Apparently, the HWA (Horror Writers’ Association) now allows self-published authors.
Self-publishers who have generated $2000 in earnings within two years of initial publication date can qualify for Active (voting) status. Those who have earned $200 within two years of initial publication date can qualify for Associate status. More details can be found at http://horror.org/joining-the-hwa/ (please note the criteria have not yet been updated).
That seems inline with what they ask of other authors, mostly.
I’ve already seen a few twitches and paroxysms of people who are I guess afraid the barbarians have crashed the gates — but, y’know, if you’re selling two grand with some self-published work, you’re a professional writer. Y’all is bona fide. One also shouldn’t be too high on the quality of work found inside the HWA — it consists of some amazing authors and books, but I’ve also seen some HWA-author books are are somewhat… below par in terms of quality. This won’t bring down the quality level. Given some of the work I’ve seen done by indie horror authors, I like to think we’ll see better work being done, not worse.
It’s perhaps worth the confession: I used to be a member of the HWA. I wanted to be a member since I decided I wanted to be a (horror) writer, since so many of my writing idols had been associated with it (McCammon, Lansdale, Koontz) and was like, eeeee, that means I’m official, and so I joined having written a lot of RPG horror work. It was nice enough, I guess, but didn’t seem to… do much except kind of inundate me with people trying to get me to read their horror books or vote for them come Stoker time. This was many moons ago, mind you, so I have no idea what the organization is like these days, other than I know some fine people who are in it and think it’s valuable, and some people who have jettisoned themselves from its ranks because reasons X, Y, Z.
Anyway, whatever. Hopefully more writerly organizations will allow author-publishers. Sure, yes, I’m critical of the quality problem sometimes found inside the vaunted halls of self-publishing (I have been known to refer to it as a “shit volcano“), but I think author-publishers moving more into an officially professional capacity is wise. I think it ups the game and offers a new axis of community. And it also drops some of the (ahem cough cough increasingly imaginary) walls that separate author-publishers from traditional-publishers and hopefully helps everyone tell better stories and make better business decisions when doing so.
Blah blah blah, a rising tide lifts all boats. And stuff.
Though again, that assumes the HWA is a healthy writers’ organization, a fact to which I cannot attest. (Are they still cranky there about not allowing in horror-adjacent works like urban fantasy and such? Because that’s a shame, if so.)
SFWA: your turn, next?