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The Hugo Voter Packet

In this year’s voter packet for the Hugo Awards, Orbit will be including extended previews of three novels we’ve published. These are:

PARASITE by Mira Grant


NEPTUNE’S BROOD by Charles Stross

We hope that these long extracts will provide a helpful introduction to these fantastic novels – and that they will encourage anybody who has not read them to read more.

We appreciate that some Hugo voters might be disappointed that the entire novels will not be available in the packet, and we would like to offer a word of explanation.

We are of course very much in favour of initiatives that help readers to engage with important awards, and we are always looking for new ways to help readers discover new authors. However, in the case of the voter packets, authors and rights holders are increasingly feeling that if their work is not included in the packet it will be at a disadvantage in the awards. It’s difficult for anyone to know for certain whether this is the case, but either way we don’t feel that authors and rights holders should feel under pressure to make their work available for free. There are a lot of different attitudes to the idea of giving work away for free, but we hope most people would agree that writers and rights holders should be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences.

We would like to make it clear that this was our decision, and not one requested by any of our authors. It is a complex issue, with many different perspectives and opinions, and we believe that we are acting in the best interests of our authors while continuing to support the voter packet.

Going forward, we very much hope that awards administrators give careful consideration to voter packets, particularly in those categories in which shortlisted works are already widely available, and that they continue to look for new ways to encourage participation in awards.

In the meantime, I hope everyone eligible to vote in the Hugos who has not yet read the shortlisted novels enjoys the extended previews in the voter packet.

Tim Holman
Publisher, Orbit

Parasite9780356502403Neptune's Brood

  1. Matt Phelps

    May 13, 2014
    at 8:57 am

    Please, please, PLEASE reconsider this ill-advised decision. The bad publicity this will generate will end up hurting far, far more authors, not to mention your company, than it will help.

    I know I, for one, will always think poorly of Orbit from now on.

    -Matt Phelps
    Sustaining Member, Loncon3

    • Matt Phelps

      May 13, 2014
      at 12:49 pm

      To be clear, I don’t care about the money here. I have already bought one of the books. The point is, I would likely have bought more from the other authors if I read their (entire) work in the packet; without this ruckus (and I suspect many more people will have read work from Orbit authors that they would not have otherwise).

      But now, all people will think is, “Gosh, Orbit sucks! They wouldn’t put their books in the Hugo Packet.” It’s obviously not true; all these works are great and deserving, but this decision will overshadow them with negativity.

      Also to be clear, I’m not complaining on behalf of any of the authors involved. These DRM/copyright related business decisions always irk me; no matter which industry keeps screwing them up. I want you, the authors, and the genre to do well, and I think this is the wrong way to go about it.

      If there’s further rationale for this decision that we aren’t aware of, please let us know. I’d happily change my mind if there’s a good explanation behind it.

  2. Hayley

    May 13, 2014
    at 9:08 am

    That’s a real shame and like Matt I’d ask you to reconsider. Don’t just hand it to Wheel of TIme. I want to see Ann or Seanan picking up that award! (no disrespect to the lovely Charlie who I’d also cheer for!) Ancillary Justice has a sequel to come, surely it could benefit from this.

  3. Fred Kiesche

    May 13, 2014
    at 9:11 am

    A giant step backwards, especially considering full texts were available for Grant and Stross in the past years.

    Indeed, I only read Grant *because* the full text was in past Hugo packets. I wouldn’t have read it otherwise. And if the full text was not available, like some of the crazy DRM schemes foisted upon us by other publishers with the packet titles, I wouldn’t have bothered.

    So, please do reconsider. Let’s do what we can to expand the reader base and the voter base, not contract it.

    • Kathy Lehman

      May 16, 2014
      at 10:40 pm

      I too only read Feed because it was in the Hugo packet, and I did really well in reading all the works that year. I would never have picked up a zombie NOVEL if it hadn’t been there. I thought the idea was ridiculous. But once I read it, I bought it, and I’ve bought 3 more Mira Grant books (including Parasite) and 2 novellas as a result.

