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DellArte Press (formerly Harlequin Horizons)

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

mscelina

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*wince*

Oh dear. What a horrible, horrible sad thing! I just shudder to think how much money that poor author spent to be allowed to throw something that unprepared out into the shark pit of Amazon. Wow. Just ... wow.
 

Bubastes

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This makes me really glad that they didn't keep the "Harlequin Horizons" name. Could you imagine what an f'ed up situation it would be if HQHo were listed as the publisher? I'm not sure what the author's expectations were for this book, but I can't help but think that they would be out of whack if the Harlequin name were attached.

ETA: And the Amazon shark pit would've been even worse if Harlequin readers were misled into buying this.
 
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CaoPaux

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I vaguely recall this being a Lulu book?
Google indeed finds a trail of crumbs leading to Lulu in Nov '09. Nothing survives in cache, but piecing "points to this page" bits together gives us:

Dargan's Desire. ByWendy Young. Paperback: $11.09. Ships in 3–5 business days. * -. (4 Ratings). Wren hates Dargan because he took her virginity without permission. Dargan hates Wren for trapping him into an unwanted marriage. ...
 

Gillhoughly

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*wince*

Oh dear. What a horrible, horrible sad thing! I just shudder to think how much money that poor author spent to be allowed to throw something that unprepared out into the shark pit of Amazon. Wow. Just ... wow.

Yes, thank you for that reminder. I've given myself a good rap on the knuckles.

Please let us remember that this writer thinks her book is just terrific, and is likely under the impression that having it even remotely associated with the HQN brand makes it a professional credit.

We, of course, know better.

We're here to slam HQN and their overpriced vanity line, not the writers who fall victim to their slick website. If she happened upon this thread and read the wank, I'm sure she'd think us to be a bunch of bad guys.

Wendy--if you do happen by, the wank is aimed at DellArte, not at you. So far as I'm concerned, they done you wrong. In a big way.
 

jana13k

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Soooo, I'm just going to throw this out there - in a free market society, is the business making money really the problem or is the problem the people who choose not to do the research and work to make a legitimate go at publishing? How are these people any different than those who fall for any get rich quick Internet scam? They want the fame and money without having to do any of the real work that writing requires. They don't even respect publishing and writing enough to learn the industry before "assuming" they are great.

I don't like business that preys on anyone, and if they are promoting a press by saying that Harlequin editors will look at the books, then that's an issue, but if they're offering a service for those that don't want to get in the trenches for years before seeing their name on a book, then what's the problem?

I think it's incredibly vain for a person to assume that because they have a computer and know how to type that they can be a writer. Just as vain as one of the time Michael Jordan retired to be a professional golfer. Like professional golfers took up golfing on a whim because it is that easy. It's an insult to those who take years to focus on craft and industry. Many professional careers require a minimum of a four-year degree just to get the theory of how to do the job. Many people work at least two years on the job before they are competent, so why would anyone think that anything less than six years of work should produce a professional product?

I've met people who use vanity publishers and they all did so knowing exactly what they were doing. One even said "but I don't want to worry about all that technique crap and once I write a book, I don't want to edit." Really? Is that someone who was taken advantage of?

Just saying - the Internet is FULL of information. True professionals will do the research for their career and avoid vanity publishing like the plague.
 

Cyia

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Soooo, I'm just going to throw this out there - in a free market society, is the business making money really the problem or is the problem the people who choose not to do the research and work to make a legitimate go at publishing? How are these people any different than those who fall for any get rich quick Internet scam? They want the fame and money without having to do any of the real work that writing requires. They don't even respect publishing and writing enough to learn the industry before "assuming" they are great.

Plenty of them think they have done the research and that they have found a legit (as in commercial) publisher. They submit their book and think it's been chosen for its merit over every other book that's been submitted.

In the case of DellArte, the deal was:

An author submits to HQ, which is a highly successful and very commercial publisher. If the book isn't up to HQ standards, and most of them aren't, then they'd get a rejection with HQ plus be steered to this other "line".

And there's no set scale for paying dues in writing. Some people hit a home run on the first try. That's not a lack of respect, unlike the tone of your post.

They have worked - hard - on getting their book into what they believe is good shape. They believe it's up to market standards and can compete with other books.

No one knows how publishing works the first time out, and most of the assumptions about it are wrong. Most people think paying to be published is how the game works, so it never flags with them that something's wrong with the arrangement.


I don't like business that preys on anyone, and if they are promoting a press by saying that Harlequin editors will look at the books, then that's an issue, but if they're offering a service for those that don't want to get in the trenches for years before seeing their name on a book, then what's the problem?

