Money Goes Toward the Writer; Never From the Writer
I am not sure if non-writers will feel the same sensation of bile rising in the throat as writers when reading the following, but it should disgust and disgruntle any professional writer to hear of a large and well-established imprint like Harlequin stooping to the level of plucking money from the naive and unwary.
Harlequin is offering its services as a vanity press and vanity editor. In other words, you pay them to edit & print your manuscript, they do not pay you. And it is a healthy fee to boot --- I have seen rip offs that were far less expensive. It is not under their imprint, and they do not distribute. But they advertise their service with each rejection letter, so that young writers with their hopes crushed underfoot, will be more easily led astray, because the ad will come just at the moment of maximum crushage. I am not exaggerating, you have to read it to believe it:http://www.jackiekessler.com/blog/2009/11/20/the-day-after-harlequin-blinks/
A blessing on the various writer's guilds, including my own beloved SWFA, who unambiguously condemned the practice.
A tenderfoot writer is about as sound and sober a judge of his own work and its merits as a newlywed of his new-met bride: in other words, they are easy to fool.
Greenhorns beware! You can avoid falling into these kind of traps by adhering to a simple rule: money goes toward the writers, it never goes from the writer. This means anyone charging a reading fee or a manuscript-doctoring fee or any such is to be avoided. You are a professional. Professionals do not do vanity press.