2017 Hugo nominations period nearing a close! (Poll!)

It’s that time of the year again. Time to nominate our favorite science fiction and fantasy works (in different forms, lengths and mediums), as well artists, editors and writers in professional and fan categories.

The deadline is at 06:59 UTC on March 18, 2017 (March 17, 2017 23:59 North American Pacific Daylight Time / UTC-7) and if you have the required membership and voting pin, you can still use the personalized link in the email you received to cast your vote. (I suspect it is too late to mail in a paper ballot, unless you do so via express post.)

Anyone who is a voting member of the 2016, 2017, or 2018 Worldcons by the end of the day on January 31, 2017, is eligible to nominate in this round, but only members of the Helsinki Worldcon can vote on the chosen finalists in the next round, so make your vote count now! Click here to go to the current worldcon website to find out more.)

There are professional and personal blogs and websites around the net listing eligible nominees, for all the categories, and if you click here (for example) you will be taken to a webpage that invites people to suggest their own recommendations, which have been compiled into very helpful lists for each category. No website has a complete list of all eligible works, but some of them might jog your memory, if you recognize a particular book or story on one of them that you had read last year and realized it was definitely worth your vote. (We have such hectic, multi-tasking lives that I suggest that, in the future, you create a list and add to it whenever you read something new during a calendar year, so you can refer back to it during nomination periods.)

This year the rules have been changed up a bit, in regards to how they tally their votes. While you can only nominate up to five titles/names per category, there will be six finalists per category once the numbers have been tallied and their legitimacy verified, to help prevent block voting.

Feel free to participate in the poll below. We’d love to here from you which book (or books) you believe should be nominated for the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Either by adding a new book title (and the author who wrote it) to the poll list options, or by selecting one or more of the options already listed!

Happy voting!

Learning how to impress publishers…it isn’t just a novel idea. (Poll)

When you start writing your first novel, it can be quite daunting imagining the endless amount of words you have to arrange in just the right order to impress an agent, publisher, and eventually, hopefully, legions of readers. But first you have to plot it out, and decide just how big your story will be. I’m not saying big to mean how impressive it will be, but rather asking if you will need more than one book to complete the full story arc, or if you think a standalone format is the perfect length to do justice to your vision.

There are pros and cons to either option.

If you write a standalone, you can make a more immediate impact on potential publishers, and publishers are more willing to commit to a new author if they can already read the conclusion (and obviously like it). When award time comes around, standalone novels are also more likely to win, because your book will have a completed story arc which means it could resonate better with judges and readers. Your debut could even be applauded as an “instant” success.

But on the flip side, unless you show vast potential, publishers are less inclined to give multiple book deals to debut authors who initially give them a standalone, because your track record hasn’t been established yet. They might request right of first refusal for any future novels, but that is not the same as a multi-book deal. You would have to pray that your first book is a runaway success, so you can be offered a bigger, more lucrative, second contract.

If you write a trilogy or series, you are more likely to be offered a multi-book contract from the beginning, even if the publisher has only read the first completed book, because why would a publisher buy the beginning of a series, and not the middle or end? A multi-book contract with a major publisher would definitely a great way to start a career, with multiple opportunities for exposure.

But, yet again, on the flipside, if the publisher does offer you a multi-book contract, unless they believe you are the next George R.R. Martin, the amount they offer a debut author might look very attractive at first blush, but when you break down the amount you would receive for each individual book, you realized you got a bulk discount deal. Not to mention that publishers are less forgiving now, so if your first couple of books underperform, more authors are dropped after their first trilogy than ever before. It makes you realize it’s probably easier to outperform a standalone contract, then try to hit every sale goal on a multi-book contract.

So which is better? Should you focus on one particular model, with the belief you will be more successful? I recommend picking the model that best suits the idea you are most enthusiastic about, so any resulting novel will be produced with as much passion and creativity as possible. With the right amount of talent added in, that would be a winning combination for any type of book.

What do you think? Leave us a comment, or feel free to answer our poll.