Hugo Nomination and Thoughts

My short story “Goodnight Stars” which appears in The End is NOW edited by John J Adams and Hugh Howey, was nominated for a Hugo.  The story will be in the nomination packet as well as online for free soon now, so that those who wish to read it may. I’m damn proud of this story (the entire set of stories I wrote for the Apocalypse Triptych actually, I think might be some of my best work ever).

I should be dancing about this. Inside, I am a bit. Because it’s a damn good story, maybe the best short story I’ve ever written (and I’ve written over 100 of those things in the last six years).  But this Hugo season is full of controversy, which I’m not going to really talk about, because I find it exhausting and I have better things to do. This will be my only statement about it, if I can help it.

To clarify some things that shouldn’t matter but apparently do:

I am a socialist, if I have to quantify my political leanings. I’d vote Elizabeth Warren into the presidency if she ran, though she’s still not liberal enough for me (but she’s smart enough, too smart to run probably, hah), if that gives an idea of what I mean here.

I am queer in that I am an out bisexual who has had more female partners than male. (I am married and monogamous with a man but still identify as bi because I don’t think who I ended up in love with should matter).

I have two X chromosomes and a vagina. Also boobs. And tattoos (90 hours and counting!).

My nominated story features a non-white female protagonist. Most of my stories do, actually. I think the world is a very interesting and diverse place, I grew up in a multi-ethnic and diverse family, and I don’t see our future becoming less diverse so I choose to write about a world that has as many different people in it as I can dream up.

Honestly, the thought that the above information would change whether or not my story gets read and considered, in either direction, makes me a little sick to my stomach.  I am not so naive, however, that I think we exist in a political and social vacuum. So I figure these things need to be said by me, so that at least the information is out there. People will still make whatever assumptions they want to, and will vote however they want to. That’s out of my control.

What is in my control is how hard I work at my job. I am a professional SF/F writer. I’ve attended more than 20 workshops over the last five years, always striving to deliver better and more awesome stories for my readers. I work my ass off on my craft and on the business side. I’ve sold over thirty short stories to magazines and anthologies. I’ve sold nearly a quarter million books as an indie author.

My job, as I see it, is to write the best damn books I can, books that readers will love and not be able to put down.

I feel that “Goodnight Stars” is one of my best accomplishments. My editors, many reviewers, and my readers have agreed with this.  I think I get as much fan mail about my stories in the Triptych as I do about my bestselling urban fantasy series. So I hope the story gets read and judged on its own merits. If it doesn’t… well… not much will change.

I’ll still be here, working to write better and better books. Because I have the best fans and readers a writer could ask for, supporters who allow me to go on being a full time author and to keep doing my job.

And that is an award nobody can take away from me. 🙂

58 Responses to “Hugo Nomination and Thoughts”

  1. Mike W

    My favorite part of reading anything by you is how you seem to improve with each telling. As an aspiring author myself I have to thank you for giving me courage to make the mistakes rather than seek perfection on my first try. Granted this is why I am up until all hours of the night trying again and again, but I love it nonetheless. Basically you rock. And I CAN’T WAIT FOR APRIL 7TH! SAMIR GOIN’ DOWN!

  2. Paul Weimer

    Congratulations on your nomination 🙂

  3. Hugh Howey

    *standing ovation*

    The only thing I need to know you can write your fool head off is your works. Congratulations on the nomination — truly deserved. The rest is noise. Stay awesome.

    • Annie

      Thanks, Hugh. And many thanks for inviting me into those anthologies. I hope I have lived up to expectation and it has been a joy working with you and John 🙂

  4. johnhartness

    Congratulations on your nomination. Sorry there are politics taking away some of the shine of the moment. Please don’t let the haters ruin the sense of accomplishment. Great job!

  5. Robert Reynolds

    Be the best you you can possibly be. No one else has a right to expect more than that. I haven’t read “Goodnight Stars” as yet, but I trust to the editors involved and what I’ve seen of your other work that it will likely be worth my time. Congratulations on the nomination. If you’re comfortable in your own skin, you’re playing with house money.

