Romance Writers of America Code of Ethics


Romance Writers of America


RWA Code of Ethics

Date Approved: 


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RWA Code of Ethics


The Romance Writers of America® (RWA) Code of Ethics serves as a code of professional conduct for RWA members. It is designed to cause RWA members to exhibit integrity, honesty, professionalism, and other good professional practices, thereby enhancing the romance writing profession.

Violations of the Code of Ethics may result in punishments imposed under the Disciplinary Procedures of Robert’s Rules, which provides "due process" to RWA members and protects the integrity and ensures the efficacy of the Code of Ethics. 

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

  • RWA members strive for excellence and integrity in the profession of romance writing.
  • RWA members strive to treat fellow members, RWA staff, and others with respect.
  • RWA members observe and adhere to all of RWA's Bylaws, policies and other rules.

An RWA member shall be subject to disciplinary action if the actions of such member are determined, in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedures in the most current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, to constitute one or more of the following:

  1. Intentionally making false or misleading oral or written statements about RWA where such statements are injurious to RWA, its reputation, or its purposes.
  2. A finding of liability against an RWA member by a court of competent jurisdiction or an administrative tribunal, or public admission by the member of unauthorized copying, whether verbatim or substantially similar, in whole or in part, of the written work(s) of others with an intention to claim such work(s) as the member's own.
  3. A finding of liability against an RWA member by a court of competent jurisdiction or an administrative tribunal, or public admission by the member of infringement of copyrighted or trademarked material, including but not limited to books, other published material, manuscripts, graphics, illustrations, trademarks or logos.
  4. Intentional copying of the written works of others (including but not limited to books, articles and/or manuscripts) with an intention to claim such work(s) as the member's own.
  5. Unauthorized use of another member's intellectual property, including but not limited to such other member's name, logo, trademarks or service marks, and/or copyrighted information.
  6. Intentional misrepresentation of RWA membership qualifications or credentials to RWA or to the public.
  7. Repeatedly or intentionally supplying false or misleading information to RWA.
  8. Unauthorized use of RWA and/or RWA Chapter property, including but not limited to RWA's name, logo, other trademarks or service marks, copyrighted information, and membership listings.
  9. To the extent not otherwise addressed above, repeatedly or intentionally engaging in conduct injurious to RWA or its purposes.

Romance Writers of America® (RWA) is a nonprofit professional association whose mission is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy. As Romance Writers of America is one of the largest genre writers’ associations in the world, publishers and agents who are included in RWA’s Market and Agent Updates and/or who are invited to present workshops to or take pitch sessions from RWA members are afforded significant credibility, because the members naturally expect such publishers and agents to conduct their businesses in a manner that can be described as honest, fair, transparent, and professional.

The following Industry Professional Code of Ethics serves as RWA’s code of professional conduct for Industry Professionals. 

Violations of this Industry Professional Code of Ethics may result in loss of privileges such as (but not limited to) listing in Market and Agent Updates, participation in workshops and pitch sessions, and the opportunity to advertise in RWA’s publications.

  1. Confidentiality. Author’s financial affairs are private and confidential. Industry Professionals may not share this information except for that customarily disclosed to interested parties as part of the process of placing rights, that required by law, or information for other purposes, if agreed upon with the author in advance.
  2. Compensation. An Industry Professional who represents an author in the grant of rights in any property owned or controlled by the author may not accept any other form of compensation or other payment from the acquirer of such rights. Industry Professionals shall not represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction. An Agent’s compensation for all transactions shall be derived solely from the author. Editors/Publishers shall not require authors to participate in the costs of production of their written work in any manner, including but not limited to publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing, preparation, and/or distribution.
  3. Funds. An Industry Professional takes responsible measures to protect the security and integrity of authors’ funds. Payments for money owed to the author are made in a timely manner. Books of account, with respect to transactions concerning an author, are opened to that author upon request.
  4. Honesty and Integrity. An Industry Professional shall perform his/her duties with honesty and integrity. The Industry Professional shall not mislead, deceive, dupe, defraud or victimize clients, members of the organization, the general public, or any person with whom RWA does business as an Association.
  5. Information. An Industry Professional shall keep each author apprised of all matters relating to their agreements and promptly respond to the author’s reasonable requests for information.