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DellArte Press (formerly Harlequin Horizons)

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

Lainey Bancroft

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'perhaps slamming DellArte writers would work better in a separate thread.'

I have a lot of time and respect for Gillhoughly here, but I don't work on the Roman philosophy of 'throw them to the lions'. Ignorance in publishing is a lack of knowledge of how things are and should work; not a licence and platform for the rest of us to analysis, ridicule and point fingers. At heart, I don't think any of us want that. But we are dealing with forms and strains of a publishing industry which is changing, and our declarations of what is and should be cannot be set in a tablet of stone.

What Gillhoughly suggested is:

Anyway, perhaps we can focus on slamming DellArte and not the writers they're exploiting however voluntary that exploitation might be.


Meaning examine the problems with the so-called publisher. NOT throwing the writers to the lions.

(and FTR he's a she)
 

DaveKuzminski

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Face it, Harlequin's vanity arm can't be pointed at for what is being done wrong without pointing at the author's words to illustrate the issue. Besides, if I were to sign on with a publisher that made it sound like I'd have a similar deal to what other authors get only that I'd have to pay for the privilege, I'd sure as hell expect some editing and other services for my dough.
 

Anon76

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Oh, they get the editing.

The same "editing" that any other AuthorHouse author can buy.

And that is the really sad thing. I know some big name romance blog/review sites whose owners still don't get that HQ has nothing to do with the editorial services, purchased or not.

They feel "a la carte" editorial services from the big houses to a person who wants to self publish is a good thing. And it would be, EXCEPT, those editorial staffs are already cut to the bare minimum and barely keep up with their own lines, let alone have the time to be shopped out to others.

Dellarte = Author Solutions. Their staff, their business model, etc. The HQ name is there simply to lure people in for higher charges.
 

waylander

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And that is the really sad thing. I know some big name romance blog/review sites whose owners still don't get that HQ has nothing to do with the editorial services, purchased or not.

They may get it when they review some DellArte books
 

dragonjax

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I don't think there has been a confirmed cass of HQ referring Dell Arte yet. But it would be nice if they attested they wouldn't, RWA member or not.

From everything I've heard, which is very little, no one has received a rejection letter with the referral in it. But I haven't heard whether their form letters -- which, according to the December open letter written by the HQ president, would be the ones that would contain the referral -- have the damning reference or not.

The big problem for me is HQ's silence. After the December open letter, in which the pres very proudly insisted that HQ would be using its form letter rejections to refer authors to DAP, it's up to HQ to set the record straight if, in fact, HQ is not doing this.

For the record, if HQ is not, in fact, referring rejected authors to DAP, I'll just hold my nose and shrug off DAP as a poor business model used by Harlequin Enterprises. (Without the HQ name and links on the HQ sites...AND without the referral in the rejection letters, that is.) But again, HQ must come forward and bluntly say whether the company is doing this.

As for RWA, I'm grossly disappointed. I understand that it was caught in a hard place. But it really feels like the organization has bluntly pushed aside its mission statement in this case.
 
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DreamWeaver

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Well I subbed to them a while back and so did another from the romance board who has been a member here for a bit and I don't think either of our manuscripts were bloody awful and neither of us got a referral.
I'm glad to hear you didn't get the referral. Good luck on the next submission--may Harlequin love it and publish it, and may they never ever mention DelArte to you.
 
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brainstorm77

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I'm glad to hear you didn't get the referral. I tend to think the referral may be Harlequin's way of saying, please never send us an MS (or would that be a MS?) again. If so, that's a compliment to both of you to offset the disappointment of the rejection. Good luck on the next one--may Harlequin love it and publish it, and may they never ever mention DelArte to you.

I also entered their HQ Presents contest last year and again rejection with no referral.
I will also subbing sometime again in the next 4-6 months. I'll see what comes around that time.
 

IceCreamEmpress

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So an editor suggests "alternatives" for publishing, rather than flat out rejection and sending the poisonous wordage straight to the recycle bin for the good of humanity.

Nobody seems to have gotten a referral to DellArte at present as part of their HQ rejection--at least nobody who's savvy enough to post on any of the Internet writers' groups.

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it seems like maybe HQ is currently abiding by the spirit, as well as the letter, of its agreement with RWA.

This is me not holding my breath.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Well I subbed to them a while back and so did another from the romance board who has been a member here for a bit and I don't think either of our manuscripts were bloody awful and neither of us got a referral.

I think the key here is "a while back."

