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The Harlequin Horizons Saga Continues [Nov. 19th, 2009|09:21 am]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur

It seems like every morning there's newer and more fabulous information to share about Harlequin's bone-headed vanity-publishing plan, Harlequin Horizons. For some background on this story if you're new to this blog, check here and here.

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:

Dear Members:

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!

[User Picture]From: barbarienne
2009-11-19 02:50 pm (UTC)
I don't always agree with RWAs stance on things, but in this they are pure awesome. It may hurt the legitimate authors at Harlequin a bit, and this makes me sad, as one of them is my good buddy oracne.

However, Harlequin seems to have been deaf to the shouts of outrage regarding their adoption of this sullied imprint (which also hurts their legitimate authors). Perhaps this action by RWA will get through. "YOU ARE NOT BEHAVING LIKE A REAL PUBLISHER, SO WE'RE NOT GOING TO TREAT YOU LIKE ONE." Maybe someone at HQ has more than three brain cells and will understand the problem.

Edited at 2009-11-19 02:51 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nick_kaufmann
2009-11-19 03:09 pm (UTC)
Fingers crossed. This reminds me of Kirkus Reviews' brief flirtation with pay-to-be-reviewed silliness.
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