Not a post as such

Mike Glyer did the relevant digging on a minor mystery that had caught my interest:

The kerfuffle was pretty minor in many ways. It didn’t take off and the main discussion was a side thread on Facebook between myself and a Baen editor, which was very civil. What I found weird was the idea that the Nebulas would publish interim vote totals, which would be weird and which, as it turns out, they don’t do. The actual screenshot was of a members view of the recommended reading list that includes a running total of the number of recommendations.

I don’t know who made the original screen shot. The Baen editor who posted it said that a trusted source had sent them the information:

“Trusted source along with screen caps of the votes in the other categories on the last night of voting before they closed.
Had someone else watch it right until the clock ran out… less to keep an eye out for shenanigans, more so I’d know if I should be ready to draft a press release this week.
If the rankings changed? They changed after voting closed, and with it, any public access to the rankings.
The other categories match the final votes pretty closely. And none of the others omitted the top placed work from the nominees.”

It is all a bit odd. This is what the public facing page looks like for us lowly non-SFWA types:

I assume the version that you can see if you have access to the SFWA secret treehouse is similar but with totals? If the same (or similar) boilerplate is there then it would be hard to mistake it for a running total of the actual nomination voting? So an SFWA member was tricking a Baen editor for some reason? Weird.

Without wanting to make SFWA people paranoid, it does suggest there’s at least one person with access to member-only sections of their website who is doing some odd things. Mind you, this incident from last year already indicated that

122 responses to “Not a post as such”

  1. I remember when the list was first made public, us lowly non-sfwa members could see the totals column too. You can still sort the list by number of recs by tweaking the url. This is the 2022 novel list sorted by total likes descending now.

    Even if you didn’t see the bold print notice about it not being connected to the ballot, how could you think nomination tallies would be shown during voting? And aren’t they a tad low for right before close of voting? I’ve heard swfa members can even see who recommended what. Big clue it isn’t the ballot.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like to think about how frustrating it is for the Baen pups to have Camestros living in their heads rent-free, when they can’t even find out his name. I imagine they picture him as some sort of terrifying transforming creature, shifting through all the faces of the people they’ve imagined him being, in turn (weirdly, with the faces of Freud, John Michel and their Upper Form composition master in the mix, as well).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is almost as though someone edited the screenshot maliciously before sending it to the Baen editor.


  4. So you have a junior editor who seems to be right wing and doesn’t know how the SFWA works, except having been told they are an evil organization that doesn’t like Baen. And you have a Baen author who is right wing and serves the junior a doctored screencap of the rec list as a voting tally in the usual lie method to justify grievances. And the kid doesn’t even bother to check it with anyone before shooting off his mouth and dragging one of his authors into it. Don’t know what Joelle Presby’s politics are, but probably didn’t need to be shoved into a Nebula conspiracy theory by an editor going on a ranting bender.

    It’s really sad to watch Baen turn into the Regnery Books of SFF publishing. I get that they don’t like that Tor dominates the Best Novel category but Tor is the biggest publisher of SFF in the U.S., major in the U.K., etc. They have the money to throw at major authors and outbid competitors for promising newcomers. That’s always been the case — biggest publisher at the time gets the most nominees, especially as they also use for shorter fiction. And Baen is a medium sized house based almost entirely in the U.S. They will get an author nominated once in awhile but not on the regular. They had excellent luck with Bujold, which I guess they dismiss because she’s not right wing enough for them now?

    If Baen authors get shorter fiction into major magazines that usually snag some noms (again because they can afford to attract a lot of major authors,) then that’s nomination possibilities for those authors, not for Baen just because Baen licenses their novels. Baen is a publisher; it’s not supposed to be a cult or a political op. The Nebulas are not an ideological political election; they are about impressing fellow authors who are SFWA members. And as we have learned from past kerfluffles, those members range all over the political spectrum and are still heavily skewed older, white authors who whine about the past status quo not continuing.

