Friday, November 20, 2009

Dannis Answers SFWA Statement on Harlequin’s self-publishing imprint

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November 20th, 2009 at 2:53 am

Not all self-published authors have paid to be there. I am on Food Stamps, but I am published with CreateSpace. They have services that cost a bunch, but I knew enough that I didn’t need them. It did not cost me a penny to put my book up there with them. I did the hardcover through, and same story, it did not cost me a penny. CreateSpace does charge cost for a proof copy, and I wanted fast delivery, so it set me back about $20. Why self-publish my sci fi novel? I’ve been sending off my novels and short stories for years to publishers. Aldis Burdrys liked one of my stories, but it didn’t fit his market. My stories are very different than what mainstream publishers publish. They are too long. Publishers won’t publish 700 page books because of paper shortages.

I am not paying to publish my books. True, I am not being paid, but it keeps my mind from becoming mush while I sit here in my bed. Where I am all day, most days. I am disabled and can no longer work. I still write. I do my own covers. I fix my own computer. I wanted to see my book in print before I die. Every library I’ve shown it to has wanted it [about 15 or so before I got too sick to go out]. I knew before I went this route that I ruined any chance of making any money with my book, but I feel that this is the right choice for me. For the person who’s writing something that’s radically different from what the few editors are looking for, this is a good way to go. I wouldn’t recommend it to new writers without them sending their books to traditional publishers. But, you have to be traditional to sell traditional. I have never looked at Author Solutions, but I have found mention of them amid many complaints.

Maybe Harlequin made a mistake by signing with them. But, should you punish all those Luna Books authors who paid their dues and got published? That’s heartless, and I’m frankly shocked that you are doing this. Those authors, and all at Harlequin, didn’t have any stake in this sad decision. Yet, they are the ones who will pay. Harlequin is big enough, it probably won’t even acknowledge your protest.

I feel very, very sad for all those authors. If you check out things, you will find that my sister is a Harlequin author. What you won’t find is that she began her career as a sci fi author, was published, and the company went out of business. She turned to romance in the 80’s [she was writing sci fi since 1963 or before] and since she was a good writer, she got published. Look at Isaac Asimov and how versatile he was. Many sci fi authors write other things. But, I disagree with your assertion that editing improves authors. I was proofreading my sister’s manuscripts at age 11, back when she had to type 3 carbons without a mistake. She was a much better typist than I. Her book The Morcai Battalion, which finally won her the coveted SFWA membership, has two versions. The 1963 version, and the 2008 version. I like both, and would be hard-pressed to say which is ‘better’. My sister says the editors built her. I say she was just fine before editors.

My sister will probably kill me for leaving this comment, but it is true.

Have a good day, because my sister won’t, when this news reaches her.

Dannis Cole
Disabled/Author [yes, I have sold copies of my book]
Amateur Writer [by your definition]
This is what I wrote, but their moderator will probably quietly delete it. They seem very sure of their decision. Sorry, Susie, for mentioning you and for writing them in the first place, but it's injustice, and I wanted to take the self-publisher's side on this. I frankly don't think Harlequin will care if every Author Genre Group on the planet boycotts them. They're too busy publishing. It's like the fleas that bite the elephant. I, personally, thought it was nice of Harlequin to give people an option; if enough big publishers offer self-publishing, it might take some of the stigma out of it. Just my humble opinion.

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