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Old 12-12-2009, 09:54 PM   #1
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More Harlequin Drama!

The announcement of the winners of the Harlequin Presents Writing Competition 2009 is starting a new saga. Like HQ didnít have enough bad press already.

Just scroll down to read the comments.
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:45 PM   #2
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The controversy doesn't start until about halfway down the comments at the moment. I have to admit, that was my first thought when I read who the winners were. If the comments are correct, one of the winners is actually in violation of the rules. I wonder why Harlequin did that? They had to know how those choices would be perceived.
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:07 PM   #3
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They're Harelquin. They can do whatever the hell they want. It won't stop people from wanting to be published there.

Me, I'm waiting to see how many of the emails to the entrants include suggestions to "submit" to DellArte Press.
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:19 PM   #4
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Oy.

Has anyone seen a Harlequin response anywhere? I should go try out my google-fu, but I think it's more Google-flu at this point, considering I feel like hell today...
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:36 PM   #5
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Any time an apsiring newbie submits a ms to ANY publisher, they're already competing with ALL the already-pubbed authors at that house, and all the already-pubbed authors who might want to MOVE to that house.

So, if the contest was open to previously pubbed people as well, then...that's the way the cookie crumbles, guys. (I haven't read all the comments over there, only enough to get a feel for what's going on, so...I could be missing something. <G>)

Sometimes people who've already been pubbed are in ditches. (Hi, my name is Susan Gable, and I went almost 4 years between contracts at Superromance! <G>) Sometimes already pubbed people are looking to break into someplace else.

A contest that's open to previously pubbed people is a way for them to try to make that break just as much as it's a way for unpubbed people to get a break.

So....as far as I'm concerned, a contest that's open to both the previously pubbed AND the unpubbed mimics the submission process. People can boohoo and whine all they want, but that's the reality of the situation. To get a publishing contract, you're not just competing against all the other unpubbed submissions, you're competing against the already-pubbed as well.



Now...if the contest WASN'T open to previously pubbed people....that's a whole different kettle of fish. <G>

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Old 12-12-2009, 11:44 PM   #6
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In the comments, someone posted the rule that authors already under contract with HQ were not eligible. If I'm reading the comments right (and it's possible I'm not), the winner has a book in the Spice line coming out this spring. Wouldn't that render her ineligible?

I assume they mean under contract to any HQ imprint, but I'll admit to not knowing the full rules - perhaps they meant only under the Presents imprint... I should go and look and mea culpa for not doing so already.


ETA - went and looked up the rules. This is #5

This contest is open to entrants who are 18 years of age or older and is void wherever prohibited by law; all applicable laws and regulations apply. Employees and immediate family members of Harlequin Enterprises Ltd and Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, including contracted authors, their parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and all other agencies, entities and persons connected with the use, marketing or conduct of this Contest are not eligible to enter. By acceptance of a prize, the winner consents to use of his/her name, photograph or other likeness for purposes of advertising, trade and promotion on behalf of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and Harlequin Mills & Boon, without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

Bolding mine.

Please, someone tell me they didn't break their own rule. Ay yi yi....

I have no dog in this fight, but I hate to see HQ shoot themselves in their one good foot...
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:56 PM   #7
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Please, someone tell me they didn't break their own rule. Ay yi yi....
Looks that way, doesn't it? Yikes.

eta: I do agree with Susan on the unpubbed/pubbed thing. If the contest was open to both, why are people upset some of the chosen entries were from previously published authors?
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:06 AM   #8
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because it seems like an unlevel playing field. according to the comments the feeling is previously published authors have the benefit of having had their previous work picked through by an editor, even if it wasn't this particular manuscript, so they supposedly know a little bit more than newbies.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:15 AM   #9
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because it seems like an unlevel playing field. according to the comments the feeling is previously published authors have the benefit of having had their previous work picked through by an editor, even if it wasn't this particular manuscript, so they supposedly know a little bit more than newbies.
I can understand someone feeling that way--though I don't happen to agree. It just seems odd to me to cry foul after the fact. Was the marketing of the contest misleading in some way? --no sarcasm intended here. Genuinely curious. : )
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:17 AM   #10
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Having run RWA chapter contests before, we always had a deadline for when the contract had to be in place in order to be eligible. Did Harlequin have anything like that in the rules? Perhaps the winner wasn't contracted before the deadline but got the contract afterwards, which makes her still eligible to win.

Now, most contestants who get a contract at any point in the contest will often voluntarily pull their submission from winning, but that's a voluntary thing, not a mandatory thing in many contests.

Just wondering if there's any of those situations in the rules.
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:49 AM   #11
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Jersey Chick, I hope you feel better soon.

