definition of PAN (the $1000 earning level), many of our PRO members are indeed published, almost without doubt with an e-publisher, but have not yet earned a total of $1000 for one book. This makes me realize how wide spread the needs of the PRO member may be.

Did you know that the purpose of PRO is to focus on the business aspect of writing rather than the craft? I’d be willing to bet that most PROs don’t know that.

Did you know that PRO members have a newsletter? It called PROspects and comes out quarterly. If you are PRO and you don’t read PROspects, you’re missing some excellent information.

So, thinking about who we are as RWA PRO members and knowing why PRO exists, what issue is most important to YOU…E-Publisher recognition? PAN definition? Better contacts with publishing professionals? An educational program you need? These are just some ideas I’m throwing out. What’s on your mind?

Thanks for coming by and thanks for telling me what important to you.

Cynthia D Morgan

PRO Liaison Candidate

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18 Responses

  1. Hey, Cyndi. Happy to have you here with us today!

    I’ve outgrown the current PRO program we have. It does very little for me. I’d like to see it take a more active role in the business aspect. I know, what is it, quarterly, that a class is done? I’d like to see more.

    One of the loops I was on in the past would add agents/editors TO THE LOOP for say, two weeks, and the membership was free to ask questions. Can that not be applied to the proclass loop once a month or bi-monthly? I’d like to see different publishers researched and feedback given, from the big NY Guys and reputable Epubs’.

    I’d like a better education on Epub’s. They’ve been around since the early-to-mid-90’s, I think, but I know very little about them and there are so many.

    It seems most of my knowledge surrounds erotic focused publishers–as that’s the biggest selling genre in epub, I can understand why–but I’d like to know more about the other publishers that are rarely mentioned since I dont’ write erotic.

    I think the E-pub programs given at Nationals could be expanded to the loop to further explore them (Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of the rogue seminar with Sara, Jane and Angela here.)

    On that same note, I’d like to see the Publisher Spotlights at Nationals put on the loop afterward.Those are huge, and not everyone gets to go to nationals (even if we could all afford it every year, space limits us).

    With the current PAN restrictions on ‘who is published’, PRO needs to pick up that slack and give classes on Marketing for members who are left floating inbetween. By golly, if RWA is going to classify them as PROs, then by golly, PRO needs to take care of them.

    I’ve heard many members say many times that they’d like to know what to expect, so why not bring in some of our PAN members to share what worked for them and what didn’t. By the time you sell and get in PAN to get this information, it’s often too late to apply these ideas to help sell your book.

    OMG, book reviewers. Please, get us some book reviewers to come in and give their, what makes a book for me and what makes me fling it across the room. These are our first readers here that can reach the masses and that fountain goes completely untapped.

    And now, I need to copy all these ideas and see about applying them to the Uncensored loop. 🙂

  2. Thanks for coming by today to discuss this important issue.

    I guess for me, I don’t tend to do much with the PRO loop. Not much really goes on on the loop and when someone does get down toe hte nitty gritty asking questions or making statements that interest me, we are “gently” reminded about what is appropriate and what is not. That bothers me.

    I like conversations about industry. I love the idea Keri has regarding guest editors and agents. Heck, they do it for blogs, why not allow Pro’s to have a guest agent on the loop for the day.

    As for the e-pubbed, I haven’t ventured into those waters yet, but I would like to know more about how they work and which ones are reputable.

    I’m sure I’ll think of more, but that’s all I got at present. Thanks for putting yourself out there,

    Amy

  3. Thanks, Cyndi. Keri and Amy have said a lot that I appreciate and agree with.

    One of the problems with PRO is structural, I think — by its nature it’s populated by newbies and those of us who’ve been bashing our heads against the agent/editor wall for a longer spell. I must say I didn’t realize the announced purpose of PRO was to focus on the business side. I’ve been hanging around for three years now, I think, and I never picked up on that.

    I agree entirely with Amy on the PRO loop. I don’t know what rules the moderators go by, but their tolerance for differences of opinion seems to be very low. JMO, of course, but it is cramping to the urge to participate when people making what seem to be perfectly reasonable comments get their fingers stamped on. Or when an enthusiastic discussion gets arbitrarily cut off.

    I’m also with Amy on epubs. The author’s share seems ridiculously low to me, so I’ve never gotten into that, but I’d be interested to hear how the system works — with particular emphasis on if it works for non-erotic material, since that’s what I produce.

    Obviously one newbie coming onto the board isn’t going to change everything, but what strikes you as most important? What changes would you most like to see?

  4. Hey Cyndi and welcome to our world, although you’re such a wonderful part of it already. 🙂

    My questions and/or suggestions would follow along what been said above.

    I know for the most part I stopped reading the PRO Loop since peoples hands were being slapped all the time. It became more of what you can’t talk about then what you can. So much so, that I don’t feel there’s anything in the loop for me.

    I love the idea of having published authors, agents, or editors on the loop. I know they have the PRO classes and you get some of this there.

    Maybe the problem (I don’t really like that word) is we have PRO’s in so many different stages. Some have just become PRO’s and really are still learning their craft big time. Other’s have been doing this a while and although we can all still learn more craft, we are at the point that we need the business side of things more.

    I do know one thing for certain. You will make a fabulous Liaison

  5. I want PRO to mean something outside of RWA. I’ve worked hard to get that pin and I’m tired of people saying, “Don’t mention it on your query letters, it shows you are a newbie.”

