It’s worth talking about LMBPN publishing when talking about the Nebula nominees

Over the past few days the conversation has been focused on the author self-help group 20booksto50K in connection with some interesting Nebula Award finalists (if you are a late arrival just read Cora’s round-up here: ). However, there’s a different way of looking at the 20booksto50K related finalists — by common publisher.

LMBPN Publishing ( ) is a publisher run by Michael Anderle and which publisher Craig Martelle, the two names most associated with 20booksto50K.

“LMBPN is the publishing company for the Kurtherian Gambit, Oriceran, Protected by the Damned and other Universes. In addition to Michael Anderle, we have published in ebook, book, and audio format collaborations with Justin Sloan, Craig Martelle, TS Paul, CM Raymond, and LE Barbant, Paul C. Middleton, Amy Hopkins, Ell Leigh Clarke, PT Hylton, Candy Crum, Martha Carr, Sarah Boyce, A. L. Knorr, Sarah Knoffke, and many others.”

Of the 20booksto50K listed finalists:

  • Fire Ant** by Jonathan Brazee (Nebula Finalist) Brazee was published in the LMBPN anthology The Expanding Universe 4: Space Adventure, Alien Contact, & Military Science Fiction. “Checkmate by Jonathan P. Brazee: Winning is everything, especially in war.”
  • Messenger** R.R. Virdi and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne (Nebula Finalist) This story also appeared in the LMBPN anthology The Expanding Universe 4: Space Adventure, Alien Contact, & Military Science Fiction.
  • A Light in the Dark, AK DuBoff (Nebula Finalist) DuBoff co-writes with Anderle the “Uprise Sage” for LMBPN
  • (ETA) Going Dark Richard Fox (Nebula Finalist) Fox had a story in “The Expanding Universe 3: Space Opera, Military SciFi, Space Adventure, & Alien Contact!” the previous volume to the one listed above. Amazon lists this as published by CreateSpace (i.e Amazon) but it’s a LMBPN series.

Of the six works listed on the 20booksto50K not-a-slate, half two-thirds were by authors that had been published by LMBPN. That’s not a claim that LMBPN engaged in any shenanigans but given the 20booksto50K is a trademark owned by LMBPN which is also owned by Anderle, the not-a-slate looks increasingly like not a good idea.

(a tip of the hat for help given with this post)


96 responses to “It’s worth talking about LMBPN publishing when talking about the Nebula nominees”

  1. It really also shoots down a lot of their complaints about how advocates for Big Bad Traditional Publishing are trashing The Wee Poor Self-Published Underdogs With The Totally-Not-A-Nebula-Award-Slate. Enderle’s publishing machine — and that’s exactly what it is, a machine — engages in a great many of the dubious practices used for gaming Amazon ratings and Kindle Unlimited royalty algorithms and gives the participating authors a huge edge in sales and marketing.

    They are very different from, and should not be confused with, genuine independent publishers who follow the rules and don’t deserve the black mark that they are getting due to the 20BooksTo50K shenanigans.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I had to have some of these very obvious dots connected for me but yeah. This is very much NOT plucky little indies against big publishing but rather two arms of the same business.
      LMBPN owns the 20booksto50K trademark and publishes many of the authors on the not-a-slate. Simple as that.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Quite a lot of those were asterisked, which indicates that when the not-a-slate was written they were doing well in the nebula recommendations lists. It’s hard not to wonder if *previous* organising had taken place to prompt that result.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Of course, you can’t actually list any of your ‘dubious practices’ that game algorithms or KU royalties. All of which would violate Amazon TOS and would be akin to theft from the system and other authors enrolled in KU. Rather slanderous of you.

      Tell you what. Craig Martell, a former lawyer and senior member of LMBPN, has already stated that he’d keeping an eye out for defamatory comments. This sure fits the bill. I’ve sent him screenshots of your statements.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey JJ, how should anyone respond when they’re accused of being a thief and a cheat in their line of work? Particularly when the accusation is made with zero corroboration?

        Consequences are for adults, and you need to grow up.


        • Nobody had accused you of being a thief. If you want to call yourself names that’s not my problem but misrepresenting people’s arguments is not a sign of maturity or careful thought.

