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Thursday, July 12, 2007

RWA's Revised PAN Requirements

RWA Hot Sheet
RWA Board Meeting
July 8-10, 2007
Hyatt Regency
Dallas, Texas

The RWA Board of Directors had a very productive meeting. The following items were discussed, and motions were enacted:

  1. The Board approved modifying the allotted time for Hot Sheet distribution from 48 hours to 72 hours to allow the necessary time for travel and communications issues.
  2. Decisions were made regarding the Golden Heart and RITA contests. Full details are outlined on the RWA Web site and in the summary sheet provided at the Registration Booth at the National Conference.
  3. The Board updated the definition of Subsidy Publisher or Vanity Publisher to: “any publisher that publishes books in which the author participates in the cost of production or distribution in any manner, including publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing and/or distribution.” This definition includes publishers who withhold or seek full or partial payment of reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties, including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs; publishers whose authors exclusively promote and/or sell their own books; publishers whose primary means of offering books for sale is through a publisher-generated Web site; publishers whose list is comprised of 50% or more of its books written by authors who are principals in the publishing company; and publishers whose business model and methods of publishing are primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and associates.
  4. After examining RWA’s Publisher Recognition standards, the Board elected to eliminate the all-inclusive standard for Publisher Recognition and set standards based on programs and services.
    (A) The “First Sales” column of the RWR now will include first sale information from members who sell romance novels or novellas to any non-Subsidy or non-Vanity Publishers.
    (B) Changes were made to PAN Eligibility Requirements that provide two options through which members may be eligible for PAN. Full details are outlined on the RWA Web site and in a summary sheet provided at the Registration Booth at the National Conference. Current PAN members shall retain their status.
    (C) The Market Update section of the RWR will contain news that will enable the membership to know what non-Subsidy/non-Vanity Publishers are currently seeking romance submissions.
    (D) The Board amended PRO requirements in light of changes to PAN.
    (E) Effective July 15, 2007, in order to officially participate in RWA’s National Conference, a publisher must meet the following criteria: (1) it is not a Subsidy Publisher or Vanity Publisher; (2) it has been releasing romance novels via national distribution for no fewer than three years, with no fewer than two full-length novels or novel-length romance anthologies published in each of three consecutive years; (3) it provides advances of at least $1,000 for all books; and (4) it pays all authors participating in an anthology an advance of at least $500.
  5. The Board placed a freeze on Agent Recognition for applications received on or after July 9, 2007, so that new standards can be put in place, to be voted on at the November 2007 Board meeting.
  6. A Business Education Task Force was created to study and propose recommendations on the formation of educational programming for RWA members who have sold but who are not yet eligible for provisional PAN or full membership in PAN.
  7. The Board created a Task Force to study the distribution of press passes at the National Conference.
  8. The Board approved Standard Chapter Bylaws. Chapter Presidents will receive all relevant information via ChapLink and in a Standard Chapter Bylaws packet.
  9. The Board adopted policies and procedures regarding the selection and approval process of the RWA Academic Grant scholarship program.

CHANGES TO "PUBLISHER RECOGNITION"

In July, 2006, the Board created a task force to examine RWA’s use of a “Recognized Publisher” standard as an overall method to allocate RWA’s programs and services. After much research, member input, discussion and deliberation, the Board has determined that the blanket application of “Publisher Recognition” to allocate RWA’s resources is not serving its members, many of whom mistakenly perceive that RWA is placing a “stamp of approval” on these publishers. Therefore, the Board has examined its programs and services, item by item.

By substituting the word Eligible for Recognized, and limiting the scope of the term Eligible Publisher so that it deals solely with RWA’s allocation of its programs and resources, primarily at our national Conference, the term and concept of “Recognized Publisher” no longer factors into PAN and PRO eligibility, the RITA and Golden Heart contests, RWR content, and many other sections of our Policies and Procedures Manual.

Commencing with RWA’s 2008 National Conference, for official publisher participation, a romance publisher must verify to RWA that it: (1) is not a Subsidy Publisher or Vanity Publisher; (2) has been releasing romance novels via national distribution for no fewer than three years, with no fewer than two full-length romance novels or novel-length romance anthologies published in each of three consecutive years; (3) provides per book advances of at least $1,000 for all books; and (4) pays all authors participating in an anthology an advance of at least $500.

