Harlequin recently announced they were going into the vanity publishing business, with the formation of a new venture between Harlequin Enterprises and ASI Solutions to form Harlequin Horizons, a vanity/subsidy press. The discussion of this, and how it will affect the ability of authors to be members of professional organizations, and eligible for awards, is all over the web. Responses are summarized very well here. Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have all issued statements, as has Sisters in Crime. On a personal level, I have to respect the different organizations that are speaking up on behalf of authors.
All of these organizations are dedicated to protecting the rights of authors. They point out that a vanity press does not benefit authors, and because of that, Harlequin is endangering the rights of their authors to belong to any of the organizations mentioned above, or to be eligible for the prestigious prizes given out by those organizations. All of this information is summed up online, and the site I linked to gives excellent information and responses.
But, let's put faces to Harlequin. If Harlequin continues in their venture (and coming days will show if they will or not), these authors, if they were starting out today, could not join the organizations, if their only published works were through Harlequin. They can continue to belong, but any future books they publish with Harlequin will not be eligible for awards.
Mira is an imprint familiar to many readers of this blog. The Mira line is from
Harlequin. Hank Phillippi Ryan's Charlie McNally mysteries are published by Mira. Her debut novel, Prime Time, was the winner of the prestigious AGATHA Award for Best First Novel, a RITA Nominee for Best First Novel and Best Romantic Suspense, a DAPHNE Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense and RT Reviewers Choice Award Winner and TOP PICK. Now, her next book, Drive Time, would not be eligible for any RITA awards, if Harlequin persists in their plans. It would not be eligible for Edgar awards, either.
Jason Pinter's books are from Mira. His Henry Parker series would not be eligible for Edgar awards. Here's just a few authors whose books are published with Mira: Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs, Alex Kava, Kat Martin, Pamela Morsi, Emilie Richards, Heather Graham, Brenda Novak, Rick Mofina, J.T. Ellison, Michelle Gagnon, Kate Wilhelm.
The Luna line would be affected by the statement from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. These are books by Catherine Asaro, P.C. Cast, Mercedes Lackey, and Diana Palmer, among others.
And, of course, there's Harlequin itself. Can you imagine my holiday books without a romance by Holly Jacobs? Can you imagine the RITA Awards given out, and Debbie Macomber, Linda Lael Miller, and Diana Palmer are not eligible?
As I said, go to the earlier website, and read about the controversy. Or, put Harlequin Horizons in Google, and find out what the issues are. They're discussing them all over the blogs. I just thought I'd take a slightly different angle, and mention the authors who will be affected, in some way, by Harlequin's decision. I just wanted to put a face on the issue.