Nick Kaufmann gave a mention to the NJ Authors' Network on his blog the other day. I was a little surprised at the reaction to the fact that self-published authors are welcome to join.
For what it's worth, here's my personal take on why some 'regular-published' authors seem to look down on (and in some cases resent), the self-published, and why some self-published authors find this a hot-button issue.
I believe many 'regular' authors see the progression from writer to published author is a rite of passage (no pun intended); a sort of club if you will. You could meet an author from almost anywhere in the world and immediately have a common bond, because let's face it, unless you were famous for something else first, you probably both had to overcome the same kind of obstacles eg: finding an agent/publisher etc.
If you look at it from their point of view, doing it yourself is a form of cheating. After all, anyone with enough money can publish anything, regardless of quality. A bit like a war veteran seeing someone wear a medal ribbon bought from a pawn shop.
Self-published authors on the other hand, would probably have loved to have got an agent and a contract from Scholastic or the like. I can't know for certain, but I imagine they at least tried to go through the 'regular' process before deciding to pay out a few thousand dollars to see their work in print. I think that, deep down, even the best writers who choose this path have a small inner-critic that questions whether their work is good enough to have made it into print otherwise (regardless of the compelling reasons that made self-publishing such an attractive proposition at the time).
I'm not saying self-publishing's a good or bad thing. In truth, it's not a route I would choose to take, and I do think there's a better quality of editing done by regular publishers, but I believe it depends entirely on your long term career goals as a writer.
Isn't this the true test of any published book: Would the person who reads it, recommend it to a friend and/or purchase another by the same author? If the answer is 'yes', then who cares how it's published?
Then again, what do I know?