  6. Guess

    I don’t see why its a bad thing that a group of people who have different political views than you want to nominate you based solely on the quality of your work. Good is good. It looks like your most popular series is urban fantasy. There is a very large urban fantasy fan base in the “group that nominated you that you don’t want to name”. You could wind up with a large increase in your fan base from people who completely different political views.

    I don’t see why people should bother you just because people with different political views think you have talent.

  7. Matthew Asnip

    Just get down to that sick beat, shake it off and dance! You deserve it. Your story is quite good.


  8. Murgy

    I’m sorry you’re getting flak. Brave heart. It won’t last.
    I want stories that make me laugh, giggle, cry, mourn and/or cheer. Do that, before all else, and you get on my short list of “buy this now”. All the rest – don’t care. None of My Business.

  9. Chris Gerrib

    Annie: I’m sorry you’re getting grief. I really am, and for what it’s worth this is one Hugo voter who will read and seriously consider your story.

    Unfortunately, you got nominated in a year in which a small group of people deliberately gamed the system largely in order to piss off, frankly, people like you.

    • David, internet troll

      The “small group of people deliberately gam[ing] the system” had “Goodnight Stars” on the slate of suggested nominees which is probably (can’t speak to certainties here) why it made the cut. Their idea of “deliberately gaming the system” is “Hey! Let’s pick worthy works that we like, irregardless of who wrote them, and promote them on the ballot!” We should be so lucky as to have even more people gaming the system this way.

      • Annie

        Thank you both for your kind messages. Can we please not drag the fight onto my blog? I’m exhausted and am just not up for moderating. 🙁

  10. Michael Ankenbrandt

    Congratulations on your nomination! The recent HHH (Hugo Hoo Haw) with Sad Puppies brought your name to my attention. I went back to the Apocalypse Triptych stories to look you up, and I saw your two stories “Goodnight Moon” (my favorite of the two actually) and “Goodnight Stars” were two of the best of the bunch. I’ve now purchased the first of the Twenty Sided Sorceress series, and am looking forward to exploring your other material.

    A question: are there any of your published works you are particularly proud of and might recommend to a new reader?

    • Annie

      Thank you, Michael.

      I’m pretty proud of all my work, but if I had to choose favorites (is this like picking a favorite child?) I’d say 20sided Sorceress series (my current darling, ha, and I get to shove all my love of gaming and nerd stuff into that series). I love Avarice, too, because writing a fantasy police procedural novel was a lot of fun.

      For the short fiction, I think (which is free) and are two pieces where I really achieved what I set out to do when writing them. My most current short stories, both reprints and some originals, are in the Forgotten Tigers and Other Stories collection, and I feel that collection is very strong as well.

      There are also a bunch of my stories available on various websites and Amazon for free. I think most are listed under the “free fiction” tab above, if you want to get more of a sampler of my work that way.

      Happy reading. I hope you enjoy!

      • Lea

        I love urban fantasy and am always looking for new books. I will try the first of the 20 sided sorceress books!

        Congrats on your nom and try not to let the haters get you down.

  11. mporciuscato

    Congratulations on your nomination (coming here from a Correia Link) and your work seems to be definitely worth following up.

  12. andonsage

    Also came here from a Correia blog link. I read stories by left-wing (e.g. Eric Flint, a self-proclaimed Trotskyite) to right-wing (e.g. Tom Kratman) authors. As long as the story is good, I don’t care who wrote it 🙂 Anyway, I just bought “Justice Calling,” and look forward to reading it after I finish Jerry Pournelle’s “The Prince.” 🙂

  13. Cirsova

    Reblogged this on Cirsova and commented:
    It’s terrible that this writer feels the need to offer an apologia for having been included on the Sad Puppies slate so that she won’t be harassed by those who would otherwise align with her culturally and politically.

    • andonsage

      It’s terrible that the self-proclaimed “tolerant” feel the need to harass.