    So obviously that leads to conspiracy theories that the heads of SFWA are terrorists who are rigging the election to their political views with no evidence. And we know where that one came from. If Baen wants to distance themselves from the Puppies’ legacy, then they certainly need to school their junior editors not to blast the old chestnut on social media. But if they are going to make it company policy to claim all the award elections are rigged against them, they are going to drive a lot of promising authors away from working with them. Certainly wouldn’t want to work with an editor who doesn’t know the basic procedures of SFWA and the major Nebula award — and is willing to “leak” privileged info to boot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Baen increasingly seems to turn from publisher to cult and the rivalry with Tor is getting ridiculous. Most readers don’t pay a lot of attention to who published what and often can’t tell you whether a book was published by Tor or Orbit or Harper Voyager or Saga without looking it up. Only Baen and its readers are obsessed with publisher loyalty.

      Baen’s relative lack of awards nominations is due to their bad distribution, which hurts them at a time when SFWA and Worldcon membership is getting more and more international, the fact that they focus on subgenres like military SF or alternate history that aren’t very popular with award voters, that their cover design and particularly the font choice look old-fashioned and cheesy and turn off a lot of potential buyers and that a small handful of their authors are raging arseholes whose noisy bad behaviour reflects back on the publisher and on the majority of Baen authors who are not arseholes.

      Never mind that Baen author Charles Gannon got several Nebula nominations in the 2010s and that Baen authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller regularly hit the Hugo longlist in the Best Series category with their Liaden Universe Books. Plus, the 2017 Best Series Hugo for Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga was largely a win for Baen, because they published most of the books.

      Liked by 3 people

      • But it isn’t just that Tor is the largest publisher (which is it is) but that it publishes the fiction the vast majority of genre readers want to be reading. I’m reading exactly one writers on Baen, Simon R. Green, and that’s because Ace, his previous publisher shitcanned him and only Baen would offer him a publishing contract.

        See I don’t think the Award voters are atypical of our readers at all which is one of the slams made of them by almost every one on the right. I think the voters of the Awards which includes you and I are very typical of the readers at large which is why Baen, and those of Sad Puppies writ large, don’t get nominated.

        We don’t read their books as we don’t definitely don’t purchase them and therefore we don’t nominate them for any Awards. Of course the Sad Puppies fulfill this by not being involved in these Awards in any meaningful numbers, so they don’t even get to nominate their works.

        Liked by 1 person

        • There’s an obvious USA-ian political corollary here, with those who voted for/are voting for Trump and his imitators and lackies continually asking “How could he lose? Everyone we know voted for him”. In the formerly purple/now red state where I live, after Obama won in 2008, there was a large Tea Party group who tried to do their own investigation of the voting results, because there was no possible way the Obama could have beaten McCain by almost five percentage points.

          tl/dr, Obama did in fact win by that margin. And their ‘investigation’ went nowhere. But it reinforced and promoted this weird notion that if an election or award vote was lost, it *must* have been due to foul play.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’d be really, really interested to see sales figures for the Tor titles vs Baen titles. Not just the best selling tiles, but across the board.

            I know, to use him as an example, Green isn’t going to be one of their top sellers, as his best series, the Ismael Jones franchise is on Severn House and will remain there as long as it runs. But how does his sales now compare to his sales when he was at his first say his Nightside series? I have a guess and it ain’t good for him.

            But just how do they compare? Is it a factor of ten? Or even worse? I’m guessing that’s either is reasonable assumption. And I have no reason to assume that doesn’t hold true to when we compare Baen to Ace or any of what I call the Great Houses.

            It’s no wonder they resent us.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I have not run the numbers for publishers and the Hugo Award but I did for the Best Novel Nebula. Granted, this is ten years old now but the results were interesting. At least to me:

              Eliminating all the single wins, sorted by number of wins

              Publisher Wins Wins/Noms Longest unbroken stretch
              Ace 7 0.22 1966-1969
              Tor Books 6 0.12 1985-1987
              Ballantine* 4 0.19
              Bantam 4 0.14 1992-1993
              Galaxy 4 0.67 1971-1973
              Harcourt 3 0.43
              Harper 3 0.19
              Analog 2 0.22

              * I lumped Ballantine and Del Rey together.

              Tor books were most frequently nominated but proportionately less likely* to win than books from other imprints. People complained about certain publishers having a lock on the Nebula back then but the results didn’t support that.

              * Most likely: every Nebula-finalist novel published by Chilton, Macmillan and Seven Stories Press went on to win the Nebula. In contrast, Tor was one of the publishers who nominees were least likely to win, at least as of 2014, at 12%. Only Avon (7%) and Doubleday (6%) had lower ratios of finalists to winners.

