Or as I like to call it, Poo Storm 2009!
There's been a lot of drama in the publishing world this week surrounding Harlequin's announcement that they are opening their own vanity press, called Harlequin Horizons, and offering it to rejectees from their slush pile.
There was helpful info posted on the Writer Beware blog summing up the announcement and potential controversy, then the agents began posting fervently, keeping us in the loop!
Agent Kristen Nelson first asked if this was "Exploitation or Empowerment", then clued us in yesterday that the RWA had laid down some smack, letting everyone know that Harlequin was no longer recognized as a real publishing house because of this recent move. Yesterday, she filled us in on a letter from Donna Hayes, the Harlequin CEO, announcing that they were removing the Harlequin name from the vanity press due to all the hoopla from their authors (no kidding,) and that they thought the RWA were being jerks.
Janet Reid, the Query Shark herself, was also in the middle of the action, announcing the first signs of the approaching poo storm, revealing how pissed off she is that Harlequin seems to be preying on newbie authors, and then further endearing herself to authors everywhere by telling Donna Hayes to stop blowing smoke and basically either fix it or go take a long walk off a short pier.
Rachelle Gardner chimed in today with a rant on the quality of literature (which I totally agree with), and asking her readers their thoughts on vanity publishing as the wave of the future.
Even sci fi author John Scalzi threw his hat in the ring, discussing RWA, the MWA and SFWA all stepping in to chastise Harlequin.
Needless to say, this whole thing has made me feel like I'm taking crazy pills. I mean, seriously, Harlequin? I don't even want to know what their poor authors must be thinking.
So, my question for you is: What do you think of all this?
Exploitative or smart business move?