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Hmmm, I bet the RWA never thought they’d be in a position where they’d have to un-recognise one of its biggest publishers as a result of their stance on e-publishing companies vanity presses eh?

I’m assuming that most of you have heard about Harlequin Horizons by now? If not, Dear Author has a very informative post about HQN’s newest get-richer-quicker, ethically dubious venture.

For those who can’t be arsed popping over to read the post, basically Harlequin has partnered up with a vanity press organisation and launched a new arm for writers who wish to self-publish their own books. Harlequin Horizons (that’s what this new arm is called) apparently has nothing really to do with Harlequin Enterprises, even though it bears the name Harlequin (Yeah, some Einstein really didn’t think that one through too well) although, apparently, any aspiring authors who get rejected by Harlequin editors will be pointed in the direction of Harlequin Horizon, as an alternative publishing route. Those people at Harlequin sure are all heart aren’t they?

Anyway, the majority of RomLand have seen this for exactly what I think it is. A way for HQN to make money off their editor’s slush piles. Let’s face it, if people are desperate enough to hand over their money to scam here-today-gone-tomorrow vanity presses, they’ll be lining up to be ushered into the hallowed halls of Harlequin Horizons. After all, these writers will be able to claim that they’re published with Harlequin, even though Harlequin itself insists that it’s a totally separate enterprise.

Over at DA, Malle Vallik insists that the branding wont be compromised. Methinks she’s living in Cloud Cuckoo Land myself.

Anyway, as a result of this new venture, the RWA (royally stuffed into a corner) have basically said sayonara to Harlequin Enterprises as an eligible publisher. (Gosh I bet they wish they’d never taken their hardline stance on Vanity Presses now hahaha)

This is part of the announcement from RWA president, Michelle Monkou:

…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.

I’m with Mrs Giggles, I wonder how long it will be before the RWA change the terms of publisher eligibility in order to welcome Harlequin back into the fold. Karma really is a bitch isn’t it? HAHAHAHAHAHA!


  • I never expected RWA to move so fast. The question is, does Harlequin really care, because in their eyes or at least their parent company, it’s all about making money.

    Who needs who more? RWA needs Harlequin or does Harlequin need RWA?


  • maddie
    November 19
    9:30 pm

    I think since Harlequin been around for 60 years, they can stand being with out RWA.


  • I think RWA deserves some credit for sticking to their guns – whether or not you think their stance on epubs is misguided or not. At least they’re consistent. Honestly, how many thought that HQ was going to get a pass on this from RWA? My guess? Most of us. Will RWA “cave” down the road? Only time will tell.

    Oh, and the recent development is now MWA (Mystery Writers Of America) are looking into the matter. HQ publishes a truck-load of romantic suspense, not to mention “traditional” suspense novels via their Mira imprint.


  • Emmy
    November 19
    10:58 pm

    RWA hasn’t actually done much. HQN is still able to go to nationals…they just have to pay for their own table, etc. The authors are still eligible for awards and such, as far as I’ve been able to tell. RWA’s statement basically equates to the proverbial slap on the wrist, and was only issued in response to all the author mail they were getting. Had to look like they were doing something, when, if fact, they’ve done nothing.

    I’m sure HQN can afford to pay for their own meeting room and other assorted conference fees at RWA nats. I’m also fairly sure that if their editors let it be known that they’re in the area, they’ll be swamped with authors wanting meetings.


  • I’m proud of where RWA stood on this. No, it couldn’t have been easy for them, but HQN no longer met the requirements for eligibility.

    Apparently, HQN is also removing ‘harlequin’ from the vanity press arm. I haven’t seen anything official but a lot of my HQN friends have.

    And I think that change is due to the outcry from authors AND RWA’s stance.


  • jane
    November 20
    12:13 am

    I don’t see what you are finding so amusing. Are you saying that the RWA shouldn’t stand up for authors and should ignore publishers that are acting an unethical fashion? A way that will harm the RWAs members?

