Horizons: Going over the edge

Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers! (And I’m still chewing.)

I cannot express how frustrated I am not to be able to further the conversation about Horizons right this very minute. NYPL has given me a computer reservation that lasts less than half an hour, with page-load times that could barely beat molasses in January. That’s just enough time for me to approve all of the passionate, insightful and thought-provoking comments I’ve received so far, and not enough time to respond to any of them in any depth.

The one thing I do want to say in my limited time is that on this blog I am not acting as a “representative” of Harlequin, as some commenters have indicated. (My disclaimer on the right-hand side says this clearly.) This is my personal blog filled with my personal opinions about publishing, an industry I care deeply about.

I actually started this blog not long ago because of the many, many articles, posts and tweets I have been reading this year about self-publishing, vanity publishing, e-publishing, and other new and changing options and distribution models. I have a collection of links waiting to be posted that have nothing to do with Harlequin. It’s just that the company made some exciting announcements recently. Since my goal is to discuss how publishing works now and how it is evolving, I couldn’t very well ignore the winds of change that were fluttering the papers on my day-job desk.

If the only thing you know about me is that I work at Harlequin, you might think I’m touting the party line. An understandable mistake since this blog is so new I haven’t even filled in my About page! Honestly, nobody read my ramblings until yesterday when Angela James kindly alerted everyone to my presence on Twitter. (Thanks, Angela. I think.)

So, please forgive me for not being able to address your comments right now. I’m ready to discuss the future of good writing, wherever it may be published. As soon as I can get my hands on a real computer.

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8 Responses to “Horizons: Going over the edge”


  1. 1 Missy Lyons November 20, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I am looking forward to reading your point of view on the matter. I find the whole debacle quite intriguing. By the way, I was referred to your blog by the Romance Divas forum for romance writers. So the word is spreading fast about your blog. 🙂

  2. 2 Xandra November 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Hi. Following the discussion with interest (and posting from a Linux computer–it can be done). Look for programs like “Epiphany” or “Konqueror” or Firefox – all three are standard browsers that come with the majority of Linux distros.

    Also you might want to address just how you can guarantee a fair read of a submitted manuscript to the traditional lines when there’s an absolutely effortless profit potential to be had in reject-and-refer.

    Thanks for your time.

  3. 4 Bryn November 20, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Stacy. Sorry about your computer problems…I know how that kind of thing can make one crazy!

    I’m looking forward to hearing more from you about this once your technical difficulties are solved. When I first heard about Harlequin Horizons, I felt excited about a publisher trying out a new biz model, but as I learned more of the details, I did feel more concerned about it, and also a little confused. I wonder if you could answer these questions?

    1. Why does even the basic package cost so much more than self-publishing? It seems like a lot of money considering Harlequin also takes 50% of any net profits. At first I thought people were paying for the brand name, but if I’m understanding this correctly, “Harlequin” will not appear on their products. What do you see as the key benefit that drives that high price?

    2. Harlequin says they will look at the vanity pub stuff for promising new voices, but it also says they will include info about the vanity publishing option along with rejections. This confuses me. Will Harlequin take a second look at rejected writers if they pay to be published? If not, will it be made clear to rejected writers that going the vanity pub route will not increase their chances?

    3. Why was Harlequin surprised by RWA’s decision? My impression is that they have been very clear and consistent in their positions on publishing.

    • 5 Stacy Boyd November 21, 2009 at 1:14 am

      Bryn,
      Thanks for the sympathy on the computer issue. I’m on the Linux machine, which is slow but not as slow as others. At least I can function with it for now. Hoping laptop is on its way.

      You ask some very good questions. So good that I need someone who is an official spokesperson of Harlequin to answer them. Maybe the details will be cleared up as things move forward.

  4. 6 Laura Resnick November 21, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Bryn,

    It’s so expensive because vanity publishing is structured to make money from selling “services” to aspiring writers (rather than from selling books to readers), and those costs are added to the usual costs of simple self-publishing.

    For a detailed explanation of these practices, as well as definitions of self-publishing and vanity/subsidy publishing, see Writer Beware:
    http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/vanity/

  5. 7 anon November 21, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Umm…what disclaimer?

    You only see the disclaimer if you go to the main page of the blog. If you come into an individual blog post from say a link from somewhere else, there’s no disclaimer.


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DISCLAIMER

I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
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