Left Coast Crime, and some other mystery conventions, have chosen not to place authors on panels unless their books are from companies on the MWA’s list of approved publishers. So now a handful of irate POD and self-published authors are running around blogs and message boards saying the MWA is responsible for this new policy.
The MWA has nothing to do with how conferences organize their panels or how bookstores stock their shelves or how reviewers choose the books that they review. Nobody in the MWA has ever suggested to any conference chair, book reviewer, book seller, or anyone else that they use the organization’s list of approved publishers as their guide. They are making the decision on their own.
Speaking for myself, the fact that other writers organizations (like the Romance Writers of America) and major writers conferences are following our lead only underscores the necessity and sensibility of the basic, professional standards that the MWA has set…and the good that it is doing for our members and the industry. I hope as a result that authors will be more careful about the publishers that they do business with…and that more publishers will hold themselves to higher ethical and professional standards in the way they treat their authors and conduct their business.