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Thread: DellArte Press (formerly Harlequin Horizons)

  1. #126
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    Malle Vanik is using rhetoric right out of the PA collection.

    Harlequin should be ashamed.

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  2. #127
    practical experience, FTW Ken's Avatar
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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.)

  3. #128
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    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?

  4. #129
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    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?
    Last edited by Richard White; 11-19-2009 at 01:55 AM. Reason: Got a screen name wrong again (sigh). I read too many boards.

  5. #130
    practical experience, FTW para's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    ... 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.)
    They are the largest romance publisher in the world. In the UK I think one Harlequin book is sold every six seconds. I would assume it is something similar in the US. There are other foreign markets. I think I was reading they made around half a billion in revenues last year? And their profits are increasing.

    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


  6. #131
    practical experience, FTW Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by para View Post
    They are the largest romance publisher in the world. In the UK I think one Harlequin book is sold every six seconds. I would assume it is something similar in the US. There are other foreign markets. I think I was reading they made around half a billion in revenues last year? And their profits are increasing.

    ETA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin_Enterprises some more info on wiki.
    ... wow! :-O
    This venture of theirs will have a far-reaching impact, then.
    Really crummy :-(
    I hope HQ gets told as much, from insiders in the industry as well.

  7. #132
    practical experience, FTW
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    And check out those cover examples... Ick!

  8. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    ... wow! :-O
    This venture of theirs will have a far-reaching impact, then.
    Really crummy :-(
    I hope HQ gets told as much, from insiders in the industry as well.

    Ken they are huge. I know many people who pick up 4-5 titles per month. They have a large following.

  9. #134
    practical experience, FTW Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    Ken they are huge. I know many people who pick up 4-5 titles per month. They have a large following.
    ... in view of this, it seems inexplicable that they would put that in jeopardy by getting into vanity publishing. Something ain't right, here.

  10. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    ... in view of this, it seems inexplicable that they would put that in jeopardy by getting into vanity publishing. Something ain't right, here.
    I'm a HQ fan... I don't understand it.

  11. #136
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    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.

  12. #137
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    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.

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  13. #138
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I think Malle is at the bottom of a whole trying to dig her way out.
    Last edited by veinglory; 11-19-2009 at 01:03 AM.

  14. #139
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKuzminski View Post
    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.
    From Malle's comment on DA:
    Because this is a self-publisher these are not books acquired, edited and marketed by Harlequin. Hence, no Harlequin brand on the end result.
    IOW, Harlequin's only involvement is funneling writers to their "partner". No editorial oversight by any definition of the term.



    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.

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  15. #140
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    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)?
    Last edited by veinglory; 11-19-2009 at 01:03 AM.

  16. #141
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    Malle Vanik is using rhetoric right out of the PA collection.

    Harlequin should be ashamed.
    She has an unenviable position. Trying to explain the inexplicable, trying to put a good face on a monstrosity.

    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.

  17. #142
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    ... to get a proper perspective on this as an outsider, how large is Harlequin?
    It's one of the top ten publishers in the world.

  18. #143
    practical experience, FTW para's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    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.
    And you just know that they are going to publish some plagiarised or defamatory. You can just see it happening can't you? It's like a car crash, you can't look away.

    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).


  19. #144
    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    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.
    Done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    Harlequin should be ashamed.
    Yes, they should. They won't be, but they really, really should.

  20. #145
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    And you just know that they are going to publish some plagiarised or defamatory.
    AuthorHouse already did. And they got sued. And they lost.

  21. #146
    practical experience, FTW wannawrite's Avatar
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    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.
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  22. #147
    practical experience, FTW HJW's Avatar
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    The most depressing part of this is that there are probably hundreds of writers out there getting all excited about this fabulous opportunity.

  23. #148
    phoenix blazing Parametric's Avatar
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    Anyone spot this?

    Question 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”?
    Answer by Malle Vallik here:

    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.
    WHAT.


  24. #149
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKuzminski View Post
    And I fully agree with Unimportant that they're trying to avoid liability
    "liability", yes, that's the big word I searched for and failed to find in my pre-coffee morning daze. Thanks, Dave.

    And I totally agree with your analogy about the head office cutting open the goose that lays the golden eggs.

  25. #150
    practical experience, FTW JanDarby's Avatar
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    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.

    JD

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