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RWA Challenges Validity of Digital Publishing


This is my third article on publishing. My first one was on how to self publish, and the second briefly discussed the validity of erotic electronic publishing. This article will continue the ongoing debate of whether or not electronic (also called digital and epub) publishing is a valid form of publishing. Diane Pershing has upset many people when she basically told all epub authors that they are not career minded and are not considered published because we are not paid an advance for our work. Notice I said "we"! Yes, I have joined the ranks of being an epub author, since Cobblestone Press has contracted my first erotic novella!

By my estimation RWA and their rules will change to suit their decision that digital publishing is inferior to print publishing (also known as NY publishing). For now they use the fact that epubs do not pay advances, instead paying higher royalties, while NY pays $1,000 advance against their much lower royalties. So if you have a best seller in either form, you will make more money going the epub route, but it's considered a less career-minded choice. I can only shake my head at that flawed logic. Of course getting an advance protects the author, and it shows them that their publisher has faith in their work. But what happens when/if the book bombs? Yes, the author has that money, but they will probably never get another NY contract. Considering that some print houses are trying out the no advance, higher royalty approach, what will RWA change their requirement to when that method catches on?

Of course Diane must feel as I do that there are too many shady epubs out there that take the book, barely edit it if at all, sell it on their sites, but then disappear with all the money made. The author is left high and dry without seeing a nickel of their promised royalties. I can't help but think this must certainly happen with print pubs as well. I looked through the Writer's Market for the many years I tried to be print published. I could easily have included myself in such a listing as a small press. It's hard to distinguish between a good and bad publisher, especially by an unknown writer with stars in her eyes who wants to see her work in print. There are many ways to get burnt. To protect yourself, you must do research. The Naughty Bits is an interesting site that has the top epublishers listed. I'm happy to see my new publisher is on the list, which is also very good for writers looking for a place to start.

I can't help but refer to my previous article on erotic publishing. I noted Siren as one of the epubs that released an unedited ebook, which the author herself admitted wasn't edited before it was published on the site. Did she fall through the cracks, or does Siren not edit any of what they publish? I shudder to think, but I know for a fact that not all of them are like that. Cobblestone Press requires three full passes with the editor, and I see all changes after each pass. I can't imagine even the smallest error making it through all that. Their artwork is also top notch, as you can see in the cover of my soon to be released novella, Painful Reflections.

If Diane and others who agree with her want to consider me unpublished, so be it. I don't really care what they or the RWA thinks. I'm not a member, nor have I ever been tempted to join. What can they do for me? As quoted from Jane at Dear Author, this says it all:

"Why care what RWA thinks? Why advocate for RWA to change? Why not simply withdraw from the organization. It does nothing but to offer contests, conventions, and help polishing your first three chapters. I don't know of one editor who cares whether the submission comes from an RWA member. I don't know of any reader who cares whether the book is from an RWA member."

There are many ways to be published. It's no longer just a long race with only NY at the finish line. I tried that route and decided there were too many hurdles. I've been published for years, but I'm excited to say I'm finally getting some recognition by submitting my work to a publisher and being accepted. Its validation and it feels great!

For another article on this topic, be sure to visit Quartet Press, which also includes other interesting links with more info.

Jude Liebermann is a romance novelist, blogger and book reviewer. Contact Jude by visiting her site at

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