    From Kristen Nelson’s blog (stuff about MWA over there as well): http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2009/11/harlequin-news-flash.html

    This just in (literally five seconds ago) from Donna Hayes, CEO of Harlequin.

    Harlequin was very surprised and dismayed to receive notice late yesterday that the RWA has decided that Harlequin is no longer eligible for RWA-provided conference resources. We were even more surprised to discover that the RWA sent a notice to its membership announcing this decision, before allowing Harlequin to respond or engage in a discussion about it with the RWA board.

    Harlequin has been a significant supporter of the RWA for many years in several ways, including:

    • financial sponsorships at the annual conference
    • sending editors to the national and regional chapter conferences throughout the year to meet with and advise aspiring authors and participate in panel discussions on writing
    • celebrating our authors, most of whom are RWA members, annually with the largest publisher party at the conference.

    It is disappointing that the RWA has not recognized that publishing models have and will continue to change. As a leading publisher of women’s fiction in a rapidly changing environment, Harlequin’s intention is to provide authors access to all publishing opportunities, traditional or otherwise.

    Most importantly, however, we have heard the concerns that you, our authors, have expressed regarding the potential confusion between this venture and our traditional business. As such, we are changing the name of the self-publishing company from Harlequin Horizons to a designation that will not refer to Harlequin in any way. We will initiate this process immediately. We hope this allays the fears many of you have communicated to us.

    We are committed to connecting with our authors and aspiring authors in a significant way and encourage you to continue to share your thoughts with us.


    Donna Hayes
    Publisher and Chief Executive Officer
    Harlequin Enterprises Limited


  • Amanda
    November 20
    12:42 am

    I don’t believe anyone is joking. But come on are you as a RWA member at nationals/conference/whatever going to tell some of the big wigs..ie Heather Graham, or Gena Showalter or any of the other big name authors you can’t sign that you’re with Harlequin. My guess would be, Jane, you would be squeeing right along with other members as you get to meet your fav authors.

    I have to agree with Mrs. Hayes. There was never any questions asked or press releases made to adress underlining fears about the whole vanity press aspect.

    But Ms Karen I did read at Smart B*tches last night one particular person said in three years as a self-published author they had sold about a 100 copies of their book and they were happy with that. Now whether or not they made the cost back I guess we’ll never know. This person also equated being a writer to being a craft maker…ie quilt maker, painter, seamstress, which blew me away LOL!!!!

    If people aren’t smart by now about the difference in publishers and they have the extra 5 to 8 grand in their pockets to throw away, have at I say.


  • Nora Roberts
    November 20
    12:55 am

    ANY publisher can go to nationals, but when they’re deemed ineligible they get no perks–the pay for everything. That’s the same for everyone who doesn’t meet RWA rules of the road.

    So Harlequin will be given the same treatment as any other publisher who doesn’t meet RWA standards.

    It’s not a slap on the wrist.

    If the ineligibility sticks, Harlequin books will not be eligible for the Ritas–next year, yes, as the deadline has already passed for entry, and Harlequin was an elibible publisher at that time. Harlequin books will not be included in the Literacy signing in Nashville unless the ineligibilty is lifted.

    Heather also writes for other publishers, so certainly she could sign books from another publisher, just not for Harlequin.

    RWA had acted precisely as they had to act, and did so quickly.

    If they hadn’t done so, there would be snickers and complaints that they’re showing favoritism or they’re weenies. But they did, so there are remarks that they don’t really mean it, only did it under pressure (were you in the board room?) or it’s not enough.



  • I don’t see what you are finding so amusing.

    What I find amusing is that in taking such a hard line against vanity presses, they may very well find themselves having to make more traditional publishing orgs ineligible, if more of them decide to follow Harlequin’s example. Hey, it may happen.

    I’m not a supporter of vanity presses by any means, and but I think that sooner or later, the RWA may have to take another look at the way they handle them.

