I left the HWA for several years in large part because of the amount of petty bickering and arguing that went on behind closed doors in the group's various forums. Not that the HWA has any monopoly on petty bickering -- from all I've seen, SFWA is often far worse on that count, since science fiction writers seem far more prepared to argue heatedly over minutiae than horror writers.

At any rate, I rejoined the HWA a few years ago because I had been assurred conditions were better -- and they are. The group is a very good one now, and much of the credit goes to the current president, Joe Nassie. I have a great deal of respect for the HWA's goals and its membership. Its mentoring program is very strong, and it is a great place for writers of all levels to learn and network.

However, it's always seemed to me that HWA has suffered needlessly from something of an unspoken inferiority complex, whether the members cop to it or not.

I was re-reading a membership brochure recently (no, I don't know which year this particular brochure was published), and I was struck by the sometimes outright wimpy language used therein; phrases like "...we think you'll find....", "...it is our hope that you will discover the benefits of membership..."

It almost seemed like HWA was pulling an Oliver Twist, holding out its cup (potential membership) and whispering in a halting voice, "Please, potential member, may we have your support?"  

And it occurred to me that the reason the language was so passive was because HWA has for too long not only listened to the derision and criticism directed at it by other organizations, but (perhaps) started to believe it, and that belief may very well have started to bleed over into our views of the Stokers.

Why not tell potential members, "You will benefit greatly from membership"? Not, "We think you'll find..."?

As an organization, the HWA nothing to apologize for, nothing to feel embarrassed about, and no reason to think that we aren't just as deserving of respect as SFWA, RWA, or any other writers' organization.

I think HWA needs to start focusing on its assets and accomplishments more, and presenting a stronger, more united and confident face to both the fans and other organizations.  It's earned that right.