Harlequin Horizon, vanity press

At conventions and via email, I am often contacted by aspiring writers, young and old.  Many people know how to sit down at a keyboard and put a story together.  How that story gets from your fingers to the pages of a book or magazine is often less clear.

And that is where scam artists, unscrupulous ‘agents’ and fake publishing houses have a field day.  When aspiring writers go out on the internet to look for information on how to be published, the first listings they will get on any search will be vanity publishers such as PublishAmerica and AuthorHouse.  No matter how they present themselves, it boils down to this.  The would be author gives them money.  The book is created.  There is no distribution system in place, so the book does not get into stores.  The bright writing future does not materialize.

It pains me that a long-respected romance publishing house, Harlequin Books, is now getting into the ‘dream selling’ business.

For a very accurate and well written summary of the situation, please look here   Jackie Kessler does a great job of explaining all this.  I commend her analysis to your attention.

Romance Writers of America also addresses the situation, as does Science Fiction Writers of America.

In these hard economic times, unemployed people sometimes say to themselves, ‘Well, the silver lining is that I can finally work on the book I’ve always dreamed of writing.’   I’m sure that the number of  unsolicited submissions has increased at all the publishing houses.  But to decide to prey on those you don’t judge worthy of regular publication is, to speak plainly, shameful.

Harlequin, I expected better of you.


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