Just putting this here for later

The table shows Hugo Finalists for Best Novel by publisher for the period 1985 to 2005. I want to quote this later but I can’t really link to a Google Sheets pivot table. The back story is the coda to the Debarkle Jim Baen chapter got way too long and recent comments from Eric Flint added new material. So the 2006/7 aftermath to Jim Baen’s death is now a separate chapter. It’s structurally and tonally quite different and features more Hugo stats nerdery.

Publisher2COUNTA of Finalist
Ace Books6
Ace Books/Putnam Publishing Group1
Analog Science Fiction & Fact6
Arbor House3
Asimov’s Science Fiction2
Avon Publications2
Baen Books5
Bantam Books5
Bantam Spectra12
Bloomsbury Publishing3
Bluejay Books1
Bridge Publications1
DAW Books1
Del Rey Books6
Harcourt Brace1
HarperCollins Voyager2
Macmillan Publishers1
Morrow AvoNova1
Orbit Books2
Simon & Schuster1
Victor Gollancz Ltd2
Villard Books1
Warner Aspect1
Warner Books1
Warner Questar2
William Morrow and Company1
Grand Total107

73 responses to “Just putting this here for later”

  1. Those guys at Grand Total are really kicking the butts of the rest of the publishing industry!


  2. I had to look up what Arbor House was, since that name doesn’t ring a bell at all. I’m also surprised that Del Rey has had comparatively few Hugo finalists, since I remember them being a really good specialty imprint in the 1980s and early 1990s. I’m also surprised that Roc is not represented at all.

    Still, all in all Baen isn’t doing too badly. About en par with Ace, Analog and Del Rey and well ahead of DAW.


    • It’s about the impression Baen authors had of the relative success of Baen v Tor around the time of Jim Baen’s death in 2006. I could have 1986 to 2006 I guess but the half decades look neater.


    • I should add, in the five years after that Tor gain 11 more finalists – nearly half of them. Orbit then start picking up, so peak Tor is probably 2010ish in novel (novellas is a whole other story)


      • That was why I asked. Because that perception that Tor was secretly running things to get themselves nominations was a huge factor in the Puppy grievances, and because 2011 was when Correia was on the ballot for the Campbell. Maybe you want an additional separate chart with just the totals from 2006 to 2010 or 2013?

        Liked by 1 person

        • At the risk of inflaming things all over again, before 2010 it didn’t take so many votes to get on the final ballot, and I used to wonder what could be accomplished if somebody just wandered around the corridors of Tor’s offices in the Flatiron Building and simply asked “Did you nominate for the Hugos yet?”

          Liked by 1 person

            • I don’t know. And anyway, I have for years identified Tor with being the publisher of some of the books I liked the most. It’s hard to run with a conspiracy theory when I don’t disagree with their stuff that got on the ballot.

              Liked by 3 people

              • Except most of Orson Scott Card’s works, and <cough>HominidsAndHumans<cough> (but I’m blaming the latter on the Worldcon being in Ontario).

                Liked by 4 people

          • As I brought up in the comments of one of Cam’s earlier posts, we know that there were some covert campaigns which had effectiveness, and your Tor musing is plausible — it only took 26 nominations to get the Mormon Space Whale Rape Story on the ballot, after all. But at least none of those campaigns were widely-publicized with the intent of taking over the ballot.

            Liked by 3 people

      • To possibly add more fuel to the fire, I was a bit surprised to see in a recent Tor.com catalogue that they explicitly flagged that the marketing for the upcoming Becky Chambers and Daryl Gregory novellas would have “award focused buzz campaign”(s).

        https://webservices.macmillan.com/macmillan-us/maccatalog/assets/previous/TDC_Spring-2021_08_2020.pdf (pages 2 and 9)

        I don’t recall seeing any similar language in any of their prior catalogues, and given the time gap between those books coming out, and the voting for the awards they’ll be eligible for, I’m not sure how focusing on future awards would help bookstores shift copies?

