A letter Harlequin has sent to various authors and agents is now posted online, and while I'm happy to see Harlequin changing their stance on the Horizons issue (sort of), this letter is full of a heaping helping of WTFBBQ. You can read the letter in it's entirety here, but I'm just going to highlight a few things that struck me as particularly ballsy.
Harlequin was very surprised and dismayed to receive notice late yesterday that the RWA has decided that Harlequin is no longer eligible for RWA-provided conference resources. We were even more surprised to discover that the RWA sent a notice to its membership announcing this decision, before allowing Harlequin to respond or engage in a discussion about it with the RWA board.::snort:: And I'm sure Harlequin considered notifying RWA and their members (many of them Harlequin authors) before they announced the Horizons venture. Seriously. WTH?
It is disappointing that the RWA has not recognized that publishing models have and will continue to change.Oh this is rich.
I am hardly RWA's biggest champion. There are many issues I think they have failed to address and I believe they are short-sighted on. Namely the long-standing resistance in some corners to the erotic romance sub genre, the failure to recognize legitimate e-presses, and their complete head-in-the-sand attitude towards digital (not that they're alone in this boat - hello many traditional NY publishing houses!).
But to use that line about "publishing models changing" when addressing the clusterfuck that is Horizons is just rich. RWA and many authors recognized this for what it is. A completely and totally skeevy way to sell out the Harlequin name brand.
Do I think RWA needs to be more proactive on certain issues? Yes. But I think perhaps Sybil said it best on Twitter today when she said:
because honestly I think epubs (some of them) should be approved but I don't think every issue should be tabled til past fuck ups get fixedAnd that's it in a nutshell. But unlike some corners of the Internet, I have a hard time believing RWA is the bogeyman or evil. Misguided at times? Sure. But it's up to the members of the RWA organization to work (rationally and calmly I might add) to help affect change.
Can you tell I've spent too much time on Twitter the last few days?
What hasn't been addressed to any satisfaction is how Harlequin is going to move forward with Horizons. Are they still going to keep advertising the service on the writing section of their web site? Are they still going to refer to Horizons in rejection letters they send out to writers? That hasn't been made clear at this time (of me writing this blog post).
But as a reader, and as a librarian who spends a lot of time banging her head up against obstinate colleagues? The dropping of the Harlequin name from the venture helps.