I leaned first hand that published writers compete in these contests, when I won a HQ editorís pitch. During the live chat some of the others winnerís names, at least two, read as published writers to me. Being impulsive, I was going to joke with one of them that her name sounded like a pro, thanks God, I didnít. After the chat was over, I looked up her name and yes, sheís a pro. By the conversation that took place, I was the only real newbie in there.

About the Presents Writing Competitionís winners, they are writers on a journey too. Who has been rejected before like everybody else. We only have to read their blogs to learn that.

The problem is that many aspiring writers participated in the content thinking they were competing only among each other.

Many people are heartbroken. No only for Susanna Carr being previously published by HQ, (someone said she was published first in 2007) which broke the rule #5 as pointed out by Jersey Chick. But because of Maggie Marrís blog, to which Iím posting a link below.

Here is the link to Susanna Carr site where we can see she has a HQ contract.

http://www.susannacarr.com/coming.htm

Maybe it's a matter of miscommunication, the editors in London didnít know she was published by the Canadian ones.

Anyway, the part that added insult to injury is Maggie Marr writing about how easy she won. The woman is a very talented writer, obviously. Just imagine how it felt for those that writing a simple synopsis is a spine-chilling task, to read this:

http://www.maggiemarr.com/2009/12/cl...thing-new.html
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:10 AM   #12
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if I slaved over my ms that I submitted and lost to maggie mar who did it on a whim I think I would be pretty upset too. Its one of those things that just doesn't seem fair. As so many things in life don't. I don't think it would be as big of a deal if she weren't previously published.

eta: trish just came and talked about her 11 hard years of not being published. I feel for her, really I do but if they don't stop kissing trish's ass over there I'm going to barf.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
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if I slaved over my ms that I submitted and lost to maggie mar who did it on a whim I think I would be pretty upset too. Its one of those things that just doesn't seem fair. As so many things in life don't. I don't think it would be as big of a deal if she weren't previously published.

eta: trish just came and talked about her 11 hard years of not being published. I feel for her, really I do but if they don't stop kissing trish's ass over there I'm going to barf.
lol

BTW, you forgot an 'r', the London editors seemed to love them in author's names, I wonder if they would offer me a contract after seeing the few r in my name?
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:38 AM   #14
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I'll have to go back and play some catch up.

Since Ms. Carr's book is due to be released spring, 2010, logically I'm assuming she was contracted before November 2009. I'd fall over dead if she wasn't, probably.

That said, my only complaint would be that rule #5 and whether or not Ms Carr was under contract with Harlequin at the time she submitted.

I can understand why some unpubbed entrants would be unhappy if pubbed authors were allowed to enter, but to be honest, do any of them think they aren't already going up against published authors any time they submit? Every time you submit to a publisher, you're going up against authors who already write for that pub as well as other newbies. And AFAIK, the contest itself wasn't limited to unpublished authors, as long as said pubbed author wasn't already under contract with HQE.


ETA - I went back (again **sigh**) and I didn't see anything restricting entries to unpublished authors only. The only stipulation seems to be the winner can not be under contract with HQE already.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:52 AM   #15
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Carr has four e-books with Harlequin Spice Brief under the pen name Jenesi Ash. The short story in the anthology is also under the Ash name. Since her books are for sale in the e-Harlequin store, I guess they must have a very odd definition of "contracted author."
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey Chick View Post
This contest is open to entrants who are 18 years of age or older and is void wherever prohibited by law; all applicable laws and regulations apply. Employees and immediate family members of Harlequin Enterprises Ltd and Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, including contracted authors, their parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and all other agencies, entities and persons connected with the use, marketing or conduct of this Contest are not eligible to enter. By acceptance of a prize, the winner consents to use of his/her name, photograph or other likeness for purposes of advertising, trade and promotion on behalf of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and Harlequin Mills & Boon, without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

Bolding mine.

...
Easy enough. Writers are NOT employees of HQ. Therefore this rule doesn't apply to authors.

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Old 12-13-2009, 05:44 AM   #17
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No, but if I'm reading this right, they are specifically designated as not being eligible, aren't they?

Srsly, I'm on day three of the cold (possibly flu) from hell. I'm having to read and reread things half a dozen times for them to make any sense (even with the comics this morning - it's awful) so maybe I'm missing something, but to me, if that rule specifies that authors under contract with HQ are not eligible.

Maybe this is why I almost never enter contests any more...
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:47 AM   #18
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No, but if I'm reading this right, they are specifically designated as not being eligible, aren't they?
Whoops. Sorry. Yes. I didn't read carefully enough. Sorry about that!

Yeah, that part where it says CONTRACTED AUTHORS.

Sooooooo....okay. Yep, this is a problem if she was contracted with HQ before this contest opened.

Sorry for not reading the whole thing!

My bad!

