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Posts tagged ‘Hugh Howey’

When is an indie doing well?

I was going to write about the latest payout numbers from the Kindle Unlimited Program today — and I will get to it shortly — but a member of my critique group asked a question Sunday that had me sit back and think. Several weeks before, instead of our regular meeting, we held a mini-workshop. It was something we’d planned for more than a month. We hadn’t advertised it because I was building the workshop around the needs of our group members. During the course of the session, a newcomer came in. That was fine. We invited her to stay and tried to make her a part of the workshop.

Now, during the course of her time with us, she referred to the book she had just self-published and kept telling us it was “selling well”. No explanation. Nothing more than a repeat of the same mantra of it was “selling well”. So, fast forward to this past Sunday and one of our regular members asked, “what does selling well mean to an indie author?”

When Kyle asked me that, I had to think. My immediate response was that it depends on the author and that author’s personal goals. I know there are some authors who are happy just being able to say they have published something. They don’t really look at what their sales are and look at any monies coming in as found money. But that answer sort of cheated, at least in my mind. So I thought for a moment and then asked myself what it meant.

To me, an indie is doing well when she can say that she earned out during a year on one title what she would have made as an advance from a traditional publisher. My response, based on that, was that when I make $5,000 in a year from a single title, I’m selling well. But was I right?

Another member of the group, one who has experience in the romance side of the industry, said my figure was a little high. She said that for some, that figure would be $1,000. So, I did what I often do, I asked our own Sarah what she thought. Her figure was more in line with the $3,000 mark. So there is no set figure, not really. You have to look at what the average advance in your genre for authors of your level happens to be. That means, for most of us, if we earn anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for a title in a year, we have just earned out an advance. In other words, we made as much money as most traditionally published new authors would make for their first few books.

Keep in mind, if you earn that much money and keep earning on a single title, you are doing better than a lot of traditionally published authors who don’t ever earn out their advances.

So, how does this fit in with the new Kindle Unlimited payouts?

That’s simple. As a writer of long fiction, my payments under the new KU rules jumped dramatically over the previous months. From what I’m seeing, I’m not the only one to have this result. J A Konrath blogged about his numbers this past Saturday.  He noted the upswing in monies earned under the new program and made some interesting observations about the revamped KU program. I’ll come back to those observations shortly.

Hugh Howie has also weighed in on the new payouts.

Before I get to their observations, here is what I saw with my titles in the KU program. In June, I earned $1.35 for each title downloaded and read past the 10% mark. It didn’t matter if it was for a 10 page short story selling for 99 cents or a 300 page novel selling for $2.99. That old program was great for short works priced at 99  cents. You made more for a borrow than you did for a sell. But it sucked for novels priced $2.99 or more.

Under the new program, I earned approximately $.005779 per page read. Taking the number of “pages” read for Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1), my latest novel, and dividing it by the number of “pages” Amazon says Sword has, I made approximately $3.88 for each “download”. (Here I made the assumption that everyone read the book all the way through. Unfortunately, at this time, we have no way of knowing how many times a book is downloaded under the KU program or how far a reader goes before he stops reading. Hopefully, Amazon will correct that in the future.) That is a different of $2.53 per book read. That’s a huge jump in royalties and a welcome one.

Going back to Konrath’s post, a 23 page short story that earned him $1.35 in June earned him 16 cents. Yes, this is why those writers of short fiction — and those who had been gaming the system — were screaming when the new rules were announced.

So what does this new system do, really? What is its purpose?

Both Konrath and Howey agree that the system rewards authors who put out good work and hook their readers. If you are write a good book, they will continue reading. If you continue putting out good work, adding to your list of available titles, they will continue buying or borrowing your work.

I will add one more thing that I have been seeing. I’ve seen — well, I’ve heard from some of my readers — they they first try my books on Kindle Unlimited and then, once they liked something, they went ahead and bought it as well as the next titles in the series. That is a win-win for me as an author because it means I have found a new fan, I have received royalties from the KU program and then from the sale.

