RWA has stones!

Romance Writers of America was informed of the new venture between Harlequin Enterprises and ASI Solutions to form Harlequin Horizons, a vanity/subsidy press. Many of you have asked the organization to state its position regarding this new development. As a matter of policy, we do not endorse any publisher’s business model. Our mission is the advancement of the professional interests of career-focused romance writers.

One of your member benefits is the annual National Conference. RWA allocates select conference resources to non-subsidy/non-vanity presses that meet the eligibility requirements to obtain those resources. 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.

Sometimes the wind of change comes swiftly and unexpectedly, leaving an unsettled feeling. RWA takes its role as advocate for its members seriously. The Board is working diligently to address the impact of recent developments on all of RWA’s members.

We invite you to attend the annual conference on July 28 – 31, 2010 in Nashville, TN, as we celebrate 30 years of success with keynote speaker Nora Roberts, special luncheon speaker Jayne Ann Krentz, librarian speaker Sherrilyn Kenyon, and awards ceremony emcee Sabrina Jeffries. Please refer to the RWA Web site for conference registration information in late January 2010.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Gaylord Opryland!

Michelle Monkou
RWA President

Posted in announcements

42 Responses to RWA has stones!

  1. Sabrina says:

    Thanks for posting! Very interesting but feel sorry for current HAR authors.

  2. Ann Aguirre says:

    Well, I think HQN has to re-evaluate some of its policies because of this. That’s the beauty of it. Authors alone couldn’t have done this. We needed a heavy-hitter like RWA to knock the message home.

    AND THEY DID.

    *love*

  3. THAT takes guts. Way to go, RWA! Very proud they responded so quickly and so (imho) appropriately to this situation. Wow.

  4. Wow. Color me surprised, but pretty darn impressed!

  5. Annmarie says:

    I wonder how HQN will respond?

  6. TJ Bennett says:

    I guess the question becomes, “Who is hurt more by this move by RWA? Harlequin or RWA members?”

    So who needs who more? A good chunk of RWA’s membership publishes with Harlequin. Most of the RITAs are category length books published by them, and as a non-eligible publisher, I’m assuming their authors can no longer compete. I remember they sponsored some of the RWA conferences I’ve been to (lovely bags) as well, so without their dough, does that limit the financial scope of what RWA can do with the conference? They place lots of ads in RWA publications, too, again contributing financially to RWA’s coffers. I don’t see how RWA’s stance is going to slow the inexorable business model wheel Harlequin seems to be pushing with this new division, but I could be wrong.

    So who’s the gorilla, and where is she going to sit? Anywhere she wants to, obviously. Someone just needs to figure out who it is.

    I don’t have a dog in this hunt, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    TJB

  7. Edie says:

    Not wanting to be snarky or anything, I am genuinely curious, is this actually going to have a large impact on Hqn?

  8. Ann Aguirre says:

    Who knows? But the important thing is, they did the right thing.

    It should prompt some re-evaluation of policies.

    • JulieLeto says:

      Exactly! Sometimes “what’s in it for me” is not the right question to ask. Is this going to be good for me? Probably not. Is it good for RWA? Most definitely. $$ not withstanding…HQ is not the only publisher in town. RWA will manage.

  9. Gail Dayton says:

    This also makes me wonder about other large publishers with ownership/ relationships with other self-publishers. Doesn’t Random House have a huge share of some big self/vanity pub? I think Harper Collins does too… So what’s the difference between those guys, and Harlequin?

    I think RWA was right, mind–but I do wonder.

    (I have been contracted with Harlequin in the past but do not now.)

  10. Huge props to RWA for taking a stand on this! Watching the aftermath is going to be… interesting.

  11. Edie says:

    Thanks, I am finding it all very fascinating reading.
    I am also with Gail, I thought there were a lot of big pubs who have vanities? Are they safe because the vanities aren’t ‘branded’?

  12. Anon76 says:

    I’m totally impressed with the board’s decision.
    In the past, any number of smaller publishers have been knocked out by ever-changing vagaries.
    This though, has always been at the heart of the RWA mission – no vanity publishers. Not even if a portion of your business is true publishing.
    Brava to the board!

  13. Ann Aguirre says:

    Let’s use Random House for example. Their parent company owned Xlibris.

    They didn’t call it Ballantine Boundaries. They didn’t include referrals to their vanity imprint in every rejection. They didn’t put information and links all over their submission guidelines pages. There was NO connection between Random House and Xlibris. If the consumer found Xlibris on their own and pubbed a book, good for them. But Ballantine and Del Rey weren’t pimping for them. They weren’t using the respectable brand they had built to get more business.

    See the difference?

    • Your use of the word ‘pimping’ says it all! That’s what Harlequin needs to address. BTW, I’m an associate RWA member (I don’t write romance) and I’m been pretty impressed with their response to this.

