Harlequin Horizons, Amazon, and the post office

I have no objection to Harlequin opening its own vanity press as a business enterprise.

But I dunno. Labeling the vanity press “Harlequin Horizons”, advertising it on Hqn forums, then saying it isn’t going to be affiliated with Harlequin’s “regular” publishing? Eh. At best that’s disingenuous, at worst it is sleazy and deceptive. From a reader perspective, it feels like a sleight of hand. If I were a writer, it would feel like a cheap money-grab, especially since Harlequin is mislabeling the enterprise as self-publishing, when its business model is actually that of a vanity press.

I’ve purchased a self-published book, Matthew Haldeman-Time’s Off the Record, which rocked my socks. In fact, it was the first gay romance I read, ever. One of my extended family published a family history narrative via a vanity press. It…was not the best piece of writing, frankly.

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Amazon has posted its Ten Best lists. I’ve only read one of the books on the Romancelist, and it was DNF — Julia Quinn’s What Happens in London. I skimmed the first few pages of Smooth Talking Stranger at the bookstore and put it back on the shelf because the premise and the characters did not appeal. Bending the Rules is on the TBR for when I feel more like a straight contemporary. *shrug* That’s fine, though. Different strokes and all.

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The post office’s track and confirm function tells me that they attempted delivery Monday evening at 6:52pm, then left a notice on my door. First, delivering at 7pm? The post office? I don’t think so. Second, no, I was at home Monday evening and the weather was good enough that my front door was open, leaving just the storm door closed; no postal service employee knocked on my door. Third, no notice was left. Also, why is the package being held at a post office that does not belong to my zip code or deliver to my zip code ordinarily? I can’t get through to a human being at the office because it either rang off the hook or was busy all day? Customer service fail across the board. How could anyone wonder why the postal service is going bankrupt with crappy service like this?

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Read a very brief Japanese-set historical today. Need to re-read. Was interesting. Not sure about sense of place. Setting and characters felt non-Western, but not all that historical. Notot sure how realistic setting and characters would have been, even taking liberties of genre fiction and the inherent fantasy.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Harlequin Horizons, Amazon, and the post office

  1. My problem with the Harlequin thing is that I understand from authors and industry folk out there that what Harlequin plans to do is send information about Horizons in their rejections letters — that seems beyond exploitative to me.

    • That does seem exploitive? (Exploitative?) While I’m not a huge fan of vanity presses for aspiring authors, I don’t think they are evil necessarily. But the whole Hqn thing fails the “sniff” test. Smells fishy.

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