Last week, the board of the Mystery Writers of America voted unanimously to remove Harlequin and all of its imprints from its list of approved publishers, effective immediately. MWA executive v-p Frankie Y. Bailey explained the decision on MWA’s Web site: “We did not take this action lightly. We did it because Harlequin remains in violation of our rules regarding the relationship between a traditional publisher and its various for-pay services.” Harlequin changed the name of its self-publishing arm from Harlequin Horizons to DellArte Press on November 25, in response to widespread outrage from writers’ groups, but that does not seem to have appeased MWA.
By de-listing Harlequin, MWA is barring all Harlequin authors from using their Harlequin books as a basis for active status membership. No Harlequin book will be eligible for Edgar Award consideration, although books published by Harlequin under contracts signed before December 2, 2009 may still be the basis for membership and will still be eligible for Edgar consideration.
MWA’s decision came shortly after Romance Writers of America withdrew its rating and benefits from Harlequin last week.