But today's news is actually good news. Or rather, awesome news! And it comes from the Romance Writers of America (RWA), whom I now love with a passion (no pun intended). In response to the Harlequin Horizons program, the RWA released this statement:
Romance Writers of America was informed of the new venture between Harlequin Enterprises and ASI Solutions to form Harlequin Horizons, a vanity/subsidy press. Many of you have asked the organization to state its position regarding this new development. As a matter of policy, we do not endorse any publisher’s business model. Our mission is the advancement of the professional interests of career-focused romance writers.
One of your member benefits is the annual National Conference. RWA allocates select conference resources to non-subsidy/non-vanity presses that meet the eligibility requirements to obtain those resources. Eligible publishers are provided free meeting space for book signings, are given the opportunity to hold editor appointments, and are allowed to offer spotlights on their programs.
With the launch of Harlequin Horizons, Harlequin Enterprises no longer meets the requirements to be eligible for RWA-provided conference resources. This does not mean that Harlequin Enterprises cannot attend the conference. Like all non-eligible publishers, they are welcome to attend. However, as a non-eligible publisher, they would fund their own conference fees and they would not be provided with conference resources by RWA to publicize or promote the company or its imprints....
Aside from her very clear, principled stand, you kind of have to read between the lines of RWA President Michelle Monkou's letter to truly understand the awesome here. Essentially, RWA is doing to Harlequin exactly what Harlequin is doing to its submitting authors--namely, RWA is telling Harlequin that they are no longer invited to its annual conference, but they can still come if they pay RWA to do so. Now not only does Harlequin have to pay what I hope are exorbitant fees in order to have a presence at the biggest and most important romance writers conference in the country, if not the world, but also their booth will now probably be relegated to the RWA conference's version of the BEA's "vanity press row."
Way to turn the tables on Harlequin, RWA! I applaud you!