The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Harlequin Horizons? You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Upsetting news from Harlequin, a publisher I have idolized for so long. Earlier this week (or was it last week?) they announced an epublish division called Carina Press. I wasn't too upset about it, because it's just another way they can publish novels. No advances, fine. That's the way most epubs do it anyway. But two days ago, H announced a new endeavor - Harlequin Horizons. They are promoting it as a self-publishing venture, but it's really a misnomer. It's what most people would called a vanity press - which is a publisher who asks you to pay money for them to publish your novel. Then, when you are published, you don't actually get any distribution or help marketing your book AND they still take 50% of the profits!

It's a nasty idea, really. Self-publishing should be about empowering yourself as an author. Taking your career into your own hands and trying to be successful on your own. What Harlequin is doing with this new company is not self-publishing, nor is it empowering authors. It's a scam is what it is. A recent article on the subject in the NY Times actually read "Got a romance novel in your desk drawer? Polish it up and get ready to become a Harlequin author." Omg! Horizons has also stated that they will now include information on their new "self-publishing" option IN their rejection letters. So, basically, they will say something like "We're sorry, but we are going to pass on this project at this time. However, you have talent and you should check into this new alternative called Horizons."

I know better than to throw a couple of thousand dollars at them so that I can self-publish my own book with zero distribution, but what about the average person who submits to Harlequin and doesn't have RWA or another organization in the know to tell them any better? Harlequin is preying on the hopes and dreams of hundreds of women, basically saying that whether they can write worth a shit or not, they can be a Harlequin author! WHAT?? What's worse is they appeal to those dreams by saying that they will monitor the self-published books in order to find diamonds in the rough that they might consider pulling into their normal Harlequin imprints.

Because of this recent move into vanity publishing, Harlequin has been removed from the RWA's eligible publisher list and all of their perks for the National conference have been taken away. This affects hundreds of Harlequin/Silhouette authors who are used to book signings and various recognition at nationals. It's very upsetting to me, but imagine their authors? The ones I have heard from are PISSED. They have worked hard to get where they are and now this? It's demeaning.

As for me, I'm now dreading the rejection letter I could possibly receive any day now, telling me to consider Harlequin Horizons for my book. Ouch. As if I have $1500 to spend on thier most basic services! If I had money just sitting around, I wouldn't need a publishing deal so badly!

Is this the beginning of the end of the publishing world as we know it? Is Harlequin just trying to squeeze the last bit of money they can out of the publishing world before it all changes to self-publishing and ebooks anyway? In many ways, it certainly feels like Doomsday for one of the formerly most respected names in Romance.

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Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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