Trouble on the Harlequin Horizon

Author Jackie Kessler has done an excellent analysis of Harlequin's self-publishing venture…and all the reasons it's deceptive and bad for writers. It's a must-read. She quotes extensively from the Harlequin Horizon's FAQ. This particular excerpt infuriated me:

"1. What is Harlequin Horizons? 

Self-publishing is one of a suite of publishing options an aspiring author can choose from these days; with the launch of Carina Press we can provide the flexibility of a digital-only press, and Horizons offers a self-publishing option.
It is a partnership with Author Solutions – they provide the self-publishing services, we provide our brand name and we make authors we have rejected aware of this service."

8. What’s going to happen with the slush Harlequin currently receives?

We will continue to welcome unsolicited manuscripts from aspiring authors.
All standard/form/template rejection letters will include a short note about Harlequin Horizons as a self-publishing option for the aspiring author.

So their editors are referring aspiring authors to their own self-publishing house. This is reprehensible and unethical conduct …exactly the kind of predatory publishing practice that the MWA's rules are designed to discourage.
It doesn't matter what Harlequin ultimately ends up calling their self-publishing program…what matters is how they conduct business. There needs to be a total separation in every way between the editorial side of Harlequin and their for-pay ventures.
They are mistaken if Harlequin thinks that simply changing the name of their self-publishing venture solves the problem.

4 thoughts on “Trouble on the Harlequin Horizon”

  1. Harlequin is a Canadian company, with headquarters in the eastern side of the Greater Toronto Area. It is owned by Torstar, which owns The Toronto Star and a myriad of other newspapers. Like most print companies, revenues have been falling off and I suppose they are trying to boost them back up with this lamentable self-publishing scheme.
    The only good news coming from Harlequin is that they are accepting manuscript submissions in several genres. One is the “New Moon/vampire” genre. So if you have a manuscript or can write one 50,000 to 100,000 words, maybe you can get published and help them raise their bottom line by dealing with good work instead of bad.

  2. Lee said: “There needs to be a total separation in every way between the editorial side of Harlequin and their for-pay ventures.” Couldn’t agree more or else it’s self-dealing and open to abuse.
    As for you, Mitch, abuse is something we are trying to halt, so when you finally say something on the topic that’s not abuse, I’ll reply.

  3. harlequin.. another company xlibris put-up to recycle their authors. authors that are only to them leads in sales. other names to watch out are trafford, i-universe and author house. Trust me, I worked with xlibris as a marketing consultant and know all their operation.


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