This officially makes Harlequin, the #1 publisher of Women's Fiction, a VANITY PRESS. As such, RWA has officially revoked their eligibility as an RWA endorsed publisher.
(Pause for the world to end.)
This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. RWA has long since drawn their line in the sand in regards to non-subsidy/vanity presses (not to be confused with digital presses). RWA doesn't like them and doesn't support them. Period. This has been an ongoing argument in Romancelandia. However, RWA has long remained committed to the professionalism and business of romance authors. Any Joe Schmoe with some bucks can self-pub a book. Not that there aren't many talented authors out there who self-pub for one reason or another. But RWA feels this detracts from the profession.
Are they right?
I don't know. Smarter Bitches than me have blogged about it here, and Dear Authors here, and even fellow Tweeter Kwana here. (P.S. The Smart Bitches have a very Smart response from Malle Vallik from Harlequin.)
I just know that my dream is to some day be New York published. I don't plan on going the self pub way and I hope to keep my relationship with Loose Id who have treated me with so much respect. (Shameless love for my publisher. And editor, Hi, Jana!!!) I don't think less of someone self-pubbed. It's a way to go. I understand the need to get your voice out there. The have your stories read. I also understand the frustration of rejection after rejection after rejection. You can't blame people for taking matters into their own hands.
Nor can you blame RWA for sticking to its gun. Or Harlequin authors for being worried. Although Harlequin author and funny bitch Victoria Dahl put it best when she said "I'm a harlequin author & I feel no alienation. RWA is abiding by their rules. & I've been an RWA member much longer than I've been published."
The only thing to do now is to sit back and see how this all plays out. It was a ballsy move on RWA's part and with Harlequin like the WalMart of Romancelandia, they are sure to have some response.
There's no telling how this is going to shake out. So, grab the popcorn, kiddies! Showdowns like this don't come 'round very often.
(Added: Another great post at Writer's Beware.)