Earlier today Joe Konrath blogged his thoughts about the Mystery Writers of America's change in their submission guidelines, allowing active membership to e-book and print on demand authors ... authors who are published by an actual publisher and provides that content as an e-book or POD book, not authors who self-publish themselves. Of course, a lot of authors are up in arms, while others are simply shrugging it off.
The post itself is interesting -- at least to me, as I've never been a member of any writers organization -- because it gives some insight into the MWA and how, ultimately, they seem to be an organization that is supposed to exist to support writers but instead exists simply to sustain itself.
The MWA isn't the only organization like this, of course, but that's beside the point.
What's the reason to join a writers organization? It is simply for the validation and the warm, fuzzy feeling of being accepted? I know, years and years ago, writers busted their butts to sell so many stories at 3 cents a word to become an "active" member in the Horror Writers Association. 3 cents a word, at that time, was considered professional rates. Now, I believe, it's up to 7 cents a word. And say you do become an "active" member, then what? It basically allows you to vote for the HWA's award, which members can vote for even if they haven't read any of the novels or stories nominated. Beyond that? I'm not totally sure.
Of course, Nick Mamatas brought up a good point on Twitter, how some organizations like MWA exist to advocate for writers against publishers. So if a publisher is screwing over one of the members, the organization, in theory, will step in and help out.
So if you're a writer with no publisher, then there's no need for advocacy, which then begs the question in this day and age as more and more writers are beginning to self-publish: what's the use for some of these writers organizations besides, maybe, that warm and fuzzy feeling of validation?
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I'm plan on seeing Super 8 tomorrow. As you can imagine, I'm super psyched.