Indymedia, Harlequin, RWA … oh my!

Are we there yet?

I think it was Maria who pointed out that you appear on search results based, mostly, on your blog headlines. And it occurs to me that I’ve been a bit, ah, obtuse in my headings. So, in order to get more hits to my poor little blog — and, by corollary, to my website, and thence to leviathan sales, natch! — I’ve succumbed to the “bleedin’ obvious headline” picker.

So, first off the block, Indymedia. As leftist as I am, this is the first time I’ve heard of Indymedia, which just goes to show that I’m obviously not as committed as I should be. Anyways, Indymedia received a subpoena from the US Justice Department asking for details of all site visitors on a particular date. While the story may head up with “IP addresses”, as you read the article, it actually gets worse:

The subpoena … from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded “all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us” on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to “include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information,” including [are you holding onto your hats? –ksa] e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers’ [here we go! –ksa] Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

Whoo-hoo. Party on, Justice dudes! But, seriously, what is the matter with you, United States? I thought you already had this information on me! Even though I live outside the USA, I honestly thought you already had my daily visits to US-hosted sites sitting on some server deep in the bowels of the planet somewhere, along with any comments I’ve made to any website (cross-referenced), how long I spend at each site, whether I contribute financially to any site (and in what amounts) and who exactly I have on feed. To now find out that the Justice Dept. had to subpoena this kind of information from a website is kinda disappointing to the gleeful leftist nut-case conspiracy buff in me. Or maybe it’s Homeland Security that already has that intel and they won’t share. Aaaah, that makes me feel better.

And speaking of feeling better …. Look, you’ll get no balanced, “oh poor babies” rhetoric from me on the next issue. I speak as a bitter epubbed RWA member here. Timeline! Can we get a timeline over here please?

17-NOV :: Harlequin announces vanity press venture, Harlequin Horizons. Unlike Carina Press, that has a different name, the very inclusion of the word “Harlequin” in the newly-launched self-pub biz is enough to drive a fair percentage of Harlequin authors to swoon like it’s cover art of the 1950s. You can go to Dear Author for various takes on this.

19-NOV :: In a rare instance of responding in a timely fashion, RWA (Romance Writers of America) throws down the gauntlet:

With the launch of Harlequin Horizons, Harlequin Enterprises no longer meets the requirements to be eligible for RWA-provided conference resources. This does not mean that Harlequin Enterprises cannot attend the conference. Like all non-eligible publishers, they are welcome to attend. However, as a non-eligible publisher, they would fund their own conference fees and they would not be provided with conference resources by RWA to publicize or promote the company or its imprints.

Fisticuffs at dawn! Especially amongst epub writers, the relevance of the RWA has been questioned in recent times and now we can grab the popcorn and settle down to see who will win! It’s like an unrigged wrestling match … you don’t really care who triumphs as long as there’s plenty showing!

Of course, the biggest upshot of this — that someone (I forget who) was quick to point out — was that, with Harlequin officially struck off The Hallowed List of eligible publishers for the time being, this means that NO! Harlequin author — from any of the imprints, Modern to MIRA — can enter their book in the RITA competition (RWA’s Romance Novel of the Year, essentially). Oh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Yes, all that bile from a bitter epub author — that I thought long since excreted, or whatever it is that happens to bile — magically appears and rises in my throat, causing me to laugh my socks off. (Don’t try to analyse that sentence, just go with the flow.) Oh, this piece of news just gets better and better.

(Harlequin is a very smart business. But its treatment of non-Anglo cultures in its staple romances make me want to upchuck. RWA pushes hard for the ongoing professional recognition of romance. But its short-sighted views on both romance (no icky GLBT or eroticism here!) and technology make me want to upchuck too. )

There has been a lot written about the serious implications of all these duelling press releases but, for myself, I’m just going to sit back and have some fun and suggest you do the same.

4 thoughts on “Indymedia, Harlequin, RWA … oh my!

  1. Ref: And it occurs to me that I’ve been a bit, ah, obtuse in my headings.

    LOL! Duh.

    Actually while good headlines help, Google says it’s the description that gets you better mileage. When I try to describe something I keep my paragraphs short and full of keywords that people look for.

    –well I don’t deliberately do that, but it comes out that way

    Ref: Harlequin

    Wouldn’t you have liked to be a fly in that room when the big cheeses got the news that RWA had removed them from favored status? I’m curious to see where this leads next.

    But…and this is a biggie. Harlequin isn’t try to wrangle you or me to HH. It wants the newbie, desperate for recognition and validation–the people least able to make an informed decision. Harlequin might decide to put up with the abuse from the published community just so they can get their hands on the virgins.

    It is so atrociously abusive. I hope they feel the backlash but good.

  2. You’ll see that I kept my surreal headings as sub-heads though. Just couldn’t resist!

    And I’m glad you commented, M. Gives me a chance to put in one more link. I’m going through the SBTB thread on this at the moment, and there are lots of cogent points being made, esp. by Stacia Kane, Emily Veinglory and Ann Aguirre (of course!). Here’s the link:

    http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/want-to-self-publish-how-about-harlequin/