Recently, the Bouchercon committee posted their minutes from their last meeting which was held at Bouchercon in Anchorage. The chairperson of that Bouchercon is reported to have said the "big name" authors didn't come because so many small press and self-published authors did. I was there and yes, I'm one of the small press authors--but I saw lots of big names. Frankly, if numbers were down it was because of the cost of going to Anchorage IMHO.
The committee then went on to say that their recommendation was from now on to only allow "legitimate" authors be on panels. Of course if you go to Bouchercon or any other mystery convention, you want to be on a panel as it's your one chance to shine and talk a bit about your book. If you are taking the cost of the convention off your income tax then you need to be using the con as promo opportunity.
So, I ask, what makes a "legitimate" author? I heard that one of the members of Mystery Writers of America (which I've been an active member of for years despite the fact my publisher didn't make the approved publisher list) say an author isn't really a writer until he or she makes her living writing. That criteria certainly excludes many authors.
I have a good author friend who self-publishes her mysteries which are top-notch, the books are beautiful, and she sells plenty. Is she a legitimate author? Not by MWA's standards.
I've published more than 20 books, have contracts for two more in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, a contract for the next Rocky Bluff P.D. book, taught novel writing for Writers Digest School for over ten years, taught a writing class at Borders for five, was an instructor at the Maui Writers Retreat in Hawaii, have given workshops at writers conferences at colleges and many other places--but am I a "legitimate" author?
What do you think?