So, to get back to my initial question. What does it mean when an indie writer says they are selling well? It is a personal call, one made by each author. For me, it is making as much as I would if I had received a traditional publishing contract and, looking at my numbers for last year and this, I can say I am selling well. But it also means I have to keep writing and improving my craft and figuring out better ways to market my work because I want to improve my sales. After all, I’m not one to suffer for my art.  😉

The Fading Stigmata of Self-Publishing

Gerry Martin pointed this article by Liz Long out to me, thanks, Gerry.

The publishing system isn’t broken by any means, but the stigma behind “traditional” and “indie” publishing has really gotten my goat lately.

I’m independently published, or self-published. What does that mean? It means I do not have an agent or traditional publisher backing me. It means that I’m in control of my stories, my edits, my covers, my marketing, and everything else that goes along with it. It means that I bust my ass working towards a dream.

Does it make me better than traditional authors? Nope. We all work hard to earn our keep; they just have a little extra help.

Does it make me worse than traditional authors? Still no. I’m not just chucking up the first draft and waiting for rave reviews to come in.

Things are changing and it’s time for folks to get on board before they’re left behind. I work in magazines, but it’s no secret that the indie waves are crashing down and changing the book publishing landscape. You know the stories – how Amanda Hocking self-published and rocked the publishing world to its knees when she became a bestseller without the help of the Big Six. How hundreds of authors are hitting NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists thanks to their fans and friends, to the straight up hustle it takes to earn such a title.

Self-published authors are not desperate losers (nor were they ever, but I like to think we’re more marketable now). Those of us in it to win it are not hoping to publish one book and get rich quick. I’m not quitting my job in the hopes of writing the “Next Great Novel” (because that plan doesn’t work for me).

I don’t need to be a traditionally published author to understand what goes into my books. I put on my pants like everyone else, going through the correct steps just like traditional authors do with their work: I have an editor to check my spelling and grammar, brilliant cover designers to catch readers’ attention, and a marketing team behind me so that I’m not in it alone and completely overwhelmed.

Read the whole thing here.

I think it is a slowly receding stigma – healing stigmata, if you want. When asked, I tell people I’m independently published. I own my publishing imprint, and because I have the background, I run it like a business. I do my level best to deliver a professional product to the consumer, just as if I weren’t the artist creating it in the first place. To that end, I’ve gathered a crew of people who help me with the bits I can’t manage on my own, like editing. And it’s not easy, it’s a ton of work. But I don’t expect to wind up on bestselling lists (other than on Amazon, where they count, being generated by real sales rather than projections).

As for the slowly fading, a movie comes out in a couple of months, created from a book that was originally self-published. I read The Martian back then, before it was bought by a ‘real publisher’ and optioned to be a movie. It was good. It’s still good. The only difference is who is handling it, and the level of publicity… and that’s making a wave through readers. If a self-published book can be good, then maybe others will be, too?

It’s not going to be overnight. But already, I’m seeing the readers care less about who handles the book and more about the story inside the book.

Brad Torgersen, commenting on the article, talked about his path into publishing,

It may be another generation before the unconscious “wall” totally collapses. Too many of us were born in the age when “self” and “vanity” were synonymous.

Kevin J. Anderson said it best: publishing has now been made *easy* but SUCCESS is still as hard as it’s ever been.

Speaking from my military experience, I think it’s inevitable human nature that people begin to check each other out according to what kinds of rites of passage each of us has endured. For the vast bulk of publishing history, “making it” with an editor was a celebrated rite of passage. You knew you were “for real” when you’d cut muster with an established magazine or novel house.

Certainly the three most joyous events in my entire publishing career to date have been (in order):

1 – winning Writers of the Future.

2 – getting my first sale to Analog magazine.

3 – getting a first novel sale with Baen Books.

I am a middle aged duffer. I come from the “old” world. I think the new world is exciting (and a relief) because now there is an amazing additional option that is available to everybody, and people are making money at it. But I also think it’s not perfect either. Especially when Amazon dominates so much of the marketing and delivery mechanism. If Amazon were to fold, or get draconian with its practices, indie publishing would be in a bad place.

