Recently, we posted an entry about Harlequin's plans to introduce a new imprint, Harlequin Horizons. This new imprint was designed to give self-publishers a chance to publish and get their books out to the general public. Romance Writers of America, along with other writers' groups, didn't like that idea. They told Harlequin that if they went ahead with using the Harlequin brand name with the self-publishing imprint, Harlequin books would no longer be eligible for entry into any of their award competitions. Harlequin bowed to the pressure and renamed the imprint DellArte Press, thus removing any implied connection between the two. Now another organization, Mystery Writers of America, has followed suit and removed Harlequin from their list of approved publishers. According to Lee Goldberg, a member of MWA, (from his blog)
"We did it because Harlequin remains in violation of our rules regarding the relationship between a traditional publisher and its various for-pay services. What does this mean for current and future MWA members? Any author who signs with Harlequin or any of its imprints from this date onward may not use their Harlequin books as the basis for active status membership nor will such books be eligible for Edgar® Award consideration." For the full post, please read Mr. Goldberg's blog. http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/2009/12/mwa-delists-harlequin.html
Harlequin's "self-publishing" imprint is not true self-publishing, but rather what many consider a vanity press. People are quite vocal about their feelings on this - just check out all the comments. Should Harlequin's books be removed from award consideration from the various organizations and should people no longer be granted membership based on books published through a vanity press? What do you think???