Events of this week have really rocked my world–my writerly world, that is. The powers-that-be at my publisher have decided to open up a vanity publishing branch, Harlequin Horizons, where would-be authors are encouraged to pay to have their works published, instead of being paid for their works. Despite the very rare success story, such as THE SHACK, in self-publishing, people who pay to have their books published rarely ever achieve much besides spending huge amounts of their hard-earned money to get a basement full of books they can’t get the bookstores to carry. And my publisher isn’t the only one doing this–Thomas Nelson and B &H also have vanity press branches too.
The reprocussions of their decisions to do this are enormous to romance writers. My national writers’ organization, the ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA, has been joined by all the big writer organizations such as SFWA and MWA in denouncing this move. My publisher has already agreed to take the “Harlequin” out of Harlequin Horizons, but they need to stop this venture altogether. Until they do, or work out some negotiation satisfactory to both sides, any published writer who writes for any branch of my publisher is not eligible to enter writing contests or sign their books at the national conference, and most other contests ban books published by any other publisher who has a vanity press branch too. I feel like a medieval princess who’s been suddenly declared illegitimate. While our current status in RWA saddens me, I absolutely support RWA for taking this necessary step. Wrong is wrong, no matter how “big” the committer of it is.
I would encourage those who want to read more about vanity presses to read the statement at www.ninc.com about them. It says it all, and better than I can.
Fortunately, my security does not rest in what the world–especially the publishing world–thinks of me. I am a Christian, a child of the King. And nothing the world can do can change that. I’ll stand on that holy Promise.