              Usual disclaimers apply.


              Liked by 2 people

                • I didn’t keep track of which winner was from which publisher and I cannot now find whatever book I had in mind. However, some SF books end up being published by non-SF publisher: thus Chilton, which specialized in automobile repair manuals, had a single SF novel, Dune.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • MCD is a Macmillan imprint, I get the impression they’re more literary, but they did The Mountain in the Sea from this year’s Nebula novel finalists.

                  FSG and Henry Holt are Macmillan imprints that have had Andre Norton finalists, as well as the Tor/Tor Teen imprints.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Here’s a question.

                    Do we know how many books each publishes in a given year on the average? I know it varies, but we should be able to average it out.


                    • Here’s some crude reporting I did last year for the years 2016-2021. It’s mainly focussed on debut author stats, but the first number on each line shows the number of original novels (i.e. excluding collections/anthologies/chapbook novellas etc) those publishers put out that year.


                      NB: The “Tor” figure excludes other Tom Doherty imprints like, Nightfire, Tor Teen, Tor UK, Fischer Tor, etc.


                    • So Tor, Ace and Orbit, are the market leaders? Not terrible surprising, is it?

                      What surprised me in those numbers is that almost everyone else including Baen is publishing the same number of original titles.

                      So the question isn’t how many titles they publish in a given year but how well they sell, is it? How many units does a title move? If the margin are tight on each book are fairly tight and everything I’ve me tells me they are, you need to sell a lot of units per title to make a reasonable profit.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I feel like it should be trivially easy to provide numbers and yet… ISFBD lists books by publisher by year but there’s no handy quantity provided that I can see and I really don’t want to count by hand.

                      I thought Dozois gave numbers by publisher in his annual summary. No luck in the most recent (and final) Best off. Then I thought “Surely Locus’ annual summary will have it.” Not that I could see, although I see that they did in the past.

                      Looking at Baen’s site, they seem to list six or seven new books a month. Assuming I am not misunderstanding, that would be in excess of 72 books a year? But I can’t work out what the numbers are for tor (tor dot com in particular seems to be 20 per year).


                    • I check out the Baen site at least once a month and I get their newsletter.

                      Yes they do publish that many titles a month and they are new titles. Bet you an imported Ritter dark chocolate bar that you won’t be reading most of them — Larry Correa, John Ringo and the like dominate the releases. Though I did spot a new book by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.


                    • (WordPress won’t let me reply directly to the comment this is a response to, and I’m not sure if WordPress will show this above it – apologies for any confusion.)

                      >JDN: “I feel like it should be trivially easy to provide numbers and yet… ISFBD lists books by publisher by year but there’s no handy quantity provided that I can see and I really don’t want to count by hand.”

                      Ah, sweet summer child… for good or ill, ISFDB is very much oriented around publications – which can be different printings of the same edition, variant covers for otherwise identical books etc – rather than titles, which makes doing aggregated stats a real PITA. A couple of gotcha areas off the top of my head:

                      * Any given publisher/imprint may have multiple “publisher” entries in ISFDB. e.g. there are 15 different “Gollancz” variants, 8 “Orbit” variants (which is a different entity from “Orbit US”, which itself has 4 different variants), 11 “Del Rey” variants (again different from “Del Rey UK”, etc. To get accurate publisher counts, you’d have to check all of them and account for any dupes.

                      * I think the vast majority of people would agree that stuff that’s published as ebooks only counts as books. However, all pieces of short fiction that are published on the website are also published as individual standalone ebooks – should they count towards a published books total? (And don’t get me started on Tor Books vs vs TorDotCom Publishing, which I strongly suspect is incorrectly modelled in ISFDB…)

                      >JDN: “Looking at Baen’s site, they seem to list six or seven new books a month. Assuming I am not misunderstanding, that would be in excess of 72 books a year?”

                      I’ve mentioned in a different comment on this thread that I built some tools that work out debut (novel) author stats from ISFDB, but as part of that they (a) try to rationalize all the publisher variants, and (b) come up with annual stats for new novels from that publisher. Those come up with much lower figures for Baen in recent years:

                      2015: 21; 2016: 27; 2017: 26; 2018: 22; 2019: 23; 2020: 25; 2021: 26; 2022: 25

                      Some of that discrepancy is down to me not counting anthologies – which Baen seems to put out quite a lot of? – but are you perhaps going by the monthly bundles listed on their site? Those seem to include reprints e.g. the Dec 2022 bundle includes a 1991 novel.

