Everyone from A.C. Crispin to the Science Fiction Writers Of America has rushed to condemn Harlequin for starting a self-publishing scam. But Small Beer Press has the best response: A hilarious parody showing how you, too, can waste your money.
Small Beer's parody imprints, Easymark Books and Upchuck Press, do a better job of pointing out the shoddiness of Harlequin's vanity publishing scheme than most of the other critics. Here's part of the pitch for Easymark Books:
We're not interested in monetizing the slushpile, we're interested in getting you to pay to publish it for our profit!*
1. Let us help you get your book out to your real readership: your family and friends.
2. See you book on bookshelves (if not in bookstores-see #1).
3. For a mere $599 we will send you 5 copies of your book printed on our state of the art Print on Demand system. (Which sounds just like Lulu.com but isn't, ok?) It will even have a color picture on the cover-with, and sit down because this is about to get awesome, Your Name Right There On the Cover!
But that's not all — for an added fee, you can have access to such amazing services as spellchecking! And an intern who will tell you to remove most of the adverbs from your prose! It sounds almost too good to be true. If actually honing your writing to the point where a real agent and real editors might be interested in it sounds like too much work, and too much like buying into the system — be a cool rebel and send all your money to Easymark Press. You know it's where you belong. [Small Beer Press]