Of at SBTB we have this response from a Harlequin staff member:
"First, why is Harlequin launching a self-publishing business? Bowker reported in 2008 that more titles were published through self-publishing than traditional publishers. Self-publishing is a fast growing and vibrant part of the publishing industry today. Harlequin has decided to provide a romance focused self-publishing business for those that choose to go down the self-publishing road."
And so why did you choose to partner with a fee-charging self-publishing provider whose authors typically do not make a profit, and whose offshoots (e.g. Authorhouse) have a rather poor reputation? Could it be anything to do with receiving a cut from those substantial fees?
"The use of the Harlequin name with Harlequin Horizons has raised the most questions and comments. At Harlequin, we are probably even more concerned about our brand than the commenters at this blog, so here, then, are some clarifications to your questions.
Brand – Harlequin put its name on the Harlequin Horizons site to clearly indicate this is a romance self-publishing site. The books published through Harlequin Horizons will not carry traditional Harlequin branding. The self-published author will be the brand and the Horizon double H logo will appear on the spine of the book. Harlequin is the gold standard in romance and that will not be compromised. Readers will not confuse Horizons books with traditional Harlequin books."
So these books won't be branded Harlequin, just called Harlequin and marked with an 'H' in the Harlequin font and offered the carrot of possibly being picked up by Harlequin. That's totally clear.
"Distribution – Self-publishing has a different distribution model than traditional publishing. Horizons books will not be carried nor appear in traditional Harlequin distribution. The self-published book will not appear next to a traditionally published Harlequin title.
The Harlequin Horizons site very clearly indicates it is a self-publishing business and that those who choose to publish with Horizons will not receive the traditional Harlequin distribution and marketing support."
So, Harlequin Horizons will use a different distribution model, of not being distributed.
"Many authors are choosing to self-publish. There are a number of reasons to select self-publishing including as a way to see their work in print— to give copies as gifts, to have a bound copy to help in finding an agent, or simply as a keepsake. Harlequin is providing a service to those choosing to self-publish with a leading organization in this field, Author Solutions. To recap, self-publishing is an option for those who want to put their story into print. The Harlequin brand will not be on these titles. The Harlequin Horizons site is very transparent that it offers self-publishing services."
I hear they also make good doorstops. But the Horizon website makes reference to being the centre of attention at a crowded book signing--in which alternate universe will this occur?
"Last, if anyone is wondering if this changes anything with Harlequin’s usual editorial processes, the answer is no. We remain committed to reading and acquiring manuscripts from aspiring authors. It’s new voices that set new directions for the future."
Except for the Harlequin Horizon books which will provided with the different editing model, of not being edited.
So that clears that up, Harlequin will get the self-publishing authors' money, after luring them with a Harlequin-branded website they will offer them a non-Harlequin edited book with no Harlequin branding and no distribution.
Wow, that's a great deal. Silly me for being so negative.
As Ava Quinn commented below: "Preditors and Editors has already changed its Harlequin Inc status to vanity publisher. http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/pebh.htm"