      Any books I’ve read as a result of the Hugo packet were not books I was going to buy, anyway. And books I love in the Hugo packet, I buy, because I like owning paper books. I have really enjoyed being able to participate more fully in the process of the Hugos by reading and judging all the works against each other equally. The packet was – and is – a great idea that is beneficial to everyone.

      But I also understand it is a privilege and not a right, for which I am incredibly grateful to the writers, publishers, and worldcon organizers who make it possible.

  4. Sian

    May 13, 2014
    at 9:15 am

    Tor: “Sure, here are all fifteen Wheel of Time books.”

    Orbit: “HAHAHAHA, no books for you.”

    Doesn’t look great.

  5. Tim Skirvin

    May 13, 2014
    at 9:27 am

    So, to be clear – it should be the author’s decision whether or not to have their works included, but you have made the decision without the author’s input?

    • Wolf Baginski

      May 13, 2014
      at 9:44 am

      This looks especially manipulative when you publish Wheel of Time in the UK.

  6. Kytyn

    May 13, 2014
    at 9:30 am

    Hmm, sounds like Orbit has ex-RIAA members on their board. “We can’t give it away. We’ll lose de moneys.” “It’s been shown that sales actually improve when copies are given away or even pirated.” “WE CAN’T GIVE IT AWAY. WE’LL LOSE DE MONIES!!!”

  7. Brad DeLong

    May 13, 2014
    at 9:41 am

    I am profoundly curious: authors are by their nature grossly overoptimistic, and so would greatly value a clause in their contracts stating that “if nominated… we will distribute the novel in the Hugo packet”–value such a clause at perhaps five times its actual cost to the publisher.

    Are you looking forward to having to pay five times more than it would cost you relative to your competitors in the future to attack authors of the caliber of Grant, Stross, Leckie? Do you think you will never again have such a good crop of novels and so the future costs to you in contract negotiations of taking this stance are not so great after all?

    What are you thinking?

    Brad DeLong

  8. Brad DeLong

    May 13, 2014
    at 9:42 am

    “attract” authors. Autocorrect strikes again…

  9. Atrus

    May 13, 2014
    at 10:13 am

    You’d be giving away what, 2000-3000 free copies of each book with the Hugo packet? You give away more than that between ARCs, free copies, requests for blurbs, and other promotional materials – often to people who won’t even read them. So this is not a matter of loss of sales or giving away things for free.

    The point you’re missing is, Hugo voters are hard readers. This means they can’t read everything. Which means, having to read a ton of new material before the deadline for the Hugo votes, they will read the stuff in the voter packet before everything else – unless they were planning to read your books already. And personally, I can’t in all honesty vote any position for a book based only on hearsay or an extended preview.

    Also, Hugo voters are also people who write reviews and gush about books and make ripples. They will talk about this, fairly, but honestly. And there’s really few positions from which this looks like good advertising for you and the books involved.

    So no, the readers will not penalize your authors because of this decision. You penalized them and, apparently, without even consulting them.

  10. RPF

    May 13, 2014
    at 10:32 am

    As a supporting member of Loncon3, I feel a responsibility to the field of science fiction to encourage sensible ebook practices by publishers, so I feel compelled to rank all three of these novels below “no award.”

    After all, there are a lot of different attitudes to the idea of using your Hugo vote to send a message to publishers, but I hope most people would agree that voters who have paid good money to support the award should be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences.

    • Leah

      May 13, 2014
      at 1:51 pm

      It is grossly unfair to the authors to use your vote as a political tool. Vote for the work, not the publishing company.

  11. Rhett

    May 13, 2014
    at 10:42 am

    This is a poorly justified decision, particularly because (at least one) of your authors is on board with including the work in the packet. I take my voting responsibilities very seriously, but I can’t and won’t vote for a book that I haven’t read. Having paid for the Con membership, I am not going to spend money on books that I otherwise wouldn’t pick up a the book store. And I am not going to base my vote on a segment of a novel. Sorry. I am not going to intentionally punish these authors, but many will, and the net effect is that you just aren’t going to see as many votes for these works. That makes me feel bad for your authors and makes me hope they will switch to a more forward-thinking publisher in the future.