 

Cedar brings up a GREAT point: indie publishing forces the writer to actually *be* “in the business” as it were. A lot of us from the “old world” of publishing (I guess I am technically a “cusper” because I broke in right when indie was exploding?) are absolutely shit businesspeople. You can’t be a shit businessperson and manage your indie career. You just can’t. You might luck into a phenomenon, such as 50 Shades. But that’s a one-in-a-million lightning strike. The working indie writer MUST be his/her own accountant, tax specialist, marketer, art department, etc.

I respect the HELL out of the successful indie writers I know, for this reason above all others. They are doing so much more than just writing books!

I ran into this perception with the first business I ran – and I was pitched into that one headfirst with no option but to learn how, or drown – and that is that artists can’t be businesspeople. Which is BS, and lazy. It’s a matter of learning, and even if you aren’t an Indie Publisher, you still have to learn how to be businesslike, or you will be taken advantage of. How many of us know writers who blithely signed over rights to a publisher than then ripped them off for that book, and possibly others? Brad’s been fortunate – or wise, and I know where I incline with that – in that he’s working with honorable publishers.

As for the fading stigmata, it’s going to take time. It’s going to take a raft full of authors willing to put in the time and effort to prove over and over that we can deliver professional products the public will enjoy reading, and that we can do this consistently. Right now, we’re getting our toes in the door by being able to deliver those products for less than the Big Five do. That won’t last forever – someone over there is going to get a clue and realize they have to choose between obscene profits on ebooks and keeping any bit of market share. Readers choosing between the $9.99 ebook and the $3.99 ebook will buy two or three of the latter before the former. If they really really want the expensive one, they will wait for a sale, or go to their library.

And like any scar, there may be lingering marks for a long time to come. Something makes me suspect that they may come to be a badge of honor, on the other hand. We’re working hard to make a go of it, and when you work hard, you get banged up. As much of a cliche as it is, something you have to work for is worth more than something that’s handed to you. I’ve seen that over and over.

In the meantime, the advice I offer everyone who asks about Indie?

  • Write. Write more. You will survive on quantity, not quality alone. Perfection is the enemy of good enough.
  • Go into it with your eyes open. It’s a sh*t-ton of work, and still, you’re going to trip over things you weren’t prepared to do when you started out.
  • Be patient. This is going to take time, and writing, and more writing – not all of it fiction.
  • If you opt out, read the contract. Have an IP Lawyer look at the contract. Even then, know that small publishers have the unfortunate problem that they will go belly-up on a surfeit of dreams and lack of capital.
  • Study the success stories. Larry Correia, who self-published his first book. Kevin Anderson, who writes like a machine AND runs a good-sized publishing house. Hugh Howey, the self-published man of mystery (just kidding. But he’s pretty nifty to watch work). There are others, but that’s a start.

 

 

Unto dust

Ah. Just when you think it can get no more silly, we have an entry from someone who has me thinking that perhaps reincarnation is real. I don’t know if it is the actual ghost of P.T. Barnum, but there certainly seems to be a belief that one born every minute, and they’re not very bright. Perhaps that is a bit harsh, but really this is quite insulting to even luke-warm IQ’s like mine. A more flawed piece would be quite a find, but, as the author resorts to claiming logical fallacy in Howey’s ‘science’… let me point out the one which his entire thesis rests on:

“I don’t say these things because I am in bed with the major publishers. I fight with the major publishers all the time ”

I see. So given the above, and a heaven sent opportunity (via Hugh Howey) to get a better deal for the people he supposedly works for, from the people he fights with for them…
Does he blog… 1) Now there is evidence that self-published authors can achieve the same or better status and sales and a far, far higher income, I will point this out to them and to the publishers (that I fight with all the time) and tell them they’ve had a bumper year of profits, and unless they want to lose their authors, we’d better re-negotiate a much better deal on e-books. Or 2) does he pooh-pooh this analysis as ridiculous, and state that therefore authors had better cling to publishers and, as they’re obviously not going to increase the give to authors, authors should just suck it up. Does he claim without any supporting figures (but lots of handwavium waffle) that the other that e-book income is huge?* That “value of a guaranteed advance ** vs. royalty money that may or may not come along down the road’ is better? That the status quo is unalterable and good for the authors he claims to represent, because the publishers won’t change?

