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What Happens When Dying Publishing Houses Need to Make Money Fast - Nicholas Kaufmann's Journal — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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What Happens When Dying Publishing Houses Need to Make Money Fast [Nov. 17th, 2009|01:46 pm]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
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Hey, amateur romance writers, still reeling from the latest Harlequin rejection informing you that your bodice-ripping masterpiece just didn't rip it up to their level? Wondering if your pirate/bandit/cruelly egotistical heir to an aristocratic fortune who is tamed by your heroine's passionate lovemaking just isn't roguish enough for the masses? Do you have so much money even in the Great Recession that it's burning a hole in your pocket? Then you're in luck!

Author Solutions has teamed up with Harlequin to form Harlequin Horizons, a new imprint for self-published romance authors. The imprint will recruit writers in two ways: authors whose manuscripts have been rejected by Harlequin will be made aware of the Harlequin Horizons option and authors who sign with Author Solutions will be given the opportunity to be published under the Harlequin Horizons imprint. According to an Author Solutions spokesperson, the imprint will offer special services aimed at the romance market, including unique marketing and distribution services. All services are on a pay-for-service basis.

No, friends, your eyes aren't deceiving you, it's true! You next rejection letter from Harlequin will tell you that your book just wasn't right for them but they'll still publish it if you pay them to. It's like every author's dream come true! I know you're reaching for your credit card right now, but wait, there's more!

You're wondering if this can get any better. Well, yes! Yes it can!

Author Solutions will handle all aspects of the venture, although Harlequin Horizons will exist as an imprint of Harlequin, and the publisher will be able to monitor sales and sign authors to a traditional imprint.

That's right, romance writers! After paying Harlequin to publish your book, they'll decide if it's selling well enough to sign you to a real publishing deal! It won't be hard for them, all they have to do is change the imprint logo on the cover, after all. No sweat. So don't worry that you might be causing them too much extra work! It's not like the advance Harlequin will pay you is likely to cover your self-publishing expenses anyway. Also, with a traditional contract they will ostensibly be able to make even more money off of you, in addition to what you already paid them, with a more publisher-friendly royalty schedule. Everybody wins! And by everybody, I mean Harlequin and Author Solutions!

I know what you're thinking. Jeez, I'm still putting Harlequin through such a hassle if they give me a real contract, what with having to pay to print the books themselves and all. I don't know if I want to be a bother. Don't worry. The average romance novel has such a short shelf life that odds are yours won't sell enough copies to catch Harlequin's eye anyway, provided your book even gets into bookstores, so the whole part about signing the self-published authors to a traditional imprint probably won't even come into play. Phew! Now you don't have to be a bother to anyone!

Like I said, everybody wins!
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2009-11-17 06:57 pm (UTC)
Let's write a romance novel in the comments section of this post and submit it. I'll start:

Lurlene St. Lovelace parted the curtain of her boudoir and looked out to the shore. Waves crashed against the jetty as the wine-dark sea churned with the anxiety of a storm soon-to-come. Yet, her lover's ship, the Roger was due to port this morning. Would Baldrick, his limbs long and sinewy, skin tan and salted from the long voyage, rush up the beach to take her in his arms as she had dreamed for so long? Lurlene's breasts heaved with_______.


Go!
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[User Picture]From: nick_kaufmann
2009-11-17 07:00 pm (UTC)
...tapioca.

Oh, dammit!
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2009-11-17 07:01 pm (UTC)
antici_____

Go!
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[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2009-11-17 07:01 pm (UTC)
PAY


Go!

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[User Picture]From: queenie_writes
2009-11-17 06:59 pm (UTC)
Gods, that crap. Anything to rip off the writer.
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[User Picture]From: nick_kaufmann
2009-11-17 07:00 pm (UTC)
Yup.
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[User Picture]From: queenie_writes
2009-11-17 07:07 pm (UTC)
The more I learn about this business, the more I feel ripped off the gods chose to make me a writer. Couldn't I be good at something else?

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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2009-11-17 08:55 pm (UTC)
According to an Author Solutions spokesperson, the imprint will offer special services aimed at the romance market, including unique marketing and distribution services. All services are on a pay-for-service basis.

Hm. I wonder if they're saying (or falsely promising) to put your self-published romance novel into the stores with the regular Harlequin line. I doubt that regular bookstores would want vanity books on their shelves. And would Harlequin want these self-published books in stores since a customer might not know the difference between the two lines of books, and get a tome of absolute gibberish with the Harlequin name on it.
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[User Picture]From: nick_kaufmann
2009-11-17 08:58 pm (UTC)
That's the implication, but of course most stores aren't going to bother stocking these titles.
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2009-11-17 09:04 pm (UTC)
As much as I love to have moolah, I couldn't live with myself if I made that money by intentionally deceiving others. Talk about seedy.
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[User Picture]From: kameron_hurley
2009-11-17 09:11 pm (UTC)
"I wonder if they're saying (or falsely promising) to put your self-published romance novel into the stores with the regular Harlequin line."

Note the particular verbiage: "*unique* marketing and distribution services." Saying, "unique" is a coy way of saying, "Oh hell no we're not putting you on the shelf next to our real books, not unless you pay us $30k."

No, they'll offer you "unique" distribution services, like having it available for download at a special site and possibly Amazon.com next to the lulu.com books. For enough money, you can buy anything.

I applaud them, really. It's a brilliantly nasty way to make money in a down economy. I should have thought of it!
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[User Picture]From: blythe025
2009-11-17 10:13 pm (UTC)
Oh. Oh my. And ick.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-11-18 08:02 am (UTC)
The point of this is that romance readers are idiots?
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[User Picture]From: nick_kaufmann
2009-11-18 01:31 pm (UTC)
Why would you say that? This is entirely poking fun at the concept of Harlequin Horizons, books which, by the very nature of the program, will probably never be seen or read by the average romance reader. So, for fun, we're trying to write the worst romance novel we can think of.

Your indignation leads me to believe you enjoy a good romance. Therefore you are probably aware even more cliches and tropes--help us write this!

Also, sign your name next time. Anonymous indignation doesn't carry any weight.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2009-11-18 07:30 pm (UTC)
There will always be people preying on people whose dreams outreach their ability. But one would hope that it would not be done by a legitimate publishing house. Sometimes you have to look at the pile of dirty money and say "I'm just not going to pick that up."

Shame, Harlequin.
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