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Old 11-17-2009, 07:00 PM   #1
Susan Gable
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DellArte Press (formerly Harlequin Horizons)

FYI - Harlequin is moving into the self-publishing business.

So, this needs to be a big BEWARE for the writer who stumbles into this, and thinks, "Hey, I'm going to be published by HARLEQUIN!"

Talk about muddying the waters.

http://www.harlequinhorizons.com/Default.aspx

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Old 11-17-2009, 07:15 PM   #2
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Wow, this is interesting, especially after last week's annoucement of Carina Press.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:18 PM   #3
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What's worse, it's another "partnership" with AuthorHouse: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...medium=twitter
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:21 PM   #4
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You can be certain they won't get the same distribution as the regular HC authors receive. Do you suppose this a way to pad their bottom line?
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:23 PM   #5
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I am so disappointed in Harlequin. I know they're a business, and their bottom line is king, but...damn...a very bad taste in my mouth right now.

Will all the rejectees from the slush pile get forwarded to the self publish division?
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
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You can be certain they won't get the same distribution as the regular HC authors receive. Do you suppose this a way to pad their bottom line?

There is NO distribution. This is a self-publishing venture. YOU are responsible for the distribution.

Yes, this is all about the all-mighty bottom dollar.

I'm shocked, though, that they don't seem at all concerned about what this will do about the perception of the quality of their brandname. Shoot, we dodge enough slings and arrows about the quality of what we do as Harlequin authors.

Now you add this...and you get no editorial unless you're willing to pony up at least $1,000.00.

And yeah, you've got to wonder if rejections will now come with an ad for this self-publishing division.

In the one press release, I also found this that makes me concerned:

(Bolding and underlining MINE)


About Harlequin Horizons
Harlequin Horizons is the self-publishing division of Harlequin Enterprises Limited -- the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers for women. The rich array of industry-leading publishing services and products available to authors through Harlequin Horizons is fulfilled by the world's leading self-publishing company, Author Solutions, Inc. Titles published through Harlequin Horizons will be monitored for excellence and retail potential for possible pick-up by Harlequin's leading traditional imprints. For more information about Harlequin Horizons, please log on to www.harlequinhorizons.com.

Sooooo...this is a way to make the aspiring author feel like this could be their big break. Write a check, self-publish, and then you MIGHT get picked up for "the big leagues."

<shaking head>

Susan G. - who worked her butt off to get here. Is still working her butt off with her books at HQ.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:45 PM   #7
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Ditto, Susan. I'm totally shocked and dismayed by this. And didn't we hear recently how HQ's profits have been up by a huge margin over the last six months or so?
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:48 PM   #8
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this really confuses me... and not in a good way.

WTH are they thinking???

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Old 11-17-2009, 07:50 PM   #9
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Titles published through Harlequin Horizons will be monitored for excellence and retail potential for possible pick-up by Harlequin's leading traditional imprints.
Well that's nicely patronising, isn't it?

Ugh.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:55 PM   #10
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There is NO distribution. This is a self-publishing venture. YOU are responsible for the distribution.

.
Let me clarify -- you will get ONLINE distribution. Like what PublishAmerica gives you.



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Old 11-17-2009, 07:57 PM   #11
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Not self-publishing. Vanity publishing. The ISBN doesn't belong to the author.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:03 PM   #12
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Not self-publishing. Vanity publishing. The ISBN doesn't belong to the author.
James, can you clarify that for me? Where did you get that information? And what exactly does that mean? Does that mean that HQ Horizons will OWN the copyright?

Cause that's a whole nother level of...<sigh>.

Cause then, if your self-pubbed book does well, they wouldn't have to even pay the author if they put it out in their "traditional series lines." Right?

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Old 11-17-2009, 08:04 PM   #13
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And I wonder what rights they wind up owning under this new 'imprint' of theirs.

I'm so thoroughly appalled by this my tentative plan to sub to Carina has been rendered null and void. I don't care to deal with vanity publishers in any form.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:26 PM   #14
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Honestly, I think they'll all be doing it in a few years. Book publishers are big conglomerates, run at least in part by people who have very little understanding of vanity publishing, or what it means, or how bad most vanity books can be. Someone at Harlequin was looking at all the Authorhouse money and wondering why they shouldn't have "Harlequin-branded self-publishing."

It won't be as confusing as you might think, because none of the vanity books will ever get into bookstores and will never be promoted. The average Harlequin fan will never see a Horizons title. People will get their Aunt Sue's crappy book, wonder why Harlequin would sink so low, and then figure it out, or just assume Aunt Sue is an anomaly and move on. We'll have to wait a few years to see if the the Harlequin brand is diluted enough to cut into their real sales.