    I graduated from Heald Business College and when I went job hunting that meant something. I had learned to write my resume, to dress correctly, and to show myself to my best advantage. My PRO pin should show the same things and I should be appreciated for them by people in the industry.

  6. Wow. Great comments everyone. Looks like Keri could have done a blog post on this all by herself!

    You’ve all echoed many of my thoughts and opinions. What to know a secret? I shocked when I found out that PRO focused on the business side and not the craft side. I’d be willing to bet that 8 out of 10 PRO members have no idea what purpose PRO serves!

    As I wrote this post, the diversity of the PRO members hit me between the eyes. So many ARE published, just not with print nor earning enough to qualify for PAN. But I bet their issues are different than than PRO with one manuscript and one rejection letter. Very interesting food for thought (for me, anyway).

    The PRO Loop – always a source of contention with PRO members. Before I became PRO, I THOUGHT I’d get the “inside scoop” from that loop. Not so much. Now that seems to come from Twitter! Like many of you, I think this purpose of this loop needs to be discussed but that isn’t necessarily up to the PRO Liaison. Did you know there is a position for PRO Steering Committee? This position works hand-in-hand with PRO Liaison. It’s a very important committee and NO ONE would step forward to chair it (other than Sherry Davis – the current PRO Liaison) A call went out from RWA President earlier this year asking for someone to chair it but I don’t believe there were any takers. No PRO would step forward and lead this committee. There are also committees for PRO Education. PRO Advocacy and PRO Communication. There are over 2000 PRO members. Think how much we could do by joining forces. (I think I just found my blog topic for tomorrow!)

    Thank you all your support. This feels like a second home for me!

    Come by tomorrow at http://pinkfuzzyslipperwriters.blogspot.com/ and lets talk about WHY PROs don’t get involved.

  7. Oh, Jill James, I so agree with that! When I first made PRO, I was like–YES! That excitement was quickly gone.

    though with the wide range of authors who are in PRO, I’m not sure how to do that. If the PRO program got a kick in the pants, at least it would show we belong to something that can offer loads of help and we are hopefully digesting that help.

  8. hehee…Cyndi, you know I could have written a whole post 🙂 I knew it was getting long and finally made myself stop.

  9. I don’t think PRO will ever mean much outside of RWA without a change in the definition. RWA is one of the few writers’ organizations that allows non-published people to join with full membership. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change that. Wouldn’t ever THINK of changing that.

    But let me ask you…What do you want people outside of RWA to think when you say you are PRO? and what difference does it make to you what people think?

  10. What do you want people outside of RWA to think when you say you are PRO? and what difference does it make to you what people think?

    I don’t care so much about random folks/other writers, but as Jill mentioned, when querying. That’s where I’d like it. If you don’t have much info to put in your bio, and suddenly PRO is a blinking light of NEWBIE**NEWBIE**NEWBIE, you’re left with nothing unless you have some contest finals to put with it. and only then, Golden Heart finalists are the only ones that can use that across the board. Saying my contemporary mystery placed 2nd in X-Contest doesn’t do a world of good for my regency that I’m shopping.

    It should just mean something more. When I first made PRO, I thought I was taking a step up the ladder, but it’s not really like that at all. I don’t think there should be a “maintain your pro-status by completing something every 2years or not” That seems like a lot of resources that’ll need to be pulled in. and really, what does that mean? that you can write effeciently, but not necessarily effectively?

    I guess it’s the negative ‘you got rejected is why you got in’ connotation that’s attached to it that needs to be dealt with. don’t ask me how to fix it, I just believe that’s part of the problem.

    In the world of e-readers where many agents/editors are going directly to asking for the full instead of sample pages, the PRO membership should explode.

  11. Cynthia, I want outsiders to know how many people say they are going to write a book, how many people actually start a book, how many people actually finish a book, and that itty bitty small percentage that actually send it out into the world and get that PRO pin.

  12. “In the world of e-readers where many agents/editors are going directly to asking for the full instead of sample pages, the PRO membership should explode.”

    Yeah, I see that coming.

    I also understand what you mean about the negative connotation (one rejection and you’re in PRO!…although that is how I got in ) And I understand about a “step up the ladder”. What I hear from many PRO members is that they aren’t getting what they want from PRO. So I say..get in there, volunteer (see tomorrow blog), make PRO what you want (and need) it to be.

  13. I have to say this. I’ve been PRO eligible since February, but never bothered putting together the paperwork because no one could effectively tell me what the whole point of PRO was. Plus, I’d seen all over the place that it had a “loser” connotation and that I should just keep working on PAN status instead and forget PRO. I really appreciate your explanation of what the purpose of it is, and perhaps that should be one of your goals–educating folks on what PRO is and what the benefits are. Looks like I need to work on collecting that paperwork now!

  14. Thanks Pat S. I appreciated your comments and yeah, I think many PROs have no idea what PRO is supposed to do for them. So education would certainly be on my agenda if elected.

  15. Cyndi, you certainly have my vote.

  16. I LOVED pro back when I qualified as a member. That group was the best part of RWA. Informative, supportive….and did I mention informative?

    sigh.

  17. What everyone else said, especially Keri. And I dropped out of the Pro-Org loop months ago. The moderators were way too restrictive and I didn’t need the irritation.

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