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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-harlequin-survey.html

For me the payoff comes at the bottom. The very last lines he writes are where I think this particular story really lies.

The women in my life are strong, loyal, conscientious individuals, and designing a business to string along those types of people is predatory in my eyes.
 

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Oh SNAP!

I like this one, which can be said of other publishers, as well:

And the one group that could save you--your authors--has been paid so poorly for so many years that they are eager to pursue other avenues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quiss said:
Oh SNAP!

I like this one, which can be said of other publishers, as well:

And the one group that could save you--your authors--has been paid so poorly for so many years that they are eager to pursue other avenues.
And as we can see from people who write romance on these forums . . .

Many are doing just fine at it.
 

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Bob Mayer and Joe got into a friendly discussion in the comments (often the best part is the comments) and Bob said this which is unfortunately ALL too true:

The problem is, HQ has a legion of wanna-bes who will sign a contract with HQ with their own arterial blood regardless of what's written in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
JRTomlin said:
Bob Mayer and Joe got into a friendly discussion in the comments (often the best part is the comments) and Bob said this which is unfortunately ALL too true:

The problem is, HQ has a legion of wanna-bes who will sign a contract with HQ with their own arterial blood regardless of what's written in it.
If you're so devoted to a brand that you're willing to do this, you're part of the problem, unfortunately. :(

They just don't realize it.
 

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JRTomlin said:
Bob Mayer and Joe got into a friendly discussion in the comments (often the best part is the comments) and Bob said this which is unfortunately ALL too true:

The problem is, HQ has a legion of wanna-bes who will sign a contract with HQ with their own arterial blood regardless of what's written in it.
I've seen this.

And it kills me because I *know* how much an author can make self-publishing their own romance novels. Dang.
 

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I read the survey questions and answers and comments with interest.  Having published most of my 23 novels thru harlequin and been an executive officer of RWA in the earlier years the comments were fascinating to me.

Bottom line.  The deals are better with direct publishing but the playing field is very uneven in two different directions actually.  But I figured it out the first time and I will figure it out again.
 

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JRTomlin said:
Bob Mayer and Joe got into a friendly discussion in the comments (often the best part is the comments) and Bob said this which is unfortunately ALL too true:

The problem is, HQ has a legion of wanna-bes who will sign a contract with HQ with their own arterial blood regardless of what's written in it.
Yep. But ______ jumped all over my case a few months ago for calling this Stockholm Syndrome. That's definitely what it is.
 

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I know a very successful author who still publishes with HQ and self-publishes. The distribution through HQ is so vast, every time she puts out a new HQ book her self-pub titles see a spike. She literally uses them as advertising for her self-pub work. Advertising that pays her. She's smart and not in any way shape or form a wannabe.

I just felt I should point that out. Not everyone who pubs with HQ has the blinders on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Deanna Chase said:
I know a very successful author who still publishes with HQ and self-publishes. The distribution through HQ is so vast, every time she puts out a new HQ book her self-pub titles see a spike. She literally uses them as advertising for her self-pub work. Advertising that pays her. She's smart and not in any way shape or form a wannabe.

I just felt I should point that out. Not everyone who pubs with HQ has the blinders on.
This is completely valid, and savvy.

Hybrid is an excellent choice.

And Harlequin has some authors they DO treat well, of course. Like any tradpub outfit they have their golden geese, and those tend to get the better treatment.
 

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It's a good spotlight on the business practices of a certain publishing group, but I wish he didn't go the 'poor women - victims of their own femininity' route. Without that bit of speculation, it would have been a much stronger piece.
 

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Deanna Chase said:
I know a very successful author who still publishes with HQ and self-publishes. The distribution through HQ is so vast, every time she puts out a new HQ book her self-pub titles see a spike. She literally uses them as advertising for her self-pub work. Advertising that pays her. She's smart and not in any way shape or form a wannabe.

I just felt I should point that out. Not everyone who pubs with HQ has the blinders on.
Yep! I think we know the same authors ;D When a contract is signed with HQ knowing that it's purely a business decision to gain wider distribution, then that's one thing. Signing with them because you're desperate to take whatever you can get is another. And sadly, there are a lot of authors who have signed those terrible contracts (they are horrific contracts!) and don't care that they'll only make 2% in royalties and never earn out their meager advance because they didn't even get a big enough print run to do so.

And the quality of the HQ brand is sinking fast because all of their good authors are fleeing like crazy and they're desperate to find new authors to fill those spots. I know several authors who two years ago signed those 6, 7 and 8 book contracts with HQ and who are now buying back their advance to get out from under the HQ thumb.
 

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I can understand why someone might be mad at how their fellow authors are being treated, but... Bob puts it as, "The problem is, HQ has a legion of wanna-bes who will sign a contract with HQ with their own arterial blood regardless of what's written in it."