      • Annie

        To be fair, I’ve only gotten a handful of emails telling me things like I should be ashamed of myself, that my nomination means someone who writes actually good fiction won’t be on there, etc. Most people have been very kind through this whole mess, and the ones that aren’t being kind have at least mostly kept it out of my personal space. It’s mostly a handful that have made me cry, not the majority. 😛

  14. David, internet troll


    Allow me to apologize. I have no wish to cause you any trouble, and I am happy to shut up about the whole kerfluffle. By the way, I forgot to tell you congratulations on your nomination. I wish you the best of luck in the voting.

  15. Jon Nials

    See, this is what most people don’t understand. You got the nomination because you deserved it. Your politics is pretty much the opposite of mine, but I plan on reading the whole damn list for the Hugo Nom and voting for what is best in my opinion.

    Because I care about the story. Because I want to be entertained. I want to see the possibilities of the human spirit.

    Based on what I am reading here, I should have some good reading to look forward to.

  16. Libertarian soldier

    Also came here from MHN. Based on your recommendation ( and his) bought the first three books of 20sided sorceress series. Looks interesting.
    Female bisexual tattooed socialist? Sounds like a great character for a book!

  17. jeffro

    Congratulations on your nomination! I’m looking forward to reading your story.

    Also: glad there’s another gamer on the shortlists!

  18. rcade

    “You got the nomination because you deserved it.”

    Unfortunately, the bloc voting campaign makes it impossible to say that, in my opinion. Because of the small number of Hugo voters — under 900 made nominations for best novella in 2014 — it is a process that is easy to manipulate by people all voting as a bloc. The 150-250 people who voted for the Puppies slates in full (my estimate) drowned out the rest of us who were making individual votes for works we favored.

    When you look at the ballot and see entire categories full of nothing but the slates selected by two people, Brad Torgersen and Vox Day, it tarnishes the achievement of Hugo nomination for all the nominees. Day even put himself, his publishing houses and his authors all over the ballot, which is an obvious and brazen example of self-dealing.

    I feel for Annie Bellet and the other nominees who should be able to bask in their achievement without this black cloud over the news. But as a Hugo voter, I don’t see how to strongly oppose the new tactic of bloc voting without using No Award on all slate choices.

    None of this has anything to do with Bellet’s worthiness for a Hugo, of course, and I hope there will be future years when any nominations she receives will be completely free of such concerns.

    • Annie

      That is your choice. Vote No Award and do not read the stories if that is what you feel you have to do for yourself.

      But can you please just keep the negativity out of my space? I’m going to let your comment stand, but I don’t need another lecture, thanks. I aware of how complex the issues are. I’m aware of why each side is hurt etc.
      (I was not aware of the whole Rabid Puppies thing, for what it is worth, which is apparently not much).

      I feel good about my nomination and my story. Everyone else voting can make their own damn decisions. There is no need to explain to me why you won’t be reading my story and deciding based on its merits. I’m good without having to hear that over and over, really.

      Thank you.

    • deutschefolkhero

      Vox is being a self-promoting jerk about it, but I feel Brad meant well, if going about it the wrong way. He noticed something was broke for a very long time, but didn’t take appropriate steps. It’s like the child that sees the fire alarm has malfunctioned, but proves it by lighting the wastebasket on fire rather than telling a teacher. Both let you know something has gone wrong, one is just…a tad bit more drastic and gets quite dramatic results. Best result as it stands now imo, Brad’s picks go forwards, Puppies realise why Vox got involved and change their votes to their own individual choices. That allows acknowledgement the system needed oversight in the past, without falsely awarding a bad player. It technically already IS a populist contest and not one of merit, but the pools of additional self-promoted votes have been so low it’s never really come up before.

