Besides the bit about some new ideas on how literary agencies do things, there are things going on with big publishers - the New York Suits, as I call them.
Surely by now anyone who follows the trade news has heard about Harlequin Horizons. Right? Harlequin is a major romance publisher in the US. They have decided to offer a self-publishing option to their slush pile writers. They have partnered with Author Solutions (the group that is made up of iUniverse, Author House, and several other self-publishers).
A couple of writers' organizations have pitched a fit about it and want [demand] Harlequin change the name of this new venture. They don't want the name "Harlequin" used in the name of the new company. It seems they don't like it because it is self-publishing that they don't want the name of a "real" publisher attached to the process.
I hate to spoil the fun, but self-publishing with these Author Solution (and other) companies has been around for ages, they sprung up like crazy after POD technology was invented. Not to mention Nelson Publisher did the same thing a few weeks back and there was hardly a word raised in complaint by anyone.
Several writers' groups have pitched a fit about the name more than the concept that seems to me akin to the diva bullies on the playground when we were little kids in grammar school. Seems these writers' groups are now banning Harlequin from their 'best friends' list.
The first one I heard who pitched a fit was RWA (Romance Writers of America). Seems for years Harlequin was invited (pockets lighter of tons of donations) to the RWA (et al) conferences. (I wasn't there, I'm going by what I read in every respectable trade news outlet.)
What gets me is that who do they (the writers' groups) think they are to tell any other business how to run their business? If I was a member of one of these groups, I'd be totally embarrassed by what the leadership has done -- make them all look like silly spoiled children. And gosh, every time I think about joining a writing group - hefty memberships included -- they pull some bone-head stunt that totally turns me off.
I can't believe that Harlequin is letting these groups push them around and are changing the name of their new venture because someone outside their organization is pouting. I thought the whole thing was inventive and forward looking by Harlequin execs. Too bad they don't believe in their brilliant ideas enough to tell the writers' groups to mind their own business.
See the link below for one take on the matter. http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2009/11/23/HarlequinsSelfPublishingVentureIsItTheFutureOfPublishing.aspx
Look in the November posts for the new name of Harlequin Horizons and more info on the Nelson company mentioned in the other link. http://www.ereads.com/index.html
I had some links to articles about the RWA, MWA, and SFWA organizations said/did regarding Harlequin Horizons, but realized they are subscription only, so just google and you'll find stuff out there, elsewhere.
Oops! I forgot to say, no compensation was made for this post.