Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Vanity press helps chick-lit publisher set up another phony "self-publishing company"
Last month Author Solutions (parent company of several vanity presses, including IUniverse, Trafford, Wordclay, Author House, and Xlibris) did a deal with "Christian publisher" Thomas Nelson. It enables writers who are not good enough to be published by Nelson, to pay to be published by Author House under Nelson's WestBow imprint.
Author Solutions has just set up a similar program called Harlequin Horizons with chick-lit publisher Harlequin -- a Canada-based behemoth which has sold about 6 billion soft-core bodice-ripping books over 60 years.
"Harlequin Horizons expands upon Harlequin's tradition of providing wonderful opportunities for fresh voices in women's fiction," said Donna Hayes, CEO of Harlequin Enterprises. "Partnering with Author Solutions, Inc., the recognized world leader in self-publishing [excuse me while I go to the bathroom to puke], is an innovative and original approach to discovering new authors to add to our traditional publishing programs."
The Harlequin press release said, "Through this strategic alliance, all sales, marketing, publishing, distribution, and book-selling services will be fulfilled by ASI, but Harlequin Horizons will exist as a division of Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Harlequin will monitor sales of books published through the self-publisher for possible pickup by its traditional imprints."
In other words, if a writer's book is initially rejected for publication by Harlequin, and the writer can be convinced to pay to be published by the Harlequin-ASI combo, and the book sells well, then Harlequin may decide to publish it without the author having to pay any more money.
As with Author Solutions' other sleazy business operations, Harlequin Horizons lies about providing as many as 25 "free" books to its authors. The books are free only if the author/customer/victim ignores the $599 to $1599 paid for the "self-publishing" package.
Just as no one can take a bath for you or eat lunch for you, no other person or company can self-publish for you.
Writers who pay Harlequin Horizons will NOT become self-published authors. They will merely become customers (or victims) of a vanity press.
Books published by vanity press are often ugly, error-filled, overpriced, sell poorly, and don't get reviewed.
Harlequin Horizons allows Harlequin Enterprises to do test marketing at authors' expense, and even make a profit on books that Harlequin originally rejected.
This takes sleaze to a new level.