RNA MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA – For Full Members (traditionally and independently published authors)

Full Membership of the Romantic Novelists’ Association is open to traditionally published and self-published writers of romantic novels and full-length serials or novellas. All members must be at least 18 years of age.

To be eligible for Full Membership authors must fulfil the following criteria.


  1. The author must have a romantic novel, novella or magazine serial of at least 30,000 words published or accepted for traditional publication.
  2. The author must have an enforceable commercial contract from a publishing company, which must be properly established as a bona fide business in an appropriate jurisdiction and have a significant number of recently published authors on its lists (normally at least ten) and/or a significant publishing track record, normally spanning at least two years. Publishers must not bar authors from seeking agent representation or from receiving independent legal or career advice.


  1. The author must have self-published at least one work of romantic fiction, over 30,000 words in length.
  2. At least one of the author’s self-published works of romantic fiction must have sold at least 1000 copies in a single 12 month period. Copies which are distributed for free do not count towards this figure and nor do copies purchased by the author themselves from a retailer or publishing services company. 

How do we define a commercial contract for traditional publication?

The publishing contract may relate to print and/or electronic media, and the novel/novella/serial must have been through a selection process with a bona fide traditional publisher. There is no requirement for an advance but the author should receive royalties. The publisher must undertake professional editing of manuscripts, either in-house or subcontracted, at publisher’s expense. This is in addition to copy-editing.

The author should bear no part of the cost of preproduction costs or processes, nor undertake tasks that relate to: typesetting or other production costs, cover art or any commercial distribution tasks or costs (excluding book sales at author events such as signings or conferences). A requirement for an author to buy copies may be construed as an author contribution to the costs of publication.

If a pre-contract edit is a condition of contract, not at the expense of the publisher, that will constitute the writer bearing a preproduction cost. NB: This refers only to an edit, not appraisal or critique.

Breadth of distribution is desirable, as is a track record of appropriate expertise on the publisher’s part.

The RNA may require reassurance or supporting evidence that a contract meets the definitions and criteria above.

The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s decision on membership applications is final. 

How do we define self-published?

A work is considered ‘self-published’ where the costs of publication are met by the author and the relevant rights to the work in question are retained by the author. The author may choose to work with a range of commercial bodies in the publication of the work, including companies which facilitate and manage the publication process, but the costs of the process should be borne by the author, and other parties should not gain ownership of rights in relation to the published work.

The RNA may require reassurance or supporting evidence that the definitions and criteria above have been met.

The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s decision on membership applications is final.

Authors who are unpublished, or who do not meet the criteria for Full Author Membership, may be able to join the RNA through the New Writers’ Scheme.

Other publishing and book industry professionals can apply for Associate Membership of the Association.

Further information about other forms of membership is available in the ‘Membership’ section of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s website at www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org

Any queries regarding membership of the Romantic Novelists’ Association should be directed to our Membership Secretary at amandagiles@romanticnovelistsassociation.org

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