Logic 101 question. If 2) is true, and 1) false: can the statement “I don’t say these things because I am in bed with the major publishers. I fight with the major publishers all the time” be true? And if it is demonstrably false, how much of the rest is likely to be true?

The answer, having looked through it: not much. But as a lesson in how to spin, gyre and gimble The Brillig Blogger is indeed a nonpareil and could have a great future in political speech-writing if the ‘supporting’ authors in self-publishing venture follows literary agent-gatekeeping for traditional publishers down the rabbit hole. For example he tries to spin pricing into a death spiral myth. No one has ever suggested this — what has been said, and is true, is that self-pubs do not carry the vast overheads – New York premises, a lot of staff at NY wages, doing something… that has little bearing on and adds little value to the author’s book, and a need to pay huge advances — which may not be coming your way. Self-pubs can afford to undercut New York Publishing – and can turn a profit from far fewer copies.

Literary agents started as something quite different. They were luxuries that very successful authors had. So when Ernest’s publisher was late paying, either Ernest came back from the Bahamas with a bull-whip or his lackey went into the NY publisher’s office to kick some ass or chew gum during the national gum shortage. The whole ‘gatekeeping‘ lark was like the current venture into ‘supporting’ self-publishing. There wasn’t as much money in the lackey game as there had been, and not enough demand. And besides, they wanted more, had contacts… and you can see how it all flows from there. There are still a few in the old lackey trade, and some do it as a sideline, and use it as a lever. But publishers in general saw them as a great way to 1)get rid of slush readers and the pile, and 2)get out of the awkward personal contact with people you’re screwing over. And the authors get to pay the agents for doing this (if you believe that 15% is coming out of the larger advance they get you, I have some remarkable bargains to sell you. Just send me your bank account details and password. And thank you for proving P.T. Barnum right.) I will point out the relationship I have with my agent is different. It’s more like how JK Rowling started with hers. Mike was a first reader who believed in my books, read some of my proposals and partials, and became an agent to sell them. I backed him because I thought his taste and skill better than most agents.

The chance of ‘your’ agent engaging in a bit of dickering for a better deal with your publisher exists. It’s not high for the average noob, but it exists. The chance of him telling all of his main buyers something seriously unpalatable is non-existent. If he was YOUR agent he’d be in there kicking ass and maybe even wielding the bullwhip. But you are a replaceable widget to him. Authors – at least up recently – were queued up begging to be a widget. Publishers on the other hand were much rarer and getting more so.

Only I think ‘authors as widgets’ is over.

Logic says literary agents will continue to get subs… But who will they get them from and how tolerant and patient these submitters are, is a very different matter. Yes, they’ll still get from: 1) the terminally thick and bad; 2) the uninformed (a dropping number); 3) the vastly insecure and needing validation, 4) the reasonably good but-you’ve-got-four-weeks-and-I-sent-to-all-of-the-agents-at-once – which they at this stage won’t accept. 5) the midlister who fits ‘we got a deal before but never found an audience (PC, message, not much entertainment)’ profile = failures.

Why would the successful bestseller keep one, except as a lackey, and why would a midlister with a decent following do so? Why would a go-getter noob put up with years of waiting? If they’re kept waiting they’ll self-publish, and if that succeeds they’ll perhaps need a lackey, but not a literary agent. So of those the agent gets the losers who fail at self-pub. Now of these 2) and 3) can produce some great books. Even the losers at self-pub can, with a bit of help. But 2) will leave as they get clued up. And as the stigma of being agented grows – yes I said stigma grows. It will, given what they’ll get, 3) will desert them too. So they’re left with the untalented and needing help.

