Holy Moly, do interesting things ever happen when you're off doing something else!
I just popped into (onto?) some of my favorite writing forums and message boards, only to be confronted with the Harlequin Horizons thing.
What is this thing?
Romance giant Harlequin is putting out a new line, called Horizons. That itself odd (publishers run new lines all the time), but the details?
Harlequin has partnered with Author Solutions (that's vanity press AuthorHouse, guys) and this ENTIRE line is going to be pay to play.
For only $1500, give or take, any writer can now say they've been published by Harlequin, regardless of whether that manuscript is publishable, or even functionally literate. (That's the beauty/horror of vanity presses, innit?)
Of course, these books will not be on the shelf at your local bookstore - like any other vanity printed manuscript, all sales are left up to the writer.
Which is a HUGE stain on Harlequin's reputation. Do they want to remain a legitimate publisher, or become yet another vanity press?
Update: Apparently the backlash was violent enough that HH changed it's name to DellArt press. Smart move guys - I bet the RWA would have had fits about a thousand vanity press writers claiming Harlequin publication!
For more conversations about the entire mess:
For the vanity site:
They also seem to have taken a cue from other vanity presses by using a name that could be confused with a standard publisher (Dell) which is still incredibly underhanded - but at least Harlequin gets to try and dust off its reputation.
Even the New Yorker got in on the scent of this rat: