Tag: hugos

Last day to nominate for the Hugos!

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If you still need ideas/stuff to read at the last minute I’ve collected my recommendations here.

The short version: please consider Likhain (sample above) for your Best Fan Artist ballot, and Tade Thompson for the Campbell. And because I’ve repeatedly had the question: insofar as I can tell, the Xuya universe series is eligible in the Best Series category (meets the total wordcount and had 3 new volumes released in 2016: take your pick between “A Salvaging of Ghosts” , “A Hundred and Seventy Storms”, and “Pearl” in the excellent anthology The Starlit Wood–you can read the first two free online, or you can check out the Cheat Starter Guide to Xuya)

Last day for Hugo nominations

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Just a quick reminder that today is the last day for Hugo nominations (you have until 11:59pm Pacific time, and you can nominate if you’re a member of Sasquan, MidamericonII or Worldcon in Helsinki). You can find the nomination form here.

Please do nominate even if you feel you haven’t read widely enough: if you loved something, just put it on your ballot. This isn’t a quiz on the state of the genre, it’s a vote for things you liked in 2015 (and experience has shown that voters who recuse themselves as “not having read/watched enough” tend to overwhelmingly be marginalised folks, thereby biasing nomination results).

If you’re still looking for stuff to put on your ballot, here is my awards consideration post with stuff by me and a lot of other great people (insofar as I could and it made sense, I’ve included a lot of stuff available online for those last minute reading binges!).

Worldcon, Hugos, etc.

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So I was going to do a long blog post, but jet lag hit, and the snakelet is keeping me very busy. Nevertheless…

I’ve said a lot of what I wanted to say here. All I’m going to say in addition to that is: different stories speak to different people. A thing that I like might be one that turns you off, and vice-versa. To say that a thing that I like is not “proper science fiction”; that SFF fans need to reclaim the field against the kind of thing I write; that people like me having success and being nominated are a sure sign the field is headed downhill?

Uh. Read that thing I wrote again please.

I am very glad that Liu Cixin/Ken Liu and Thomas Olde Heuvelt showed us the Hugos aren’t necessarily the province of Western Anglophone works; that Worldcon is going to be in Helsinki in 2017; that we will continue to strive for greater diversity and inclusiveness in the field.

And I would also like to thank the 73 people who nominated “The Breath of War” for a Hugo Award for Best Short Story–I’m deeply touched and very appreciative.

Finally: this year saw a record number of Hugo voters and an amazing turnout. If you were one of them, remember that next year you can nominate the works you loved, so start keeping an eye out for the stuff you love this year (and for the love of God please, let’s not do counter-slates). I will, as usual, recommend stuff as the year goes on, and make a blog post closer to the deadline with a recap of what I loved. I encourage you to do the same.

PS: Worldcon was lovely! Except 9 hours of time difference, which turns out to be quite difficult to catch up on…

PPS: I debated over whether to leave the comments open. I reserve the right to borrow Scalzi’s Mallet of Loving Correction.

Some thoughts on the Hugo nominees

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That’s a bit of a misleading post title, I’m afraid… I’m not going to comment at length because it’s a bit churlish to comment on a ballot one is part of, and also because my brains are fried (thanks to the snakelet, whom I think is secretly a zombie–has uncontrolled gestures, drools all the time, eats Mom’s brains, what more evidence do you need?). But, more seriously–broadly, I agree with John Scalzi on the matter: you may or may not agree with the particular people on the ballot, but insofar as I know everyone has full rights to be there.

As John points out, it doesn’t mean everyone gets automatic first place votes, or even votes above No Award. ETA: Where I disagree with John is that if you don’t want to read some or all of the nominees, that’s entirely fine by me. Yup, even if said nominees are me. I don’t think being on the Hugo ballot entitles you to equal, measured and fair consideration on the sole basis of your work. See the end of the post for more details.

Also, whatever your thoughts on the ballot, please read and vote? The Hugos won’t be a huge inclusive award unless there are lots of voters reflecting all walks of fandom, and this year is already on track to have a record number of voters–which is great. FYI, if you’re not attending Worldcon it’s not too late for a supporting membership, which nets you the voter’s packet–lots of good fiction–and voting rights. Remember it’s an Australian system, i.e. ranking by preference, which, by cushioning much of the effect of a splitting of votes, allows you to express several preferences, though it’s not a panacea (do read the rules, though, because they’re not always intuitive, especially with regards to the use of the ranking system and “No Award”, which can be downright confusing. Further info here, including in the comments. I certainly wish I had known this at my first Worldcon).

Further reading, below, well worth consideration (on the Hugo ballot, but more generally on the issue of divorcing authors from their works and the old “let’s consider these solely on merit” chestnut). I don’t agree with everything, but this is stuff well worth keeping in mind.