  12. Kameron Hurley

    May 13, 2014
    at 11:19 am

    Be angry at publishers all you want, but don’t punish the authors for Holman’s ill-advised decision, as I can assure you that most authors have joined the 21st century, and are now struggling to haul many of their publishers with them. Vote for the book you love.

    I’ll be voting for ANCILLARY JUSTICE. Silly for them to give up opportunity to further promote AJ, though, with its sequel, ANCILLARY SWORD, coming out just a couple months after Hugo.

    Very poor marketing decision.

  13. RonZ

    May 13, 2014
    at 11:24 am

    I hope you reconsider this decision. But even if you won’t, I hope you’ll read why I think this is a bad idea, and understand why I think it’s short sighted.

    I was first introduced to Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant when her novel “Feed” was nominated for a Hugo and I read it in the voter packet. I’ve since bought the rest of her work, so the fact that Parasite won’t be in there doesn’t hurt her or you. However, I’ve not read Ann Leckie. I might pick up a copy based on the nomination. I might not. I certainly can’t vote for it if I don’t get around to it. I do try to read everything nominated, but the stuff in the voter packet gets first shot.

    So the question you have to answer for yourselves, and I admit that only you can know, is how much having “Hugo Award Winner” helps the sales of this book AND the how much “by Author X, winner of the Hugo Award for Y” helps the sales of later work by the author. If your market research says that it doesn’t matter, well, then I guess I understand and respect your decision. But I suspect that it does matter. As a relatively infrequent reader of science fiction, of the 5-8 science fiction books I’m going to buy per year, most will feature one of those two phrases on the cover.

    I think your decision makes it less likely that books you published will have one of those phrases.

    The book publishing business, like any creative business, is in a difficult spot in the age of the Internet. As someone who has made his living as a musician, I do understand that giving away your product is difficult. In this case, you probably also see it as counterproductive, since voters for the Hugos are already very likely to buy science fiction.

    But you do understand the value of blurbs. Indeed, you prominently feature a blurb from John Scalzi on one of the covers you show above. I think you’re missing the value of the blurb, “Hugo Award Winner,” and that you’re minimizing your chances of getting to print that blurb on your book. Please reevaluate it in that light.

  14. Dan

    May 13, 2014
    at 11:39 am

    Whoa! Completely within your rights, of course, but this is a strong contender for Shortsighted Decision of the Year.

  15. rob

    May 13, 2014
    at 11:41 am

    I agree with the previous comments. If the author doesn’t want to give out copies, fine. However, it makes you look cheap and petty. I look forward to the excerpts but not reading the full novel will make it harder to give a fair opinion, and in the case of similar a quality, I’ll vote for the work where I know the whole thing is good, not the one where I hope that is the case.

  16. Jared

    May 13, 2014
    at 12:08 pm

    To be fair to the Hugo Awards, the *Award* says that putting a book in the packet is a completely optional, volunteer thing to do.

    So the Award, unlike many of the commenters on this post, seems to understand that demanding that a publisher give away five THOUSAND copies of a book would be a ridiculous thing to do.

  17. Liz S.

    May 13, 2014
    at 12:20 pm

    It’s sweet that you would like to think that “most people would agree that writers and rights holders should be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences.”

    Two observations:

    1. As the writers are not, in this case, the rights holders, what you are actually saying is “the rights holders would be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences FOR THE AUTHORS.” You’re asking the Hugo readership, many of whom buy supporting memberships because they want access to some of the best books of the year, not to punish your authors because of your behavior. That seems…unlikely.

    Not because the majority of the Hugo voters are awful people, but because many of us have gotten used to the voter packet being a way to fully experience and judge the books. You feel as though you are giving away your books for free. We feel as though we paid for these book are you are not delivering because we did, in fact, pay for some kind of Hugo membership. This policy will not incentivize purchasing your books because it feels, to us, like you are taking away something that we thought was ours. We thought that a digital copy of these books would be “ours” for voting purposes.