        There are a couple of other things puzzle me about that statement:

        1. Given how much of a lock Tor.com has had on the novella category in recent years – I suspect last year’s awards will prove a bit of an anomaly, given the lack of high-profile novellas from other publishers this year – why would they feel a need to campaign for awards where they’ll likely have the majority of finalist slots regardless?
        2. Last year there was a piece on File 770 just before WorldCon about a certain author being unhappy about about an unnamed news site acting as if another author’s book was a cert to win. My recollection is that commenters assumed it was either a reference to File 770 or io9, but I’m pretty sure it was a referring to Tor.com’s blog having far more posts about Gideon the Ninth than Middlegame. Given that background, explicitly stating that there are a couple of favoured titles being pushed for award consideration might again raise the ire of some of their other authors?

        Liked by 4 people

        • John S / ErsatzCulture: Last year there was a piece on File 770 just before WorldCon about a certain author being unhappy about about an unnamed news site acting as if another author’s book was a cert to win. My recollection is that commenters assumed it was either a reference to File 770 or io9, but I’m pretty sure it was a referring to Tor.com’s blog having far more posts about Gideon the Ninth than Middlegame.

          I think you’re right. I doubt that it referred to File 770; while Gideon got a lot of buzz there, my perception was that the reception was quite mixed, and A Memory of Empire got even more endorsement.

          And I don’t think File 770 has ever “acted as if book X was certain to win”; even Memory had its detractors, and there are far too many contradictory opinions about various books posted there to ever consider File 770 as endorsing one single novel as the Hugo winner.

          The tipping point for that particular objection was quite possibly a 19-part re-read of Gideon the Ninth at Tor.com starting in January 2020, at which I totally rolled my eyes. Doing a “re-read” of a book which has only been out for 4 months is the very definition of “contrived”. 🙄

          Liked by 2 people

        • John S / ErsatzCulture: I was a bit surprised to see in a recent Tor.com catalogue that they explicitly flagged that the marketing for the upcoming Becky Chambers and Daryl Gregory novellas would have “award focused buzz campaign”(s).

          The Chambers book is likely to do very well simply because of Chambers’ huge readership which voted her work Best Series.

          But given the 2.5 works by Daryl Gregory I’ve read, I think they’re really going to struggle to get a nomination for an H.G. Wells homage.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Brandon Sanderson’s Rhythm of War (published late November last year) has an ongoing reread that started in January – 6 weeks after publication. So that seems to be a thing at Tor,

        But I don’t think that marketing publicising a book is really the same as directly soliciting votes. The first is generally accepted, the latter is not.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This is interesting data. Tor does seem to do very well, although the relationships between publishing houses and imprints and the changes over the years are a complication. Baen seems to do very well, too, but I bet that has more to do with Bujold than Baen itself. So maybe we need to consider authors as well.

    The other thing is wins. We know that the nomination process can be manipulated (the Bridge Publications nominee would seem a case in point). The size of the field means that it doesn’t take a lot of nominations to get on the list (especially for less popular categories). Winning – when the field is reduced to the shortlist – is a different proposition. Winning is also what the Puppies seem to care about (and I am personally convinced that the slating was an attempt to force a win).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Discussions of publisher totals for Hugo Best Novel Finalists have always made me grind my teeth, because in many cases there were both a US and UK publisher and only one of them is credited on The Hugo Awards website or on Wikipedia (and in many cases, THA and Wiki are different), and because amalgamations such as Bantam/Spectra get counted separately, rather than allocated 1/2 to each imprint.

    Therefore, I have pulled the publishers as they are listed in ISFDB.
    Publishers for 1985-2020 Hugo Best Novel Finalists

    Your mission, Cam, should you decide to accept it because I can’t be arsed, is to apply an EPH-style allocation of credits in the summation of how many Hugo nominations each publisher has received.

    In other words, if there are two publishers credited for a work, each gets .5 credits; three publishers, .33 credits each; four publishers, .25 credits each.

