Today we’re joined by Nikki Logan, President of Romance Writers of Australia. RWA is a fabulous community organization for writers. Welcome, Nikki.
What is RWA?
Thanks so much for having RWA on your couch! Romance Writers of Australia is a thousand-strong volunteer- and member-driven writing organisation for anyone who is interested in building a career as a writer of romantic fiction. We have members from around the world but the majority are from Australia and New Zealand.
Can only romance writers join? What about people that write other genres?
We welcome writers of other genres as long as they’re also writing romance. While all of our education and development tools are suited to general fiction writers, the heavy romance focus makes them most suitable for romance writers.
What benefits can members expect?
RWAust’s strengths are our annual conference and face-to-face events, our networking and online services, and our contests. Australia is a big country and our members are spread out all over it, so we are particularly pleased to bring writers ‘in from the wilderness’ into the tribe that is the romance writing community. We also have a fabulous monthly newsletter called Hearts Talk which is chokkas with industry info, articles on craft and career and how to stay sane as a writer.
Is there anything tailored to YA / NA writers?
The healthy reader and publisher interest in YA and the growing reader and publisher interest in NA is reflected in our membership and these writers tend to gravitate toward each other to form support networks. RWAust is eager to ensure that services are accessible to as many members as possible and so we steer away from genre-specific services. But given how powerful the YA/NA market is I can see that sector of our services growing in synch. You’ll notice it in the sudden emergence of YA/NA focused workshops at conference, or online, and the formation of special focus e-groups.
RWA holds a lot of contests. Can you tell us a little about them?
Yep. We have an active contest season each year for both published and yet-to-be published members. The YTB pubbed season is designed to reinforce with members what they need to know when submitting a professional product to a publisher. So we have a first-chapter/hook type contest called the Ripping Start, a Selling Synopsis contest, the First Kiss for getting that all-important smooch just right, a short-story contest which comes out as a print anthology each year (Little Gems), the Valerie Parv contest in which the winner gets a full twelve month mentorship with the incredible Valerie Parv, and the Emerald which is the premier unpublished romance manuscript award in Australia.
For the published authors we have the Romantic Book of the Year (RuBY) and the Romantic Novella of the Year (The Ella). Published authors can enter the Little Gems, too.
NA can be just as romance driven as adult fiction. But what about YA, are the contests open to YA writers too?
All of our yet-to-be-published contests are open across sub-genres. As long as the romantic relationship between protagonists is central in the foreground then a YA or NA manuscript is as likely to win as any other. Additionally, the RuBY has an elements category for those titles where the spotlight is shared between the romance and other story elements.
I hear the annual conference is in Sydney this year. What exciting things have the conference team lined up?
I’m ITCHING to give away all their secrets but the RomanceRocks team haven’t announced all their initiatives yet and I’d be a lousy president if I gazzumped them after their two years of hard preparation. I can tell you that CHERRY ADAIR and JAMES SCOTT BELL are flying in to present to RWAust’s members and that there’ll be a PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAY (for the hard-core career builders) and RWAust’s first librarian event, a LITERACY HIGH TEA. There’ll be a BOOK SIGNING and the ever popular appointments with a raft of Australian and international EDITORS and AGENTS. Our members spend all year saving up for it so they take it very seriously and pack out the workshops. Four days of educational workshops, career enrichment, networking and community engagement, essentially. Every year our international guests comment on how welcoming, professional and particularly supportive our conference is.
Speaking not as the president, but just as a long standing member. What is the thing you long most about being an RWA member?
For me, personally, I love RWA for the fellowship. The sense of tribe. At the start of my writing journey, RWA was invaluable for teaching me the nuances of the genrea but, as I’ve progressed, it’s now the place I go for all my industry questions, leads, trends and ENERGY.
How can writers join RWA?
We have a painless online joining system (you can pay by PayPal or credit card [including as a PayPal guest]) and a postal process too for those who love it old school. Like everything in RWAust, membership applications are processed by a volunteer so your online membership details aren’t immediate but we usually get back to people within a day or two with all their access. Postal applications take longer for obvious reasons. (If you’re thinking of coming to the Sydney conference, or participating in any of our events or contests, join early so you can take advantage of the big member discounts!)
Thanks for joining us Nikki.
For our readers, you can find out more about RWAus here;
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