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Old 12-13-2009, 05:52 AM   #19
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Whew! I thought my brain had gone to tapioca.
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:46 AM   #20
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I must admit I was disappointed when I learned they were published authors. I didn't enter the contest but it just made me think why even bother when I heard that. And now it seems like Carr is ineligible to enter. Didn't she bother to read the rules? Or did she think they didn't apply to her? Didn't the editors check that she had been published with Harlequin? Or are they rely on the authors to read the rules?
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:57 AM   #21
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Wow. That's really lame. Why the heck would a multi-published author enter a contest like that anyway? It always seemed clear to me that these Presents contents were a way for unpubbed writers to showcase their talents outside of the slush pile. It is (or was) good marketing too. Selling a Cinderella story, if you will. I know that's why I read Lynn Raye Harris' book.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:40 PM   #22
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Anyway, the part that added insult to injury is Maggie Marr writing about how easy she won. The woman is a very talented writer, obviously. Just imagine how it felt for those that writing a simple synopsis is a spine-chilling task, to read this:

http://www.maggiemarr.com/2009/12/cl...thing-new.html
Yes, I agree. I didn't enter the contest but a good friend and member of my writing group did, and I felt so badly for her on reading Maggie's post. If it's that easy for her to write a prize-winning Presents book on a whim, the least she could do is not brag about it quite so publicly.
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:36 PM   #23
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Wow. That's really lame. Why the heck would a multi-published author enter a contest like that anyway? .
Because she was trying to break into Presents, too? And didn't have an agent? And maybe her current editor at HQ didn't think it would be a good idea for her to move into Presents? (I don't know. This is conjecture.)

As I've mentioned, just because one has gotten published doesn't mean your career is a cakewalk from that point on. The same reasons an unpub would enter a contest also apply to someone who's already pubbed.

And as I've also pointed out, a contest that allows entries from both pubbed and unpubbed folks is one that more precisely mirrors the submission process. You ARE in competition for that publishing slot with everyone, pubbed and unpubbed alike. That's reality.

Now, it appears that in this case, there was a major error because authors already under contract with Harlequin (but ONLY with Harlequin, as I read the rules) were not eligible to enter this contest.

But once again we're back to the "bickering" of "us vs. them." How dare those published authors enter a contest like this! How dare they snatch an opportunity from someone who's never been pubbed before!

If the rules allow it, then the opportunity is there for any writer to take a chance. Again, I'm not advocating the breaking of the rules, which seems to have happened here. But I'm trying to point out that in general, it's not a big major "baddie" thing for a pubbed writer to try to take advantage of an opportunity, either. They have the same reasons for wanting it as an ubpub. (And let me be frank -- Presents is THE HIGHEST selling line HQ has. If you can write them well -- and I'm sure I can't, because I don't enjoy reading them all that much, no offense to my friends who write them -- then THAT'S the line you want to be selling with.)

Please stop to think how much you may have learned from an already pubbed author. How much time (time taken away from their own writing, families, day jobs, etc.) many pubbed authors spend giving back, teaching craft, workshops, encouraging, mentoring, offering advice, judging contests, etc. Now imagine if they all stopped doing that stuff.

Pubbed authors are people too. Can't we all just get along? LOL.

Susan G.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:08 PM   #24
para
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I think what is really aggravating people is that rule 5 has been broken and the other runner up for the Presents comp appears to have just dashed off her entry on a whim. She doesn't seem to be a reader of the line or anything - researching the editor? I don't think the grumbling would be so bad if it wasn't for the obvious rule breaking and the second runner ups talk about how easy it was.

Do HQ authors have better access to editors of other lines than someone outside? Could Carr have asked her Spice/Spice Briefs Editor if she would read something for Presents and pass it on? I feel that it was wrong of her to enter and wrong of them to give her the prize. I assume next year we'll have a free for all with Harlequin author's from other lines entering this contest.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:25 PM   #25
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The Competition was launched on July 6th, 2009, November 2nd was the deadline.

The good in this is that we are learning a lot. Many of us didnít have a clue how things really work. I think we, the aspiring writers, should thanks the published ones for taking the time to give us comfort and advice. Being as busy as they are working in their current projects.

After reading Susanna Carrís long journey, I can understand why she entered the contest. She is thrill to win, and there is a chance she didnít have an HQ editor who could just recommend her to the London staff. However, she should had read the rules, everybody did it, right?

That been said, the HQ London editors should have done their homework better, and if she was so worthy, offer her a contract on a side, like they did after last year competition with some writers that didnít place.

I have the feeling in that corporation they donít really work in communication with each other.

About Maggie Marr, well, it reads as if she did it so easy. After reading it a second time, I have the hunch sheís just being silly, she really appreciates winning.

Gosh! We are so dramatic, no wonder why we write what we write. Speaking of which, I better go back to writing now. The show must go on!
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