If you've been vacationing in an internet-free zone and haven't heard about the drama with Harlequin and their brand-spanking-new vanity press, get thee here and read what happened while you were blissfully ignorant. Or go there and grin over Ms. Kessler's fabulous way with a Low Down.
Today, Mystery Writers of America announced that they have "voted unanimously on Wednesday to remove Harlequin and all of its imprints from our list of Approved Publishers, effective immediately." What does this mean for MWA members? Nothing if they were already acknowledged as published authors by way of a December 2 or prior contract with Harlequin. For anyone else? Denied.
Romance Writers of America have revoked Harlequin's privileges as an "eligible" publisher at the 2010 conference, and the board will meet to decide Harlequin's fate within the RWA.
Last night, during an awesome #askagent session on Twitter, I tweeted a question to find out how agents are reacting to the MWA, RWA and even SFWA (sci-fi and fantasy writers organization) to Harlequin's business decision - are they changing their submission policies to Harlequin or their relationship? Colleen Lindsay of Fineprint responded: "Not at all; Harlequin is still a good publisher."
I have to agree. Harlequin is still a good publisher with helpful and professional editors. Though I haven't sat in on any business meetings, I'm almost certain this bollocks decision was made by Torstar (Harlequin's parent company) with zero regard for how it would affect their cash cow.
Then again, isn't it the responsibility of the writers' associations to protect their members? And isn't Harlequin still in ethical murk because they're pimping the vanity press in rejection letters?
What do you think? Is RWA/MWA/SFWA helping the situation? Do you think Harlequin will (or should) change how they do business in order to align with the demands of the writing organizations? Will you still submit to Harlequin? Will you sign a contract knowing it could mean ineligibility for awards and published perks (or membership) within these writing organizations? Do you have an agent, and is that agent still willing to work with Harlequin?
We've seen a lot of discussion about Harlequin's DellArte Press now, but we haven't seen much from the authors affected by this, the ones who will sacrifice to be a Harlequin author or the ones whose reputations and future careers might be affected by their publisher's decision.
Keep it respectful. Keep it professional. But tell us how this will affect how you will carry out your career pla