Here's why I care…

UTA: As of 11/25 (I think)  Harlequin Horizons has been changed to DellArte Press.

One of the reasons I’m so upset over the HHz/HQN Horizons is because it’s going to exploit the aspiring writer who doesn’t understand how things work.

When I was 19, I sent in a MS to HQN.  It was rejected.  I was crushed.  But I kept on going.

Now…if I’d gotten a little note referring me to HHz and saw how HHz could help me prove I was  a serious author?  If I had a credit card?  I might have done it.  And when I got burned after spending several thousand on the book, depending on length, edits, etc  (that’s what it would have, my estimate, based on word count/need for editing), and didn’t sell more than a handful of books?  And I wouldn’t have-I didn’t know jack about marketing and no matter what marketing package you ‘buy’, you still have to get there and handsell your book.  I wouldn’t have known that.

After investing the time and heart into it only to fail (to the tune of several thousands lost) I don’t know that I would have tried again.

Which means…maybe I wouldn’t be doing what I am now.  I’m not a major boon to the romance world, but there are some people who enjoy my stuff.

Writers that have fantastic stories, if they try this only to gets their hopes and dreams dashed?

Will we ever see their stories?  Hear their voices?    Writing is a dicey thing and if you take a damaging blow, you may never find the heart to write again.

That’s one reason I care.

Another reason?

I made plenty of mistakes starting out.  Plenty.  I still make them.  I’ll continue to make them.  Sometimes I learn from them on my own.  Some mistakes I’ve avoided through the advice and guidance of authors I admire.  We all screw up.  We were all aspiring at one time.  And many writers have gotten screwed sideways.

Most, if not all, of us have been in that place, after you’ve gotten those rejections and you wonder ‘maybe this isn’t the right thing for me’… there you are, questioning your dreams and you see what seems to be a legit, albeit alternative path there.  We were all naive about the industry at one time, right?  We all had to learn.  How many of us might have tried that route? If we had, how many of us would be where we are now?

Spending upwards of a $1000, $2000, $4000 to learn that there is no shortcut?  That’s a hefty price tag to pay and it’s one that might just silence some author voices.  Does that sound overly dramatic?  Maybe.  But writing is often emotionally driven and if you’ve had your dreams busted, it may be hard to find your voice again.  Hard to try again.

Why does this matter to me?

Because it bothers me, at my very core, to see somebody’s dreams exploited.  That’s another reason why I care.