          This isn’t anybody’s first ride on this roller coaster

          Liked by 2 people

          • ‘[LMBPN] engages in a great many of the dubious practices used for gaming Amazon ratings and Kindle Unlimited royalty algorithms and gives the participating authors a huge edge in sales and marketing.’

            That’s theft and cheating. If you knew anything about how books are sold on Amazon you’d be able to pick that out easily. What do you think it is?


            • JJ has high standards as to what counts as a !dubious practice’. Many actions people here might regard as dubious without being either illegal or in breach of Amazons ToS.

              Dubious is not a synonym for theft. This also counts as free writing advice. I am nothing but generous

              Liked by 6 people

              • For someone that claims to be an expert on publishing, you sure are ignorant. I’ll educate you.

                Last year a bunch of authors were banned from KU, and all of Amazon, for fiddling with the formatting of their ebooks. They tweaked something that inflated their title’s page count. Increased their take home from a KU borrow bu upwards of 40%. That money came from a pool that was shared with every title and author enrolled in KU. They stole money from other authors. They cheated the system. Get it?

                Amazon caught up to them and dealt with them accordingly.


                • I don’t claim to be an expert in publishing. Is it national hit a straw man week or something? I claim to be a nobody with a cat.

                  However, I am aware of multiple issues with Amazon of the kind you describe. I would point out again that ‘dubious’ does not necessarily mean ‘in breach of Amazon ToS’

                  Liked by 5 people

                  • This is hilarious. It’s like being given a troll piñata for your birthday when it’s not even your birthday. Fun for the whole gang! 😀

                    Liked by 3 people

                  • I’m looking forward to JJ finding the testicular fortitude and clarify what LMBPN’s doing wrong.


                    • Richard, you’ve drunk their Kool-Aid and are following their playbook. You’re well aware of the sorts of things they recommend, and you clearly think that it’s all just fine. I’m sure there is no such thing as evidence you would find convincing that any of it is “dubious”. As Camestros says, I tend to have higher ethical standards than just “but it’s not illegal!”

                      Also, as someone who actually did win awards for their writing back in the Dark Ages without any help from logrolling, in the spirit of sharing writing advice, I’d like to direct you to a helpful website. If you’re going to keep replacing the words that other people use with different words, then you need to ensure that you’re actually using true synonyms, and not just shit you made up. 😀

                      *fortitude to clarify

                      Liked by 3 people

                    • Oh, Richard, you have the mistaken impression that what would be insulting to you would also be insulting to me. It’s certainly very revealing, in terms of your character (or lack thereof).

                      Also, you still seem to be laboring under the delusion that your opinion of me actually has meaning for me. I think there’s some medication you can take for that. I saw an e-mail ad for it in my Junk mail folder this morning (but you’ll have to pay for shipping from Canada).

                      But do keep on barking up that gratuitous insult tree. I’ll just sit here on the lawn chair with my drink and enjoy the show. 😀

                      Liked by 4 people

                    • Right, I’ve ripped up the bingo card and I’m having that beer for breakfast. Friday can’t get possibly get any weirder.

                      Liked by 5 people

                    • I’m starting to feel just the teensiest* bit sorry for the trolls. Perhaps Cam needs a blog warning banner, with a picture of a piñata, which says “We get rid of trolls by making fun of them until they run out of candy and go away.”

                      *that’s “wee”, for you Poms

                      Liked by 3 people

                    • Waitaminute waitaminute, I’ve worked it out. Richard is trying to be the new *Tank Marmot*.

                      Right, new bingo card! We’ve already had “misconceived anatomical insults”, do you think I’ll get “threatens to fly across the country to fight someone”, or will Richard drop out before he gets that far?

                      Liked by 4 people

                    • You missed “virtue signalling”, “concern trolling”, and copious goalpost-moving in the other post.

                      I don’t think Tank ever tried the lawsuit threat — although those Afterword abominations attached to classic Heinlein novels were certainly quite horrifying enough.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • That’s true, Tank’s code of manliness meant he had to issue all his threats personally, not try to sic someone else’s lawyer on people.

                      Liked by 3 people

                    • While “wee” means tiny in Scots, it means something VERY VERY different in the rest of Pomland!

