Friday, November 20, 2009

Hell Breaks Loose, Film at 11:00

If you’re a member of the romance publishing community, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you’ve probably read the equivalent of a few full-length novels worth of words on the subject over the last 48-hours.

I know I have.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on anything, but as a writer, I have a distinct inability to keep my opinions to my self when I have a forum in which to express them. So I’m going to.

Here’s my take on how it went down:

Harlequin announced the opening of their new line – a venture they’re calling Harlequin Horizons, a self-publishing option for romance writers.

Boom. The writing world fell on its’ ear and the impact was heard around the web.

Writer’s everywhere were shocked and most were appalled and they began to talk about it.

Predators and Editors called shenanigans on Harlequin and put a very fine point on what they’d done. Harlequin, the mama of romance publishing, was labeled a Vanity Press. This is major bad.
More talking, blogging, phone calls and general upset ensued.

Harlequin made some statements that sounded smarmy.

Heck broke loose.

RWA stepped up and declared Harlequin no longer part of their approved list of publishers.

Author’s everywhere applauded RWA’s swift response.

MWA – Mystery writers of American and SFWA, Science Fiction Writers of America followed RWA’s lead.

More applause from authors.

Harlequin announced it was shocked by all the bad press and decided it will strip the name Harlequin from its bastard child and call it something else.

Everyone said, “So what? It’s still a vanity press and you are trying to monetize your slush pile and gouge authors by charging them exorbitant amounts of money for things they can do much cheaper, if they want to self-publish.”

Harlequin is now gearing up a rebuttal.

Everyone is waiting to see what hits the fan next.

I’ve got my plastic poncho and a can of Lysol and I’m sitting back to watch the shit storm.

My opinion: Harlequin took a big old knife and cut off its nose to spite its face. Does this affect my writing? Nope. I write for me.

Does this effect how I will submit or to whom? Nope.

I read somewhere that
Harlequin wants more bestselling authors; here’s a new way to find them.

My response to that is, any publisher who wants to find more bestselling authors has only to look a little more closely at their submission piles. There are best selling authors there - tons of them. You won’t find a best selling author by rejecting a manuscript then charging the author to publish it. You find a best selling author by publishing the awesome books that come your way and giving their authors the marketing, editing and promotional support they need to become best sellers. And you pay for that your own self.

I’m mega sick of hearing about new ‘business models’ for publishing that put more and more money into the pockets of publishers, less money into the hands of the authors and more mediocre books on the shelves. Somebody show me a business model that lets me pay my bills and make an honest living as a full time author and I’ll get on board with it.


Jen said...

This has been my entertainment for the week.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Yep. Kept me glued to the computer. I still managed to get some writing done, though. So I don't feel too guilty.