Rose Lemberg

S.L. Huang

Ferrett Steinmetz

(slightly edited post)

“The Waiting Stars” up for a Hugo Award

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Very very pleased to announce that “The Waiting Stars” is up for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette (though, given that other people on the ballot include Ted Chiang, I think I can safely skip the acceptance speech :p ). Particularly happy because Loncon3 is a special con: it’s the symbolic anniversary of the first Worldcon I went to (Interaction in 2005), with the H (who wasn’t the H at the time!), it’s my first con as mother of the snakelet, and it will also be my first English Worldcon as a writer rather than as a fan.

Many thanks to everyone who took time to read “The Waiting Stars” (and especially those who nominated it). And also very very pleased to see Benjanun Sriduangkaew on the ballot for the Campbell Award: I’m crossing my fingers very hard for her.

The full list of nominees is below:

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My experience with self-publishing “On a Red Station, Drifting”

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So… I thought it might interest people to share my experience with epublishing my novella On a Red Station, Drifting. What follows is a few disjointed thoughts on what I did and how I did it.

-Why: the original edition of On a Red Station, Drifting was a paper, limited edition hardcover with no ebook edition planned; I got lots of requests for an ebook edition, especially from readers not in the UK. I figured that since the market for novellas was so freaking limited, I might as well dip my toes into the world of self-publishing and see what happened.

-Cover art: I decided to get new cover art for the ebook version, to differentiate it from the paper one (which was a limited edition, and whose cover also had the slight problem of being far too busy to display at low resolutions, a definite handicap when dealing with buying ebooks). I browsed a couple things on deviantart (seriously considered using a couple existing pieces, but one was too dark and the other one at a large horizontal format and therefore quite unsuitable for an ebook cover no matter which way I turned the problem). I ended up commissioning Nhan Y Doan , whose work I had long admired, for a watercolour with the two main characters on it.

It’s a bit scary to commission an artist; many thanks to Colin Tate, who gave me pointers for navigating the entire thing. Basically I described what format I wanted; and the “feel” of what I was going for by showing the artist a few covers in genre with a predominantly red/orange background (I wanted red for obvious reasons); can’t remember everything I used, but one of them was Ian M. Banks’ Against a Dark Background. I also put in an excerpt from a scene that showed the interactions between the two main characters, and provided a summary description of both of them and their clothes, again using pictures as references. I was a bit scared of how it would turn out, but the end result was fabulous.
The cost of the commission was a little over 130$, to which I would have added lettering (which the artist didn’t provide)–except that the fabulous Janice Hardy very kindly did it for me, offering me several choices of fonts. I went for the one that most clearly appeared SF-esque, in order to counterbalance the soft watercolour design, itself an unusual choice for an SF novella.

-Conversion to ebook format: after much trying around, I used Scrivener for Mac plus the kindle converter KindleGen, which you can download on the amazon website. I found the instructions here useful, though I did end up having to fight a bit to get my part labelled as “book 1” and not “chapter 1”). For EPUB, same thing except no need for KindleGen. The files produced are pretty clean; I ran them past people with a Kindle (huge thanks to Stephanie Burgis), and on my own Kobo Glo, just to make sure that it generated OK.

-Pricing: after much dithering, I priced the book at $2.99, and a similar amount in the other Kindle stores. I wanted to take advantage of the royalty rate at 70% on amazon, and also didn’t want to sell the novella too expensive or too cheap–I had a look at similar books on amazon and found that they were all at slightly higher prices than this (or much higher in the case of Nancy Kress’s Before the Fall, After the Fall–except I’m not Nancy Kress!).

-Publishing: I published on Kindle Direct Publishing because, let’s face it, it’s the biggest ebook market. At the same time, I wanted to give people a chance to find the book through other distribution channels, so I went through Smashwords in order to complement publication on amazon (Smashwords takes a percentage of sales, but has the advantage of distributing across the board to Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc.–at the time I signed up for it back in May, it wasn’t possible for me to sell on B&N, for instance, because I wasn’t based in the US).

Gotta hand it to Amazon, it’s pretty simple to open an account and upload your book file once you have everything. I can get paid via bank transfer, which is handy (but I understand this isn’t possible everywhere, and that this can be a pain in the %%% when you don’t sell enough books to reach the minimum amount necessary for them to issue a check). Smashwords is also pretty simple, although what I did was upload the EPUB file direct without trying to format a compatible Word document, which I’m given to understand is more of a headache (I did end up fighting a bit with their uploading system, which flagged non-existent errors and wouldn’t let me publish).

Cheryl Morgan also very kindly offered to publish the book on her Wizard’s Tower Books ebookstore, which puts me in fabulous company as well as giving me a more targeted market.

The split from my sales so far is: 89% sales through amazon (all Kindle stores conflated), 8.5% through Smashwords (about 1/3 of these are direct smashwords sales, and the rest is a conflation of other retailers like Apple, Kobo…), and 2.5% through Wizard’s Tower Books.

