There is a poll at the end of this post – vote!
Let’s be honest – self-publishing has always been the red-headed step child of the industry. And even though it has garnered some attention and its unsavory stigma has somewhat lessoned, there are still those that view self-publishing as second rate.
Okay – it is second rate. But occassionally a self-published title gets picked up. In fact, I’m working on one right now.
But it’s when traditional publishers begin to derive a revenue stream from self-publishing that the shit really hits the fan.
Harlequin has started its self-publishing line – Harlequin Horizons to help aspiring romance writers who otherwise would be less likely to…get published.
But Harlequin has pretty much been flayed for this decision. The Romance Writers of America (RWA) has decided to remove the company from its list of publishers eligible for use of RWA-provided conference resources. (In case you were wondering, conferences are a big thing in the romance world). Oh yeah – and the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) have threatened the same thing.
Nora Roberts said – “You’re paying for your ego. That’s fine, dealer’s choice. But it’s a different matter when a big brand publisher uses its name and its resources to sell this as dream fulfillment, advertises it as such while trying to claim it’s not really their brand being used to make money on mss they’ve rejected as not worthy of that brand in the first place.” (If that’s not a run on sentence, I don’t know what is).
Get off of your high white steed Ms. Roberts (and RWA and MWA and any other “blank” WA). GO Harlequin for finding a way to keep up with the times and create a new revenue stream. Because in case others haven’t noticed, the margins in the publishing industry aren’t exactly enormous. And the old publishing model certainly doesn’t work.
But hell, Nora Roberts gets her money in extremely large advances – the type that are sucking the life out of this industry. Maybe if she were to take a higher royalty percentage instead…
The Result – Harlequin is giving the self-publishing line a new name (sans Harlequin).
Do you think Harlequin is selling out by including a self-publishing line, being hypocritical? I want to know! Vote now (and maybe add a comment).