                      We are definitely extracting the wee from the trolls though 🙂

                      Liked by 4 people

      • Hi there! We were having a laugh at him earlier. I do think he is a stupid git if he thinks that will cause people to be silent about his dishonest practices. Please send screenshot.

        Liked by 2 people

      • As you already know what practices we find dubious, I’m not that interested in replying to your dishonest sealioning.

        Liked by 2 people

      • As far as we know, nothing LMBPN has done is actually against the rules, whether it’s SFWA’s or Amazon’s. And nobody is lumping you in with Michael Scott Earle, J.A. Cipriano, Chance Carter or those folks.

        But there are ways to game the system that don’t actually break any rules, but are nonetheless a grey area.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I have a link to a video where Anderle talks about LMBPN Publishing and what he’s planning to do with the company, but that will have to wait until I’m back at my computer.


  3. Had a discussion with one of the members of 20booksto50k who was adamant that they did not want to game the system. Said the text published were taken out of context…

    …and then said that Indie filmmakers voted for each other at festivals and didn’t see anything special with that. They really do not understand what others are reacting to. Marketing, supporting and helping getting awards or nominations for visibillity is gaming the system. But they really do not see it that way.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Many of the authors who appeared on the “not a slate” appeared in the Expanding Universe 4 anthology, specifically Jonathan Brazee, Timothy Ellis, Kevin McLaughlin, Terry Mixon, Nathan Mutch, R.R. Virdi, and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne. The collection was, of course, edited by Chris Martelle. Overall, fourteen of the thirty-three works that appeared on the list were written or co-written by people who had stories in the anthology.

    Also of note, several of the authors appeared in anthologies published by Sci-Fi Bridge, including Jason Ansbach, Rachel Aukes, Rhett Bruno, Lindsay Buroker, Christ Dietzel, Robert Jeshonek, and Craig Martelle. Ten of the works on this list were written by people who had stories in Sci-Fi Bridge anthologies.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Looking at the February 5 list, it seems even more apparent that the way to get yourself recommended for the list as to appear in the Expanding Universe anthology series (all of which were edited by Craig Martelle, who also has stories in all of them).

    The following authors appeared in Expanding Universe 4: Jonathan Brazee, Kevin McLaughlin, Terry Mixon, Nathan Mutch, R.R. Virdi, and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne.

    The following authors appeared in Expanding Universe 3: C.C. Ekeke, Richard Fox, and Robert Jeshonek (also Jonathan Brazee, Kevin McLaughlin, and Terry Mixon).

    The following author appeared in Expanding Universe 2: Amy DuBoff (also Kevin McLaughlin).

    The following author appeared in Expanding Universe 1: Felix Savage.

    The other way to increase your odds of appearing on the February 5 list was to appear in an anthology published by Sci-Fi Bridge. Those authors are: Jason Anspach, Rachel Aukes, Rhett Bruno, Lindsay Buroker, Zen DiPietro, Robert Jeshonek, Craig Martelle, Kevin McLaughlin, Felix Savage.

    Of all the authors who appeared on the list, only seven didn’t appear in either the Expanding Universe anthology series or a Sci-Fi Bridge anthology: Stephen Arsenault, J.R. Handley, Chris Kennedy, Wendy Nikel, Marilyn Peake, Lawrence Schoen, and Bill Webb.

    Nineteen of the entries on the list are by people who appeared in either the Expanding Universe anthology series or a Sci-Fi Bridge anthology, while only seven are not.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lindsay Buroker runs the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast, a popular podcast for self-published writers. She did attend some of the 20Booksto50K conferences, but I suspect that she tends to end up in anthologies and on recommendation lists at least partly because people hope to either be invited to her podcast or that she will mention them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Looking through the LPBPN pages, I found another anthology series with some of the usual suspects in it: BOB’s Bar. Brazee, Fox, Martelle, McLaughlin, and Mixon all have stories in both volumes, and so does Buroker,

        By my count, fifteen of the twenty-two authors who appeared on the “not-a-slate” have been published by LMBPN Publishing.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Ah, that’s a very different kettle of fish. This isn’t a group of marketing-oriented authors who bumbled in without understanding the awards but wanting to participate in the category field. This is an organized campaign, constructed and, my goodness, trademarked by a publisher, with a marketing view that genre fiction is profitable, so lets grab any resource we can to up shelf space (virtual and non.)

