Author Laura Lippman, who will be MWA president next year, commented on her blog about the reaction among self-published authors to MWA's decision. She wrote:
As the incoming MWA president, I have no voting rights, no role in policy-making. I am the happiest little figurehead you ever did see. But I served two terms on the board and I know how much work board members put into the organization. I also feel genuinely sad that so many self-published writers feel slighted by MWA's policies.No, it's not about merit. It's about professionalism. And while being paid for one's work isn't the only way to be professional, it's an awfully good way to start.
[…]I can't persuade people that MWA's policies are not the equivalent of censorship, that MWA isn't trying to prevent anyone from publishing, much less trying to block their right to self-expression. I'm not sure I can even persuade folks inclined to think differently that self-publishing is not synonymous with vanity publishing. No matter what I say, there are going to be some self-published writers — differently published? — who insist that I belong to MWA because I'm scared of a true free market, in which I would have to compete with all writers, not just those chosen by the — take your pick of adjectives — insular, out-of-touch, arrogant mainstream publishing industry.
This much I can say: MWA didn't change the game. Harlequin did. All the organization did was apply its existing policies to Harlequin's changing business model. And if you can't see how Harlequin's pay-to-publish program is designed to prey on writers and their dreams — well, then I'm not really sure that you're cynical enough to write crime fiction.