    And while that was clearly…premature on our part, historically speaking, it was not a bad assumption.
    I think that part of the Hugo membership, in future years, should go towards recompensing publishers (and loudly advertised as such) for putting their work in the packet. That seems fair – you are getting paid for the book and we are paying for it as part of the larger Hugo experience.

    what I think many of us will take from this is that Orbit, as a publishing house, doesn’t really care about its readers or its authors (who all benefit from this kind of publicity) for reasons that are not really clear. Because you are afraid that we will devalue your books when we get them for “free” after we’ve already nominated them for a Hugo? Because profits plummet on books nominated for the Hugo as soon as the nominations come out? Forgive me for not buying it.

    But this appeal to our collective “better nature” is, frankly, an obnoxious attempt to pretend that the real consequences of your decision which you clearly recognize will happen are the fault of the readership and that the anger which your authors will bear the brunt of is our fault rather than yours when you made a decision that they–your authors–have no control over. This just allows you to point a finger at the Hugo readership when, next year, there are no Orbit books on the ballot.

    Yes, that’s not fair. Yes, perhaps we should all try to be “better people” and pretend that it’s possible to live in a world where we are absolutely capable of judging each situation fairly and equitably and reacting appropriately. But, Orbit, what do you gain from this? All you’re doing is building up ill-will and hurting three authors who, right now, all need either the burst of interest or the continued momentum that comes from being a Hugo nominee.

    Please reconsider. If all goes well, the book I want to win will win despite your behavior, but I worry about next year. You’re publishing really great literature and it’s hurtful to discover that you like me so much less than I like you. Human being that I am, that makes me like you a little less.

    • John Wiswell

      May 13, 2014
      at 3:19 pm

      You raise an interesting inquiry: how related is Orbit to the Worldcon committee? If they are paid for their books and simply want more money, then that’s unfortunate. If they aren’t, though, and just give them to the packet out of congeniality, then if one’s to be upset at any party, it seems like it ought to be at the committee for not securing the books. Orbit didn’t sell us books based on our membership and has no obligation to us. If not paid by Worldcon, they got none of your money or mine.

      Not that I’m upset with anyone in this dispute, and I’d advise a lack of fury to everyone involved. This is an inconvenience I’ll remedy using my library. It’s only very odd to have 3/5s of the nominees only available as samples.

  18. aphrael

    May 13, 2014
    at 12:49 pm

    This is a bad decision.

    I have read books by both Mira Grant and Charlie Stross in the past, and have not enjoyed them enough that i’m willing to pay for more. I’m a member of the con and will vote, and if the books were in the packet, I’d read them and consider them for the award. Now I probably won’t, because past experience shows that I’m sufficiently unlikely to like them that I can’t justify spending the money for them.

    This decision is gambling that people like me are fewer in number than the people who *would buy the books but won’t if they’re in the packet*.

    What’s the evidence that this latter group is at all sizeable?

    • Leah

      May 13, 2014
      at 3:34 pm

      If you aren’t willing to read all the works in a category, should you be voting in that category?

      • Matt

        May 13, 2014
        at 5:00 pm

        We’re putting voters on the hook for obtaining the entries, now? Obviously, with a novel, the purchase price or a library rental isn’t too egregious, but it’s still pretty unreasonable. But what of the other categories? Game of Thrones is nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation, and the only way to obtain the episode is to purchase the DVD or subscribe to HBO. Are you saying that, if HBO decided not to provide the episode, I shouldn’t be barred from voting in the Dramatic Presentation category unless I fork out the cash? That’s absurd.

        The better question is “If you aren’t willing to provide your work to voters, should that work be eligible for the award?” I’m not certain the answer is ‘no,’ but it’s a question that makes a lot more sense than “You can’t vote unless you purchase all the nominees with your own money.”

      • Lucía

        June 22, 2014
        at 6:15 pm

        Last year I didn’t vote in best novel because I had only read 2 of the books. I’ve read the others since. But we are the late Hugo supporters that only read what we have time to before the ballot deadline and use the nominations as a selection of the best stuff and to discover new authors.

        You are forgetting you have to be an early supporter to nominee a book and those have had to purchase the books to like them and vote them. And many supporters don’t have all the books easily available due to DRM issues purchasing from outside the US/UK, importing paper versions or whatever.