The big deal is that most people who go with a press like this think it's a legit writing credit and that they're on par with Stephen king, James Patterson, etc. Not in number of sales, or name recognition, but that they're now "real" authors who can claim to be published by a real publisher. Most people would have no idea that it's not the norm for a major house to say they aren't for them, but if they're willing to pay to get onto another line, they might be ready in a while.

I think it's incredibly vain for a person to assume that because they have a computer and know how to type that they can be a writer.

Vanity is assuming you know a person's motivations. Spend some time on the PA or WLA threads and see how many people have gotten caught up in something the didn't understand. They DID do the work - so far as they know. They're elated that someone likes it. That's all they hear -- just like any author would if any real publisher offered to take their book. They don't know that they're supposed to sell their book to the publisher.

Just as vain as one of the time Michael Jordan retired to be a professional golfer. Like professional golfers took up golfing on a whim because it is that easy. It's an insult to those who take years to focus on craft and industry. Many professional careers require a minimum of a four-year degree just to get the theory of how to do the job. Many people work at least two years on the job before they are competent, so why would anyone think that anything less than six years of work should produce a professional product?

Because a writer can hammer out a saleable book in less than a month from beginning to end. There are people on this board who do it on a regular basis.

And some of the people who go with presses like DA have spent YEARS on their book and trying to sell their book. When they get the "yes", they think they've found the one who finally appreciates their vision.

I've met people who use vanity publishers and they all did so knowing exactly what they were doing.

Not the same thing. Plenty of authors don't know it's a vanity press - plenty of them would say they'd "never" use a vanity press.

One even said "but I don't want to worry about all that technique crap and once I write a book, I don't want to edit." Really? Is that someone who was taken advantage of?

No, but that's hardly the norm.

Just saying - the Internet is FULL of information. True professionals will do the research for their career and avoid vanity publishing like the plague.

And most of them think they have.


You have no idea how many people who end up printed through presses like these think they're getting a normal publication experience. They're on a high, and that's all they can register -- the were "accepted". That's why the threads here focus on the publishers, NOT the authors. The authors got into something they didn't understand.

They don't understand that available in stores =/= to shelved on shelves in stores, or that they don't get any help in the marketing department, or that other authors don't consider them peers.

It's like on the PA threads where you see people who say they did their research, saw the negativity about the company, but believe it was from years ago and has now been resolved. Or they get recommendations from friends who've used it and are still in the "honeymoon" phase. They only hear the good stuff.

The vanity/subsidy model fits into the "fantasy". Get picked up right away and on a shelf in a few months... only they don't know they're not going to be on a shelf.
 

JulieB

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A fair number of people go with vanity presses not because they didn't do their research, but because they're impatient to get published or think the big, bad NY publishing industry won't touch their book because their name isn't Stephen King.

Impatience is a big part of the equation, I suspect. It's the flip side of the whole "ebooks should be $9.99" argument. From the outside, publishing seems a mystical world involving many ceremonial gin and tonics. Most people don't know what all goes into publishing a book.

The best thing we can do is keep up the education aspect. Aspiring authors need to learn how publishing works. I got started in the days before the Internet and was darned lucky to get hooked up with some of the right people. The Internet makes it easier to get the right information, but that information is often side-by-side with the ads for people who want your money. If I were just getting started today, I'd certainly be confused.
 

jana13k

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Cyia - While I agree that some people are that naive, all over the Internet sites say "never pay to have your work published." That is a huge red flag. Publishers pay the writers, not the other way around. I still contend (as the owner of two other businesses and a former CFO) that people are not doing the research necessary to understand the business before they write checks or they wouldn't be writing them.

And I know people can write a publishable book in a month. I just did it, but I've been writing for years and it still almost killed me.

I guess what I'm saying is how else can you prevent this from happening? Capitalism is the point of the US and unless the vanity presses are lying, they are giving the writers what they signed up for by the letter of the law. So if the thousands of people gracious enough to create websites warning people not to use vanity presses can't reach the intended audience because they don't do a thorough search, then what is the answer?

And I'm sorry if you took my post as disrespectful. I didn't mean it that way, but I DO get very frustrated with people who are so ready to believe the "dream" that they'll sacrifice advice, common sense and just a simple Google search to find out the truth. The only reason those places can exist is because they have clients. I guess I'm just a cynic, but I always think "if it's too good to be true, then it probably isn't."
 

jana13k

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Julie - In the case of the people I know who went the vanity route, impatience was definitely the reason. They simply didn't want to work very hard or wait very long.