    But they did, so there are remarks that they don’t really mean it, only did it under pressure (were you in the board room?) or it’s not enough.

    Like you said, they didn’t have much of a choice re the actions they took, but let’s face it, they didn’t give themselves much wiggle room did they?

    And I may not have been in that boardroom, but I suspect that their decision to make HQN ineligible had to hurt.

    And just in case I wasn’t clear enough, I think HQN’s new venture smells bad, but I still think that RWA found themselves between a rock and a hard place of their own making, because if other big name publishers decide that they want a piece of the vanity publishing pie, what are they gonna do then?


  • Amanda
    November 20
    1:25 am

    Ms. Nora *mini squee* Btw I have the new JD ROBB and OMG its MAG! LOL!!

    Do you believe RWA did the right thing by disallowing Harlequin or do you think they were just in a protection mode of saving the authors?

    Yes, I know Ms. Heather writes for other publishers, but I guess I just don’t find it fair to exclude a set of books because of a publishers decisions. It’s not like the authors were like Yes, go ahead let’s do this, you know.


  • This is one of those times when I disagree with Karen.

    I think RWA did the only thing they could do regarding Harlequin Horizons, as an organization whose main purpose is to protect and educate authors.

    After all, vanity presses prey on people desperate to be published–and from what I have see, this new area of Harlequin is doing just that: preying on people’s desperation.


  • Jody W.
    November 20
    4:05 am

    SFWA and MWA have both spoken out against Harlequin Enterprises now, with SFWA taking Harlequin off their eligible publishers list and MWA threatening to by a certain deadline. It’s not just RWA having to make this decision. And yes, it would be terrible if all currently legit publishers chose to shuffle their rejects off to vanity publishers, not only for the RWA but for authors and readers. While the whole industry is warping and bending as we speak, I sincerely hope it doesn’t go to more of a permanent pay-to-play route. I won’t be playing anymore.

    But then, I guess the house would be cleaner.


  • And I may not have been in that boardroom, but I suspect that their decision to make HQN ineligible had to hurt.

    I imagine it did. I believe the prez of RWA is pubbed with HQN. Which means, if this sticks? her future HQN books won’t be eligible for the RITA.

    Now I know the RITA doesn’t count much to readers.

    But HQN is the BIGGEST romance publisher in the world, if I recall correctly.

    The RITA is THE romance award. It’s the biggest. It’s the one that counts. It does matter… to a lot of romance authors, and to the pubs.

    And now? The Biggest Romance Publisher…they aren’t eligible to win the Big Prize.

    That alone had to hurt.

    But they also knew this would impact other authors. A huge majority of the general membership is pubbed with HQN. A huge majority, like Nora Roberts for example, got their start with HQN.

    Stripping that eligibility had to hurt, and it does suck, and I’m so sorry for how it’s impacted those HQN authors.

    I don’t agree with how RWA does everything. I don’t. I think too many of them are unwilling to recognize viable, valid routes to a successful career, namely epubs and small presses.

    But this new move of HQN’s was predatory and standing up to it took a lot of guts. Again…I’m proud of them.


  • I think RWA did the only thing they could do regarding Harlequin Horizons, as an organization whose main purpose is to protect and educate authors.

    And this is precisely what I think is ironic. They had no choice in the matter. You think when they brought out those vanity/subsidy rules they ever thought that they would apply to a major publisher like HQN one day? No, I really don’t think so.

    After all, vanity presses prey on people desperate to be published–and from what I have see, this new area of Harlequin is doing just that: preying on people’s desperation.

    Listen, along with the majority of RomLand, I don’t like the idea of vanity presses, however, in my opinion, this should be a case of buyer beware, and the ‘education’ part of RWA should be busy arming the authors with enough information to make an informed choice.

    I think HQN have been totally cack-handed in the way that they’ve introduced/set up Harlequin Horizons (or whatever its new name will be), there seems to have been very little thought gone into its conception methinks. However, this is HQN, not some fly-by-nighters, and had RWA given themselves some wiggle room, they’d have been able to at least start a dialogue with HQN, and basically at least given them the option of changing the more contentious aspects of this venture.