        And in the end, for me is cheaper just checking the nominations and then the ebookstores reviews and buying the books that will interest me than getting the support membership. Except for Wheel of Time fans this year, but most of them I guess have already one version or another of the books in the series or people that have heard the news, will just download and forget about the books before even reading them.

  19. xServer

    May 13, 2014
    at 1:17 pm

    This is a very ill-thought-out decision which is already having ripple effects online which will no doubt continue to plague your publishing house well into the future. Good luck attracting quality authors to your house when they find that you are unwilling to put the best interests of their book (and future books by them) ahead of immediate gains.

  20. Cat Faber

    May 13, 2014
    at 2:10 pm

    I think you are placing your books at a disadvantage in the competition for the Hugos, but it is of course your choice. To be fair I hear the sales boost for winning is modest and tends to show up in the long tail, and I can understand why this might seem an attractive choice to you, since you are probably focussed, like most companies, on next quarter.

    I think you may be misunderstanding what this will mean to a lot of Hugo voters. Financially it was a stretch for me to buy my supporting membership–I didn’t realize that I would be expected to shell out a minimum of 31$ on top of that for only three of the five books–and in the book category alone. I don’t feel like it would be honest for me to vote for a book I hadn’t read completely.

    I will do my best to make this fly. I certainly hope my tiny rural library will be able to get these books through inter-library loan in time for me to read them.

  21. xServer

    May 13, 2014
    at 2:21 pm

    On a side-note, I have already purchased these books so this decision in no way impacts your sales to me. I am not angry because I feel that I am owed something. It just seems that you’ve taken the stodgiest, most conservative view of your readership possible (that they are hanging around for a handout and would NEVER buy the books if given the chance to read them for free) and your authors will be the ones to suffer for your decision.

  22. Brian

    May 13, 2014
    at 3:58 pm

  23. GiantPanda

    May 13, 2014
    at 5:37 pm

    Sorry to hear that, please reconsider.

    I will not vote for any novel I haven’t read. Whether I’ll buy these books after paying for a Loncon membership and even though there are dozens of unread books lying around is very doubtful.

    But of course it is your decision.

  24. Michael Kohne

    May 13, 2014
    at 6:09 pm

    I’m going to support your decision here, but I’m also going to take you to task for your horrible press release.

    In adjacent paragraphs, you use the phrases:

    “but we hope most people would agree that writers and rights holders should be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences.”

    and then

    “We would like to make it clear that this was our decision, and not one requested by any of our authors.”

    So, you agree with everyone else that the authors should be involved, but you’re just going to do whatever you want anyway? I don’t think that’s what you meant to say.

    These statements are in almost direct opposition, and make the whole piece sound like you were trying to come up with some reasonable-sounding excuse at the last minute instead of giving the real reason for your decision.

    Seriously. Words are what you do. They are what you are good at. Don’t fall down on the job on your own PR statements.

    (As a note: Since you’ve given something that sounds like an excuse, I’m now going to guess at the real reason. Here’s my guess: Giving out N thousand copies of 3 separate books and the consequent possibility of lost sales made someone exclaim ‘And how the am I supposed to keep the lights on if you go giving everything away?!’.)

  25. Dave Harmon

    May 13, 2014
    at 6:24 pm

    A very shortsighted decision — over the price of a few thousand copies, most of which money you will not be getting anyway, you’ve managed to alienate a fair portion of, not your customer base in general, but the most active and influential segment of that customer base. For these people, you’ve turned the first association with your name from, potentially, “Orbit had a Hugo winner this year” into, definitely, “Orbit doesn’t support the Hugos”.

    Sorry folks, but you’re watching the wrong bottom line.

    Oh yeah — I’m over in America, but should I ever publish an SF novel, at this point I’d certainly think twice before letting my agent sell the UK rights to Orbit.

  26. Tim Akers

    May 13, 2014
    at 7:28 pm

    I do find this an odd decision. It’s not like the distribution of the hugo voters is all that wide. It almost feels like Orbit is devaluing the award itself, deciding that their hold on the content is more important than helping their authors win. Can they quantify the potential sales bump from a hugo win, and simply decided that the revenue lost by giving away that many copies isn’t worth it?