A Subsidy Publisher or Vanity Publisher means any publisher that publishes books in which the author participates in the cost of production or distribution in any manner, including publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing and/or distribution. This definition includes publishers who withhold or seek full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties, including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs; publishers whose authors exclusively promote and/or sell their own books; publishers whose primary means of offering books for sale is through a publisher-generated Web site; publishers whose list is comprised of 50% or more of its books written by authors who are principals in the publishing company; and publishers whose business model and methods of publishing are primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and associates.

Note:

The Board wishes to note that a $1,000 advance for a novel is an extremely small sum. It is, however, a minimal indicator that a publisher is invested in an author’s career to the degree that RWA can reasonably allocate its conference resources to that publisher, as some consideration has been paid for use of an author’s rights.

CHANGES TO PAN ELIGIBILITY

In the June 2007 RWR, an article by PAN Liaison Nicole Burnham and PRO Liaison Trish Milburn outlined proposed changes to PAN eligibility requirements and asked for feedback from members.

After much discussion and careful consideration of hundreds of detailed letters from members, the Board decided that all RWA General or Honorary members who are also general members of PAN before July 10, 2007, shall retain their general PAN membership. RWA General or Honorary members who are also provisional members of PAN, or who have applied to become provisional members of PAN, before July 10, 2007, shall have eighteen months from the date of their application for provisional PAN membership to submit a copy of the qualifying novel's copyright page to the Office.

The Board also voted to change PAN eligibility requirements to offer two methods by which RWA members may now become members of PAN.

Option One: Any RWA General or Honorary member who has earned at least $1,000 in the form of an advance from a single romance novel or novella published by a
non-Subsidy, non-Vanity Publisher may join PAN either as a full member (once the title is published) or as a provisional member for an eighteen-month period while awaiting publication of the title. In order to qualify for PAN under Option One, the member must submit a copy of the signature page of the contract to the Office along with either of the following: (1) a copy of the contract page showing an advance of at least $1,000; or (2) a letter from the acquiring editor stating that the author has earned at least $1,000 in the form of an advance.

Option Two: Any RWA General or Honorary member who has 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 may join PAN as a full member following the publication of the title. In order to qualify for PAN under Option Two, the member must submit a copy of the novel's or novella's copyright page to the Office along with either of the following: (1) royalty statement(s) from the publisher showing earnings of at least $1,000; or (2) a letter from the acquiring editor stating that the author has earned at least $1,000 in the form of royalties or an advance plus royalties. Documentation must reflect earnings on a single novel or novella. In the case of a multiple-book contract, or in the event royalty statement(s) show earnings on multiple books, the earnings on the qualifying novel or novella must be shown separately. Any percentage of earnings deducted by an agent shall still be considered earnings to the author; however, the pre-deduction figure must be reflected in the documentation.

As in the past, members may wear a First Sale ribbon at the first National Conference after they become PAN-eligible.

Rationale for Changes to PAN Eligibility

For numerous reasons, including advocacy, using "Publisher Recognition" as the yardstick by which PAN eligibility is determined has proven problematic. Several other professional organizations—including the Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, Writers Guild of America, and the Screen Actors Guild—use income as their standard of membership, and this is a viable method by which RWA can determine PAN eligibility. However, the Board determined that all current PAN members should retain their PAN status subject to the rules that were in effect when they applied to PAN.

Under the new policy, all authors who have earned a minimal advance of $1,000 on a romance novel or novella from a non-Subsidy, non-Vanity Publisher may join PAN either as full members (once the title is published) or as provisional members for an eighteen-month period as they await the publication of their title.

However, this new policy also offers new avenues for authors to join PAN. In keeping with current trends in the market, authors who write novellas may now apply to join PAN. The new policy also allows those authors who do not receive an advance of $1,000—but who do earn that amount in either royalties alone or a combination of advance plus royalties from the sale of a romance novel or novella—the opportunity to join PAN. These authors may not join as provisional members; however, they may apply to become general members of PAN once they have the copyright page of a published romance novel or novella and proof of earnings of at least $1,000 on that same romance novel or novella.

