Kerfuffle has become one of my favorite words lately because it just sums up the nonsense swirling around RWA, Harlequin, Harlequin Ho (their "Horizon" brand) and publishing in general.
Brief summary: Harlequin decided to create a vanity 'arm' (HarHo), RWA & other professional writing organizations slapped 'em for it, Har is now whining and authors are in angst.
I think this fuss has perhaps finally driven home some of the realities of the marketplace -- publishing is a losing business. Publishing can't continue under the old consignment model. It's a lose-lose for all involved. Har came up with a new model for one of its branches, one that will probably make money hand over fist. Gee, I wonder if they'll do whatever they have to do to keep it and satisfy the professional groups?
I agree with RWA that authors should be making money. I disagree about the 'an advance means you're a professional' but I am glad they took a stand on this. It proved they are willing to follow their own rules, something that frankly, I wasn't sure they'd do.
What does this mean for authors? Not sure yet. How abour readers? They probably won't notice -- HarHo books will not be shelved, so unless they're sought out, they can't be found.
I think the most profound impact will be on the hidebound organizations such as MWA, SFWA, and RWA. This has to make them rethink some of their core values because I firmly believe other publishing houses are going to take this route at some point.
Interesting times ahead....