    Really. Very strange.

  27. Dave Harmon

    May 13, 2014
    at 8:14 pm

    And I’ve thought of another point: Just how many of those thousands of Hugo packets are going to people who are in your market to begin with? Even if I were attending LonCon, if I bought any of those books it would be in the US, probably from a US publisher. Not as a protest, but because that’s where I live.

  28. Allan

    May 13, 2014
    at 8:29 pm

    Guess I won’t be reading or voting for any of these books. Really Orbit?? Do you really think this is a smart financial decision? Now I will not be exposed to any of these authors, none of whom I’ve read before. I have less than no interest in reading a partial book and will not read the samples no matter how extended. I might have really liked one or all of the books and in turn bought more books from these authors. If I liked the books enough I may have even bought a physical copy, instead, now I think I might boycott orbit books altogether. Your excuse doesn’t even make sense.

    P.S. Tor Rules!!!!

  29. Andrew

    May 14, 2014
    at 2:09 am

    Thank you so very much for taking this firm stand.

    I now have another tool for helping me determine which books to buy, and who to vote for — an entire publisher has just voluntarily removed itself from consideration for any of my business or support.

  30. Joe

    May 14, 2014
    at 2:31 am

    This is like asking the Academy Awards judges to vote on Best Film but for three of the entries they can only see half of each film. How can you vote on best film by watching all of some films and half of the others?
    So how can Hugo voters vote on Best Book if, for some of the nominated works, they cannot read the entire book?…

  31. Rich

    May 14, 2014
    at 7:26 am

    Poor Decision. #Orbitfail

  32. Elspeth

    May 14, 2014
    at 3:19 pm

    I don’t think this has been mentioned. The final paragraph of your About Orbit page reads:

    “Another thing Orbiteers from around the world share is the same goal: to publish the most exciting Science Fiction and Fantasy for the widest possible readership. We are committed to attracting more readers to Science Fiction and Fantasy. Whether you’re an existing SFF reader, read it in the past and have given up, or never read it before, if you love imaginative fiction, you’re in the right place.”

    I believe that enough people have commented on the fact that your decision does not attract more readers. Granted, this is a specific case in that it’s not going to attract more readers to these authors.

    Except that a lot of people who’ve never heard of these authors have not. Readers may make a point of buying more books by these authors – books from other publishers.

    I haven’t seen it mentioned in this thread but assume that you’re already aware that there has been additional backlash: your decision, and the statement that the authors disagree with it, has made Shelf Awareness. http://www.shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=2251#m24234

  33. Elspeth

    May 14, 2014
    at 3:49 pm

    Disputing with another statement, the one here, which reads in part:

    “Going forward, we very much hope that awards administrators give careful consideration to voter packets, particularly in those categories in which shortlisted works are already widely available . . .”

    Friends at my local chain bookstore just checked for me. They don’t have Mira Grant’s “Parasite” but it is available at two stores within a 25 mile/40 kilometers.

    They don’t have Ann Leckie’s “Ancillary Justice” or Charles Stross’s “Neptune’s Brood” anyplace local.

    Meanwhile “Neptune’s Brood” won’t be available in paperback until June 24 of this year. “Parasite” won’t be available in paperback until October 7 of this year.

    I respect your decision – I think it displays massive stupidity and parochialism – but I respect it. I do not respect your not fact-checking your own statements.

  34. Elspeth

    May 14, 2014
    at 3:55 pm

    And an error of my own: “Except that a lot of people who’ve never heard of these authors have not.” Clearly that should have read “Except that a lot of people who’ve never heard of these authors have now.”

    I am also not going to punish your authors, or the people who use the Hugos as a guide for selecting fiction, by not reading the nominated books. That, too, would be parochial.

  35. Smedley

    May 14, 2014
    at 6:37 pm

    This won’t affect my vote as I bought all three books before they were nominated, but this seems like a penny-wise/pound-foolish decision.

