Dellarte Press, the self-publishing imprint Harlequin US launched with the now Penguin Random House-owned Author Solutions, has been shut down.
Harlequin told The Bookseller that Dellarte Press was “not an active imprint”, while Andrew Phillips, c.e.o. of Author Solutions said that Author Solutions has “never actively promoted” the imprint and that it was closed to new authors. Work by writers currently published with Dellarte Press will remain live.
Dellarte Press was set up in 2009 as a “strategic alliance” with Author Solutions. Originally called Harlequin Horizons, the name was changed after a number of writers’ groups in the US denounced the move. It was rebranded in order to disassociate it from its parent company.
“In 2009, Harlequin and Author Solutions explored entering the supported self-publishing market with an imprint called Harlequin Horizons,” said Phillips. “However, at that time, we both came to the conclusion that we did not want to pursue this imprint. Later in 2009, the site was rebranded as Dellarte Press and it has been maintained solely by Author Solutions to serve those few authors who had registered on the site. Since then, Author Solutions has never actively promoted the site and has worked with less than 20 authors over this period.”
When it was set up, Author Solutions said that Harlequin intended to monitor sales of books published through Dellarte Press “for possible pickup by its traditional imprints” and that it regarded “the self-publishing venture as an accessible opportunity for emerging authors to bring themselves to the attention of the reading public”.
A search on Amazon for Dellarte Press brings up 11 titles published between 2010 and this year.
Author Solutions was bought by Pearson in 2012, which integrated it with Penguin, although continued to run it as a separate business. The self-publishing services company was then made part of the newly-formed Penguin Random House.
Phillips, formerly president of Delhi-based Penguin International, was made c.e.o. of Author Solutions in 2013.
However, the company have been heavily criticized by writers and writer groups for acting as a vanity press. A lawsuit alleging that Author Solutions engaged in “fraudulent business activities” will proceed this year.