I’m very excited. I belong to Romance Writers of America. I joined years ago when I first made the decision to become a writer of romance. There is some credibility it gives you when you’re sending manuscripts out to agents and publishing houses. (Caveat: MANY talented and successful romance writers never join RWA.) The biggest reason I wanted to join though was so I could be part of my local writing chapter which has supported me through all my successes and struggles.

Anyway …

There are a lot of things about the organization that rub me the wrong way. (Which is why you’ll see my green ribbon for RWA Change.) One of the biggest being that they don’t seem to know what to do with romance authors published in electronic format despite the fact that the market is EXPLODING thanks to ereaders like the Kindle from Amazon and the Nook from Barnes & Nobel. But I have to say I admired them for the consistency. Last year they followed their own guidelines and actually dumped Harlequin as a recognized publisher because they were opening a self-publishing line and it was tied in with the rest of the business. (RWA does not consider an author published who has paid to have their own work put into print.)

Again, I digress …

There are several levels of membership in the RWA. The PRO level which means you’ve actually finished a manuscript and had it rejected and continue to work toward publication. Then there’s the PAN (published authors network) level. Qualification for being a professional writer meant receiving an advance of at least $1000. But with the number of members publishing in the electronic industry and not receiving up front advances, RWA did come up with a way to recognize e-pubbed authors and consider them “professionals” in their eyes and it was based on $1000 royalties from a book.

Let me just say … I MADE PAN!!!!!!!!! W00T!! W00T!! W00T!!

Yeah, I’m pretty happy about it. Does it really advance my career? Nah. But the title sounds wicked good as they say in my neck of the woods. Though I can now list workshops I’m willing to teach on the RWA website … who knows what will come of that. I’ve missed teaching so perhaps I’ll get to do a little traveling on someone else’s dime and do a little teaching. Yeah, that would be nice.

Anyway, I’m raising a toast to myself. One of my goals for 2010 checked off my list!