    The Best Novel awards of awards like the Nebula and the Hugo are a hard nut to crack even if you have a sizable enough voting block in the group that sponsors and votes on the awards. The big, buzzed about novels that are mega-discussed in the field and among the hardcore fans are going to be the ones that end up getting the most up-votes in the most cared about category. But if you put out a bunch of anthologies and stick your selected authors in them, then you can try to get those authors nominated in the smaller, less widely focused short fiction awards, which then lets them use the award nominations to promote their novels, as well as more anthologies and projects for this publisher.

    With that being the case, this particular group has a lot more implications for the members of SFWA beyond the Nebula awards themselves. These authors are gaming algorithms, trying to generate mass product and view picking genres not as a personal interest but as the best areas in which to sell fiction again like it’s breakfast cereal. And you can do that, no one will stop you, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t because the fiction audience is not like the cereal eating audience. And you can ban together to do anthologies and other forms of fiction that promote as well as entertain — long tradition of that too throughout the fiction market.

    But you don’t need the Nebulas or the Hugos to do that, or even the Dragons; they’re unnecessary, as are the conventions, the category media, etc. These authors and the publisher working with them see SFWA, RWA and things like WorldCon as just marketing resources to be scooped out if possible. They tend to not understand how license publishing works and to view book publishers as just like film or music studios — Svengalis that supposedly throw large sums of money around for underhanded marketing tactics to gain advantage, (such as the Puppies proclaimed as conspiracies,) and so don’t see their own “game” as harming anyone other than big corporations. These author members of SFWA don’t really see themselves as members of SFWA, or even part of the SFF field; they are not trying to establish themselves in the field as part of it as I thought they were at first. They see themselves as part of a marketing group trying to grab resources they think other authors/publishers are hoarding. They see, as we discussed before, awards only as marketing tools that give brand status, not celebrations that authors and hardcore fans take seriously.

    But the SFWA is first and foremost a professional writers organization that helps with legal and business issues in the industry — with PUBLISHERS, other producers and booksellers, with things like health insurance, scam services and other issues, first for its author members and then for writers in the field in general. It is not, as we discussed, a marketing and PR group. To have a group of SFWA members organize to not simply market themselves but try to control the resources of SFWA as a wedge group, under the direction of a publisher instead of authors — to try to hurt other author members of the organization — that’s a way bigger issue. Essentially, these authors are also hurting themselves by trying to trash the group that was created to help them in hopes of a slightly bigger marketing boost that may or may not help them. There are many authors who for many reasons don’t join the SFWA, even if they can, but these authors or their teammates chose to join it as a heist.

    Written fiction is a symbiotic market — the most symbiotic market in which authors help each other sell rather than directly compete, outside of awards, bringing in readers to the market. There are arguments, discrimination issues, and certainly there have been feuds, but dog eat dog philosophies of selling don’t work very well in written fiction, with other authors, and certainly not in genre category markets that had a high level of fan engagement and gathering long before the commercial Internet. It’s not just a matter of “old” publishing versus “new” publishing — authors need business resources and dismissing SFWA as simply an org that gives out an award is cutting off your nose to spite your face. Especially if it’s being done and run by a publisher.

    As I said to JJ, an organization is made up of its members. So if marketing-only minded authors do take over the SFWA as a wedge group run by a publisher, then the SFWA becomes a different (and likely largely useless) organization and to get the resources of the original SFWA, a new organization would have to be formed by other authors. In the meantime, some of these authors in this 20/50K group may find themselves facing an amount of anger that surprises them. And that’s because while they aren’t, it seems, part of a virulent political campaign that wants to increase discrimination in the field, (so at least we don’t have that going on again,) they did make themselves part of a group that’s trashing the field they want to sell in. For some of them, it may cause them real problems and limitations with fans. Or not. But watching a publisher try to take over an authors’ professional organization is certainly disturbing.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Looking at the program for the 2018 Nebula weekend and the recorded panels that are available at the SFWA YouTube channel, Jonathan P. Brazee and Michael Anderle certainly show up a lot for newish SFWA members. At the time, I thought it was enthusiasm and them volunteering for panels, but now…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh, Anderle’s sleazy tactics are the last thing on which newish SFWA authors should be imprinting. WTF was the Nebula conference programming staff thinking?