    1. If the ISFDB credit differs from the Hugo Awards or Wikipedia credit, I have taken the ISFDB credit as canonical.
    2. I have included the US and UK publishers in the original year of publication; if it was only published in one country the first year, I have credited that publisher.
    3. The exception to this is works which were first published in the UK, then published in the US the following year, then nominated after that; in such cases, I have included both publishers.
    4. “US” and “UK” designations are omitted from Publisher names.
    5. If a work’s only publishers were Tor US and Tor UK, it just says Tor, ditto for Orbit US and UK.
    6. Publisher names have been split out, even when combined, such as:
    Del Rey/Ballantine
    Roc/New American Library
    Harper Voyager (split into HarperCollins and Voyager)
    because there are also works under just one or the other, and this way the publisher will get some credit (but not duplicated credit).
    7. HarperCollins and HarperPrism are both shown as HarperCollins.
    8. My inclination would be to consider Macmillan the same as Tor, but right now they are separate.
    9. Works which were serialized in Asimov’s or Analog and published in toto by another publisher in the same year as the final installment are credited to both the mag and the publisher.
    10. Works which had enough nominations to get on the ballot but were withdrawn are not included.
    11. Ebooks, audiobooks, and special editions like Easton Press are not included.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nice!
      I’ve struggled with how to handle multiple publishers also eg with Dragon Award stats – particularly given shifting imprints and company mergers.
      It’s a shame editor information isn’t better because what would be interesting is to track editors as a social network, look at clusters of editors (assuming they cluster into meaningful groups) or at individuals and then look at how those clusters/individuals perform at the awards.

      eg what was Jim Baen’s relative performance at Galaxy, compared with Ace, compared with Tor, compared with Baen (I know there’s a few apples & oranges comparisons there).

      Liked by 2 people

    • So Baen is still in the top 10% of publishing imprint wins. Not very conspired-against, are they? More than Analog, Gollancz, and Del Rey.

      (Although I suspect if you take out the anomalous Bujold, they’d be lower. Maybe we should score this like some Olympic sports — throw out the top and bottom scores and average the midrange?)

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve added in a tab for the rankings from just 1985-2005.

      Allocating proportional credit to all of the imprints involved makes it look a lot less lopsided than Cam’s table above.

      And Baen’s performance is still 6th place out of 45 imprints and comparable to places 3, 4, and 5.

      Orbit has massively upped their game in the last 15 years, from barely a presence on the Hugo lists to a powerhouse second place which is more than double the third place imprint (this does not surprise me, since they’re probably the most consistent at publishing works I really enjoy).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, I really don’t get this whole line of stuff. I get that you’re trying to crunch some numbers re various claims of the Puppies, particularly concerning Baen and Tor, but no publisher is guaranteed a certain number of award nominations or wins and certainly not in proportion to the number of books they publish per year. There are small publishers that do super well at awards (for instance putting out anthologies that snag short fiction awards.) And there are large publishers who concentrate on the mass market paperback wholesale market which is less publicity/public awareness and more distribution in bulk numbers and so don’t snag awards very often.

        The nominees for Best Novel, which is basically what this is focused on (and which makes the Hugo analysis skewed) are almost all put out in hardcover or at least trade paperback since the 1990’s when the wholesale market shrank. Only a few mass market paperbacks would have any shot past 1996 or so. Before that mass market paperback originals like Ender’s Game might place more often. And what that does is skew things towards authors who are either established (and so aren’t getting mass market paperback original first pub,) or are new but the publisher took a gamble on breaking them out big with a non-mmpk first pub and did a lot of publicity and it worked along with word of mouth. So again, that affects awards over time. Because the nature of how fiction books were sold changed considerably from 1985 to 2005. There were a lot of market factors going on, particularly in distribution and production.

        And then second, as JJ noted, you’re counting imprints of a publisher as separate publishers but not for Tor. Tor had only three imprints for a very long time: Tor, Tor Teen and Forge, which does non-SFF mystery thrillers. Once it was sold to St. Martin’s and then Macmillan, it became Macmillan’s SFF arm and would cross-market SFF titles published by Macmillan imprints. A Tor author in mmpbk who got promoted to hardcover might have that hardcover come out from a Macmillan imprint.

