The Horror Writers Association (HWA) began accepting self-published work for membership qualification effective July 24.
HWA passed a referendum approving the change by a wide margin.
Henceforth, to qualify for Active membership a self published author must have proven earnings of $2000 from a single work within two years of publication; for Affiliate, $200 — which are the same earning levels HWA requires of authors of “non self-published” work.
Upon hearing this news ex-HWA member Nicholas Kaufman declared the sky might be falling:
Combining authors who have an unchecked sense of entitlement with authors who can essentially buy their way into Active membership, and thus vote into existence more bylaws that favor them, could very well result in a membership base that is completely uninterested in learning how to write or how to deal with agents and publishers. This will likely drive away any remaining members who want to learn how to write well enough to be traditionally published and have lasting careers. The HWA runs the risk of becoming an organization concerned almost exclusively with how to better sell your self-published e-books.
Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) will decide this autumn whether to follow suit. Last month leadership solicited public comments on the SFWA Blog and got 43 responses, many in favor. Unlike Kaufman, who worries that an influx of self-published members will dilute HWA’s effectiveness, most of the negative remarks on the SFWA Blog came from writers scoffing at the idea they would want to join if allowed.
For example, John Gregory Hancock said:
I remember when country clubs decided to drop their anti black and antisemitic membership policies. The overwhelming question people asked was “Why would I join a club that up until now called me every disparaging name in the book, considered me less than human and worked so hard to block me at every turn? If I now join that club, what does that say about my self esteem?
SFWA is expected to submit the issue of self-published qualifications to the full membership prior to its business meeting at the 2014 World Fantasy Convention in November.