    If (and it’s a big if) HQN stay the course with HH, and don’t blink in the face of RWA’s actions, and end up making crap-loads of money, how long do we think it’ll be before other RWA-recognised publishers follow suit? Publishers are about one thing – making money, and if this becomes a money maker, mark my words, others will indeed follow.

    Everybody’s congratulating RWA for taking decisive action, but the point is, they had no choice at all, because as Nora pointed out, they had to be seen to be treating HQN the same as everybody else, or people like me would have indeed been sniggering about them playing favourites.

    Had I genuinely not thought that those vanity/subsidy rules had been set out in order to keep certain types of publishers out, I’d be applauding along with everybody else. As it stands, I’m of the mind that if not now, one day their hard line stance will come back and bite them in the bum.


  • Edie
    November 20
    9:08 am

    I think the only reason that Harlequin got bunted on this one is because of the branding, the Christian publisher is still recognised (and they have same layout, same co, and same form rejection – just not the brand) and so is HC, which diverts rejections to their vanity press from my limited understanding. I am curious to see how it will play out. Are they going to look closer at the other pubs? I think most have a share in vanities.. sometimes large shares. Will be very curious to see where the line in the sand ends up being drawn..


  • Nora Roberts
    November 20
    11:24 am

    Having a vanity press within the umbrella of a publishing organization is one thing–using your recognized brand to solicit for that vanity press, using your rejected ms pile or slush pile to funnel hopeful writers to it, is another thing, advertising it all over your official web page is another thing.

    RWA did the right thing for its members. And if RWA considered vanity press as eligible publishers, I would probably let my membership lapse.

    SFWA took this same step–are we laughing at that organization, too? MWA has given Harlequin a deadline to correct this action. What about them?

    It appears to me this is a united front from three major writers’ organizations on this issue. And a strong, pretty well united outrage from authors who’ve commented on it.

    Again, a publishing conglomerate having even a lion’s share in a vanity press, and holding it as a separate entity is entirely different from what Harlequin is doing. All three organizations have made that point very clear.


  • Nora Roberts
    November 20
    11:32 am

    Amanda, RWA–as other writers organizations–has standards for eligible publishers. Harlequin violated those rules. RWA did what it had to do.

    It’s a blow, certainly, to authors who write for Harlequin, but it was Harlequin who made the choice.


  • I’m wondering what was Harlequin thinking to think this was a good idea?? Yes, I know – it could potentially bring in bucket loads of more money for them from those desperate enough to see their name in print. But by all reports, Harlequin is thriving in these tough times.
    I don’t know if it will happen or not, but I’d love to see them back off this idea totally and some heads roll over it.


  • Edie
    November 20
    12:31 pm

    Not saying Harlequin weren’t dodgy as, but from my understanding – the pub I mentioned earlier is in exactly the same partnership with AS as HQN, (though more expensive) it is not quite as blatant, but it is still diverting the slush pile in that direction…

    Thomas Nelson and Westbow, following the links on their website:
    “Although we receive thousands of submissions from aspiring authors, we only publish about 500 new titles per year. Until now we have had nothing to offer these authors other than a rejection letter and our best wishes for “finding just the right publishing partner.”

    “We want to find the new voices for tomorrow. Publishers aren’t omniscient. We miss numerous opportunities every year. Finding the next bestseller is like searching for a needle in a haystack. WestBow Press provides us with a kind of “farm team.” We intend to watch the sales of these titles carefully. We will offer traditional publishing contracts to those authors whose self-published books begin to gain traction.”


  • Nora Roberts
    November 20
    12:37 pm

    Edie, I don’t like the sound of WestBow at all, and would like to know more, to hear RWA’s and other organizations’ take on this.


