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Monday, December 7, 2009

Harlequin Delisted from RWA and MWA

Background: these two FFO posts [1 2] gave the story of romance publisher Harlequin's dance with a self-publishing imprint, and the near-immediate threats from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America and Horror Writers of America to delist Harlequin from their approved publishers list. The consequence of those actions would be that writers could not then use Harlequin publishing credits for membership into the those writers' professional organizations or participate in their awards programs. (There are speculative fiction subcategories in romance.)

Recently, Mystery Writers of America has delisted romance publisher Harlequin from its qualified publishers list, even though Harlequin removed its direct connection to the self-publishing arm by renaming it from Harlequin Horizons to DellArte Press. That link includes MWA's statement about their decision and Harlequin's reply. Earlier, Romance Writers of America delisted Harlequin, too, according to various sources. (The RWA requires a membership to read its breaking news section, so a link is not provided here.)

In a side note, here is an SFWA article (by way of Writers Beware) about the blurring of the distinction between self-publishing and vanity publishing.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Harlequin, RMA, SFWA and MWA Have Love Spat

A few days ago, I ran a tongue-in-cheek post about Harlequin's deal with Author Solutions to produce a self-publishing romance imprint called Harlequin Horizons. Publishers Weekly now reports that Romance Writers of America rebuked Harlequin for this move and threatened a sanction affecting Harlequin's ability to enter their publications in RWA's award competitions. What RWA finds agregious, apparently, is that the similarity of the imprint's name to their pro imprints would likely confuse consumers about professionally written and self-published stories.

In Publishers Weekly's follow-up article, Mystery Writers of America and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America also weighed in, with the MWA threatening to bar Harlequin writers from membership and awards and the SFWA warning that the self-publishing authors should be made aware that:

"...books in the program will not be distributed into brick-and-mortar bookstores ensuring 'that the titles will not be breaking into the real fiction market.'”

The SFWA also threatened to bar Harlequin writers from membership.

Harlequin could not ignore these huge threats to their own prestige and to their stable of authors and renamed the imprint, DellArte Press. SFWA argued that a name change was insufficient and that Harlequin should completely disassociate itself from the self-publishing program.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Virtual Author Assitants and Book Shephards

At the SFWA blog, Victoria Strauss posted an article for Writer Beware about virtual author assistants (VAAs). VAAs have taken a 30-day course to qualify them for a VAA certificate which, according to the course web site, enables them to:

...work behind the scenes to create, organize and coordinate all the different pieces necessary to get a book published.

See Victoria Strauss' analysis of virtual author assistants certification for more information. She also briefly compares VAAs to book shephards and offers this book shephard link to the Selling Books blog for further information.

Writer Beware also happens to have an article on Harlequin's new self-publishing imprint, which was recently reported on the FFO news blog.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Author Solutions Romances Harlequin for Self Publishing

This article may stir Flash Fiction Online readers' hearts mainly because it unclothes the efforts traditional publishers are making to romance their readers. Author Solutions, a slender, young meta-self-publishing company representing iUniverse and other self-publishing companies, has successfully flirted with Harlequin, the robust, muscle-bound Romance publisher. Their union will bear fruit in the Harlequin Horizons imprint.

Harlequin Horizons will try a reconciliation with the authors Harlequin has rejected in the past and seal their reunion with a self-publishing contract under the cover of the Horizons imprint. (Don't gossip, but they'll seek new paramours at the same time.)

Author Solutions has sealed a similar covenant with Christian publisher Nelson, for the WestBow imprint.

Peek through Publishers Weekly's window for a less-annoying rendition of this story.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009


Author, get thee to a bookery. This NYT article begins like this: "The point may soon come when there are more people who want to write books than there are people who want to read them." Oh, well. But it does a revisit of the ease with which authors can self-publish via operators like iUniverse, who are more involved with you (and have their hands deeper in your pockets), and Lulu, which is more of a do-it-yourself operation.

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