The Board of Directors wishes to note that $1,000 in earnings reflects an extremely low number of sales (for example, at a cover price of $5.99 and with a 6% royalty rate, an author would earn $1,000 after selling only 2,782 copies). Therefore, the Board of Directors does not wish to suggest that $1,000 is a reasonable advance or, in fact, adequate for any purpose other than establishing a minimum standard of membership in PAN. Members must consider each offer they receive for their work and determine for themselves whether the offer and contract terms meet their career goals.

In order to address the needs of those authors who have sold romance novels or novellas, but who are not yet eligible for PAN, a Board Task Force was created to study and prepare recommendations for educational programming specifically targeted to that group.

CHANGES TO THE GOLDEN HEART AND RITA CONTESTS

In an article in the June 2006 RWR, the Board outlined a plan to re-evaluate the Golden Heart and RITA contests. This plan spanned the terms of multiple Boards. It included two separate comment periods from members, input from a diverse committee, and study by a Board Task Force.

After much discussion and carefully considering input on a variety of issues related to the contests, the Board voted to make the following changes:

Changes to Current Golden Heart and RITA Categories

Changes were made to several Golden Heart and RITA categories based on input from members and an evaluation of industry and contest entry data from the previous ten years. The Board looked at both contests to ensure that each category description better reflects RWA's core purpose of advancing the interests of career-focused romance writers. Word count concerns were also addressed.

• Traditional Romance and Regency Romance: These categories were removed.

Rationale: Due to the consistently low number of entries over the previous several years, these categories were folded into new or already existing categories.

• Short Contemporary Romance/Long Contemporary Romance: These categories were replaced. See new definitions on page 10.

Rationale: With the shrinking word counts at Harlequin/Silhouette, there is no longer an appreciable difference between the length of individual lines. Therefore, two new categories were created to focus on content rather than word count.

• Contemporary Single Title Romance: The definition and judging guidelines for this category were edited to read as follows:

Definition: Romance novels which focus primarily on the romantic relationship,
released as individual titles, not as part of a series.

Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Rationale: This change eliminates questions concerning word count and better reflects RWA’s core purpose.

• Young Adult Romance: The definition and judging guidelines for this category were edited to read as follows:

Definition: Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers.

Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is an important element of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Rationale: These changes reflect the state of the market as well as member input.

• Short Historical Romance/Long Historical Romance: These categories were replaced. See new definitions on page 10.

Rationale: After reviewing contest entry numbers, and several market analyses regarding the number and type of historicals within the marketplace, two new categories were created. Both the market analyses and the entry numbers over the past ten years across all historical categories in the contests supported, at most, two categories.

• Romantic Suspense: The definition and judging guidelines of this category were edited to read as follows:

Definition: Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

Judging guidelines: In this category, a suspense, mystery, or thriller plot is blended with a love story, which is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Rationale: The changes to the definition and judging guidelines take into account member feedback, current market trends, and RWA’s core purpose.

• Paranormal Romance: The definition and judging guidelines for this category were edited to read as follows:

Definition: Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot.

Judging guidelines: In this category, a futuristic, fantasy, or paranormal element is blended with the love story, which is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Rationale: The changes to the definition and judging guidelines take into account member feedback, current market trends, and RWA’s core purpose.


• Inspirational Romance: The definition and judging guidelines of this category were edited to read as follows:

Definition: Romance novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the
context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of the
romantic relationship.

Judging guidelines: In this category, religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are blended with and form a significant part of the love story, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Rationale: The changes to the definition and judging guidelines streamline language to eliminate redundancies; it also eliminates questions concerning word count.

• Novel With Strong Romantic Elements: This category was retained in both the Golden Heart and RITA contests; however, substantial changes were made. The definition and judging guidelines of this category were edited to read as follows:

Definition: A work of fiction in which a romance plays a significant part in the story, but other themes or elements take the plot beyond the traditional romance boundaries.

Judging guidelines: Novels of any tone or style and set in any place or time are eligible for this category. A romance must be an integral part of the plot or subplot, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Rationale: The changes to the definition and judging guidelines streamline language to eliminate redundancies, take into account member feedback, and better reflect RWA’s core purpose.

Please note: Due to the changes in the judging guidelines, entries in this category may be marked “NR” (Not a Romance) rather than “NSRE” (No Strong Romantic Elements).