  • Edie
    November 20
    12:47 pm

    – The above was following the info on their FAQ on manuscript submissions

    I think it is going to be cropping up more and more often, and I do hope that the writers groups look into it closely, including those who have not left a trail, there are a couple of whispers about HC linking rejections to their vanity. But I haven’t looked into that one.

    I hope the writers associations take it on board with whatever education processes that they have in place.


  • jane
    November 20
    1:30 pm

    But by all reports, Harlequin is thriving in these tough times.


    Harlequin is – revenues of around half a billion dollars last year. Torstar Harlequin’s Parent company is not. According to MrsGiggles latest post they were 600 million dollars in debt in September. Torstar is in the Newspaper and TV business. Those two areas are losing them a lot of money.


  • As an author with a small press and an author of gay romantic erotica, both of which are not recognized by the RWA, I would like to welcome all Harlequin authors to the club of the non-recognized.



  • @Nora I would never laugh at the science fiction lot, because they don’t interest me, the same goes with the mystery people, but at least they’ve given Harlequin the option of making amends.

    Like I said, under any other circumstances I’d be applauding RWA for being so bold, but I honestly think they painted themselves into a corner. They should have at least had the option to send a cease and desist letter to HQN, but because they’d already set a precedent, anything other than the action they took would have made them look airy-fairy.

    In my post I wrote that the majority of RomLand could see this venture exactly for what it is – a way to make money off the slush pile, which is disgraceful, but what if they agreed to not refer their rejects to Horizon? And they do indeed drop the Harlequin from HO, and sorted out the pay structure? Would that be preferable?

    I’ll be interested to see how this plays out.


  • but what if they agreed to not refer their rejects to Horizon? And they do indeed drop the Harlequin from HO, and sorted out the pay structure? Would that be preferable?

    Here’s my take, if they would send their rejected authors to Horizons, that would help, for me.

    If they didn’t take 50% of net, that would please me and it would move them from a vanity press to a more realistic and viable self pub.

    If HQN is dropped and they don’t link to the site from their ‘writing guidelines’, that would also help.

    I don’t know how it’s all going to sort out. Perhaps if this new venture wasn’t under HQN’s umbrella, so to speak, but a partnership or something, I could see it feasible.


  • As an author with a small press and an author of gay romantic erotica, both of which are not recognized by the RWA, I would like to welcome all Harlequin authors to the club of the non-recognized.


    I wasn’t going to respond to this, but I can’t help it.

    Marie, this isn’t about the authors. It’s about the actions of the publisher.

    The authors of HQN are not, nor will they be, booted out, trotted thru the streets, ignored.

    This has a bad impact on them, and every RWA author I’ve interacted with feels terrible for the impact this has on the authors.

    Now I could be wrong, and if I am, then please, accept my sincere apology.

    But I’m getting on huge nyah nyah nyah tone from your comment.

    There is no rule keeping you from being a RWA member. No rule that keeps you from entering contests. I write for two smaller, ineligible pubs, but I belong to RWA, I belong to three local chapters, I go to Nationals, I talk my books-all of them-with different authors. I sign my small press, ineligible books at RWA chapter events.

    My small press books do NOT keep me out of RWA.

    If your comment was a potshot at HQN authors or RWA authors, or RWA…they are already reeling from this. Kicking at somebody while they are down? Not particularly cool, compassionate, kind.

    But again, if I’m misreading your comment? Then I am truly sorry. It doesn’t matter what you write, you’re welcome to join RWA. Plenty of other members write for small presses, write gay romance. RWA doesn’t screen their members.


  • Nora Roberts
    November 20
    2:46 pm

    Karen, I’m not sure what you mean by make amends. I think RWA and SFWA are on the same page. If Harlequin changes this deal and reforms to the standards, they’d once again be recognized publishers by RWA and SFWA.

    Why a cease and desist letter? Harlequin knew the standards perfectly well. They stepped outside them. RWA acted as it had to, as it should have, as did SFWA.

    I’d have to say I think Harlequin’s the one who painted itself into a corner on this.