I tend to agree with Bob. And some must learn these lessons the hard way.
 

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Cookie cutter books. The rules have been set by Traditional publishers, whom most of us want to avoid now that we know we can make it without them. We write the breakout novels, right?
 

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Anya said:
It's a good spotlight on the business practices of a certain publishing group, but I wish he didn't go the 'poor women - victims of their own femininity' route. Without that bit of speculation, it would have been a much stronger piece.
Yeah, what was that last bit about?!

Rest of it was great.
 

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Cherise Kelley said:
Yep. But ______ jumped all over my case a few months ago for calling this Stockholm Syndrome. That's definitely what it is.
I agree that some do suffer from SS but I wouldn't say it's universally true. I definitely went into traditional with eyes wide open and knowing what I was giving up and what I was gaining. For me personally it was ABSOLUTELY the right thing and has done amazing things for my career. Does that mean that I'll trad publish all my works? No...each one will be considered separately. And as evidenced by my self-publishing Hollow World I know the value of self.

I do think that hybrid offers the "best of both worlds" in many respects. But bottom line...all three can work and the author just needs to be well informed and then decide what's right for "them."
 

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Deanna Chase said:
I know a very successful author who still publishes with HQ and self-publishes. The distribution through HQ is so vast, every time she puts out a new HQ book her self-pub titles see a spike. She literally uses them as advertising for her self-pub work. Advertising that pays her. She's smart and not in any way shape or form a wannabe.

I just felt I should point that out. Not everyone who pubs with HQ has the blinders on.
Yes. Actually, she's a KBoards author. She considers her HQ titles to be "paid advertising" for her self-published titles. Only instead of her paying to advertise, she's paid to do so.
 

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I found this deeply condescending on Konrath's part.

Talking about Harlequin authors (and I'm a former one!) in stereotypically female ways--referring to what we do as "nurturing" and "caregiving" when we are business people, and we always have been. Referring to them as "battered women." Acting as if the authors who actually received the survey--who, let me point out, actually know the difference between "series" and "single title" since we have a clue about romance--wouldn't be able to tell Harlequin what sucked about what they were doing. I'm on a loop with a bunch of Harlequin authors (like, hundreds), and let me tell you, zero of them were like, "Oh, Harlequin, we just love everything you do, and we're going to suck up to you."

I don't know why a dude who doesn't write for Harlequin and never has, who doesn't know the romance industry well enough to know what is meant by "series", thinks that he can do a better job telling Harlequin where they're screwing up than the women who actually deal with them on a regular basis.

Talking on behalf of people who you're referring to in female terms, when those people are business people with a better understanding of the situation than you have? I'm sorry, talking on behalf of Harlequin authors--we happen to be demonstrably in possession of a keyboard and the ability to express ourselves--evinces a certain amount of disregard for the capabilities of the people you claim to care about.

We can speak for ourselves.
 

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Courtney Milan said:
I found this deeply condescending on Konrath's part.

Talking about Harlequin authors (and I'm a former one!) in stereotypically female ways--referring to what we do as "nurturing" and "caregiving" when we are business people, and we always have been. Referring to them as "battered women." Acting as if the authors who actually received the survey--who, let me point out, actually know the difference between "series" and "single title" since we have a clue about romance--wouldn't be able to tell Harlequin what sucked about what they were doing. I'm on a loop with a bunch of Harlequin authors (like, hundreds), and let me tell you, zero of them were like, "Oh, Harlequin, we just love everything you do, and we're going to suck up to you."

I don't know why a dude who doesn't write for Harlequin and never has, who doesn't know the romance industry well enough to know what is meant by "series", thinks that he can do a better job telling Harlequin where they're screwing up than the women who actually deal with them on a regular basis.

Talking on behalf of people who you're referring to in female terms, when those people are business people with a better understanding of the situation than you have? I'm sorry, talking on behalf of Harlequin authors--we happen to be demonstrably in possession of a keyboard and the ability to express ourselves--evinces a certain amount of disregard for the capabilities of the people you claim to care about.

We can speak for ourselves.
I had a similar reaction to the gender talk in that post, Courtney. If some HQ authors have signed bad contracts, I doubt it's because they're nurturing caregivers; they just made bad decisions, as anyone might in that kind of situation. Sometimes an effort to be a helpful advocate can end up propagating stereotypes that are unhelpful. Something intended as praise/support may be quite counterproductive.

That said, I do think Konrath's publicizing of the Harlequin contracts and of the lawsuit regarding subsidiary rights may have put some good pressure on Harlequin to do better. As someone not much involve in the romance genre, I don't think I would've heard about Harlequin's bad practices if Konrath weren't on the case. He's got a big platform, and he generally uses it (in my opinion) in very positive ways.
 
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