SFWA Response to Harlequin’s Position

For anyone who missed it, here’s a link to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America response to the formation of Harlequin Horizons:

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/11/sfwa-statement-on-harlequins-self-publishing-imprint/

The essence:

Until such time as Harlequin changes course, and returns to a model of legitimately working with authors instead of charging authors for publishing services, SFWA has no choice but to be absolutely clear that NO titles from ANY Harlequin imprint will be counted as qualifying for membership in SFWA. Further, Harlequin should be on notice that while the rules of our annual Nebula Award do not expressly prohibit self-published titles from winning, it is highly unlikely that our membership would ever nominate or vote for a work that was published in this manner.

Already the world’s largest romance publisher, Harlequin should know better than anyone else in the industry the importance of treating authors professionally and with the respect due the craft; Harlequin should have the internal fortitude to resist the lure of easy money taken from aspiring authors who want only to see their work professionally published and may be tempted to believe that this is a legitimate avenue towards those goals.

SFWA does not believe that changing the name of the imprint, or in some other way attempting to disguise the relationship to Harlequin, changes the intention, and calls on Harlequin to do the right thing by immediately discontinuing this imprint and returning to doing business as an advance and royalty paying publisher.

Personally, I believe the last paragraph to be key. If people allow the cosmetic changes of a name change to suffice, the bigger principle will have been lost.

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2 thoughts on “SFWA Response to Harlequin’s Position

  1. Authors work so hard to get published by a legitimate house. I don’t write romance, but I can only imagine how authors under contract from Harlequin or one of their imprints must feel right now. My heart goes out to all of them. I would love to know who thought at Harlequin were the decision makers and who was opposed. I wonder what Harlequin will do as a result of all this turmoil over their new vanity press.

    xoxo — Hilary

    • Hilary, there are a great number of conversations I’d love to be privy to right now. And regardless of genre they write, I think all authors have a vested interest in the outcome of this story. If Harlequin persists, it won’t be long until this becomes pervasive industry practice. From there, I fear it’s a small step to the pay-for-audition model, even for those who’d have nothing to do with a vanity press.

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