Guess what? There’s a lot of drama surrounding the Hugo nominations.
At first glance, this seems like a big deal. After all, I’m a genre writer. This is kind of the award for us, it’s our Oscars, right? It’s all the recognition from peers that matters to us, to validate our writing. Not only that, but I’m going to Worldcon this year. This August, I actually do get to vote to determine who actually wins this thing. And I will. But I will do so with all the enthusiasm of picking my favorite Christopher Walken movie on Facebook. (Suicide Kings, in case you were wondering).
Because, in the end, it isn’t going to matter.
How can that be? Well, let me ask you a question: when was the last time that you bought a book because it had won a Hugo? Ever? Have you ever looked at a book and said “Oh, well, that premise looks terrible, but it did win a Hugo, so I’ma drop some cash on it?” Conversely, have you ever looked at a book and said “I’m really interested in this book. My friends thought it was good. But it hasn’t won a Hugo, so no sale.”
Never. You have never said either of those things.
Books stand or fall on their own merits. The only vote that truly matters is the one where you go on over to Amazon and buy a book. That’s the one that we really pay attention to. It’s the one that publishers and agents pay attention to. It’s what fans pay attention to, as one fan tells another about this great book they read. It’s not the limited selection of people with Worldcon memberships that are going to cause me to live and die as an author.
It’s you. You and your pocketbook.
So if you’re pissed off about the Hugo nominations, then buy someone else’s books. If you’re really happy about the Hugo nominations, then buy that authors books. Because these are the actions that determine the fate of authors. The awards are just a veneer. Offer me a choice between an award and a loyal fanbase, and I know what I go with.
Fans of the Joneses, I choose you.