                      > JDN: “But I can’t work out what the numbers are for tor (tor dot com in particular seems to be 20 per year)”

                      The figures I came up with Tor Books novels only (excludes books from, TorDotCom Publishing, Tor Teen, Tor Nightfire, Tor UK etc, but includes any from “Tor Fantasy”):

                      2015: 83; 2016: 81; 2017: 71; 2018: 61; 2019: 60; 2020: 55; 2021: 40, 2022: 43

                      The **novel only** numbers I have for are:

                      2015: 2; 2016: 7; 2017: 12; 2018: 12; 2019: 6; 2020: 11; 2021: 11; 22: 20.

                      Things are complicated by the fact that a number “novellas” are slightly over 40k words (e.g. Elder Race) and thus ISFDB categorizes them as novels.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Digital books are reported separately from print books; likewise audiobooks, both as actually hard media and as streamed media are also tallied differently.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Though we need a bigger data sample, I suspect that much bigger order of magnitude would not change the results. Why? Because Tor simply in all aspects far out outclasses, and yes I do mean that word, Baen.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Tor has no niche, they just sell an amazingly wide wide selection of genre fiction. That’s also true of Ace and Orbit.

                      Baen doesn’t really have a niche either as they do a fairly wide range of genre fiction. The problem I think is that they are perceived by the greater readership of fandom having a niche because their most visible writers are Correia and Ringo, so Baen in a guilt by association is thought to be publishing that sort of fiction only.

                      Just a theory of course.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • MCD published Jeff Vandermeer’s most recent novels also; his Southern Reach trilogy was under the FSG imprint.


                    • The Souther Reach trilogy was stellar. As per my longstanding practice, I never watch a series or film based off a work that I truly like as it can’t be any better than what is in my mind.


                    • No doubt it does. I’ve just been holding true doing to that for decades now. Occasionally I ended reading something after seeing a film, eg I saw The Wizard of Oz long before I read., but I’ve no interest in seeing The City & The City series as I deeply, madly love that book.

                      Liked by 1 person

                • St. Martin’s Press publishes genre books. A lot of urban fantasy, particularly by women writers, was published by St. Martin’s rather than Tor. Historical fantasy also tends to end up at St. Martin’s rather than Tor.

                  The Macmillan YA imprints also publish a lot of genre stuff.

                  Liked by 1 person

            • The Nightside series came out at the height of the urban fantasy boom, so it probably sold a lot better for Ace than for Baen.

              Though Green is an interesting case, because even though he’s British, his books are not all that easy to find in the UK, whether published by Baen or by Ace. Green also seems to be somewhat apart from the British SFF scene, though he did attend the Dublin Worldcon.


              • Green in part wasn’t big into Con scene because he’s has serious health problems for at least the last twenty years.

                To my knowledge, the only series that has a UK publisher is his Ishmael Jones series which is Severn House. It’s available on hardcover from them and is eleven books deep so far.

                Liked by 1 person

            • The Nebula voters are fellow SFF authors, so not regular readers. The Hugos have a mix of some author voters but the bulk are fan readers willing to cough up for WorldCon or buy a voting associate membership. So there’s overlap but it’s two different crowds/types of awards. The Nebulas are about impressing your fellow creators, most of whom are fairly knowledgeable about what has come out. So it’s not strictly what is popular/sells the best though successful books do get nods. Whereas for the Hugos, the nominees for Best Novel are almost always major bestsellers. The Nebula voting base changes as members come or go, but not as radically as the Hugo voting base which becomes markedly different depending on where each WorldCon is held and is far more a global group, especially if the WorldCon is held in a non-US location.