        Liked by 2 people

      • I guess he presents himself as friendly and helpful and they probably didn’t research him too much. I actually tried watching the panel that’s posted to the SFWA YouTube channel, but the sound is too bad.


      • BTW, apologies if that previous comment reads a bit mainsplainy – I posted it in part because I only stumbled across that factoid by chance when Googling for something else, and haven’t seen it mentioned in any of the recent discussions.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your comment was fine. Brazee’s position in SFWA was mentioned in the last day or two either on this blog or at File 770, but I can’t find it now. I think it very likely explains how Anderle got on the Programming schedule at last year’s Nebula conference. I hope they’re not doing that again this year.

          Liked by 2 people

  7. This sounds like the bookish variation on the predatory assholes in the Digital Nomad scene who run paid courses on how to make money dropshipping, when in reality most of their income is from selling a course on how to make money dropshipping.


  8. I am astonished at the sheer ignorance on display here. Tor has 8 different nominees across the novel, etc, categories. LMBPN affiliated? 4. What other nominees have published with Tor or their subsidiaries?

    And yet, there is no pearl clutching or gnashing of teeth over this. How there can be a Russian bot narrative that got unacceptable-to-you nominees onto the final ballot, while not understanding how the nomination process works, really is rather distressing and very disappointing to watch.

    To point a finger at LMBPN and go ‘ah HA!’, but ignore Tor, shows just how hypocritical and bigoted some people can be.

    I very much doubt anyone that frequents this page is a book seller or makes their living selling stories to readers. But I am both those things and I’ll let you in on a little tidbit that’s made LMBPN, Anderle and many other writers in his orbit very successful. You ready? Lean closer to the screen so you don’t miss it…

    We write what readers want and give it to them quickly and regularly. Amazing! Providing quality stories the market demands yields happy readers and financial success! No trickery to fool people into buying books. No meta data hacks to make Amazon sell 10,000 copies every time a book pops up in an add.

    I regret this post, as now the cabal of hardworking authors that have found success as Indy’s will surely draw and quarter me for revealing secret information. Oh wait…the 20books convention in Las Vegas (which is run at cost and results in no income to LMBPN or the presenters) that lists all these secrets, and more quality information for writers, is free on YouTube.

    Envy and petty snipes is not the explanation to why authors outside of the trad bubble are getting more award nominations and more market share. The reasons are obvious and simple pearls to pick up. But throwing pearls before a reactionary and bigoted audience is useless.


    • Richard, if Tor was running a club for aspiring authors and then that club ran a special list for members of what to vote for and presented it as a way to get more ‘independents’ on the ballot, you absolutely bet that the size and scale of the protest would entirely dwarf what you are seeing on my crappy little blog.

      As for doubting that people who frequent this blog sell books, you would be wrong. *I* don’t but that’s another story and involves cats,

      As for reactionary and bigoted, seriously? You are in a commercial relationship with avowed extreme nationalist and who supports domestic terrorism in a war on immigration. You’re not in a great position to use either term unironically.

      Liked by 3 people

      • You think every Tor nominee was completely organic? Really? Aren’t you adorable.

        And let me give you a business lesson. When you sign a contract with someone, you deliver. If someone’s behavior, unrelated to that contract, is unacceptable, you still deliver. After the contract is complete, then you can choose not to do business with that person again. It’s called being a professional. I will not do further business with Vox Day after our current business completes. Yes, I’ll get heat for it, but integrity matters to some.

        You, on the other hand, are willing to float any and all salacious rumors without considering the consequences or veracity. I know you’re not that relevant, but running a rumor mill that defames people is not a great practice.

        If LMBPN does send you a C&D (and they went after some Eastern European outfit that plagerized some of their material, that wasn’t even personal), I’d love to see the look on your face.


        • I’ve seen no evidence that the Tor nominees were not organic, whereas I have seen evidence that the 20booksto50k/LMPBN might be less than organic – which I have documented and discussed on this blog. I have not seen PROOF that some of the votes were dubious and perhaps every single one was above aboard in every way but I find that unlikely for the reasons I have openly discussed.

