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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Harlequin a Vanity Press?

It appears that I am boring my followers.

I only got two comments yesterday, out of 57 followers.

I could delusion myself into thinking that everyone I know is disconnected from the internet or getting sick on turkey already...but I saw how many people posted blogs yesterday.

So! Looks like I need to step up the pace if I'm going to keep my readership.

The truth is that my life is incredibly boring and other than my writing, I don't really have anything going on. And I don't have any expertise in anything.

So, in the effort to appear knowledgable, interesting, and worth commenting on, I'm going to weigh in on the new Harlequin press--the one that is a vanity press, or self-publishing (there is a difference between the two, but for simplicity's sake, I'm going to group them together as not being traditional publishing).

Harlequin recently created a new imprint, called Harlequin Horizons...but what's got people all riled up is that this imprint is not actually an imprint at all, but a vanity press masquerading as a part of Harlequin. It says it all quite clearly on the website--this is a pay for services. It's a bold move by Harlequin, one that will help them meet their expenses in this economy and take advantage of all the rejections they give out in a week's time.

Here's the problem: When a rejection is given, does Harlequin then 'recommend' that an author submit to Harlequin Horizons? Does it give the writer the impression that doing so might just enable them to be picked up by Harlequin itself in the future?

How many inexperienced authors would fall for that? If you look at how many fall for the scam agents and publishing companies, probably many. Especially since Harlequin is a known and legitimate name. (Although Harlequin has promised to change the name of Harlequin Horizons so they seem less like sister companies.)

I'm sure you've been reading about this on every blog for the past week, but just in case you want to see what people are saying today, here's a few more blogs talking about it. Just click here and here. This is a very heated discussion. Nobody seems happy about it.

My take? Writers need to do their research and know what they're getting into. Then if writer chooses to go with a press like Harlequin Horizons, it's not because they're expecting something they're not getting.

Go ahead. Leave your comment. What do you think?

18 comments:

Kate said...

Tamara, I've been reading EVERY post but not commenting. Sorry. I blame it on my crazy life--I think I'm a little over-involved. If I can't think of something to type in .09 seconds that doesn't sound stupid, I move on.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

So...did I manage to come across as knowledgable? Interesting? Someone intelligent? Perhaps I should start some controversy and let the sparks fly.

Vicky said...

Hey, at least you have followers...

I actually hadn't heard about this, so you're very knowledgeable to me!

Tyler Jorgenson said...

I'm a supporter of self publishing for a lot of people. I do see the potential conflict however in a writer being turned down and directed to the self publishing side of the company. Hopefully people are able to make good decisions as to which one is best for them.

Sara ♥ said...

I also see the conflict in an author being turned down and then directed toward paying for the self-publishing side... hmmmm.

Thanks for writing about this - I've been reading about it on twitter but too lazy to google it, ha.

I just don't think I'd ever self-publish... Too much of my dream rests with finding an agent and a publisher. The "real" route to getting published as it was explained to me as a child. Self-publishing, to me, isn't the same thing!

Sara ♥ said...

For the record, I also read your blog every day :-)

T. Anne said...

I'm a big mess this week but I love your blog to pieces! I'm confused over this whole Harlequin thing. Are they still pursuing it or not?

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Haha Tamara, guilting your followers into commenting, I'll have to try that lol. Or maybe guilting my commenters into following?

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I know, Karen, mean trick, huh? :) (I didn't mention that of the two commenters yesterday, one of them was me!)

T.Anne--The website is still up and it looks like they're pursuing it.

Sara--I'm with you. It had to be the traditional way for me.

Annie McMahon said...

I read your blog, Tamara, and I find your posts interesting. I just don't comment very often. :)

Keep in mind that many people are busy with NaNo. I can't wait for November to end to have more interaction with my favorite yet-to-be-published writer friends! I noticed less people are commenting on my blog as well.

Keep posting, we're reading!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Annie--oh, good! I'm glad that my first instinct was right!

Voidwalker said...

Oh Nose! It's the next "Healthcare reform" topic for the literary world... I can't seem to find a literary blog that isn't covering this story :P

I wonder if Harlequin thought they'd get such grief for this decision, or if it really truly was a "bottom line" decision.

Sher said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog! I love meeting new bloggers! I'm following you now.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Hey Sher! I've been following you awhile. I figured if I needed comments, so do you. :)

Voidwalker--I know! That's why I haven't blogged about it. But I was...cough...desperate for attention?

Simon C. Larter said...

You're not boring at all m'dear. Some days (or weeks in my case) are just busy. Chalk it up to pre-holiday preparation binges.

As for the vanity press issue, I'd never publish with one because I don't have any money to begin with! (Not true: I have enough to pay our bills and feed us, which is good, but not enough to blow $600 to print a book few people will ever read, which is bad.)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Simon, $600? That's just to start with, if you don't want any editing, or a decent cover, or anything but a horribly typed up glaringly unprofessional product.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Well, look at that. Sixteen comments! That's more then I've ever gotten! lol I don't know much about the Harlequin stuff, but it is just sad to me how many people are out there willing to scam their neighbors. It's too bad we have to be so careful.

Oh well, luckily we found a great publisher. I'm so happy with WiDo.

SozinTara said...

I have thought about Self Publishing and I love the fact that Harlequin is doing this...but it is questionable. What if they dog me out of my book and then I get published with Harlequin Horizons? It'll be too silly for me to try.

Some people dislike Self Publishing because it may be a "no brand name" company or they may not get exposure. There are problems with traditional houses too. With Self Publishing, I'll be able to market myself. It simply means things will be done by ME and not the publishing house.

My problem is the money. It is just too expensive right now for me to self publish, yet I hate rejections too!

Nanowrimo takes me from my blogging exeperience but thanks for the post!

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