From the Board: Suzie Rodriguez
I first heard about BATW around 2000 through Carole Terwilliger Meyers. We met when we sat beside each other at a book fair somewhere, she with a pile of titles from her own Carousel Press, and me with a stack of a honeymoon travel book I’d written published by Doubleday. We weren’t exactly mobbed by frenzied book-buyers, so we had plenty of time to chat. Among other things, Carole described her travel writing group and suggested I join.
I did, and what a good decision that was. I liked hanging out with other writers, making new friends, gaining knowledge through programs, getting access to travel professionals and all the rest of the goodies offered by BATW. It seemed like a natural progression to eventually run for the Board. I stayed for five years in a variety of roles—general member, secretary, vice president—enjoying it tremendously until I finally burned out and “retired” three years ago.
And now I’m back on the Board, which has a completely different cast (except for Marc Longwood, with whom I served in the past).
Here’s what’s interesting: although Board members have changed, the concerns and interests they deal with have not. The primary concerns are the same as in the past. We discuss the best ways to provide members with valuable programs and information, helpful tools and access to experts. We continue to revise and hone membership qualifications to keep them relevant in the digital world. We find ways to help associate members. We promote general members through contests, the anthology and other methods.
And always we deal with the problem of getting people to volunteer a few hours of their time. BATW is, after all, a volunteer organization with no paid staff. That’s why membership carries the commitment to provide three hours of time each year. More than two-thirds of members follow through on that commitment. If you’re not one of them, please step forward the next time you hear a call for volunteers. Even better, think of something you can do to help the organization, and then discuss it with any Board member.
And now a little housekeeping…
Tom Wilmer says it’s time to update your online member profile. “Going forward it’s going to be mandatory for members to list current outlets for the last 24 months,” he said. “They won’t be able to list past outlets with current outlets. Anything that was published more than two years ago will have to be listed under past outlets, along with the month and year that it ran. If current and past publications aren’t separated, both fields will be left blank.”
Also, now is a good time to brush up on BATW’s Professional Conduct Guidelines, which were adopted last year. If you’ve been on enough press trips, you’re bound to have encountered someone, somewhere along the line, who wrecks the trip for everyone. They might be rudely demanding, or soak up rum like a water pump, or arrive chronically late for the van (where everyone else has been cooling their heels for half an hour). Whatever. So just take a gander at these guidelines and you’ll be sure to recognize bad behavior when you see it.