    And from where I stand simply taking the Harlequin name off the venture is not enough. The deceptive and misleading reference to this as self-publishing needs to be corrected. It’s vanity press. Funnelling rejected ms into this area is a conflict of interest, imo–and just icky–advertising it with links all over their website isn’t acceptible.

    Most people who frequent boards and blogs may recognize this for what it is. But those who don’t may–and many will–believe it to be a real way to publication, when what it is, is a pay for printing.


  • Karen, I agree that the educating areas of all the major writers’ organizations–definitely not just RWA–should keep up with the new faces of vanity presses.

    Especially if what I’ve been hearing is true and big publishers direct rejected manuscripts to their self-publish/vanity press arms–as is/was? the case with the whole premise of Harlequin Horizons.

    Look, I don’t much agree with the whole “no advance, no eligibility” thing for publishers as it pertains to RWA, but this is really a separate issue to me.

    Harlequin already makes quite a bit of money off their authors. Throwing their weight around in order to make money off desperate authors, under their best known trademark? Not only infinitely stupid, but greedy beyond belief.

    And while a number of us Romblogland regulars are aware of all this, there is a huge percentage of RWA and SFWA and MWA members who do not play in the same online pond at all, and who would remain blissfully ignorant of the implications had these organizations not taken a firm stand towards Harlequin.


  • And while a number of us Romblogland regulars are aware of all this, there is a huge percentage of RWA and SFWA and MWA members who do not play in the same online pond at all, and who would remain blissfully ignorant of the implications had these organizations not taken a firm stand towards Harlequin.

    I know for a fact that until the BoD at RWA sent out the alert about HQN loss of eligibility status, quite a few members in RWA didn’t know what was going on.


  • Not trying to be a soothsayer or negative-Ned here, but I won’t be surprised if in approximately 9-12 weeks the eligibility rules will either change or be completely revised with new exceptions and Harlequin will once again hold its favored position among RWA elite. Exceptionism is a common practice in the world of business, and from everything I’ve seen the RWA is a promotional business first and support/representative organization last.


  • I can’t speak for all the authors involved. But from my side of this? I’d say, don’t waste a lot of time feeling sorry for us. No RITAs, no signing, no Harlequin support of RWA?

    Boo hoo. In the big picture, that stuff is nice, but not very important.

    I am prowd to be RWA, because of their quick response to this. It is not a case of being biten in the ass of much as doing the job we pay them dues to do. They are advocating for writers.

    And I don’t think there will be any quick back peddling on the issue, because the writers invovled recognize how important this is, and stand with the RWA.

    Try to think of it more as a union dispute, and less about us frilly, pink girls getting kicked out of some kind of cool party.


  • Nora Roberts
    November 20
    6:05 pm

    “And I don’t think there will be any quick back peddling on the issue, because the writers invovled recognize how important this is, and stand with the RWA.”

    I agree. Added to it, the same stand by other writers’ orgs, the very bad press all go toward shoring up that line. Add the solidarity within the membership, and it’s very doubtful RWA will change their rules to accommodate this kind of venture from Harlequin.

    I’d certainly be disappointed if they did.


  • I’m sad for Harlequin authors, myself included. The RITAs are important to me. The big book signing at RWA Nationals is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. I participated for the first time with my debut novel in 2008 and…it felt like a big deal.

    I support RWA on this issue, but my heart goes out to the HQN authors who do care.


  • Amanda
    November 20
    10:03 pm

    I just thought of this and I would think it would have been a better viable solution to the whole we have too many Mss and slush piles. Didn’t HQN come out with an ebook press off-set?

    Why not instead of vanity publishing, set it up so the ones they don’t get to can go there and still get the same opportunity?

    I think some where along the lines someone dropped the ball. And yes my heart goes out to the HQN authors especially the ones who only have one publication contract.

