Change is inevitable. I know that, still it’s always a shock to me when something that has been for years and years ceases to be. Lately, it seems like a lot of things are changing. There are the stores that have disappeared: Toys R Us, Radio Shack, Borders, for example. And there are the publishing houses and publishing lines that no longer exist. Some failed/some were gobbled up by the big guys.
I’ve been a published writer for over thirty years and in that time, I’ve seen a lot of changes, but I wasn’t prepared for the announcement last week that the Romantic Times Conference, RT magazine, and website would cease to be. I know several writers who have been loyal followers and attendees of RT. They’re in shock.
And now Romance Writers of America is considering dropping the Golden Heart Contest. Wow.
From what I read, the reason for dropping GH is lack of participation. It’s just not worth it, financially or in time. Suggestions are being presented by RWA members on ways to keep the contest going, so it will be interesting to see how that develops. I know I was disappointed when both the GH contest and the RITA stopped giving comments. I liked knowing why the judges didn’t think my book was fantastic. I didn’t always agree with the judges, but their comments allowed me to see how different readers see and want different elements in a story.
I’m wondering how the chapter contests (the ones that do provide scores and comments) are faring? Has the participation in those contests also dropped?
Other organizations I belong to (unrelated to writing) have also been suffering a decline. Last month the boating squadron I belong to took the first steps to disband. Why? Because we aren’t getting new, younger members and the older members are either dying or simply getting too old to actively participate.
Even with my RWA Chapter, we seem to have trouble finding new members to run for office or chair committees. Newer members either don’t have the time or inclination.
What’s the solution? I don’t know, but some changes are making me sad.