    • CaffeyCathie says:

      Ann, I think it should apply to anyone if they advertise it or not, just a thought I had. Otherwise I’m not familiar with this all, but just thinking that it should be equal across the board…no is no, you know :roll: (sorry on my English, LOL)

  14. Linda Rader says:

    RWA is taking the right stand. They are not a captive of Harlequin and vice versa. I’m not sure how Harlequin Horizon will pan out but Harlequin is going to have keep the distinction between their two companies or lose some of their current lines reputation.

  15. Termagant 2 says:

    Kudos to RWA for taking this stand. I quit the organization years ago due to their weaseling about e-books. Maybe they’ll have to decide, once for all, what a published book actually IS.

    But for the nonce, color me pleased and very surprised they’ve gone this route vis-a-vis HQ.

  16. Melissa Blue says:

    Today I’m so proud to call myself a member of RWA.

  17. katiebabs says:

    The question is, will Harlequin really care about RWA’s stance? Is Harlequin going to stop with the H. Horizon’s venture? And if they don’t, what does that mean?

    • Jody says:

      I too thought it was tied to the publisher as well. I still think that RWA needs to clarify this. Sorry that you got caught up in all of this Laurie, good luck with your sales.

      Having read the the ASI and Harlequin Horizons sites, they are meaning to redefine publishing in such a way the writer does not only all the work, but now they pay for it too and the HH/ASI reaps the rewards. IMHO Greed pure and simple.

      Some of the remarks from their authors how the company set up their promotion made me laugh when romance authors have been doing their own for so long,talk about naive. The best with these people is BUYER BEWARE!

  18. Jody says:

    Like many here, this is a surprise but I too agree that RWA has made the right move. They after all are looking out for the welfare of the membership. That HQ would enter into such a venture makes me suspicious of their motives. Do I understand this correctly that they will get sort of a finders fee if one choses to publish thru this new venture?

    I have to wonder if this is in repsonse to Amazon’s ‘CREATESPACE” venture that is very much a vanity press not only for writers but a number of the “arts”. Having been burned on a book purchased through Amazon with no idea that it was a selfpublished (and IMHO poorly edited) book.

    I have to wonder if people could be mislead with a book from “Harlequin Horizons” thinking it has the same quality? If so that could hurt not only Harlequin regular authors but Romance in general.

    I’m glad that RWA is looking our for the welfare of the membership but hope that they allow those current PAN members who only publish with Harlequin to be grandfathered in.

    • JulieLeto says:

      PAN membership has nothing to do with publishers, but on money earned and if the qualifying BOOK is non-vanity. Books published in the traditional (or even Ebook) business model with an advance/royalties of over $1000 will allow an AUTHOR to qualify. PAN isn’t tied to the publisher anymore. Even though Harlequin is now considered a vanity press, that doesn’t make a Blaze a vanity book because they paid me and not the other way around.

      • I just checked out the RWA website regarding PAN qualification. It states you have to be published by a non-vanity/non-subsidy publisher. Because I recently accepted an offer from HQN but haven’t yet received my contract, I haven’t been able to apply for PAN status yet. Now with this ruling, I won’t be PAN eligible at all. I can’t tell you how saddened and disappointed I am to learn this.

        I’m sure those who are already PAN qualified are fine, but it’s brand new authors like me who are affected.

  19. Pingback: Harlequin’s Self-Publishing Venture – A Blog Surfer’s Journal « Tia Nevitt

  20. Jess Granger says:

    I’ll stand with RWA on this one too. It will probably hurt RWA more than it hurts HQ, but you know what?

    They have their policies and they stuck to their guns, so I’ll support them in that.

    It’s heartening to see anyone in today’s day and age step up and take a hit for what is right instead of trying to weasel around to have their cake and eat it too.

    Even if authors have something “stripped” from them as far as RWA goes, to me, you’re awesome for still standing, supporting a policy meant to protect people, and moving forward.

    I’ll stand to support my fellow authors wherever they are published.

  21. I’m with RWA on this one. They did the right thing.

    Harlequin has now said this:

    Historically Harlequin, and other publishers, acted as a gateway for aspiring authors. Carina Press and
    Harlequin Horizons are 21st century vehicles for expanding these types of selection pools.

    With respect to Horizon, what they’re saying is they will CHARGE writers money to be considered for publication. By that logic, why not ask authors to send along a check with their query letters.

    Note that the AAR (Association of Author’s Representatives) does not permit its agent members to charge prospective authors for the chance to be considered.

    It’s an ethical stance with precedence in similar circumstances.

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  25. Jackie Kessler has an interesting breakdown of the meaning of the wording on Harlequin Horrizons’ information.

    Strange things are afoot at the Circle K…

  26. Anonymous says:

    I feel RWA has made the ethical move and I salute them for it.

  27. Pingback: The Harlequin Fiasco « Embrace the Shadows

  28. Pingback: TJ Michaels » Blog Archive » RWA says NO to Harlequin

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