• Novella: This category was retained in the RITA contest. The definition and judging guidelines of this category were edited to read as follows:

Definition: Novellas that focus primarily on the romantic relationship.

Judging guidelines: In this category, a love story is the main focus, and the ending is emotionally satisfying and optimistic. Typically the word count is 20,000–40,000 words.

Rationale: The changes to the definition and judging guidelines streamline language to eliminate redundancies, take into account member feedback, and better reflect RWA’s core purpose.

• Best First Book: The judging guidelines of this category were removed, and the definition of this category was edited to read as follows:

Definition: A full-length book entered in any of the other contest categories. To be eligible, the author (or authors in the case of a writing team) shall not have had any other novel or novella previously published in any format.

Rationale: As this category is only judged in the final round of the RITA contest when entries are simply ranked, the judging guidelines of this category were removed. The changes to the definition address questions regarding what constitutes a “First Book.”

** NEW **

New Contemporary Series Golden Heart and RITA Categories

• Contemporary Series Romance

Definition: Series romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship.

Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

• Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure

Definition: Series romance novels which focus primarily on the romantic relationship but may have more complex suspense/adventure subplots.

Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Rationale pertaining to both of the above categories: With the shrinking word counts at Harlequin/Silhouette, there is no longer an appreciable difference between the length of individual lines. Therefore, these two categories were created to focus on content rather than word count.

New Historical Golden Heart and RITA Categories

• Regency Historical Romance

Definition: Romance novels in which the majority of the story is set against the Regency period of the British Empire.

Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

• Historical Romance

Definition: Romance novels set in any time period prior to 1945 and taking place in any location.

Judging guidelines: In this category, the love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Rationale pertaining to both of the above categories: These new categories eliminate questions concerning word count and take into account member comments as well as data from several market analyses regarding the number and type of historicals within the marketplace over the last ten years.


Other Changes to the Golden Heart and RITA Contest Rules

• Two clarifications were made regarding which books may be entered in the RITA:

(1) Books entered in the RITA must have an original copyright date or a first printing date or a first North American printing date in the year prior to the contest year.

Rationale: This change eliminates questions concerning copyright for books.

(2) After eliminating RWA's Publisher Recognition standards, language regarding Subsidy and Vanity Publishers for purposes of the RITA contest was updated.

Rationale: This brings the RITA contest language in line with current policy.

• Pseudonyms in the Golden Heart:

Entrants in the Golden Heart contest may not use a pseudonym in the first round of the contest, but pseudonyms may be used by finalists when the finalist list is released.

Rationale: This takes into account member feedback.


Other Information of Note:

• After extensive discussion, the Board voted to retain the current system of mixed-panel judging in the first round of the RITA contest.
• Questions regarding admission to the Hall of Fame due to changes in the contest categories were referred to the Executive Director for further study. The Board will address this issue at the October 2007 Board Meeting.
• After extensive discussion, the Board decided not to add an erotic romance category to the contests due in part to the inherently indefinable nature of erotic romance. Romance entries with highly sensual and sexual content may be entered in any category. General contest instructions to judges for all categories now state that highly sensual and sexual content may be present in their judging panel.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sadly, if I'm interpreting this correctly, this means Ellora's Cave is now considered a "subsidy/vanity" press, which it isn't.

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Vampilicious Erotic Romance
Sydney's Romance with Sassitude
www.erotic-romance.net

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:42 AM |

3 Comments:

Commented by Blogger BarbaraK:


I agree.

It looks to me like Ellora's Cave is now considered a subsidy/vanity publisher based on RWA's new definitions.

Not only do the new definitions state that ALL epublishers are subsidy/vanity publishers, they also state that anyone published by these publishers no longer meets the requirements of PAN eligibility.


10:14 PM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:


There are so many rumors flying around about these issues. Some say RWA is going to tweak the wording of the clause regarding publishers sales coming "primarily" from their site. Others say RWA will be leaving it as is. I haven't seen the official wording, only the Hot Sheet, and therefore I can't be certain what's going to happen. But if the wording is identical to the Hot Sheet, EC will be considered a Subsidy press and EC authors will be ineligible for PAN and the RITA.


3:51 PM 
Commented by Blogger angeleque:


thanks for the post. I'm going to snitch it for my blog with credit of course.


2:37 PM 

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