  36. Stephen Tyson

    May 14, 2014
    at 7:23 pm

    “There are a lot of different attitudes to the idea of giving work away for free, but we hope most people would agree that writers and rights holders should be able to make their own choice, without feeling that their decision might have negative consequences.”

    So, in other words, you want the freedom to make your own choice but you also want freedom from the consequences of that choice. Sorry Mr. Holman that’s not how the real world works. When you choice an action, you also choose the consequences of that action.

    The consequence of this action is that I, as a Hugo voter, will not consider voting for any of the three Orbit novels nominated this year. In fact I will not vote for ANY work not available in its entirety in the voter packet.

    Like several other commenters I had never heard of Mira Grant until I read Feed in the 2011 voter packet. I loved Feed and have since purchased most of Grant/McGuire’s work and eagerly await new books.

    I had also never heard of Ursula Vernon until reading Digger in the 2012 packet. After reading and loving Digger I bought three complete sets to give as gifts.

    I could go on. But you see NONE of these purchases would ever have happened with works being included in the Hugo voter packet.

    By keeping your author’s works out of the voter packet you do them a great disservice. Could Ann Leckie be my next must-read author? I won’t know without the chance to read her.

    Sure, I could go out and buy Ancillary Justice, but my time is limited. There are far more books published than I could ever read. Why would I use my limited time to encourage dinosaur publishers like Orbit when I could be giving my money and attention to books from publishers who get it like Tor and Baen?

  37. Elspeth

    May 15, 2014
    at 10:56 pm

    Stephen Tyson and others:

    I’ll reiterate: Not reading these works punishes Grant/Seanan McGuire, Ann Leckie, and Charlie Stross for a decision outside of their control. Less specific It punishes people who see “Hugo Winner” on a book and chose it above others. It does not, in any way, shape, or form punish the group you want to, Orbit Publishing.

    Orbit has chosen the be small-minded and that is their choice(in fact may only be because of a parent company but that’s for around December.) My response has been to point out that Orbit has shown itself to be ignorant and a parochial ass.

    Me, I’m willfully idealistic. (Then again, I work on conventions.) I refuse to believe that any of us would be either ignorant nor close sighted. You respect these awards – and know that seriously, we are the people who decide – and will be reading the works despite whatever the company is doing. This is more important.

    And you’re going to encourage -everyone you know- to take the same high ground. No matter what you have to do to get them read all the Hugo nominees and vote.

    I know a number of Orbit authors and don’t want them punished for their publishers actions after the Hugo season when their paperbacks are published. But I don’t want the Hugo season punished by the publishers actions. We’re not going to do that.


    (So that people know I can scribble a more blunt and less highfaluting version if need be and will if asked. Unfortunately the current draft includes “Get off your high horse about the publisher and get on with . . . “}

  38. DaBigAnt

    May 16, 2014
    at 9:43 am


  39. DaBigAnt

    May 16, 2014
    at 10:19 am

    Alright. I’m going to take a run at a slightly more serious comment on why I am disappointed:

    First, let me say that this will be my first time voting on the Hugo Awards and I am doing so predominantly because the The Wheel of Time was nominated AND Tor announced that they would be releasing all the books in the voters packet. Now, LET ME BE CLEAR that I am not already casting a vote for tWoT, but in my opinion, the $40 odd dollars that it cost me to be able to vote was less than I’d be willing to pay to own tWoT in digital form PLUS I could potentially get some other great reading too!! — so it seemed like a no brainer to at least say that I’d vote right? Right.

    However, being the good little nerd, geek, whatever that I am I started to research the Hugo Awards process a bit more and it turns out that I got really excited about partaking in this process. For various reasons, authors I enjoy, and I suppose respect even, such as John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, and others have had some very interesting things about the Hugos this year. It has really opened my eyes to something that I didn’t know was out there and I hope that I participate for years to come.

    All that said, I have to say that this feels like a ploy by orbit to play off of tWoT fans like myself by hoping to make a few pennies (or would quid be appropiate here?) more by getting me to go out and buy these books. Well, go suck an egg Orbit. Oh and for what it’s worth, it is going to be basically impossible to get my vote now.