          Thank you for the business lesson. I shall return the favour. I am very careful with whom I share contracts. I would also advise anybody who cares to listen not to attach their personal brand to Vox Day’s.

          I do not float ‘any and all salacious rumours’. I am careful about what I post and I document what I say as can be seen by these recent posts on the Nebulas. Despite much heat and fuss, no issue of fact that I have posted on 20booksto50k has been challenged nor on LMBPN. I’m certain if I’d made a factual error somebody would have pointed it out by now. If I HAVE made a *factual* error and somebody corrects me on it then I’ll acknowledge the error and post a correction- not for any deep ethical reason but because I like to be right. It’s a side effect of being a smart arse.

          As for my facial expression it would look exactly like this: 😐 this is literally true as my day job is as a face model for an emoji factory

          Liked by 3 people

        • Gosh, Richard, you’re so cute when you’re pretending that you know what you’re talking about. 😀

          Any moron can send a cease-and-desist letter. Here, I’ll give you a head start! C&Ds don’t mean anything, if what they’re C&D’ing isn’t legally actionable.

          I suggest that you go educate yourself on the law regarding defamation lawsuits. You clearly don’t have a clue, and you’re embarrassing yourself with your waah, waah, widdle baby posts.

          P.S. *plagiarized

          Liked by 4 people

          • Still waiting for you to explain how anything LMBPN does is dubious. You do have some sort of rationale, don’t you? I mean…what kind of an ___ would make that kind of a statement with nothing to back it up? You’re not an _____, are you, JJ? [edited by CF]


            • I’m sorry, you must have confused me with someone who actually cares about the opinion of a screaming baby who’s making a huge fool out himself. 😀

              Liked by 4 people

              • Round about way of admitting you’re an [not nice person] But at least you’re a self aware [not nice person]. [edited by CF: Richard you don’t have asshole privileges yet]


              • Of course, given that Richard has raised the spectre of legal action for your comment about practices you find dubious, I must ask you not to document those practices despite Richard’s request that you do so as you might inadvertently make a claim that LMPBN engages in something that goes beyond dubious. 🙂

                Liked by 2 people

        • “You think every Tor nominee was completely organic? Really?”

          Oooo, did anyone else have “Torspiracy” on their bingo card?

          Liked by 5 people

    • To point a finger at LMBPN and go ‘ah HA!’, but ignore Tor, shows just how hypocritical and bigoted some people can be.

      LMBPN ran what amounts to a slate to get nominees on the ballot. Tor did not. Hence the differing reactions. This is not that difficult to figure out. If you were half the brilliant business guy you claim you were, you’d know this already.

      Liked by 5 people

      • So, he can’t spell “plagiarized,” doesn’t know the difference between slander and libel, doesn’t know the legal standard for a successful libel case, accuses people of being children but his favorite tactics are “NO U” and name-calling, isn’t aware of (let alone familiar with) the corporate structure of his own publisher, thinks his own obsession with penis size translates to sick burns…

        I’m starting to think this guy’s “brilliance” and business acumen is a wee bit overstated.

        Liked by 4 people

      • LOLOL *snort*

        Cue AC/DC’s “Big Balls”

        Well I’m ever upper class high society
        God’s gift to ballroom notoriety
        And I always fill my ballroom
        The event is never small
        The social pages say I’ve got
        The biggest balls of all

        😀 😀 😀

        Liked by 4 people

    • Wow, you’re really going for the full bingo card, aren’t you? Now we’ve got “But Tor is doing it, too.”

      Tor is the biggest publisher of science fiction and fantasy in the English language world and a subsidiary Verlagsgruppe Holtzbrinck, one of the five biggest publishing conglomerates in the world. So it’s natural that they would have a lot of finalists on the Nebula ballot. Besides, four of those eight finalists are in novella, a category that Tor dominates because of their high quality novella line.

      LMBPN Publishing is no Tor, in spite of Michael Anderle’s best efforts. They’re a medium sized publisher at best. For a newish independent publisher to get several works on the Nebula ballot, works that aren’t what the Nebula electorate normally goes for at that, is extremely unusual and invites scrutiny.

      I have read some of the books Michael Anderle, Craig Martelle and LMBPN put out. I have even featured a few of them on my site. They’re not to my taste, but I’m sure your readers enjoy them and that’s okay. More power to you.

