I normally don’t ask people to forward on the posts I write but I’m doing it in this particular case, so feel free to point to this or repost it as you see fit.
I’m getting reports from various quarters that some folks have started to complain that the “traditional” Hugo Best Novel ebook package wasn’t available when the nominations were announced, like they were every year before, and that this is just another example of inefficiency/authors not caring/the violence inherent in the system/whatever.
My response to this:
This package isn’t “traditional” — it’s not even handled by the Worldcon or the WSFS. It’s been handled by me when I happen to be on the Best Novel ballot, and it’s brought to you not by the Worldcon, or by the publishers of the books, but by the individual authors of the novel, whom I have asked if they want to provide their texts. They are under no obligation by anyone to offer their texts; they do it because they want to make sure Hugo voters have a chance to see their works before voting. That’s it; that’s all.
Because this is organized by me, I tend not to know everyone who is on the ballot before the ballot actually comes out, so the assertion that these packages were available the same time as the nominations came out is just plain false. As it happens, organizing this package is not easy — even when an author wants to participate, they usually have to get the go-ahead of their respective publishers, some of whom are quite understandably twitchy about letting their product roam free in electronic form. Getting this permission is by no means assured, and it might take a little bit of time.
So: Yes, I’m working on putting a package together this year. No, it’s not ready yet. I’m working on putting it together as quickly as I can, with the help of some of the other nominees, but given that the Best Novels are put out by four different publishers, each with their own concerns and expectations, it’s taking a bit of time. Add to that the fact that I’m also trying to interest other participants in other categories aside from Best Novel to pitch in as well (because among other things, I’m nominated in more than one category), and that each of these require negotiations of their own, and you may begin to appreciate the co-ordination this Hugo package requires. It may be a week or two (or, hell, longer) until I get it squared away.
The point is: Please be patient, and please don’t just assume as potential Hugo voters this is something you’re owed; that seems a bit dismissive of the effort we’re making to get the package to you.