Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter the Hugos

If you're writing stories and selling them, give yourself a star.  Buying your work is the sincerest form of flattery.

If you’re writing stories and selling them, give yourself a star. Buying your work is the sincerest form of flattery.

There was a time – I (Sarah) am told – lost in times of legend and glory, when awards were mystical things designed to help deserving writers who might otherwise not have come to the attention of the buying public.


If your book came out say a month after a national disaster, or you had an absolutely horrible cover, or the entire print run your publisher sent out got damaged in the warehouse by a hurricane, or whatever, there was another way for your book to achieve success.  Either a few devoted fans who had discovered it, or even your colleagues would push your book for an award, and suddenly other people would go, “Oh, I never heard of that book, but it won a Hugo/Nebula/RITA/Golden Heart/Pushcart/Golden Duckie/Edgar.”

I remember in the seventies religiously buying any author whose cover said “Hugo Award Winner.”  I figured if they were recognized by the fans, then these people were important and I should read them.

Then… Then fandom became smaller and more… selective.  Mostly, fandom aged and grayed and became more set in its political ways.  Suddenly awards weren’t being given to “I really enjoyed this crazy ride of a book” but to “it has an important message.”

Suddenly award-winning became not a way to bring commercial success but a way to set yourself apart from commercial success.  “I’m not a bestseller, I win awards.  I didn’t sell out, man, I’m an artiste.”

And suddenly that little seal on the cover of a book started meaning absolutely nothing for sales.

Which is why Orbit, one of the publishers with works nominated for the Hugo this year, has chosen to say it will not make a full version of its nominated stories available to the voters.  There are only two reasons to do that – if you know the voting has nothing to do with the work itself, and people are voting for an author’s name, a reputation (or a feeling he’s one of the cool kids) OR because winning the award would make no difference at all to the authors’ – and publisher’s – bottom line.  And in this case, I suspect it actually means all of the above.


Some awards still bring money to the writer who wins it. My novel Darkship Thieves winning the Prometheus award got it untold amounts of attention and magnified my sales, and having Darkship Renegades and (currently) A Few Good Men as finalists has not exactly hurt, either.

I understand the Mythopoeic award is also a sales driver.  But the other awards in Science fiction and fantasy at least seem to do nothing for your pocketbook.  (I don’t know about the ones for Romance or Mystery.)  So, if you’re an indie author, you’ll have to console yourself with winning the Dead Presidents Award in the form of crisp folding money. (Or worn folding money.  I don’t discriminate.)

Oh, and if you hanker after an award, you might want to enter the Baen Fantasy Award, judged by the always awesome Larry Correia.

Remember, tell all your writer friends to send the AUTHOR, TITLE, a SHORT BLURB, and an AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK to [email protected] to be plugged here on PJ Media.

Deadlines are flexible, but in general the deadline for Friday is Tuesday the preceding week.

By the way, recently we’ve been getting lots of submissions with click-tracking shortened links. Don’t. It just means I have to open the page and get the real Amazon URL, because we don’t get paid if we don’t link to Amazon directly. So don’t bother.



And don’t bother with doing zippy formatting with the HTML either. I just have to field-strip it to put it into the template. You don’t need to send a cover image; same reasons. The ideal submission looks like:


My Book


My name as it's on the book cover.




no more than about 100 words.


A Box of Dreams (the collected Dream Series, books 1-5)
By J.J. DiBenedetto 

What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?

Sara Barnes has just discovered that she can. And this gift – or curse – will lead her on an extraordinary journey.

Follow Sara as her newfound ability leads her into adventures she never imagined. She will hunt down a serial killer, investigate a plot to murder one of her teachers, unravel a conspiracy between a mobster and a corrupt politician and face off against her nemesis: a woman who shares her talent, but uses it to destroy lives rather than save them. And Sara will have to manage all that while finishing college, becoming a doctor and falling in love, too.

Here are the first five books of the Dream Series, along with bonus material created especially for this collection. Included in this set are DREAM STUDENT, DREAM DOCTOR, DREAM CHILD, DREAM FAMILY and WAKING DREAM. In addition, you’ll find the short story BETTY & HOWARD’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE starring Sara’s parents. But most of all, when you open this box of dreams, you’ll find romance, suspense, humor and plenty of heart…



Manx Prize
By Laura Montgomery 

In the second half of the twenty-first century, when Charlotte Fisher was just thirteen, orbital debris took its first large-scale human casualties from an orbiting tourist habitat. Haunted by visions of destruction and her father’s anguish, as a young engineer Charlotte follows in his footsteps and determines to win a prize offered by a consortium of satellite and orbitat operators for the first successful de-orbiting of space junk. Her employer backs these efforts until the reentry of a piece of debris kills two people, and she and her team are spun off to shield the parent company from liability. With limited resources, a finite budget and the unwanted gift of a lawyer who, regardless of his appeal, she doesn’t need, she must face a competitor who cheats, a collusive regulator, and the temptations dangled by the strange and alluring friends of a powerful seastead.


Kali’s Children
By Craig Allen 

Crash landing on an uncharted world is bad, but that’s just the beginning. Ragged and terrified, the last few survivors search for rescue. But as they encounter the denizens of this world, they learn something remarkable. From the red reeds that cover the land to the ferocious predators that fear nothing, every living thing is highly intelligent… and utterly hostile. Escape is not enough, for the planet’s natives have learned that the technology exists to allow them to leave their world, and out there among the stars is the most prolific source of food they have ever known: humans.



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