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May 4th, 2014

11:20 PM

Harlequin and Race-Peens

I'm late but hey, it's not like I'm in a race for scoops or anything . Anyway, it's been a while since I talked about the romance scene, which is quite dull these days, but two things are of note in Book Land at the moment.

Harlequin sold by Torstar


It's now property of News Corp, who would make Harlequin part of its  HarperCollins family - of which Avon is currently part of as well. What does this mean for Harlequin? Who knows. One thing is for sure, though - Harlequin does take chances on stories featuring non-white people, which I understand don't make lots of money. These lines may be in jeopardy if the new overlords decide to improve the bottom line.

Don't quote me, but I also understand that there are some unhappy rumbles across Blog Land because Harlequin is - was? - one of the most generous publishers, lavishing lots of love, freebies, and even spots in their parties for selected symbiote-bloggers, and with this thing happening. the fun may have to stop soon. Oh well, there are always the indie parties.



Speaking of diversity, a bunch of people get together to do some online social justice thing - again - to show the world how enlightened and diverse-friendly they are. #WeNeedDiverseBooks! Note that it is #WeNeedDiverseBooks and not #YouBetterBuyDiverseBooksYouHags. Such an effort allows authors, agents, bloggers, folks at Twitter and Facebook, and everyone else to use their hashtag button more often than usual while forming a choir and singing a rousing rendition of Michael Jackson's Heal the World.

But take it from a cynical old biddy: such efforts have come and gone before, although I guess the hashtag allows more people to join the circle of self-love than usual, and, unless someone really forces the average reader that favors white-populated stories to plonk down money for those "diverse" books, nothing will change. Some noise would be made, mostly that of awesome people patting one another's back, and then? Life goes on as normal.

Publishers don't care if there is no money to be made, especially when most of them are currently embroiled in lawsuits. Lawyers don't come cheap, you know. And indie authors may not bother as well if there is no money to be made. And if we look at the official website, their own words are these:

We hope that you will take part in this in any way you can. We need to spread the word far and wide so that it will trend on Twitter. So that media outlets will pick it up as a news item. So that the organizers of BEA and every big conference and festival out there gets the message that diversity is important to everyone. We hope you will help us by being a part of this movement.

Nothing about BUYING. It's all "Look at us! Put us in the news! We are so awesome!"

So, yup, nothing would change. All noise, but nobody would buy, so status quo for everyone. The authors taking part in this get free advertising for their books, the bloggers and tweeters all feel so awesome that they are using their keyboard to telegraph their moral superiority to everyone, and then, everyone gets bored of the whole thing and goes back to posting animated screenies of Dane DeHaan at Tumblr.

Are people so lonely on the Web that they need to get together for mass self-love orgies?
1 user comments.

Posted by Rosario:

I don't know which blogs you visit, but the ones I've seen worrying about the Harlequin/HC thing are not talking about Harlequin's generosity, but about differences like terms offered to libraries and geographical availability, both areas in which Harlequin are much more customer friendly.
May 5th, 2014 @ 1:53 AM