It is disappointing that the RWA has not recognized that publishing models have and will continue to change. As a leading publisher of women's fiction in a rapidly changing environment, Harlequin's intention is to provide authors access to all publishing opportunities, traditional or otherwise.
Ms. Hayes, I wonder if you know how AuthorSolutions, your new partner in publishing models, actually works? It's not a publisher, if by publisher you mean a company (like Harlequin) that licenses intellectual property (ie pays for), adds value in terms of editorial expertise, design and production expertise, and then offers the product to their wholesale and retail accounts.
AuthorSolutions prints books. That's pretty much all they do. They don't license intellectual property. They don't add value with editorial input, design and production expertise, and they sure as hell don't make the product available to their wholesale and retail accounts (do they have any?) Their accounts are by and large the authors- the very people who pay to produce the book. A nice tidy circle of pay-to-play.
And to add insult to injury by saying they are the new publishing model, let's just remember they AREN'T. They're employing a new form of PRODUCTION. They don't actually change anything about the publishing model for vanity presses: authors pay to get books printed. The only thing that has changed is how many books get printed at one time, and in what format.
Ms. Hayes, I think I know what happened here. A very smart sales team from AuthorSolutions showed up and said "We can get you money, and a lot of it, with no capital investment, and not much expense to you. We can make your bottom line look a whole lot better."
What puzzles me is you agreed.
I understand budgets are tight. I understand the siren song of "money for nothing" in hard times. But I also know you've run a tight ship over there for a long time, and you're making money. Are you worried that will end, and the spigot of POD can help you alleviate that pressure?
I believe, and I hope you do too, some things are more important than money. Things like being honest with people who do business with you. This new venture is the ultimate in dishonesty. It's exactly the reason I loathe AuthorSolutions and their ilk with a passion: they (and now you) present it as a publishing model, and boost writers hopes and dreams at their expense to enrich yours.
I'm glad you're taking the Harlequin name off this project.
Now, how about you just take it off your corporate website and leave the vultures to prey on other people.
You're better than this Harlequin.