      But you’re sorely mistaken if you believe that Tor puts out books people don’t want to read. It’s okay if you don’t want to read them, but plenty of people do. Tor is a business, not a charity. And Tor finalists are all novels, novellas and stories that got a lot of buzz last year. None of them is a surprising nominee, so they’re most likely organic.

      You are also mistaken, if you think there are no indie writers here.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Also, if you had bothered to read the comments, you might have noticed that we are well aware of the 20Booksto50K conference videos on YouTube, since I just linked to one of them.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. In the spirit of sharing business advice, I would advise that you do some minimal research on the people or businesses you’re signing contracts with *before* you jump into bed with them, so you’re not caught associating yourself with extremist loons.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Well, I sure hope Richard sells a lot of books to his core audience, because after this embarrassing performance, he isn’t going to sell any anywhere else. It’s a puzzling business practice to troll an unsuspecting commentariat to the point where you put yourself on someone’s *never read that arsehole’s books ever* list.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Richard, your published by a guy who literally believes black people are subhuman and sees anders brevik, a man who slaughtered 79 people in cold blood many of them teenagers, as a patriotic hero and a Savia of western civilisation., so you’ve got some nerve coming on here calling others names.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Interesting to see what SFWA members make of it – they being the aggrieved parties here – but it’s pretty comprehensive and withdrawing his nom shows sincerity IMO.

        Will any of the others show similar integrity?


    • Ah, well that was very responsible of Brazee and it certainly is a relief to know that we seem to be back to a motley crew of disparate indie authors who didn’t realize turning a rec list into a voting slate would be a problem. Hopefully this has gotten through to most of them that the major category awards in the field are not the same thing as a marketing PR campaign and you can’t handle them the same without a lot of upset. I am regretful that Brazee is withdrawing his nomination. This reminds us too much of the authors who were dragged onto the Puppy slates against their will and gave up nominations because they didn’t want those to have come from the Puppies gaming the system. I’m willing to take him at his word.

      As we know, the Nebulas are not an award for who sells the most (or produces fiction at the fastest rate.) (Nor is the Hugo.) It is a set of awards given by SFWA authors to other authors because they think those works offer EXCEPTIONAL writing and importance in the field of SFFH. Not bestselling popularity, though sometimes those overlap on the novels, and bestsellerdom is pretty much irrelevant for the short form awards since it’s not a bestselling market, except for some novellas published as short novels. Indeed, if bestsellerdom was the main criteria, Mr. Fox would never have received a nomination, as there are numerous authors with bigger names than his.

      Tor Books and are two different things. Tor Books/Macmillan does fund and is involved in it, but is a multi-media web news site that includes a free online magazine for SFF fiction that does not publish only authors who do novels with Tor. Because it is a big, free online magazine that can pay some of the biggest names for short fiction, it does often get visibility and those who vote on various awards may then have read those works and liked them. Tor Books puts out hundreds of novels a month, like the other big imprints, and only a very small slice of them end up getting award nominations. Neither Tor Books nor have ever put out a voting slate list or campaigned for their SFWA authors to vote only for Tor or authors in the Nebulas. None of the big publishers would do that because it would be incredibly bad for their authors in the fandom community and convention circuit if they did so.

      And that’s the problem — the authors in this group and LMBPN publisher do not have this knowledge and didn’t bother to look into it. There’s nothing wrong with LMBPN putting out anthologies of indie authors’ short fiction. There is, however, a great deal of an ethical issue with LMBPN holding the trademark of 20booksto50k, rather than it being a separate author’s group. If it’s their brand, then when the group (now seemingly without direct intention) did a voting slate and a lot of the authors on that slate were LMBPN authors and some of them got nominations, that raised all sorts of ethical questions about what LMBPN was doing, since it effectively owns the group 20booksto50k. But it appears that Mr. Brazee was acting independently and lost the plot. So hopefully that’s going to mean LMBPN takes a good look at how it’s setting things up regarding getting author visibility for authors they work with.

