Monday, December 14, 2009

Harlequin ihearts Presents

It's mayhem on the Harlequin ipresents forum lately. I thought it best to vent my feelings on my blog, rather than the forum. Writers are using this forum to truly vent their concerns, their emotions. But I wonder how many actually read and understood the rules of the competition.

5. This contest is open to entrants who are 18 years of age or older and is void wherever prohibited by law; all applicable laws and regulations apply. Employees and immediate family members of Harlequin Enterprises Ltd and Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, including contracted authors, (This means anyone who is at present contracted by Harlequin is ineligible to enter) their parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and all other agencies, entities and persons connected with the use, marketing or conduct of this Contest are not eligible to enter.

7. Winners will be determined no later than November 30th, 2009, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will be required to sign and return a Publicity Release and Affidavit of Eligibility certifying his/her eligibility (that means if they don't reach the criteria they default) and that the submitted chapter and story outline are his/her own original work, and it has not won a previous prize/award nor has it previously been submitted/reproduced/published, within 10 days of notification. Non-compliance within that time period may result in disqualification and an alternate winner will be selected. Harlequin Enterprises Ltd and Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, their parents, affiliates and subsidiaries are not responsible for errors in the electronic or printed presentation of this Contest. Winners agree that Harlequin Enterprises Limited and Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, their parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of their prize.

It is now in a state as writers are picking on anything they can due to the hurt and shock they are suffering now knowing published authors have won the competition. Some entrants were not aware they would be up against published authors. Didn’t they read any of the questions in the transcript? Did they not read the rules?

Harlequin were looking for aspiring (hopeful) authors. That means they were looking for writers that are aspiring to be published within their company. Anyone not already contracted with them, or having written for them, published and unpublished.

As I see rule five has been broken and we will not know the outcome until the editors are back at work on their Monday morning. I can imagine the shock they are going to experience when they find out what has been said on their forum. Harlequin did writers a favour by running this competition and we must respect that fact. The Harlequin editors took time out from their everyday work load to run this competition, not forgetting Amy on the Harlequin board in the Forum, who was always there for everyone.

Perhaps no one will get feedback now. Perhaps they will never run another competition, which would be a shame. We as writers must remember writing is a business. It should be conducted with professionalism at all times.

Also give Harlequin the benefit of the doubt. Would they have checked out the winners before announcement? Would they spend time searching the net? I don’t think so. I believe they are unaware of what has happened, and what is transpiring.

I wish the editors all the best when they return to work. It will be interesting to read their next post. Let’s pray that they don’t do away with future competitions. 

Good luck to all who have entered. Hopefully there will be some feeback.  :)


Cathryn Brunet said...

This is interesting. Might have to check it out.

Here's wishing you a truly fabulous Christmans, Suz. Hope Santa is super kind this year!

taryna.berry said...

Hi Suzanne,

It would be a shame if they did away with the comp. I entered the competition and I'm hopeful for some feedback.

I am anxious for the editors to return to finally learn the outcome.

Great post btw.


Jane Holland said...

I agree 100%.


Rachael Johns said...

Hey Suz

Valid points! But I think that the winner is actually only published by Harlequin Spice Briefs and as that is a shorts line, she's probably okay.

Will definitely be interesting to see what the editors say in response.


Suzanne Brandyn said...

Thanks for stopping by, Cathryn, Tarnya, Jane and Rach.

Rach, the rules state, contracted by Harlequin. So that means short, long or whatever length those contracted are ineligible to enter. Perhaps I'm wrong but it will be very interesting to see the outcome. :)

Sun Chara said...

Thank you Suzanne...well put! And thanks to you Tarnya for referring us to Suzanne's blog!
Hey, Santa's on his happy everyone!

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne,

Good points, there's just a couple of things I keep hearing repeated that irk me.

Does anyone REALLY think the HQ editors are doing aspiring writers a favour out of the goodness of their hearts by running the competition? C'mon it's their job and surely it's all about marketing, not doing aspiring authors any favours.

Also if the powers to be at HQ decide not to run comps in future, I'd hope they'll do so for sound business reasons NOT to punish a few petulant participants on a blog.

Jane Holland said...

Anonymous (?!), there may be some truth in what you say, but you overlook the fact that editors are human beings.

And as an editor myself, albeit in a very different area of publishing, I can absolutely guarantee that editors actively WANT to find good new writers and really HATE having to reject work, and that this level of bad feeling from writers is not easy to shrug off as 'all part of the job'. We all have feelings, and while professionalism is a given, it doesn't mean some comments aren't extremely hurtful.


Suzanne Brandyn said...

Thank you everyone for leaving your comments. It's nice of you to pop on over.

Anonymous, I know it is part of the editor’s job to undertake such tasks. Did you see the photograph of the editors brimming with enthusiasm when they were judging the entries? I wasn’t the only one to notice. As Jane stated, they are people with feelings.
What you say is true about the marketing side. But what company doesn’t run a competition from time to time for marketing purposes? Within the framework of this marketing strategy is the job of searching for new voices. I know a few aspiring writers who have won or placed as a runner up in their competitions, and they are either published now or still working with what they say, ‘their delightful editor.’ So not only is the competition run for marketing purposes, it does help the aspiring writer.

I do hope they continue to run the competitions in the future and if they change their mind if for whatever reason, it’s their business. After all they are a business, a company, they are entitled to do whatever they choose.

Suzanne :)

Anonymous said...

Just for clarification, as somebody who'd like to sell to M&B one day I want the editors to run competitions for marketing purposes (to sell more books, which will give existing and aspiring authors more opportunities). In no way was I criticising the eds for running the competition for marketing or making business decisions.

I was saying that's what they should be doing and I'd be surprised and disappointed if M&B's marketing strategies were influenced by what is a tiny proportion of the 540 who entered the comp posting stuff on a blog.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

That's okay Annon, Gee I wish I knew your name. :)

But it's fine. We are all entitled to our own opinion. I did understand what you meant.

Have a nice day,

Suzanne :)