The Internet has made research SO much more available than before, and in the case of romance, especially, RWA is a huge organization with even online chapters that provides an enormous amount of industry information to members. I guess I look around and see so much available resources for writers and wonder why people can't find it. I suspect it's like you say and many are ignoring it.

I had a huge problem with HQ advertising their vanity press on rejection letters because I believe the practice is deceptive marketing given they are an icon in romance publishing, but if they are no longer doing that, and the vanity press appears to have no ties with them any longer by name, etc. then it's still sleazy, but also a business move. And for the record, I don't think HQ had anything to do with that decision. I think that was all Torstar trying to make more money on their ONLY profitable venture. My guess is the HQ editors weren't any more pleased than writers.

A fair number of people go with vanity presses not because they didn't do their research, but because they're impatient to get published or think the big, bad NY publishing industry won't touch their book because their name isn't Stephen King.

Impatience is a big part of the equation, I suspect. It's the flip side of the whole "ebooks should be $9.99" argument. From the outside, publishing seems a mystical world involving many ceremonial gin and tonics. Most people don't know what all goes into publishing a book.

The best thing we can do is keep up the education aspect. Aspiring authors need to learn how publishing works. I got started in the days before the Internet and was darned lucky to get hooked up with some of the right people. The Internet makes it easier to get the right information, but that information is often side-by-side with the ads for people who want your money. If I were just getting started today, I'd certainly be confused.
 

JulieB

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The Internet has made research SO much more available than before, and in the case of romance, especially, RWA is a huge organization with even online chapters that provides an enormous amount of industry information to members. I guess I look around and see so much available resources for writers and wonder why people can't find it. I suspect it's like you say and many are ignoring it.

It's hard not to feel the tug of "I want it now" when right there on the blogs of so many authors are Google ads for vanity presses. When they have a free blog somewhere they don't have any choice on ads.

I know someone who vanity pubbed because she was impatient. She seemed to understand up front what she was getting into. I hope she wasn't keen on making her money back.

I had a huge problem with HQ advertising their vanity press on rejection letters because I believe the practice is deceptive marketing given they are an icon in romance publishing, but if they are no longer doing that, and the vanity press appears to have no ties with them any longer by name, etc. then it's still sleazy, but also a business move. And for the record, I don't think HQ had anything to do with that decision. I think that was all Torstar trying to make more money on their ONLY profitable venture. My guess is the HQ editors weren't any more pleased than writers.

Absolutely agree on that point. I felt for the editors who were put in that position.
 

brainstorm77

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I still can't think how people think they are going the normal route when they have to pay hundreds or thousands just to see their book in print.
 

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Many people assume you have to pay to be published. I know several attorneys who vanity-pubbed their novels and didn't know the difference, and these are supposedly well-educated (but apparently not street-smart) people.
 

jana13k

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Many people assume you have to pay to be published. I know several attorneys who vanity-pubbed their novels and didn't know the difference, and these are supposedly well-educated (but apparently not street-smart) people.
My grandmother (who lived to 93) used to refer to those people as "educated fools." I still miss her direct assessments. lol
 

ChristineR

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There are plenty of Internet sites telling you that you have to pay to be published, especially if you are a first time author and not a celebrity. True, many of these sites can be traced back to vanity presses, but it's not obvious for all of them. Anyone can create a blog on a neutral site like Live Journal and talk about the alleged virtue of vanity publishing.

These are the sites that recite the supposed self-publishing success stories ad nauseum--The Shack, Paolini, The Celestine Prophecy--and all the famous authors that privately published a book of poetry.

Sometimes people believe what they want to believe. But there are many, many houses doing vanity publishing that provide a fair service for a fair price and don't berate their clients.
 

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Many people assume you have to pay to be published. I know several attorneys who vanity-pubbed their novels and didn't know the difference, and these are supposedly well-educated (but apparently not street-smart) people.

I can't count how many people ask me regularly how much I paid to be published. Very innocent and curious, no idea how insulting it is. That's how they think it works.

I'll never understand it. I don't recall, even when I was 11 and first decided what I wanted to be, ever thinking that I ought to pay someone to publish my books. I don't know where the belief comes from. Whatever it is, I never ran across it because the first time someone said to me "How can you afford to be published, it's so expensive!?" I was baffled and had no idea wtf they were going on about.
 

jennontheisland

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I'll never understand it. I don't recall, even when I was 11 and first decided what I wanted to be, ever thinking that I ought to pay someone to publish my books. I don't know where the belief comes from. Whatever it is, I never ran across it ...
This. But I was 12 when I decided to be an author. ;)

I have very little sympathy for people who get sucked into PA and DellArte.