              85-89% of the English language market for SFF is still white authors from a publishing industry that is 90% white. POC authors still have to overcome significant hurdles and when some are successful and get attention, for awards or otherwise, a lot of white authors perceive this as a threat to their status rather than progress and growth for the field. As we learned in the sexist kerfluffle over the SFWA Bulletin about ten years ago, the membership of the SFWA does still skew older, white and men authors and had a problem attracting newer authors, especially POC, women, etc, because it was seen as not doing enough for professional authors in the U.S. market. They’ve worked hard to change that over the decade and there are indeed active members who have a more global reach and have a wider range of interests in what they see as impressive storytelling in SFF.

              Tor and other big houses have wide, global distribution. They can do simultaneous launches of titles in multiple countries and coordinate publicity, etc. That attracts authors to them, including authors doing some interesting things as novels or short fiction which might impress their fellow authors. They also can cross-market titles, gaining a wider variety of vendors/eyeballs in sales outlets — getting general fiction media, suspense media, YA when appropriate, etc. Baen is a prominent medium sized house that has not tried to overgrow. It is distributed by I think Simon & Schuster and has global distribution thereby but it does not do simultaneous launches, does not do a lot of cross-marketing, centers on U.S. sales and is more wholesale mass market centered in seeking sales outlets than the bigger houses are at this point, after the wholesale market shrinkage of the 1990’s. And they’ve used symbiotic collaborations of older authors with younger ones to great effect.

              Most authors have worked with more than one big house, or a big house and a smaller one like Baen. It’s not clearly defined sports teams. Some authors do a lot of short fiction and try to place it in magazines and anthologies. Those authors are more likely logically to get noms for the shorter fiction awards. Some authors don’t do much or any short fiction, which means the only award they are engaging their fellow Nebula voters on is Best Novel — one award, one shot. So there’s not much point in measuring how many new titles Baen brings out versus Tor. The two houses have always had different operating procedures and distribution parameters. Puppies and others who keep insisting that Baen and Tor are equals, are the same as publishers, are making a false equivalence that doesn’t make much sense. And it’s really a dis of a brand that Baen worked very hard to build.

              Retro-style fiction can impress other authors who vote in the Nebulas. So can military SF and S&S fantasy. But you have to have something those members (who again do still skew older and white but are generally pretty well read) find interesting. Tor has the resources and the finances to make deals with authors who take big swings or are doing something weird. Baen can still do this also, but logistically, they’re going to do it less often. They are going to get offered those projects less often because they are a smaller house. But they also have a chance to catch a gem the larger houses missed that will build with word of mouth or publish a side book with a larger author that might take off. (That’s how Night Shade built their impressive list before the financial mismanagement tanked them.)

              Make your house welcoming and authors will come. Having an editor at Baen accuse authors who run SFWA of rigging the Nebula award elections is not a way to do that. That doesn’t mean that publishers and authors can’t criticize the SFWA or the Nebulas. That happens all the time. But this wasn’t criticism; it was pushing a conspiracy theory to make an unfounded accusation against other authors mainly for being published by other houses than Baen. For authors, that screams instability, hostility and a lack of professionalism. Don’t know if Baen has attempted to repair the damage, but they certainly should.

              Liked by 1 person

        • “But it isn’t just that Tor is the largest publisher (which is it is) but that it publishes the fiction the vast majority of genre readers want to be reading.”

          Didn’t Tor used to have a mission statement along the lines of “good books people want to read” or was that another publisher? Publishing books people want to read seems like a very good way to become the biggest publisher. Granted, there is also “get a lot of money from Harlequin for a line of studiously unambitious space opera books” but that approach was not sustainable.


          • Mission statements are something that gets create and everyone else ignores. (Green Man, my review site, has the mission statement of “We do what our cats want us to do.”) But yes, I think Tor / Forge has a mission of publishing as many books as possible that appeal to readers who like SFF. And they’re succeeding.

            Now that’s not any different from say Ace except for scale, is it? I genuinely believe that these publishers, well the editors, like what they are doing and the are proud of the books they put out.

            Liked by 2 people

            • In the ancient year of 2008, the libertarian magazine wrote an article about the libertarian SF publisher – Tor noting that Tor dominated the Prometheus awards (Baen does get mentioned as a “friendly rival” to Tor).