    What I still don’t get may never get is, why is MWA giving them the chance to “fix” the situation? Obviously they think what they are doing is right, so why not just go ahead and do what you feel is right and pull your endorcements?

    It’s all kinds of crazy, but in a way its putting the publication word on its toes and paying attention. Bet HQN never thought it would go this far.


  • Why not instead of vanity publishing, set it up so the ones they don’t get to can go there and still get the same opportunity?

    Because epresses don’t guarantee every book will be published. The epresses would only take well-written, good stories.

    I imagine there are a lot of good books in the slush pile.

    But there are also a lot of crap books. This way, there is money to be made off those crap books, if anybody wants to front the money.


  • Thomas Nelson and Westbow are not on the Mystery Writers of America’s Approved Publishers list…nor would they meet our criteria for eligibility if they were to apply today.



  • Amanda
    November 21
    1:03 am

    Hey Shiloh

    Yeah I get they would have to be well written stories, believe me, but it is still a viable solution. As a new author, I always say my stuff isn’t that great, but I get wonderful feedback and just recently got picked up by a wonderful epub,(after almost being duped by another epub *coughs* XOXO *cough*)

    Do I have dreams of greatness, sure doesn’t everyone, but I think I have become a little wiser and yeah I feel bad for those who will fall for this.


  • Apparently Harlequin knows that money well spent means a lot more to the self-respecting aspiring author than that fleeting, childish sense of self-respect. And remember, for every ten Chancery Stones who may jump at this literary whoredom the opportunities that abound with stupidly paying out the ass joining the advantages of HH, there still is a snowball’s chance in hell scientifically-calculated helluva good odds there’s a Margaret Mitchell right behind her.


  • Well, I think RWA kicked butt on this and I’m really impressed that they stepped right up.

    All links to Harlequin Horizons, aka Ho’ are now off the eharlequin site and they’re changing the name Harlequin Horizons to…something else. All they have to do after that is remove all mention of Ho from rejection letters, from anything Harlequin. Have there be no connection. I really think Harlequin will do exactly that and be re-recognized. Soon.

    Harlequin has worked hard for years to build the brand and its respectability. Somebody really dropped the ball on this one at HQ and I’m thinking they’ll be mopping up the mess right fast.


  • Nora Roberts
    November 22
    12:45 pm

    FYI, RWA no longer recognizes Thomas Nelson as an eligible publisher.


  • Ardath
    November 22
    9:21 pm

    I’d like to point out another reason why routing people to a vanity publisher like this is bad: it prevents them from finding their way to a legitimate publisher who’ll actually take the manuscript.

    Harlequin isn’t the only romance novel publisher in the world; a lot of their rejections are submitted to, and picked up by, other publishers and do well. Normally, that’s part of the submission process. You keep sending the manuscript out until it finds a home.

    Harlequin is derailing this for writers by making it seem like, even though a manuscript has been refused by the main house imprint, it’s been accepted by a subsidiary imprint if the author is willing to pay “a little” out-of-pocket. For a new author who has their heart set on a dream of Harlequin fame, or doesn’t have the thick skin needed to forge ahead in spite of rejection letters, or just doesn’t understand the process, this makes it look like they’re actually achieving their dream. They don’t realize that their chances of their novel finding its way to any bestseller list — or even finding its way into the hands of readers past their own circle of friends — has just been largely negated. And it’s entirely possible that their novel would have been published successfully if they’d just kept going, and not stalled at Harlequin.

    In effect, forwarding the “rejects” to an affiliated vanity press has the potential to ruin a writer’s career prospects. Especially because they won’t learn how to craft and revise their works to suit the demands of editors and the market, so their next novel won’t be in any better position for acceptance. This approach doesn’t open doors to an author; it slams them shut and locks them.


  • Here’s an absolutely excellent breakdown of why you will so be screwed if you publish with a vanity house like Author House or Ho.


    Numbers and all, people. It’s long, but read the whole thing and you’ll see that if you want to self-publish, it’s a whole other animal than going the vanity press route.


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