For the first time in its 68-year history, the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association will allow self-published authors to join its ranks.
The move comes after the CWA consulted its members, who voted with an 84% majority in favour to accept self-published authors.
Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “The founding mission of the CWA was to support, promote and celebrate the crime genre and its authors. In the past, we only accepted traditionally published authors into the CWA, as this was the best indicator of quality. The publishing landscape has changed in recent years, and self-publishing has become a route for professional writers, and indeed there are many trailblazers in this field. The time is right to update our membership criteria.”
Maxim added: “We continue to be committed to quality. Successful self-publishing today requires the same professional approach that publishers take, so we felt it was wrong to discriminate against self-published authors. It’s clear the overwhelming majority of our members who voted feel the same way.”
A thriving, growing community with a membership encompassing authors of all ages and at all stages of their careers, the CWA is UK-based, yet attracts many members from overseas.
It supports author members, as well as literary agents, publishers, bloggers and editors, through the CWA and the Crime Readers’ Association (CRA). It distributes a digital monthly newsletter showcasing CWA authors and related news to around 12,000 subscribers. The CRA website provides readers with news and features by CWA members as does the bimonthly ezine, Case Files.
The CWA also supports unpublished writers, many of whom enter the Debut Dagger competition and the Margery Allingham Short Mystery competition.
The CWA has undergone a refresh in recent years, updating and diversifying its Dagger judging panels and its board.
The organisation also supports libraries and booksellers, with two Library Champions and a recently recruited Booksellers Champion, Elly Griffiths, as well as promoting its annual National Crime Reading Month.
Self-published authors wishing to become a CWA member will need to demonstrate a level of professionalism through a simple-to-complete application form. This will be publicised on the CWA website from 13 September, when the CWA will first accept applications.