While my stance hasn’t changed regarding Harley adding a vanity imprint, no matter how oily it is, I always believed this decision was theirs to screw up in a rather deliciously grand manner. And they seem to be trying – which surprises me because they’re a big conglomerate and they, ostensibly, know better, right? After all, they thought this all out with the precision of a NASA team readying the shuttle for outer space. They know the ins and the outs.
Or is this just an ill-conceived seat-of-the-pants plan that birthed itself on the corporate tables one dark and stormy night while corporate weenies’ faces streamed sweat while the Powers That Be screeched, “We need some freaking capital!”
Alas, the information coming from their spokesholes is fingernails-to-chalkboard stuff, and this makes me think they are either completely clueless to the vanity world, publishing in general, or just loosy with the truthy. They appear to have also underestimated the authorial reaction.
In order to attract the biggest amount of “booty” – meaning authors willing to fork over big money to help get Harley’s parent company, Torstar, out of their financial crisis – they’re saying some silly things.
A bound copy makes you more attractive to agents and editors
Ach, I’ve seen this reoccurring theme with many other authors who published via vanity, and it makes me want to scream. I can’t tell you how many iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Publish America books I’ve gotten as a form of submission.
[big flashy lights and sirens] NOTE: Do not EVER send a bound book to an agent or editor.
Do you know where they go? Right into the recycle bin. I don’t even crack the cover. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have a couple of times, and instantly regretted it. Some of these guys don’t even bother learning how to format the layout. If you were unwise enough to write your manuscript like an email [meaning you used an extra carriage return to denote a new paragraph instead of using indentations], then that is exactly how they will print it. And the worst part is the author paid a lot of money for it. If you want a bound galley, go to Kinko’s or Lulu.com.
I repeat; we will not read a bound book unless we ask for it. So Harley is lying to you – which is shameless.
HARLEQUIN HORIZONS ASSISTED SELF-PUBLISHING
Ach, et tu, Brute? This is not self publishing. It’s vanity. Oh, these pesky terms that people use to muddy the waters.
Self publishing is when you, the author, are the publisher and you pay and control every aspect of production. You buy and own the ISBN; it is your name on the copyright page.
Vanity is pay to play, and they control every aspect of production and its eventual disposition. For example, you can’t tell them to do a 1,000 unit print run unless you pay for it. Never ever forget who’s in charge with a vanity operation. Clue: it ain’t you.
This is an outright lie, and this makes me cranky. Yes, I realize that and a fiver will get you an overpriced Starbuck’s.
RWA has decided that Harlequin is no longer eligible for RWA-provided conference resources and SFWA has removed Harley from their list of approved venues as of 11/2009.
Now this is what I mean by allowing the free market to work. If Harley wants to take this route, they have the honor of experiencing the up and downside. Only when payback hurts enough does change happen, and it’ll be interesting to see how, or if, this hurts. They will be forced to weigh the consequences of being removed from two very influential groups against huge profits. They will most certainly suffer the wrath of their own mainstream authors. On the “upside” Harley is to romance what California is to tax hikes.
More than likely Torstar – Harley’s parent company – won’t care one bit. Harley has their chestnuts hovering over very hot fire. What to do? What are they allowed to do? It’s times like this that I adore being an indie trade press. We may have far fewer decimal points in our bottom line, but the only ones who tell me what to do are the beagle, the accountant, the sales teams, and the readers.
If Harley wants – needs – to do this in order to keep Torstar’s lights on, that’s their business. I have no doubt they’ll make a pile of money. I think it’s sad that a lot of authors will take this route because the first thing they’ll think is, “Wow, Harley? They’re BIG, so how bad can it be? They wouldn’t screw us.”
Weelllll…if it keeps the heat on, yes they will. But this falls under “Author Beware.” We can’t outlaw stupid, as I said before, so the best thing anyone can do for themselves is to keep their ears close to the ground. Read the blogs, learn, consider all the ramifications.
It’ll be interesting to watch the reverberations throughout the industry and how this will affect other publishers who want to add a vanity imprint to help their own bottom lines. Long live the free marketplace. They are the ultimate boss.
Having said all that, I still believe this is still a non-event and Harley will remain untouched within the reading community [where it really counts!] because the vanity books won’t see the light of day. Readers will continue to buy their books in bookstores – as it should be. The world will continue to turn, the beagle will continue to imbibe. For the most part, all will stay right with the world.
Unless we have a law banning tequila…