        Likewise, Harper Voyager and HarperCollins are the same thing and William Morrow is part of the company. Avon’s Eos was merged with Harper Prism and both were then folded into Harper Voyager. Author/books are regularly switched between the different imprints as they exist. DAW is a separate company that operates within Random House (which then became RHBDD and then Random Penguin and now Random Penguin S&S BDD or whatever they’re going to call it) but also does partnership projects with them. Del Rey is one of Random Penguin’s main SFF arms. Bantam Spectra and Bantam Books same thing and then once they merged with Random House, Bantam Spectra along with Del Rey became two SFF arms for Random House BDD that can switch authors. A Del Rey author might be put into Knopf to market that title out of category but Del Rey is still marketing it to the category market. Del Rey’s editor at one point complained that Random House was moving bestselling (and thus well known) authors out of the Del Rey imprint for publishing in other general fiction imprints of the publisher in hardcover, which is common. Doubleday is/was part of Random House BDD — it’s the first D. Warner Books, Warner Aspect, Warner Questar, same thing. Warner Questar was renamed/merged into Warner Aspect and Warner Aspect was phased out and turned into Warner Orbit with more coordination with the U.K. branch.

        So you can’t say Tor has 24 nominations and HarperCollins has three, just because HarperCollins had more than one SFF imprint and/or kept changing around their names, being a vastly bigger corporation than little old Tor, even after Tor was part of Macmillan. HarperCollins has all the imprints that are part of HarperCollins — Eos/Avon/William Morrow/all Harpers, which total 17, not 3. If you want, you can do a divvying line between Random House and BDD, even though they merged, but they’re still going to have way more than you’re counting thereby. If you really want to do this with any accuracy, you have to look at the history and holdings of each large publisher and you’d probably have to break it down by a fewer span of years in multiple tiers, given the mergers. Tor has had a brand consistency that others lack but that doesn’t mean the big corporations haven’t put out a fair number of Hugo slots.

        Jim Baen didn’t want to be part of a larger corporation so he didn’t sell his publishing house to any of them. It’s a mid-sized independent specialty press that was advanced on digital but has chosen to largely ignore the international market. As such, having 5, even if mostly dominated by Bujold’s series, is a very respectable, even impressive record for that time period for that house. But logically, almost every other slot is dominated by large corporate houses with wide distribution, including Analog which is part of Dell in BDD. And it includes Tor, which was sold to St. Martin’s Press, part of a large corporation, in 1987 and then became part of Macmillan, even bigger, not too long after.

        Even if you left off Baen and just counted up the various totals for the large publishers to see who had the most, it doesn’t mean anything. Despite Puppies’ claims, the publishers can’t actually strongly control Hugo voters’ votes. They didn’t even come up with the Hugo Voters Packet — John Scalzi did. And whether they are going to have the hot titles for the year that get a lot of readers and attention happens not without their effort and savvy at all but is affected by a great deal of luck and readers’ marketing-resistant choices. The attempt to count slots was a game the Puppies tried to play, once they decided that what they were really doing was defending Baen’s supposedly tarnished honor, and they failed miserably at it because they had not been shut out.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Many many many years ago on USENET, I got into an extended conversation about Hugo Awards by the decade and came to the conclusion that for me, the worst winners were from the 1980s. The reason, to put it diplomatically, was a bunch of winners that seemed to be handed to older SF authors for not being dead yet.

    I wonder what I would think if I went back and checked again?

    Liked by 2 people

    • You get Neuromancer, Brin’s Uplift books, Orson Scott Card’s Ender books (which, I know, but have had a lasting cultural impact), C. J. Cherryh. It’s pretty strong after discounting Asimov & Clarke. More mixed in the finalists but some stand outs (Gene Wolfe)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just the winners. The numbers looked like this for me.

