Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Romance Writers of America: Should You Join?

When I joined Romance Writers of America, I didn’t understand what I could get out of the membership, except a nice little blurb at the end of my query letter. You know, the one that says: “Member of RWA since 2008”. Apparently, that’s one way to show agents you’re serious about writing or so they say.

Well, a year later, I admit membership to this writers’ group was worth every cent and I haven’t come close to taking full advantage of their programs. Here’s what I’ve gotten as a RWA member: a monthly magazine with interesting articles about the craft, marketing, and more; exposure to other writers in my genre; a list of online writing courses; and a discount on those classes.

Ten to twenty dollars bought a month of training from published authors. Some instructors even critiqued a few pages of their students’ manuscripts. The lessons and feedback showed me reading books on the craft of writing wasn’t enough. In fact, owning roughly a dozen such books only gave me a false sense of security. I wrote two romantic suspense manuscripts and believed I was ready to submit to agents. After taking a couple of courses offered through RWA chapters, I realized my stories needed some work.

I continued to study the craft by taking more online writing courses. I’ve learned how to make my characters three dimensional, how to add conflict to my plots, how to place hooks throughout the story, and much more.

Would I recommend joining RWA? Most definitely, but that’s just me. What do you think? Have you had any good or bad experiences with RWA that you’d like to share?


  1. I don't write as much Romance as I do science fiction, but I have been longing to finally earn the credentials that allow me a prestigious membership in the SFWA. I would join in a heartbeat because of all the advantages you can gain. I love reading books on writing, and I actually majored in creative writing in college. I can tell you that neither of those things, books nor college, prepares a writer for entering into the publishing aspect of writing.

  2. I think RWA helped me more when I first started out then it does now. If it weren't for my wonderful local group, I would probably drop my membership. But you have to belong to national to belong to a local chapter. In answer to your squidoo question, my best answer is to go visit. I still didn't get mine up but I get easily frustrated with such things and will probably try again this weekend. It's another place to post things about your book and get your name out there.

  3. This may have an obvious answer, but do you have to write genre romance to join? Or could you write contemporary/mainstream that includes romance? Do you know?

    And... I'm from Missouri. ;)

  4. Janna,

    You don't have to have any romance in your novel at all to join. I've heard of fantasy writers joining just so they can network at the conventions.

    Lynnette Labelle

  5. Great news! I'll def check it out. Thanks.