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Old 01-17-2020, 04:50 PM   #211
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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
I can certainly understand why some people would think it is, but I can also understand why some people would think it was highlighting those authors and increasing their sales.
Exactly. Both sides have valid reasoning on this.

The thread has really changed topic, too.
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:39 PM   #212
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Originally Posted by Paperbackstash View Post
Exactly. Both sides have valid reasoning on this.

The thread has really changed topic, too.
Because we been talking about minorities, no real issues as long as it is minorities. Where is the white caucasian straight only section at Amazon? You can specifically look for any minority, but you cannot specifically exclude them (that I know of). It would be clearly considered racist, and yet segregating minorities by giving them their own little safe place is still fueling it.

For online stores it is, in theory, easy for discoverability if the lists are generated dynamically on the fly. No matter how you traverse the tree, you shall find the book. As long as it is about content, and not author ethnicity.
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:01 PM   #213
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This topic was being debated among romance readers when I first started reading ebook (approximately 10-12 years).

I think there's more awareness today. Maybe what was valuable to B&M bookstores then should be re-evaluated. It's hard to say how often they take a second look at their book shelving.

One of the advantages to electronic books, when tagged intelligently, is that books can be "shelved" in multiple locations. Those AA or LGBTQ readers who'd like an organized place to scan for books can go there. But the books can also be "shelved" in romance or mystery or science fiction, etc.

And for Lee, there are enough female romance readers want to read stories with male/male pairings, that one of the mainstream publishers has offered some of these (Avon - I don't know which of the Big 5 that falls under).

It's not a LOT of books, but they've seen enough traffic to offer them in their mainstream romance lines. The small pub/indies made a lot of money on these, when there was nowhere else to get them.

I'm not generally interested in the storylines, but I've seen them out there (usually came across them when searching for romances in Overdrive libraries).
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:16 PM   #214
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I’d bet the size of that group is sufficiently small such that it would still make sense to divide the two sections. Straight women wanting to read gay male romance would know where to go look for it.
You'd lose that wager. Man on man romances are not only read by straight women, they are written by them. It's a thing, and an exceptional case.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:55 AM   #215
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You'd lose that wager. Man on man romances are not only read by straight women, they are written by them. It's a thing, and an exceptional case.
I just have to say, as a gay woman, I (1) know this to be true and (2) am completely befuddled and amused by it.
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Old 01-19-2020, 05:38 PM   #216
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HarperCollins Canada has withdrawn, including their Avon Imprint
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...k_wOvGW_M/edit

Avon Books tweeted they have withdrawn

Berkley Romance is abandoning the conference this year in protest, and Sourcebooks has made a statement they are also protesting.

Tule publishing announced on their official site they are pulling out

Kensington Publishing CEO posted official letter

Etc, Etc, Ect.

There's no way I can see the RWA coming back from this.
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:02 PM   #217
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Romance Writers of America president Damon Suede has resigned from the position after two weeks in the office following recall petitions filed by numerous chapters of the RWA seeking his removal. RWA executive director Carol Ritter has also tendered her resignation after assuming the role in November. - article


So it looks like they are trying to still push ahead with new leadership.
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Old 02-23-2020, 09:54 AM   #218
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Some updates:
The rest of the board has resigned. There will be an election for a new board in March.

The RWA paid for an external audit of the recent events. (There has been some criticism of this audit: The scope is too narrow, and the RWA liaison with the legal firm was, at first, one of the people whose actions were under review.) This report is now finished:
Quote:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP conducted an independent ethics audit of the Romance Writers of America (“RWA”), with a focus on RWA’s handling of two ethics complaints that were filed against then-member Courtney Milan. Pillsbury reviewed extensive documentation in connection with the audit and conducted interviews with and obtained written statements from participants. Pillsbury’s findings are set out in detail in this report. The key conclusions of the audit include:
  • RWA members do not have a commonly shared understanding of the provisions and reach of the member Code of Ethics, nor did those charged with investigating or enforcing allegations of Code violations.
  • RWA’s Code provisions and ethics complaint procedures have been frequently modified by RWA’s Board in ad hoc fashion without legal review, resulting in ambiguous and inconsistent provisions and variable approaches to addressing ethics complaints.
  • The Ethics Committee recommendation of a finding against Ms. Milan was based on its interpretations of concepts that are undefined in RWA’s policies, and the Ethics Committee’s report to the Board did not adequately explain the rationale for its recommendation or the evidence supporting that recommendation.
  • The RWA Board was not provided the evidence against Ms. Milan or her responses to the ethics complaints against her. The Board failed to treat the Ethics Committee as an advisory committee and, contrary to RWA policies, in effect delegated its fact-finding authority to the Ethics Committee. The Board voted to find Ms. Milan in violation of the Code despite the expressed concerns of Board members that the Board lacked a sufficient understanding of the rationale for the Committee’s recommendation or the evidentiary foundation for that recommendation.
  • The evidence Pillsbury reviewed does not suggest that the adverse finding against Ms. Milan was motivated by animus or bias against her. Rather, the outcome here resulted from deficiencies in RWA’s policies and procedures, a failure to seek legal counsel when needed, and inadequate understanding by Board members of their role and obligations under RWA’s governance structure.
Consistent with Pillsbury’s charge, the report concludes with specific recommendations and options for modifications to RWA’s member Code of Ethics and enforcement procedures.
One of the things that struck me in the full report was what the ethics committee found to censure:

Quote:
The Ethics Committee Chair said that, if Ms. Milan had more calmly and in less “incendiary” fashion expressed her opinion that certain conduct or a novel was racist, that would likely have resulted in a different decision by the Committee: “I think that probably would have cast it very differently, the language itself was so incendiary, it was so problematic, so horrible. It was considered a very horrific thing to go after another member of RWA’s publishing house, and the reputation of RWA would suffer probably as much as anything else.”

The Committee did not regard the tone of Ms. Milan’s comments as “safe and respectful” for a community of writers.
As far as I can tell, the "incendiary" language that is "so horrible" is some pretty mild swearing: A few instances of "fucking", and one reference to someone "showing her ass" when she displayed her own racism when trying to vouch for someone elses lack of racism.

That a group of writers find this language so horrible that it amounts to an ethics violation is pretty remarkable.

Another ugly aspect of this mess is that (at least according to Twitter) some RWA members seem to put all the blame on the president-elect, Damon Suede. From the report, he blatantly lied to the board about the ethics complaint, so he certainly has a share of the blame. But when a group of racist white (mostly straigth) women try to put all the blame on a gay man, it's not a great look.

At this point, it seems to me that RWA can't, and shouldn't be saved. Hopefully a new writers' organization can replace it, in time.

Last edited by hildea; 02-23-2020 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Removed a footnote which had been pasted in the wrong place in the text.
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