              Of course, Tor stuck with its libertarian roots by opposing state violence (BLM) and supporting individual freedoms; I suspect that they’d also agree with Heinlein’s conclusion in Beyond this Horizon about the leaders of a failed attack on the capitol of that future society:

              There is a difference between constructive imagination and wild, uncontrolled daydreams. The latter is psychopathic — megalomania — unable to distinguish between fact and fancy. The other is hard-headed. In any case, the fact remains that
              they did not have a single competent scientist, nor a synthesist of any sort, in their whole organization. I venture to predict that, when we get around to reviewing their records, we will find that the rebels were almost all — all, perhaps — men who
              had never been outstandingly successful at anything. Their only prominence was among themselves.

              Hamilton thought this over to himself. He had noticed something of the sort. They had seemed like thwarted men. He had not recognized a face among them as being anyone in particular outside the Survivors Club. But inside the club they were swollen with self-importance, planning this, deciding that, talking about what they would do when
              they “took over.” Pipsqueaks, the lot of ’em.”


          • To be fair, Baen does publish what its readers want to read and those readers seem to want an endless stream of extruded military SF product. The thing they can’t or won’t see is that beyond their specific bubble, not a lot of general SFF readers want to read that, let alone nominate it for awards.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ahhhh, endless stream of extruded military SF product. Isn’t there a shorter German term for it? Scheunenhof scheiße I believe. Yeah I looked it up as my Uni German was forty years pass.


            • That’s “generic extruded military SF product”.

              LMBPN at least runs spellcheck and does proper editing. The few of their books I’ve read for free were competent beach-book entertainment. And being in KU, there’s always a new one for free. No having to pay for whatever few come out whenever from Baen. Some also tend to be a smidge less MAGA. Non-ideological pew-pew.


              • I think part of the LMBPN principle is also to keep books free of blatant politics of either kind, though of course politics creep in. Meanwhile, the puppy stance (and partly the Baen stance) is “We want no political preaching in our fiction, unless it’s political preaching for our side, then it’s totally apolitical entertainment.”

                Liked by 1 person

        • I’m similar and only read a small number of Baen authors – Simon R. Green being one of them. And I only read Baen books, if I already like the author or if they come highly recommended by people I trust. Even if I could find a random Baen book by a new to me author on the shelves – which I can’t due to their bad distribution – it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll just pick it up on a lark, because – rightly or wrongly – I immediately assume that I’m not the target audience.


          • I’m not their target audience either.

            And they’re cheating on what they are calling new releases. I just clicked on the “NEW FANTASY FROM BEST-SELLING AUTHOR JANE LINDSKOLD” release and it actually had been published by them last year in hardcover, this was the first trade paper edition. Bad publisher!

            So I scanned all of the January through March releases. Of those months, only two were new. So yes, they are publishing twenty four a year most likely which is what our host found in his research.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Come to think of it, Baen also takes extremely long to publish books that were first published in hardcover in paperback and then you often get a trade paperback so huge that it barely fits into standard shelves. My Baen trade omnibus editions of Susan R. Matthews’ Fleet series are so huge that they are stacked on top of the shelves, rather than shelves properly.

              Liked by 1 person

              • And there’s the question of what they pay their authors. If their book unit sale numbers are lower then the major publishers, a reasonable assumption give their limited distribution, it is reasonable to assume that the payout to writers is lower as well.


              • To be fair to Baen, that’s a circumstance common to all the publishers. The collapse of the wholesale mass market in the 1990’s made publishers more dependent on the bookstores since non-bookstore vendors dropped in number and amount of copies they took. And the bookstores concentrated their business on hardcovers and trade paperbacks, as not being wholesalers, they have a harder time making money on the bulk discount sales of mass market paperbacks. So mass market paperbacks went up in price and publishers in mass market pbk heavy fields, like genre fiction, started doing more novels in hardcover or trade paperback to start, for more reviews, library sales and to please bookstores.

                So if a title has enough of a sales base to get a hardcover debut (or they gamble on a newbie in hc) then it often makes sense to first do a trade paperback version after and wait on the mass market paperback. While the hardcovers and trade paperbacks won’t sell in as large numbers as the bulk mass market, they can stay on the shelves for longer at bookstores and sell well over time. And readers who are willing to buy print over e-books to have a physical copy they actually own often prefer trade paperback or hardcover editions as they last longer. And wholesalers like Amazon will sell them all plus the e-book.

