For anyone who doesn’t already know, author Dave Farland, who was kind enough to write a post for this blog a few weeks ago, is in dire need, due to having no insurance and a teen-aged son in the hospital with multiple injuries. A group of friends has decided to hold a book bomb on Wednesday, April 10, to raise funds for the boy’s care. To participate, simply buy copies of Dave’s latest two books, MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES and NIGHTINGALE. Or, you may send a donation in any amount. I hope my readers will respond and also pass on the information via their own blogs, websites or Facebook. Thanks.
Alas, there is more sad news this week. The judge in the case of the three romance authors suing Harlequin for enriching itself by denying proper royalties to writers has decided for Harlequin. As one commenter on THE PASSIVE VOICE said, “A federal judge just said, ‘Yup, they screwed you. But they screwed you fair and square, because they told you they were going to screw you.’”
In other words, hidden in the small print of the contract signed by those authors was language that allowed just what Harlequin did. Sign the contract, suffer the consequences.
It can’t be said often enough, don’t sign anything you don’t understand. Not that I blame the authors. Or even an agent, if there was one, who allowed the contract to be signed, because this was apparently a particularly sneaky trick, and perhaps even an IP (intellectual property) attorney might not have realized the implications of it.
Makes me glad I never had a book published by Harlequin, although I certainly tried some years ago. Then I read about the multi-published Harlequin author who was paid so little she couldn’t afford to have her son’s teeth straightened. Next I learned what Amazon pays authors. If they haven’t already, I’m sure those authors have already dumped Harlequin for other venues or indie publishing. And newbies should take a close look before signing with them.
Granted, it has been a “given” that Harlequin was the premier romance publisher; and many authors felt that small royalties paid on sales of thousands of books was at least as good as higher royalties on only a few hundred. But, personally, I don’t want to work for a company that deliberately sets out to hurt the very people on whom they’re dependent.
Without romance writers, Harlequin would be out of business. If the 10,000 members of Romance Writers of America write, blog, and otherwise get the word out, writers may desert Harlequin in droves. I hope they do.