Even then they won't mind if the undead stepchild ends up making them more money than their now-bloodless-vampire-food-that-used to-be-the-number-one-name-in-romance has lost. The bottom line...is at the bottom.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:40 PM   #15
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My fear is that we'll start seeing vanity-pubbed folks claiming they've been published by Harlequin.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:44 PM   #16
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I think they are being encouraged to do just that. I don't see how this can be good for the brand and why they would use "Harlequin" for a subsidy press but ring fence Carina under another name with no mention of the H-word.

Looks like classic brand over-extension to me.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:50 PM   #17
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My fear is that we'll start seeing vanity-pubbed folks claiming they've been published by Harlequin.
You will. Because...they have been.

This seriously impacts what it means when someone says, "I'm a Harlequin author" or "I've been pubbed by Harlequin."

That used to mean something. It will now have to be responded to with, "Yeah? Which line?"

I want to know if HQ will invite them to the party held during RWA National every year. <G> Wow, that will sure boost attendance (and costs!) at the party. Bad enough the crashers who come every year. LOL. Now...it's a whole new ballgame.

Makes me wonder, if they can find people who will pay to play, how much longer they'll pay other authors, like me, to do the same. I mean, if $$ is the bottom line, then...



Scary times. Cause...finding a "real" job ain't so easy right now, either.

(And I have to think that it also makes it more likely there are people out there who will think this is their shot at the brass ring. Hey, if I can publish my book, especially with Harlequin, I can make a TON of money. <sigh>)

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Old 11-17-2009, 09:23 PM   #18
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Harlequin is partnering with Author Solutions (parent of POD self-publishing services AuthorHouse, etc.)--like Thomas Nelson with West Bow Press. I think there are two issues or trends here: a possible trend for established publishers to set up self-publishing divisions, supporting their bottom line by taking advantage of what is still a growing market; and a trend toward consolidation in the self-publishing industry. IMO, this says as much about Author Solutions' clout and ambition as it does about Harlequin.

I plan to blog about this.

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Old 11-17-2009, 09:40 PM   #19
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I'm not a romance writer and this makes me sad. As a business person, I wonder why they aren't more concerned about their brand. I suppose they think that with no distribution they don't need to worry about it.

Sigh.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:40 PM   #20
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So self/vanity published books are good enough to get the Harlequin name but epublished books with experienced hqn editors aren't? WTH?

So...how is this going to affect RWA membership? Everyone was talking about Carina but that didn't have the Harlequin name, so I didn't see how that would affect it but this is something else altogether. Not that I actually think the RWA would attempt to tick off the largest romance publisher in the world but ...
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:45 PM   #21
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... really unsettling that any established publisher would do this.
If I was published with HQ I'd up and leave them, especially when I got to thinking how the promotion of my own books would be funded at the expense of new writers led into this venture.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:48 PM   #22
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Great. Another bunch of books on the market which haven't gone through any gatekeeper system. Just what we need.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:10 PM   #23
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I'm shocked to be honest... WOW is all I can say.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan Gable View Post
James, can you clarify that for me? Where did you get that information? And what exactly does that mean? Does that mean that HQ Horizons will OWN the copyright?

Cause that's a whole nother level of...<sigh>.

Cause then, if your self-pubbed book does well, they wouldn't have to even pay the author if they put it out in their "traditional series lines." Right?

Susan G.
HQ Horizons owns the ISBN - so, yes, you could say you are published by Harlequin. BUT yes, it is also a vanity publisher (ie: you pay them, they give you ISBN, and then pay royalties), not self-publishing.
Do you also notice that no where on the site can you find the royalty rate?

Oh, and to add insult to injury here: go to the 'become an author' and check out their list on the pull down menu as to 'why' you'd like to become their author.
Extensive list including such lovely excuses as:
Couldn't get the book published elsewhere
Too limited a subject matter for larger houses
Looking to get my out-of-print book back into print
And my favorite of all - Because of the low paying royalty offered with other houses. (and I even think there's one about no advances/low advances).
Wow, all I can say is, I'm floored.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:36 PM   #25
ChristineR
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan. Downtown. Near the University, and the first Borders
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Authorhouse bases its royalties on the cover price--the author sets the cover price and Authorhouse takes their cut, and the author takes the rest. If you want a 90% royalty, they'll print the appropriate number on the back of your book, and leave it up to you to try and sell the thing. The Harlequin packages appear to be based on Authorhouse packages. That form is also standard Authorhouse.

Since vanity books hardly sell anything, and POD books are expensive relative to real Harlequin books, I would guess the royalty is sort of irrelevant, although the fact that they don't mention it might mean they are planning to price the Harlequins according to some standard model.
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