                Baen is more mass market centered than most of the larger publishers. That’s partly why they do the garish retro covers — they stand out on wholesale racks. But they also have to rely more on bookstores than they used to, so they also do the whole hardcover, trade paper, mass market progression on more titles than they used to twenty or thirty years ago. But so do the big ones like Tor.

                Liked by 1 person

            • FWIW – and to try to pre-empt any complaints that the posters on this site are spreading untruths about Baen – I think there are/were more than just two new titles published by Baen in the first three months of this year:

              Jan: Mission Critical by Griffin Barber and 3 other authors; The Scarab Mission by James L. Cambias; Poor Man’s Sky by Wil McCarthy

              Feb: Thaw by Arlan Andrews, Sr.

              Mar: Time Trials by M. A. Rothman and D. J. Butler; The Moon and the Desert by Robert E. Hampson; Into the Vortex by Charles E. Gannon; Melt by Arlan Andrews, Sr.

              This excludes any anthologies/collections/chapbooks/etc. The two Arlan Andrews, Sr. novels look like they might be ebook only releases.

              That said, it’s quite possible that the tooling that came up with those has made errors, or the ISFDB data it uses wasn’t aware of earlier publications, etc.

              Liked by 1 person

      • The only things I know for sure are from Tor are the stuff I read on Which I forget before Hugo-nominating time, because i read so much online, like Clarkesworld and Uncanny.


        • I once got the publisher of a Hugo finalist short story mixed up on a podcast episode to discuss the Hugo ballot. The story was published by and I mistakenly thought it was Uncanny.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting that Bujold appears to have acquired the electronic rights to her work and is publishing it herself.
      Baen published one (1) novel by C J Cherryh, but didn’t repeat the experiment.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. “I didn’t keep track of which winner was from which publisher and I cannot now find whatever book I had in mind. However, some SF books end up being published by non-SF publisher: thus Chilton, which specialized in automobile repair manuals, had a single SF novel, Dune. ”

    Chilton did have other SF novels published – at least one of which was nominated for a Hugo (Witches of Karres).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Something Orbit and Tor have in common is that they are pretty generous with review copies. Not sure about Ace.


  7. Threading seems to have hit its limit.

    “Bet you an imported Ritter dark chocolate bar that you won’t be reading most of them — Larry Correa, John Ringo and the like dominate the releases.”

    I haven’t read anything from Baen since the Sad Puppies thing. OK, I was unlikely to read Larry Correa, John Ringo, and Tank Marmot but Baen has a healthy line in old stuff I might otherwise want to review, as well as new material from Lee, Miller, Powers, McCarthy, and others. Baen seems to be a publisher of last resort for a lot of talented authors who other publishers have abandoned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They definitely are a publisher of last resort for talented authors who have lost their publisher for various reasons. These authors often have existing fanbases and the idea is to draw them into the Baen eco-system.

      It doesn’t work with me, because I will buy a Simon R. Green, Tim Powers, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, P.C. Hodgell or Howard Andrew Jones book from Baen, but won’t buy Correia or Ringo or David Weber or whoever.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I really don’t care who the publisher is as I, not surprisingly snd I think that is true of (almost) every other reader as well as we care about writers and their fiction.

        That said, Baen constantly when I did pick their hardcover books about fifteen years ago drove me nuts by their shitty editing. I mean fuck, a cat shitting in a litter was more careful than they were sometimes. Even characters names changed within a book. And sentences? Who knew they structured that way? I didn’t.

        Not to mention the terrible quality of the printings — bad ink, terrible paper, bad bindings.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I am sure I’ve mentioned this before but … 20 years ago? on usenet, Eric Flint said that Baen noticed editing Weber delayed release but had no effect on sales, so they stopped doing that in the interesting of giving readers what they want in a timely manner.

          As I recall, people got about as upset over that as they did over Flint’s changes to Schmitz. You would think people who disapproved of one would be OK with the other.

          Liked by 2 people

          • No surprise there. I like well-edited fiction as I’ll assume everyone who reads your site does.

            Baen readers aren’t nearly that fussy. Indeed I’d consider what they read much more akin to fan fiction — written for fanatical fans who want as much product as possible and don’t care that *much* about quality.


            • I toiled in the fanzine mines for years as writer and editor back in the day when they were still on paper. Bad editing and copy meant nobody would buy the zine you’d paid your local xerox place to print. And you wouldn’t get nominated for awards, either, like I did once.