      The system was ‘game accessible’ but only recently did the SPs intentionally do so, some I wager doing so because they believe the previous few years were gamed in some way too.
      Rather than state they would vote for a slate, it would probably have been better to say ‘we’re going to do this if you DON’T fix the system before it’s time to vote’
      The way the voting system works, it simply places too much trust on the average attendee, in a time in which a flashmob or private skype chat could change the whole face of it without notice. The voting system is technologically antiquated.
      I’m glad for them exposing this flaw, but dislike the manner in which it’s done. But I also have to give it to the Hugos for taking so long to be ruined in this way. GIFT was proven this week to not be universal, nor as common a tech/SF genre problem as thought.
      I don’t doubt Annie deserves the nod even if I’ve only read one short story. Brad didn’t pull his list out of the aether, after all.

  19. Victor bald

    Congratulations on a well-deserved nomination! You deserve it for writing wonderful stories. Don’t let the haters get you down.

  20. Kimball

    Been roaming around after the Hugos got into such an uproar and i read this and it’s one of the classiest little responses to this i’ve read all day, and you’ve sold me a book. If someone new were to pick up something you wrote and read it, what book would you recommend to them? I’ll pick it up tomorrow.

    • Annie

      Thanks! I guess I’d recommend based on what you like to read. If you like dark fairytales, I’d say Heart in Sun & Shadow. If you like the idea of Law & Order with sword fights, I’d recommend Avarice. If you like DnD and epic fantasy, Gryphonpike Chronicles. If you are a giant nerd like me, The Twenty-Sided Sorceress is full of all that is nerd and is urban fantasy.

      Or if you like short stories, I have multiple collections out as well as quite a few available for free. 🙂

  21. Joe Sherry

    Annie: Congrats on your nomination! I don’t specifically remember your story from The End is Nigh, but I know I enjoyed the entire anthology and I have a copy of The End is Now that I’m very much looking forward to reading – and see how your newer story sparks my memory of the first one.

  22. yamamanama

    Sorry the Sad Puppies campaign is so toxic it’s hurting your chances at getting an award.

    • Cirsova

      It got her nominated. If the people liked her stuff enough to get her nominated, there’s as good a chance that she might win. Better than if she had not been nominated.

      I missed the noms (late for registration) but I, for one, am excited about getting to check out all of the authors in my packet,

      • Annie

        yamamanama- I do not want this kind of thing on my blog. There are plenty of places for people to argue about SP or whatever. My blog ain’t one of them. I am removing your comment about this. Please respect my space.

  23. Hugo roundup | Simon McNeil

    […] Annie Bellet gives a heartwarming short discussion on not wanting to be defined by her personal identity or inclusion on a slate but rather on the quality…. […]

  24. Jen G.

    Congratulations on your nomination!

    I’ve been a bystander to the whole SP3 thing, it seems to me that both sides make good points and both have a tendency to over-exaggerate about their opponent and be over-reactionary. I do like the idea of a campaign to find and nominate the best works that otherwise might get overlooked and nominating one of my favorite stories from one of my favorite anthologies did bias me a bit in their favor.

    Eagerly waiting for May 1st! In the meantime I get a whole new series to explore – win-win

  25. jamesthewanderer

    I found this from Correia / MHN, and wish you the best, happiest (and most profitable) career possible. Out politics do differ, but I believe in quality and entertainment over identity politics, so there you go.
    As soon as I can scrape up some spare cash, I’ll be looking for the Twenty-sided Sorceress series.

  26. Bubba Man

    If I may express my opinion on your nomination.

    I don’t care about your genetic profile or your political leanings. I hear, from folks whose opinions I have reason to respect, that you write a whopping good story, so I’m going to get my hands on your nominated story and read it. And then, having read it, if I think it is as good as I hear, then I will vote for it.

    That’s how this is supposed to work, isn’t it?

    Good luck with your nomination.

    -Bubba man, one of the Bubba’s of the Apocalypse.

  27. Bubba Man

    Sorry for the repost, but I read this and had to laugh;

    =>Female bisexual tattooed socialist? Sounds like a great character for a book!

    Nope, it sounds like one of my daughters!

    -Bubba man, one of the Bubbas of the Apocalypse.

