Harlequin, I see you’ve set up a, um, POD?/vanity?/subsidy?/self-pub? (no definitely not self-pub) arm of your company.
Congratulations. I think that’s brilliant.
However, you have negated that brilliance by the simple fact that you have obviously not gone about researching the industry any more than anybody you hope to make a customer.
What I do not think is brilliant is the following:
1. Partnering with AuthorSolutions, Inc.
- Do you know that they use Lightning Source to print their books? Do you know you could get your own account with Lightning Source and do the same thing, only cheaper for you?
- Do you know you could’ve set up your own in-house programs and packages? You should’ve; you have the resources right at your fingertips.
- Do you know that the rates you’re quoting are outrageous if one went piecemeal to freelancers for those services? And if you do (which I don’t think you do), you would’ve gotten a bigger cut of it had you not partnered with AuthorSolutions Inc. You already have editors and artists and such. Use them. Hire a couple more if you don’t have enough.
- Do you know that AuthorSolutions Inc. doesn’t have the best reputation on the planet even amongst subsidy publishers?
- Do you realize that the 50% “royalty” you take from your customers could have been at a much higher dollar amount if you had set up your own shop?
Bad, bad business decision, just from a P&L standpoint. Geez, you’re cutting off your margins to spite your bottom line.
2. Attaching your brand.
I shouldn’t even have to explain this.
UPDATE: As of 11/19/2009 4:12 PM, Harlequin has decided to rename its vanity press division something other than Harlequin whatever. Pub Rants got the scoop.
3. Thinking/branding it as self-publishing.
Self-publishing involves setting up shop as a business and outsourcing the tasks you can’t do yourself. What you’re doing is a service company promoting way overpriced service packages.
4. Your website really does kinda suck.
Oh, sure. You’ll get a lot of customers, and that’s okay. I see nothing wrong with it. I just think you coulda gone about it a different way.
And this is what surprises me. Harlequin, you’re brilliant. You’ve made nothing but all the right steps in all these decades of publishing. You flourish where others founder. You took a great (welcome) leap with Carina, but this? This displays the business sense of a kindergartner.
It makes me think your parent company is setting all this up and making you (and by extension, Malle Vallik) take the fall.