It has become customary in recent years for authors of Hugo-nominated works to provide the members of the World Science Fiction convention who get to vote for the awards with electronic copies of their stories. The ball started rolling a few years ago when John Scalzi kindly took the initiative in preparing the first Hugo voters packet; since then it has become almost mandatory to distribute shortlisted works this way.
Unfortunately, as professionally published authors, we can’t do this without obtaining the consent of our publishers. We are bound by contracts that give our publishers the exclusive rights to distribute our books: so we sought their permission first.
This year, Orbit—the publisher of Mira Grant’s “Parasite”, Ann Leckie’s “Ancillary Justice”, and Charles Stross’s “Neptune’s Brood”—have decided that for policy reasons they can’t permit the shortlisted novels to be distributed for free in their entirety. Instead, substantial extracts from the books will be included in the Hugo voters packet.
We feel your disappointment keenly and regret any misunderstandings that may have arisen about the availability of our work to Hugo voters, but we are bound by the terms of our publishing contracts. The decision to give away free copies of our novels is simply not ours to take. However, we are discussing the matter with other interested parties, and working towards finding a solution that will satisfy the needs of the WSFS voters and our publishers in future years.
Finally, please do not pester our editors: the decision was taken above their level.
( Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Charles Stross)