Now that anybody with a credit card and the email address of a Print-on-Demand company thinks they can call themselves a publisher or a published author, professional writers organizations have been forced to carefully define what it means to them to be a "publisher" or a "published author" to deal with the issue. Now even Sisters-in-Crime is acknowledging the problem.
It seems that the abundance of POD titles in the Sisters-in-Crime’s annual "Books-in-Print" catalog has rendered the publication useless to the booksellers and librarians it was intended for. As a result, Sisters-in-Crime is changing their rules about which titles can be listed in the publication.
According to a member mailing by Sisters-in-Crime president Roberta Isleib, from now on only books that meet "marketplace standards" will be included in the listing.
Following are the criteria for a book that meets marketplace standards:
Is offered at standard industry discounts
Is available through national wholesaler, such as Ingram or Baker and Taylor
Is competitively priced
Has a minimum print run of 1,000 copies
(We believe that the minimum print run of 1,000 copies shows a publisher’s intent to place the book in the marketplace. It is the same number used by Authors Coalition to determine a ‘published book.’)
Any titles that do not meet one of the standards may be petitioned on a case-by-case basis, so long as all other requirements are met.
[…]POD reprints of titles that met industry standards when originally published will be included in the print BIP.
The Mystery Writers of America enacted guidelines this year that excludes print-on-demand "publishers" from their Approved Publishers list. There was, predictably, a lot of foot-stomping in the blogosphere among the POD crowd, who predicted a mass exodus of members from the MWA as a result of the changes. In fact, the exact opposite occurred — the change actually resulted in a surge in membership renewals and new memberships. We now have more members than ever before.
But unlike the MWA, Sisters-in-Crime has a much more flexible membership policy and includes among its active members many people who’ve had their manuscripts printed using a POD press and consider themselves "published authors." Expect an uproar.