Monday, November 23, 2009

Harlequin horrors

From HWA:
Dear HWA Members,

Recently, Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. announced the launch of a new imprint, Harlequin Horizons, a self-publishing venture for aspiring romance authors. This venture is prominently promoted on Harlequin Enterprises' website and is touted in the manuscript submission guidelines for all of its imprints.

The Horror Writers Association is very concerned about the conflict of interest created by this new venture. Harlequin Horizons is a joint venture with Author Solutions, and it is a vanity press that relies on payments from aspiring writers to earn a profit. The fact that this business venture shares the Harlequin name may mislead writers into believing they can improve their chances to be published by Harlequin Enterprises if they pay for this service.

HWA asks that Harlequin acknowledge that the imprint does not represent a genuine opportunity for aspiring authors to hone their skills, because no editors will be vying for or editing the manuscripts. HWA supports the basic principal that writers should be paid for their work, not pay because they aspire to write.

The HWA does not believe that changing the name of the imprint in an attempt to disguise the relationship with Harlequin, changes the intent. We call on Harlequin to discontinue this imprint immediately. If this matter does not find a positive resolution, the HWA will take appropriate action, which may include removing Harlequin from the list of HWA approved publishers, declining future membership applications from authors published by Harlequin and declaring that books published by Harlequin will not be eligible for the Stoker Award.

We are taking this action because we believe it's crucial to alert and protect our members from unethical and predatory publishing practices that take advantage of their desire to be published. The HWA hopes Harlequin Enterprises Ltd will take the appropriate measures to correct this matter posthaste.
Deborah Leblanc, HWA president

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