-Stuff I wish people had told me before: the tax withholding from Amazon and Smashwords if you’re not a US resident. I didn’t know that 30% withholding was the norm, and that you had to fill forms to get them not to do that anymore (see here for handy guidelines if you’re not a US citizen and not living in the US)–and that it took up to 1-2 months for this to be taken into account.

-Accounting: Smashwords is great, they pay you at the end of a given quarter via Paypal and that’s it. Amazon is… odd. I still haven’t quite worked out their payment logic. They also account separately for every store and every royalty percentage (I get 70% within some countries and 35% within others), so reading the sales files can rapidly become a headache–not to mention the fact that for stores where I don’t sell a lot, I basically am not seeing any money for months. Well, I guess at least I do get paid at some point…

-End results: obviously the experiment is still ongoing, but overall I’m pretty pleased. I published in the leadup to the Nebulas, at the time the novella was announced as a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards, which considerably helped visibility. I did a couple promo items (on SF Signal and other places), though due to pregnancy fatigue plus the headaches involved in selling our house plus buying a new one I wasn’t really aggressively marketing, and more relying on word of mouth. The first payment from amazon basically went into paying for the cover, but from now on it should be all profit (the kind of fabulous profits that will allow me to book my dream holiday to Mũi Né–hahaha wait, maybe not).

So, that’s my experience with ebook publishing–what about you? Have you done it yet, and how has it worked for you?

Voting deadline for Hugos approaches

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Just a reminder that the voting deadline for the Hugos is July 31st, 11:59 p.m. CDT.

You can find the online voting ballot here, and the packet here if you’re still trying to find nominees. This year I had to skip the novel category due to lack of time, and a bunch of others; but if you still need a candidate for your Campbell Award for Best New Writer, give Zen Cho a try? Stories here, here and here.
Also, she’ll be at Nine Worlds in London August 9-11 if you’re in the vicinity!

(and, hum, if you feel like voting for “Immersion” in the Short Story category, I’d be as pleased as punch)

Announcing… the ebook edition of On a Red Station, Drifting

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Ebook cover

Aka the shiny… Art courtesy of Nhan Y Doanh, and cover layout thanks to Janice Hardy–thanks to both of them for putting up with my (short-term) deadlines and producing such beautiful things. (MC is Linh; the older woman in lower right-hand corner is Quyen. Slightly more detailed view of the original watercolour is here if you’re interested, since Doanh had to cut bits of it off to fit the cover format).

The ebook should be live on amazon within a day or two if I didn’t screw up the Kindle upload…

(and remember you can still get the limited edition hardback with Melissa Gay’s artwork direct from Immersion Press, while stocks last…)

Hugo awards

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Very quick post as I’m still at Eastercon and the hotel internet is a bit overloaded…

Delighted that “Immersion” and On a Red Station, Drifting are both finalists for the Hugo (for best Short Story and Best Novella, respectively). The full list of nominees is below; among the many many friends I have on the ballot, I am utterly delighted to see Zen Cho is up for a much-deserved Campbell Award, that Ken Liu continues his unstoppable march to world domination, and that Strange Horizons , Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Clarkesworld are up for the award, which is awesome.

Not sure “delighted” is the word, actually. More like serious-time flabbergasted. I suspected something about “Immersion” due to the strong buzz [1], but I have to admit the second nomination was completely unexpected (and I’m still dazed that people actually read the novella–in a good way!). Many thanks to everyone who voted for them/mentioned them/reviewed them. I sadly won’t be at Worldcon because it’s way too close to my due date (and I strongly suspect the Nebula Awards will be my last transatlantic con for a bit–I have nightmare images of long-haul flights with young children 🙁 ). But wow.

(yes, still in shock, why do you ask)

(complete list of nominees below)
Continue reading →

Hugo Awards nomination deadline

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Still snowed under, but I did want to make sure this was out there as people were filling out their ballots…

Hugo nominations deadline is on March 10th; I’ve already put up an awards recommendation post  (and supplementary recs here). But since the Hugos include non-fiction categories, I thought I’d add a few more recommendations in that direction:

Best Fanzine:

Both the World SF Blog and Europa SF have done a great job of taking SF past the Western Anglophone bias that still dominates the field: Europa SF is mainly focused on Europe whereas the scope of the World SF blog is a bit larger. Both have interesting and varied features, and I think their nominations would add diversity to the field.

Best Fan Writer:

Abigail Nussbaum and Aishwarya Subramanian are two blogs I read regularly. They both write fiercely intelligent, detailed posts on genre (and non-genre) books, and have led me to many an unsuspected treasure.

(btw, because people have asked: yup, On a Red Station, Drifting is eligible for the Best Novella Hugo; if you’re a Hugo or Nebula voter and you’re interested in reading it, contact me–for Nebula voters, it’s in the SFWA forums as part of the Nebula Awards voting packet).