        TW = Total Winners
        RP = Reasonable Picks
        WWtVS = What Were the Voters Smoking
        DNR = Did Not Read

        Decade TW RP WWtVS DNR
        1950s 5 4 1
        1960s 11 8 3
        1970s 10 7 3
        1980s 10 6 4
        1990s 11 7 4
        2000s 10 4 4 2
        2010s 11 6 4 1

        Looking at it positively, RP/(TW-DNR)

        1950s .80
        1960s .73
        1970s .70
        1980s .60
        1990s .64
        2000s .50
        2010s .60

        For a more negative take, WWtVS/(TW-DNR)

        1950s .20
        1960s .27
        1970s .30
        1980s .40
        1990s .36
        2000s .50
        2010s .40

        For a super negative take, (WWtVS+ DNR)/TW

        1950s .20
        1960s .27
        1970s .30
        1980s .40
        1990s .36
        2000s .60
        2010s .45



  6. Looking just at best novel for awards given in 1980-89, the only clear candidates among the winners are The Fountains of Paradise (1980) and Foundation’s Edge (1983). Orson Scott Card, C J Cherryh and David Brin scored two apiece, Joan D. Vinge and William Gibson both got one. I’m not sure how I’d rate Fountains of Paradise now but I’d say that Foundation’s Edge got a boost for reviving a classic series (and didn’t really deserve the win)

    1983 looks like the year for it with Clarke and Heinlein in the nominations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read The Fountains of Paradise for the first time a few years ago and I feel like it was probably a more impressive read when one has not already read a bunch of other books involving space elevators.


      • Fountain of Paradise and The Web Between the Worlds by Charles Sheffield basically tied for first SF novel about building an orbital elevator. Clarke wrote Sheffield a very nice intro explaining these things happen sometimes. My memory was the Clarke was the better written but I have not reread them in 40 years. I should do a compare and contrast.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I read it when it was brand-new and recall adoring it. Looking at Clarke’s bibliography, I see that it’s the latest-written of any Clarke book I recall enjoying (I kept reading them, just not enjoying them, more fool me).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I too thought it was the bee’s knees.

        Space elevators are ho-hum to us now, but so is having a box in your pocket that connects you to the entire world, the sum of human knowledge and disniformation, and also takes pictures and plays video games.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. A fine piece of work, collecting and counting the answers.

    Reference above to Roc raises an interesting point, a question that can be a nuisance to answer: Which publishers got no nominations in period?

    With respect to Mike’s remark “It’s hard to run with a conspiracy theory when I don’t disagree with their stuff that got on the ballot.”, some of us are old enough to remember Richard Nixon and the 1972 election. Nixon was more or less certain to win, and there was still a conspiracy (of negative value) to get him elected. The fact that a Democrat in parts of Chicago is more or less sure to win, not to mention there is no Republican candidate on the ballot, does not mean that The Machine is not stuffing the ballot box.

    With respect to the sad death of Jim Baen, note that when a book gets approved and when it reaches pub lication can be a while apart, so at the edge there is an uncertainty as to who the editor was.


    • I’d thought of the lag time between book approval and publishing, too. I suspect it’s shorter at Baen and certainly was under Jim, but I’d still give it 6 months.

      Watergate really was pointless, wasn’t it? IIRC, McGovern only carried one state.


  8. Sorry, the formating on my previous comment did not work and I do not know how to edit or delete it.


      • I’d forgotten how out of the step the Hugo voting world was with me twenty years ago. That said, my disenchantment does not like up with decades quite as nicely as that chart indicates. From 2001 to 2015, I did not care for eight of the sixteen winners. That said, because SFBC picked my reading material from 2001 to 2014, all the DNR means is they didn’t assign it to me.

        Liked by 3 people

      • For me, the Hugo winners and finalists of the late 1990s and early 2000s were the most out of step with my personal tastes. Very few books I liked and lots of finalists and even a few winners that make me go, “Huh, what was that one again?”

        The depressing thing is that I read plenty of good SFF books published during those years (though more fantasy than SF, because SF was going through a slump in the early 2000s). They just never showed up on the Hugo ballot.


  9. Andrew, did you read Songs of Distant Earth? Should I preserve my fond memories by not rereading it?


  10. “anthologies that snag short fiction awards”

    Ah, memories of when the old guard got so vexed at stories from Damon Knight’s Orbit series snagging nominations they orchestrated a No Award.

    Liked by 1 person

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