      For one thing, that Brazee pulled the majority of the authors on his voting slate list from authors who had published with LMBPN was not a good look, as he acknowledges. It understandably made people feel that a bunch of authors who seemed to have gone overboard were actually an organized campaign by a publisher who owned those authors’ group trademark and therefore seemed to be in charge. Some of this was Puppy wound spillover, as we’d already noted, which made people worried. And some of the authors in the group did not help in their reactions. But that’s kind of growing pains for authors. They don’t have to know everything right off the bat.

      As for the, uh, slogan shouting pinata, I continue to be bemused that he keeps yelling at a bunch of mainly indie authors, including the owner of the blog, that they are against indie authors — against themselves. I can understand that he was upset, but instead of threatening to sue people and calling them names and ranting about Tor, information about his own group would have been helpful, like what role does LMBPN play in trademarking 20booksto50k and why do they have it set up that way? Why was the list set up as a voting slate (which Brazee has now explained,) and why did no one in the group bring up the problem with this? But, you know, it’s a collective action problem. LMBPN seems to maybe be setting itself up as a book packager?

      The SFWA is not against indie authors. The field is not against indie authors and have made a number of them profitable. This blog is certainly not against indie authors since Camestros regularly indie publishes here on it and elsewhere. The idea that the world is against indie authors was NEVER an effective marketing strategy and self-pub authors don’t help themselves trying to push it. Of course someone like Fox is ideological and political as well and so has to spout mindless rhetoric. But as already noted, it’s important to not treat the 20booksto50K authors as a cohesive ideological group, because they are not.

      But the ones in the authors’ group who were voting members in the SFWA do seem to have possibly slate voted a bit. So that’s told SFWA it needs to better communicate with its members about the rules of the organization, which they now say they are doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think it is time to say that Richard Fox (after going full puppy) should not be taken as represantive of the other nominated writers. That was bad.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. […] Camestros Felapton dug in further and noticed that four of the six indie finalists were either publi…, a publishing company operated by Michael Anderle and Craig Martelle, who also founded and run the 20Booksto50K group, and that several other works and authors listed on the 20Booksto50K not-a-slate were also connected to LMBPN Publishing. Richard Fox, indie writer and Nebula finalist in the best short story category, also showed up in the comments to make a spectacle of himself, determined to fill every square on the SFF awards slate bingo card. […]


  14. I have been inside the literary publishing world. It’s not just about solid writing. It’s also who you know and your connections and how you run your career. Even with poets, it’s about who you know and your connections and how you run your career. In the poetry world, you’ll find dissatisfied poets who call out other poets for not being “real poets” — who don’t like poets who have a bigger audience because they are easier to read or understand. (Spoken word poetry, for instance.) But no one will ever be able to legislate taste. The feedback about awards nominations is important. When it comes to individual writers, my personal observation has been that that group emphasizes that you must work very hard — work on your concept, execution, publish a quality product with solid proofreading and editing, great cover, spend money and time to market your book, and create a loyal following by either a series of books or linked books that don’t take “forever” to be published, so that readers keep reading. (“Forever” being variable.) The point of writing more books is also to get better at writing books. The more books you complete, the more you’ll learn. And yes, continued education in regards to writing skils and other related skills is stressed. I fail to see how this is something nefarious or shady or anything less than above board. I do understand why there’s anger and distrust about the idea of ebook publishing companies. That critique is a good thing. I’m not sure it’s the big bad, but it will be interesting to see how things shake out. For instance, co-writers is a solid trend in indie romance. It will be interesting to see what other trends emerge. My preference is to take an inclusive, rather than exclusive, approach to how writers run their careers. I do wonder if judgment about a Facebook group is being made without the full context. As someone who’s done everything from idea generation to research to interviews to proofreading to content editing for many magazine and journal articles, I’m very familiar with how any of those steps can frame the issue in a certain way that obfuscates the full truth. I really hope that’s not what’s happening in these types of discussions, whether deliberately or otherwise.


    • N.: I do wonder if judgment about a Facebook group is being made without the full context.

      There are certainly some valid points in what you say. There is also a lot of unethical behavior going on with a lot of self-publishers. Unfortunately, in the public’s perception that behavior tends to reflect badly on self-published authors in general, which is unfair to the ethical self-publishers.

      Ultimately, however, the issue (at least in this post) is about the ethically-bankrupt tactic of using slating to overcome a natural award nomination process in order to gain award nominations. None of the things you’ve said excuse that sort of behavior.


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