    That is all.

  40. Sesquipedality

    May 17, 2014
    at 5:02 am

    What a waste of money. Of course authors and publishers have the right not to give their works away for free. These “previews” will, however, go straight in the bin. I value my own time a lot more than Orbit do, clearly, and have no intention of wasting it reading incomplete works.

  41. Some Guy

    May 17, 2014
    at 9:26 am

    I can’t help but wonder if this might be a nail in the coffin for “supporting” WorldCon memberships moving forward, especially if other publishers take this stance in the next few years. That’s a shame – WorldCons are rarely flush with cash. Clearly, Orbit doesn’t owe WorldCon any particular support, but it’s still a shame.

  42. Nick

    May 17, 2014
    at 8:29 pm

    “I know I, for one, will always think poorly of Orbit from now on.”

  43. ds

    May 17, 2014
    at 8:35 pm

    I prefer to buy print editions of the Hugo nominees anyway, where possible. Fortunately Neptune’s Brood is available from Ace, and Wheel of Time from Tor. Assuming I enjoy WoT enough to continue reading past the first volume (and I expect I will), that’s 16 lost sales for Orbit over the next few years. And that’s just from this year’s Hugo nominees; I buy dozens of other titles every year, and from now on, if I’m tossing up between an Orbit title and one from another publisher, or a specific title I want is available from both Orbit and another publisher…

    Is this punishing the authors for things beyond their control? Well, I don’t think the non-Orbit authors whose books I’ll be reading instead are any less deserving, and there’s far too much published each year to keep up with everything worth reading.

  44. Well hrm..

    May 17, 2014
    at 11:21 pm

    Could you please consider at least putting the titles on sale in ereader stores? Currently the costs are a little restrictive to some, and the books aren’t available in my closest libraries. For those further away that are connected with the ILL systems, I can only request one title at a time.

  45. Prawnie

    May 18, 2014
    at 2:34 pm

    Don’t listen to the doomsayers above.

    You’ve made the decision for commercial reasons and I don’t blame you for it. If you keep giving away your product for free, you’ll end up going bust.

    Are Disney going to send out DVDs of Frozen to every member/supporting member of Loncon? Warner Bros, Gravity? I think not. Why should you be any different?

    Stick to your guns.

  46. Paul Logue

    May 30, 2014
    at 3:36 pm

    Well… I have to say I consider this a very poor decision! Looks my supporting member vote will be going (in protest!)to a non-orbit book! I already own 2 of the nominated orbit books by the way and was all set to vote for one of them! severely disappointed and slightly disgusted by mega-corp stinginess :(

  47. Doug

    June 3, 2014
    at 8:12 am

    Just downloaded the Hugo packet to find that the Orbit nominated novels are only samples. Man that is so DUMB.

    Larry Correia’s novel was included with the first two novels of the series that his nominated novel is a part of.

    The entire WOT works were included.

    I’ll not be voting for any of the Orbit nominated works.


  48. Doug

    June 3, 2014
    at 8:34 am

    And you know what’s really stupid about the statement from Tim Holman above?

    Mira Grant’s nominated works from ORBIT from the past two years were included in the Hugo packet.

    Your author’s want the works included. Hopefully this keeps authors from signing with Orbit in the future. Can’t fathom this decision. Just makes ZERO sense.

  49. Charbar

    June 9, 2014
    at 2:11 pm

    Disappointing. I am a thorough reader and don’t want to evaluate whether to vote for something based on a partial copy of a book. I don’t know if I’ll have time to acquire the books before the voting deadline, which means I may have to rely on the books I’ve read in the past (namely, Wheel of Time series).

  50. Angela Cockburn

    June 20, 2014
    at 2:33 pm

    I have just read through the sample pages of the Leckie work. The story so far – jerking between two timelines – is unresolved. I cannot judge from the sample whether this author is capable of creating a satisfactory resolution, or of sustaining interest for the length of an entire novel, and she has not created sufficient interest for me to want to buy the full book in order to find out.

    You have done your author a major disservice by your decision to provide partial works. Did you even ask her which sections she would like to see provided in the packet?

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