              • Er, I was nominated. Twice. Because I could spell, punctuate, and knew grammar and continuity. As did the other writers/editors I worked with.

                So our stuff sold and people wanted to be in our zines.

                Back then, we’d have put some of Baen in our equivalent of the “Hogu” awards, along with gems that would have fit in Mr. Langfield’s (occasionally of this parish) works of Thog.

                Like we said — “that’s not writing, it’s typing.”


              • Mhm. Especially since zines could range in price from $10 to $25, depending on the zine.

                My Business Office English instructor told us to always proofread from the bottom of a document up — the cognitive dissonance would help you notice typos normally overlooked. I do that still.

                Liked by 1 person

          • IIRC during the Kerfuffle, Weiskopf publicly said the customers didn’t care so they didn’t bother.

            I’ve noticed in their anthologies, the stories from authors who’ve published widely elsewhere (and often won awards) will have clean copy and editing. The others, particularly the in-house writers… don’t. Lee and Miller also send them edited copy.

            The changes to Schmitz were a crime against literature. Not editing is a self-inflicted wound that only hurts the Baen authors. I do wish they’d at least run spellcheck.


        • I suspect the editing issues and particularly the outdated and garish cover design is hurting Baen, because it puts off non-hardcore fans who might have picked up a book. Whenever I have a Baen book publicly lying around, I always tell people, “Yes, I know the cover is terrible, but the book is really good.”

          I have actually seen Baen cover art without the titles, blurbs, etc… and some of it is actually quite good in isolation. But then they slap on the garish fonts and the result looks like something you might have found in a drugstore spinner rack in 1985.


            • I’d guess that you’re right. That sort extruded miltrary SF is available everywhere these days at very reasonable prices, hell, it’s being given away by Amazon on Kindle Unlimited by the brown stained bushel full.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Yup, both content mills like LMNBP or Chris Kennedy Books as well as individual indie authors are going after Baen’s military SF and post-apocalyptic readership and their books are all in KU, so cheaper to read. LMBPN also invests quite a bit into editing.

              Something similar sank the early digital erotica publishers. When self-publishing became a thing, self-publishers started dominating the erotica market, pushing out the digital erotica publishers.

              Liked by 1 person

          • In a Books-A-Million store which is the only store I saw them before the pandemic (remember because of the severe knee injury and three surgeries so far and a total knee replacement this summer, I haven’t been in one in well over two years), there was about a dozen or so titles — Corriea, Lee & Miller and Weber.

            Liked by 1 person

            • In Europe, I’ve only ever seen Baen Books in the bigger Forbidden Planet stores (London and Birmingham) and at Hodges Figgis in Dublin, a bookstore James Joyce actually mentioned in Ulysses. I suspect Larry Correia would freak out at his books being carried in such a literary place.

              Liked by 2 people

              • I’m really surprised that they are there. I wonder how well they see. They must see, or they wouldn’t other stocking th


              • Very limited in number, the old Waterstones across Dawson Street carried more. FP carry some, I assume, but the staff are so obnoxious I don’t go there.


                • It’s on of the things I like about all chain stores here. Unless you needed to interact with the staff, you could pretty much ignore them and just spend a lot of time in the store browsing the books. Borders and Books-A-Million each had rather reasonably deep genre sections.

                  Now the Borders here, long gone obviously, had an excellent staff, many of which really did like our genre. Some of them got hired by Books-A-Million which took over their space.

                  Weird thing about our Books-A-Million — they didn’t have a separate mystery section for the decade they were there. They just mixed them in with the regular fiction.

                  They did have an incredibly large graphic novel section.


                • My experiences with Forbidden Planet staff were usually positive, though it’s been a while since I’ve last been there. Mostly, they left you alone, unless you had a question.

                  It was definitely far better than the typical “woman enters a comic shop” experience. Cleaner, too, considering I’ve been in comic shops that were fire hazards waiting to happen.


                  • Independent comic shops here tend to be clean and not to crowded, but they are definitely not places that I’ve seen more than a very women shopping there in all my years of getting product there.

                    In contrast, Newbury Comics at the Mall when I was still out and about had lots of female comic customers. Mine you they were buying mostly graphic novels but that was fine by me.


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