Thursday, January 29, 2009

January Letter - SFA-RWA

It occured to me that someone out there - okay, probably just my brother :) - might be interested in my column for my RWA chapter newsletter, which is one of my (la-la-la!!!) presidential duties. I was just re-reading it and dang, I managed to cheer myself up a bit, which is always nice. Oh and remember, I wrote that with my romance writer hat on...and you know I have a whole closet full of hats!

Happy new year!

As I take the reins from Karin as SF-RWA’s new president, my enthusiasm and gratitude vastly outweighs my lingering nervousness about the job. Karin was right – last year’s board is an extremely supportive and competent bunch of women. We appreciate your patience in these early days, but don’t hold back on the ideas and suggestions and high expectations. We’ve got a big job to do, but among us we also have all the tools and resources we need to do it well.

Our nation’s new president set the tone for us in November when he gave us these words of inspiration: “Yes, we can.” His optimism is on my mind as we navigate these uncertain times. This economic climate is not without precedent, and our industry has endured downturns before. These last few months have been marked by dramatic and rapid change, but remember that we operate from a position of strength. We write the books that readers cherish and buy in numbers far exceeding any other genre. Keep that in mind as you consider the challenges ahead:

• Can a new author get noticed by nervous publishers?
• Can we shoulder the burden of promoting as publicity dollars shrink?
• Can we adapt and grow as electronic media change the publishing landscape?
• Can we create and maintain a culture of tolerance and support as our sisters push the boundaries of romance writing into uncharted and exciting directions?
• Can we be effective stewards of our own careers while extending a hand to our peers?

My answer to all of these questions: Yes – we most certainly can. And our chapter goes a long way toward making it happen. When we come together, we share our resources: our knowledge, our encouragement, our determination, and our love of our craft.

I hope to see a lot of you in the coming year. The fellowship of the meetings sustains us in the early stages of our writing careers and at every stage that follows. I’ll also be looking for you on the links, in the newsletter, at conference, and everywhere else that writers gather, because we’re stronger together.

As I type this, my vase of roses – one white and five red – stands next to my computer as a daily reminder of what SFRWA has helped me achieve in the ten years I’ve been a member. I’m looking forward to seeing what we all accomplish in the year ahead.

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