Below is the letter I wrote in response to the RWR article we’ve been talking about over the last few days. I know many other members have also written to the RWR about their displeasure, and I continue to want to emphasize that no individual owns this issue, effort, or response. If you have something to say about this, you should do so in a way that is the most comfortable for you and best serves your needs.
For me, this will be my last significant contribution to this specific conversation until such time as RWA/RWR responds.
To the Editor:
As a romance writer, queer woman, and someone who has been an active Internet user since 1990, I was disappointed in and offended by Jennifer Fusco’s Marketing Insider column focusing on social media tips.
Overall, the tips seemed to be fear-based and defensive. Don’t be happy, don’t be sad, don’t talk about your real life, and don’t talk about controversial topics.
While it is always important for everyone to remember the consequences of their words online, identifying issues that impact the basic civil rights and equality of marginalized groups as topics to be avoided is naive, hurtful, and implies that LGBTQ+ people and people of color don’t read and write romance. It was particularly ironic for RWR to include such advice in an issue that also focused on diverse romance. Is RWA truly committed to diversity?
When I raised my concerns on Twitter (violating several social media suggestions in the article — stating my location, being cranky, talking about my sexuality, and being “controversial”), the discussion got significant traction, and everyone was outraged by Fusco’s piece. That discussion also brought me almost 200 new followers on Twitter, 1,000 hits on my blog, and new sales, highlighting that Fusco’s advice wasn’t just offensive, but bad for business.
I would strongly recommend that RWR and/or RWA apologize and state that they do not take an official position that discourages their members from discussing social and racial justice. I also hope that in the future RWR refrains from publishing articles that seem to encourage silence in the membership and shame authors for their sexuality, attire, outspokenness, and success.
Thank you for your time and attention.