This entire mess (i.e. Harlequin deciding to become a vanity press) is recent.

At the very least, this should put Harlequin at the bottom of everyone's Submit To list rather than at the top. Let Dell and Pocket get the pick of the litter and give Harlequin the runts.
 

nkkingston

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Jane at DearAuthor says she was told recently that HaHo never considered the link in the referral letters (doesn't quote her source) and perhaps the rumour came about as Thomas Nelson are doing it. Whoever her source is obviously wasn't aware that the internet has a long memory, and both Malle Vallik and Donna Hayes explicitly said it would be.

At a guess, I think Harlequin have backpedalled from the referrals so hard they've forgotten they even said they'd do it in the first place.
 

dragonjax

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Considering that Donna Hayes bluntly stated in an open letter to the MWA that Harlequin was going to be referring rejected authors to DAP via its form rejection letters, I'm surprised that Jane would "report" such a thing.

Here's the letter.

And here's the damning part of the letter:

We believe that writers are best served when they make informed choices. As such, Harlequin’s rejection letter templates will soon be modified to encourage the author to consider the wide range of publishing options now available to aspiring authors including submitting to another house, resubmitting to Harlequin, ePublishing, self-publishing, or working with Dellarte Press.
 

jana13k

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But the problem is not Harlequin. The problem is with Torstar, the parent company. Do you really think Harlequin editors want books running around with the Harlequin name on them that have zero standards for publication at Harlequin and no editing? I know for certain that they don't. The reality is, Harlequin is Torstar's only profitable venue and they thought they'd milk it for more money. The heads of Torstar likely don't know or care a whit about the publishing business, Harlequin's reputation or what the employees of Harlequin and writers for Harlequin would think about their decision. People like those at Torstar, only speak in numbers and the most important number is the bottom line.

While I agree that RWA has done some backpedaling from their original stance, the Harlequin name was removed from the venture and it appears that (so far) the press is not being recommended along with rejections. I think the main reason RWA backpedaled was not for Harlequins benefit, but for the benefit of over HALF their published authors that are published category authors. Removing Harlequin from the equation at RWA leaves all those legitimate authors who are working their tails off producing legitimate work out in the cold based on something they can't control.

There is no winner here.
 

ChristineR

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Actually, I don't think we know what Torstar thinks of this. Everyone is just assuming that Harlequin thought it was a bad idea, and Torstar pushed it. That does seem likely, but it may not be the case. I haven't heard anything about it from any insiders. Has anyone else heard?

I do think it's safe to assume that a good many people who work at HN are as appalled as the rest of us.
 

jana13k

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I have heard from Harlequin insiders and the staff are mostly appalled.
 

Chumplet

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When I mentioned the situation to my manager after she went to a staff meeting with Torstar execs just after all this hit the news, the subject apparently wasn't under discussion among the other divisions. Not in her earshot, anyway.
 

Gillhoughly

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I have heard from Harlequin insiders and the staff are mostly appalled.

That is a GOOD thing, then.

It shows to everyone that the rank and file people who do the real trench work, not the distant, decision-making Suits, are not on board with that conflict of interest, and have scruples, same as the rest of us.
 

dragonjax

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Agreed. I feel terrible about the HQ staff, especially the editors, who got stuck in the middle of this. That doesn't change my anger at HE for making this happen in the first place.
 

jana13k

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If Torstar dictates what Harlequin does, Torstar has made Harlequin the problem IMHO. It doesn't really matter to me if the are 'just following orders'.
So what do you suggest - that every Harlequin employee resign their positions in protest? The reality of corporate America is that it's mostly run by amoral, money-grubbing buttholes with limited to no ethics. You're not going to change the business model for making money.

Writers have to make a living and will continue to write for them. Editors, secretaries, office assistants and the janitor have families as well. When you hurl blame at a "corporation" you're essentially blaming every employee there and how is that fair? Put the blame where it belongs - the board of directors.
 

BenPanced

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I don't think anybody's advocating firing anybody else or quitting en masse. We're just stating that whoever came up with it and whenever this idea came about, it's a pretty lousy idea that's been shoved under the umbrella of a company that's lost a helluva lot of credibility since it's been implemented.
 

James D. Macdonald

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James, people have been posting about rejections from HQ over the last two or three weeks, and nobody has yet reported a referral to DellArte.

As long as it stays that way long term (think "Forever") then that's a good thing.

Maybe they haven't yet run out of the rejection slips they had printed up before this debacle.