  28. Gamergate-style furore after sci-fi awards hijacked | Bain Daily

    […] who was nominated for her celebrated story Goodnight Stars and did appear on both lists — took to her blog to say she had no knowledge of the campaigns and is committed to […]

  29. Julaire

    “Honestly, the thought that the above information would change whether or not my story gets read and considered, in either direction, makes me a little sick to my stomach. …

    My job, as I see it, is to write the best damn books I can, books that readers will love and not be able to put down.”

    Ms. Bellet, I hadn’t heard of your work prior to the whole Hugo nomination round this year, and, while I’d been observing, I haven’t participated in any meaningful way. But what you said above, and what I explicitly quoted here, led me to go purchase your first two 20-sided Sorceress books (The first was only 99 cents, so I figured I should get two to show some support) sight-unseen. And I hope I find myself liking your work enough to purchase many more of your books in the future, based on the quality of the work. Thank you for being a class act.

    • Annie

      Thank you. I hope you enjoy the books. The nominated story will also soon be available online (the anthology editors are generously putting it up so people can read and vote based on merit, if they so choose).

  30. David Hocking

    Congratulations on your nomination — I wish you the best of luck!

    Hopefully the positive feedback will drown out all the silly negativity.

  31. Brad R. Torgersen

    Annie Bellet belongs on the ballot because Annie Bellet is a terrific writer who has worked very hard and has fought against a lot of nay-saying and professional (as well as personal) obstacles. It’s a huge kick in the pants seeing Annie represented on the ballot, with this story. Kudos, Annie. You earned it!

    • Annie

      Jeff- your comment was deleted because this is not a place for debate. Please take your comments elsewhere and respect my wishes. There is a whole internet out there arguing. Go join it instead of coming here, please.

      • Jeff

        Apologies. I followed a link here from one of those debates and thought you had been nominated without your consent.

      • Annie

        Brad told me he wanted to put me on his ballot. I asked if Vox was involved and he said no. I had no idea about the rapid puppies thing and pretty much ignored/stayed out of the sad puppies thing because it really isn’t my thing, most of the people involved aren’t people I interact with at all, and also I didn’t think anything would come of it. I was flattered that Brad, who very much disagrees with me on many things political and social, liked my work enough to want to recommend it. I still am. I didn’t see this as different from recommendation lists that are posted all the time for these awards. That was my naivete, I guess. I didn’t realize it was a voting block or slate or whatever. I do now, and I’ll be punished for this forever in the SF peer world, I guess.

        That settle it for you? I wrote a damn good story. People hopefully read it and made up their minds about it based on the quality and contents of the story. Hopefully people will also read it in the nominating packet and make up their minds based on the quality and content of the story.

        If people want to No Award me without reading, based on the ideaologies of people who might or might not have voted for my story? Not my problem. I can’t stop them from doing that. People will make up their own minds. All I can do is what I did, which is writing a damn fine story. And, as I said in my post, I’ll go on writing damn fine stories that celebrate diversity and my ideals. Because that’s what I do.

        Everything else? Secondary. If people want to paint me with a broad brush based on things outside my control and ignore who I actually am and what I actually write? Nothing I say or do will change that.

        I’m proud of my nomination. I’m proud of my story. I hope people will read it and decide for themselves if it deserves an award.

        And now I’m really really done talking about this. Sigh.

  32. Jonathon Side

    Congratulations on the nomination. I hope it ends up being a positive experience.

    I’ll have to add your work to the list of stuff I want to look into when I can. Sounds awesome so far.

    First I need to make a list…

  33. perlhaqr

    I’m sorry you had to post this to make up for the thoughtcrime of having been nominated for the Hugo by badthink people. Congratulations on your nomination. I loved the story. 🙂

  34. Army Sergeant

    Congratulations on your nomination and I look forward to reading your work in my packet!

  35. Annie

    Ok, I’m locking comments. I am too emotionally fragile and trying to handle a book launch and writing (you know, my actual career) to deal with this stuff.

    Read my story. Don’t read my story. Vote for it. Don’t vote for it. Whatever. I stand by what I wrote and who I am.

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