Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Soap Opera Continues...

Looks like I may have been right about Harlequin assuming the Romance Writers of America wouldn't do anything in response to Horizons. Kristin Nelson posted this lovely announcement. Harlequin is surprised! And somewhat understandably upset that the RWA issued their decree through an announcement to their authors prior to saying anything to Harlequin about it. They've conceded to author concerns far enough to announce a name change. They haven't said what to yet, but assure us it won't have "Harlequin" in it. That still doesn't change any of the other ethical objections, but it's a start. Had they done it from the beginning, this massive drama may have been less flamboyant.

But, wait! There's more! This isn't the first time an authors' organization has expressed dismay with them! The Mystery Writers of America had already contacted them concerning the eHarlequin Manuscript Critique Service. I had to read that last one a few times for it to truly sink in. Harlequin is running a paid critiquing service. Paid critiques are one of very first signs new authors are taught to look for to spot scammers, folks.

The MWA had a cooler reaction than the instant blast from the RWA and gave Harlequin until Decemeber 15th to respond to their concerns before removing the entire company from thier list of approved publishers (and their authors from consideration for Edgar Awards), but of course there are fewer mystery writers published under Harlequin lines than romance writers under them.

I'll try to be quiet about this now, but it's hard... And surely the folks over at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are going to have something to say eventually...

UPDATE: And, yes, SFWA had issued a statement! A very well written and not at all permissive one. The word 'scathing' springs to mind. Read it here.

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