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23 November 2009 @ 08:10 pm
first e-books, now vanity publishing  

Last week (the week before? very recently, anyway), Harlequin Books–the parent company which publishes my Walker Papers novels–decided to try to take a chunk out of Ellora’s Cave profits and open Carina Press, an e-book-only press for…well. Smut*.

This past week, Harlequin has decided to jump on the vanity press wagon. They’ll edit and publish your book for the bargain price of something like $6K, and then they’ll take 50% of the royalties on a book that’ll never go into the bookstores. I could rant, but author Jackie Kessler does it so well I’ll just link to her, and then follows up with Harlequin’s response after the Romance Writers of America said, “Sorry, we can no longer consider Harlequin a legitimate publisher,” and the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America echoed them. Anyway, it’s a big mess and I’m absolutely agog that somebody thought it was a good idea**.

*Don’t get me wrong. Smut sells fantastically in e-book form. I’m in no way slamming it. If I were going to write erotica I’d almost certainly look at Ellora’s Cave as the first market. I’m just sayin’ that’s basically what they’re looking to sell.

**I really can’t actually believe anybody at Harlequin *did* think it was a good idea. Apparently HQN’s parent company needs money, and I can see somebody at *that* level deciding it was a good idea, but holy beans.

(x-posted from the essential kit)
kitmizkit on November 23rd, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
Realistically, it doesn't affect me. I mean, the RWA, SFWA and MWA not recognizing HQN as a publisher is mildly affecting, except I don't belong to any of those organizations anyway. But it doesn't affect my Luna books any more than the dismal failure of the Bombshell line affected me; they're fully separate entities for my purposes. And honestly, 99% of my readers will never have any idea this is going on, and neither would they care.
Pamela: Batman WTFjeditigger on November 23rd, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Well, thing is, Kit, that a lot of people who follow you are aspiring novelists (like me) and if Harlequin makes ONE DIME off this cheap-ass, sleazy venture they will encourage other publishers to do the same. So it could affect us. As a writer, I'm outraged, especially when I think about the overly trusting authors who would see a Glimmer of Harlequin Hope in that "Hey, you can be a writer, just pony up!" clause without knowing that it's really just paying them a ton of money for nothing more than...well. Nothing.

That summary you linked was terrific. Thank you.

Edited at 2009-11-23 07:40 pm (UTC)
kitmizkit on November 23rd, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
Jackie's awesome. :)

And yeah, you're right, it could affect a percentage of my readers, which is part of why it's worth mentioning, I think. But in terms of my book readership, as far as I can tell at the absolute most I'm reaching about 1500, MAYBE as many as 2K people directly with my blogs, facebook, etc. So in the terms of larger readership--well, okay, maybe that's like 95% who'll never hear of this, not 99%. That's what I was thinking of in terms of readership when I said that, not the people who are directly reading this. It probably potentially affects a third or half the people reading this!
Pamelajeditigger on November 24th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
...that's too much math for me, love. ;)