Both houses have shown resilience and a remarkable willingness to "think outside the box" in order to reinvent themselves in this tough publishing environment.
Last month here, I reported on Thomas Nelson's latest initiative:
. . . Thomas Nelson has launched a self-publishing imprint, WestBow Press--though they are outsourcing the bulk of the operation to self-publishing giant Author Solutions. AS will design, publish and distribute the books. Nelson's primary roles appears to be sharing revenue and promising customers an "opportunity to be discovered by parent company Thomas Nelson.... For authors who hope to one day be signed by a traditional publisher, this is an opportunity to get your foot in the door."I was not happy:
If the book in question is the typical self-published mess and the writer is entertaining the fantasy that Nelson will soon be offering a contract, will WestBow disabuse the writer of such notions? Is WestBow going to offer a reality check, or are they simply going to collect a check?Yesterday Harlequin followed Thomas Nelson's lead with this press release:
Harlequin Enterprises Limited . . . announced Tuesday the launch of Harlequin Horizons; a self-publishing partnership with Author Solutions, Inc. . . . Harlequin, Book Business magazine's 2009 Publishing Innovator of the Year, regards the self-publishing venture as an accessible opportunity for emerging authors to bring themselves to the attention of the reading public.Like Thomas Nelson, Harlequin is waving the lure of "possibility":
Harlequin will monitor sales of books published through the self-publisher for possible pickup by its traditional imprints.At least Harlequin didn't promise to pay a finder's fee to agents referring newbie authors to their vanity press the way Nelson is doing.
My girlfriends and I often joke about our jobs, saying there has to be easier ways to earn a living. Periodically, after a rough day, one or the other of us will groan, "Maybe I ought to just go down to Harry Hines and set up shop."
Harry Hines Boulevard is the Dallas street notorious for its prostitutes and hot sheet motels.
Although we joke about it, none of us would actually do it.
But I guess some people simply don't mind screwing others for money.
At least down on Harry Hines, BOTH partners in the transaction know what to expect and what each is getting from the deal.