Malle Vanik is using rhetoric right out of the PA collection.
Harlequin should be ashamed.
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... to get a proper perspective on this as an outsider, how large is Harlequin? How much of the market for romances do they corner? And will this have an impact on the genre as a whole? (From an outsider's perspective Harlequin is Romance, though I suppose that isn't altogether true. But being that that's the public's perception, every romance writer may suffer a loss of reputation as a result of this. Not cool.)
My husband is a Chartered Minerals Surveyor. His work involves valuing land-fills and quarries, and (oh, joy) concrete batching plants. His knowledge of publishing is restricted to what little he's picked up from hearing me talk to my friends.
I just told him about this. His first comment was, "But isn't that going to dilute their brand?" Now if a minerals surveyor can understand that, why can't the people in charge over at Harlequin?
Gah. Could the Harlequin representative have been more disingenuous?
Good job to Stacia and Deadly Accurate and Veinglory and Dave and the others over there fighting the good fight!
And Medievalist is right, the HQ rep and that Tabitha sounded like they both walked out of a PA board meeting.
Who knew Clopper was selling franchises?
ETA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin_Enterprises some more info on wiki.
Last edited by para; 11-18-2009 at 11:25 PM. Reason: adding wiki link
And check out those cover examples... Ick!
My guess is that though this is very clearly a vanity model, HH is shouting SELF PUBLISHING all over the place for two reasons: one is to avoid the vanity stigma, and the other is to avoid lawsuits when they publish something plagiarised or defamatory (because then it's the author's arse and not theirs on the line).
Ick ick ick ick.
The clear impression I have is that the parent organization might be insisting that Harlequin come up with another product that will bring in more money since their other businesses are apparently losing money. The parent organization is trying to cut open the goose to find more golden eggs.
And I fully agree with Unimportant that they're trying to avoid liability by calling it self-publishing. Sadly, that leads me to speculate that both the oversight and editing simply won't be as good.
When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.
Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.
The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.
Malle's comment on DA:IOW, Harlequin's only involvement is funneling writers to their "partner". No editorial oversight by any definition of the term.Because this is a self-publisher these are not books acquired, edited and marketed by Harlequin. Hence, no Harlequin brand on the end result.
ETA: Oh, and someone please let Ms. Sorenson know she's won an Internet, which will be shipped as soon as I find a big enough box.
HOW TO SERVE ASPIRING AUTHORS. It’s a cook book!
Last edited by CaoPaux; 11-19-2009 at 12:27 AM.
Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat
II 2015: 2016:
That is what she thinks is good. The brand is "author facing". i.e. the author is attracted by it, and buys it, but what they get is basically Authorhouse.
I am boggled that Harlequin takes a cut of royalties too, by the sound of it. On what basis--when they don't provide any services or add any value to the book (based on their own claims of the book not being branded)?
I put the first Harlequin Sucks message board at one day after the first royalties are posted from Harlequin Horizons.
They should be upfront that the expected sales for any of their HH authors is 75 copies, provided they really get out there and hustle.
Yeah, "imagine" your book on the shelves in a bookstore. Because in your imagination is the only place that's going to happen.
I read on one or both of the threads that there is a 50% net royalty rate - so if a book retails at $12.99 the author will make $1. They need to sell 600 books to break even on the cheapest package (which I don't believe includes an isbn). I read that most self-published books sell on average somewhere between 40 - 80 copies(there is a lot of debate about this).
AuthorHouse already did. And they got sued. And they lost.And you just know that they are going to publish some plagiarised or defamatory.
Okay. I just visited the site and I really, seriously, physically feel ill. I keep remembering myself, back in the day, stumbling around with my (pitiful) first mss. in hand, looking for an agent/publisher. I ALMOST went with PA, just because they made it sound so attractive, but something pulled me back from the edge at the last minute. Now, if it had been HQN soliciting me, with their gigantic reputation and litany of empty promises, I likely would have gone with them. *sadly shakes head* All those poor, poor writers who are going to think they are on the fast-track to the big time....this is who I hurt for. The ones that are going run excitedly to their moms/husbands/families/friends, all happy that they are going to be published by...gasp...HQN...
My heart hurts for them.
I am going to go and lie down, now.
Demon Heart; Sold to Lyrical Press. Yeah!
Out of the Dark Trilogy; Got a 'revise and resubmit' invite. *heavy sigh* Back to the drawing board.
Cowgirl Up; Request for a full!
Texas Hold 'Em; Request for a full!
Blood Moon; Still waiting on query reply. *heavy sigh*
Sweet Surprises; I finally finshed the mutherhumper! Now what do I do with my time?
The most depressing part of this is that there are probably hundreds of writers out there getting all excited about this fabulous opportunity.
Anyone spot this?
Answer by Malle Vallik here:4. If an author chooses to go to Horizons, do they lose “first publication” rights? How will that affect any effort to gain an agent or traditional publisher with their “bound copy”?
WHAT.I’m not sure I completely understand this question. The author owns her content. How would she lost first publication rights? She has published it herself. Whether she is giving it away as gifts or marketing it, is up to her. Yup, clearly I don’t get your question.
I suspect, as others have said, that this was a bright idea by someone high up in the corporation, someone who looks at it purely financially, in much the same way that assorted financial folks created the various financial products that messed with the mortgage market. If the only goal is to bring in money, and they don't care who they get it from, then it makes sense (subject to the brand dilution issue, which they may have miscalculated, thinking it wasn't a real issue, b/c readers would never know about it).
So, they went and signed a contract with the provider of the printing services, and they're stuck with it now. The provider presumably paid money for the use of Harlequin's name, and the contract presumably requires Harlequin to use their name in certain circumstances, ergo the double-speak about it being a Harlequin, but not really.
I wonder what the editors in the trenches -- the ones who deal with authors every day -- are thinking. I'm sure this was dumped on them (as it was on Malle Vallik, who's really a quite nice and generous and caring person, from what I've seen of her at conferences), and it sounds like they're going to be forced to include the referral in their rejection letters (probably in the contract), and I'm guessing that it's painful for them.
Meanwhile, I worry about the likely customers. We all know that it's not the savvy business person, the one studies the business and makes a clear-eyed decision. I worry about the effect of this endeavor on delusional authors, the ones who have some true mental illness. We've all seen those train wrecks -- authors who believe they have a bestseller, even though they have no plot, can't write a coherent sentence and haven't met a punctuation mark they're willing to use. They're going to get the standard rejection letter, with the referral, and see it as their golden opportunity. A year or two later, they'll be angry that they haven't hit any bestseller lists, and they'll have spent their life's savings. Or have borrowed their family/friend's life's savings and be unable to pay it back. And then there are the authors with great potential, who aren't quite there yet and need to write a new manuscript that WOULD sell to a "real" Harlequin line, or perhaps just aren't writing category stories, and their stories would be snapped up by Avon or Kensington or Bantam or Pocket. And yet, they would both get referrals to the vanity press, which would waste time and money, and then be so demoralizing that they give up.
This is a hard enough business, by its very nature (the creativity and subjectivity that goes along with any artistic endeavor), that writers don't need any unnecessary hurdles to jump.