Which is why you have the effort, especially from agents, to re-enforce the perception that self-published authors are inadequate and not nearly as good, and that well, publishing is rock solid and inflexible.

“Your advice to publishers is for them to (a) lower e-book publishers (b) give a bigger share of their lower revenue to the authors they publish. Obviously, the publishers are not going to take this advice. There is no business model for them in taking in less money while simultaneously giving more to the authors.”– The Brillig blogger

Really? Well yes. IF self-publishers were an irrelevant failure and not starting to eat the publishers’ lunch and doing much, much better financially than their traditionally published peers selling the same volume. IF authors continue to solicit agents despite this. IF authors (especially the successful ones with a following) are happy with a pittance, while paying agents, and having their publisher take the cream. IF authors ignore Hugh Howey data-trawl. Howey has published an expanded version, with a far bigger data set, and here is a post on it by Mark Coker of Smashwords.

Now that is something one can expect from Mark Coker. It’s his business.

But not in PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY.

Two years ago I’d have said there’d be about as much chance of this as of the Pope canonizing Richard Dawkins. But the winds of change are plainly blowing hard, and PW is looking to a future too.
There is a business model in keeping prices competitive (no, that’s not an ever-diminishing sum***), and paying authors a FAR bigger share, and providing a lot more service. It’s called the new ‘Do not follow the agents in bankruptcy’ model. It involves giving up that New York address, and expense account and all those ‘useful’ meetings. It involves really adding a lot more value to the work those incredibly valuable people. To the widgets you call ‘authors’.

As for agents – rather than looking at nice new New York premises — instead of worrying about the small if of contractors, they might want to look at the big IF above. Maybe they’d do better to take Mark Coker’s advice to publishers, and find some way to add value to authors, who can do without them. But that’s kind of down the track. The question is just how far?

* Trust me, to the author, it’s not. Just through webscriptions (a fraction of Amazon’s reach) sales I can tell this.
** Which could be on average oh, as much as $3000, and falling (it was 5K when I started). In three tranches (effectively 1K every 4-10 months. You can live on that, can’t you?), two of which will be late. Like your bi-annual royalties. If you ever see them in the opaque accounting, 12-18 months later. Trust me on this. An advance is good because it ties a weasel down and you may actually get all of it. But it sure is hard to beat that monthly trickle and transparent accounting.
*** “How elastic is the demand for books? Yes, at the margins, you can increase sales some by lowering prices. But after a point, that stops working. There are only so many people who like to read with only so many hours in the day to do it. You can’t have a never-ending price war.” – the Brillig Blogger. We have no idea on either demand via price OR subject/book type. So… we assume you have it right on the present track record? That’s hilarious and totally illogical. A coarse guess is that the traditional industry has lost around 3/4 of the possible market by terrible targeting, and probably another 10% by overpricing. But that’s the subject for another post. It’s not infinitely elastic, but it’s a LOT bigger than now.

Fading Flower or Why Bestselling Self-Published Authors Are Just Better

Donald Maas puts it that agented selected traditional published ‘crème de la crème’ bestselling authors are the first class of books, the midlist being economy or coach class, and the ordinary self-published Joe is freight class. Hmm. Obviously he is as skilled in logic as he is in his understanding of the word ‘cull’. I do understand with a background in the rarified world of NYC publishing that such vulgar agricultural matters may not come his way much, despite the vast quantity of male bovine excreta produced there. In fact, as I will now attempt to prove in terms of that other obviously agricultural matter which obviously isn’t well known in NYC publishing circles, logic — in terms of talent, on average, agent-selected, traditionally published authors are… third class bestsellers, and quite possibly of less value than even midlisters, or largely indistinguishable from those.

Hugh Howey’s excellent data-crawl analysis here included the star rating of Indy and other including big five bestsellers. It’s noticeable that the big five bestsellers had lower average star ratings, which Howey puts down (quite kindly IMO) to price expectation. After all if you pay a Rolls-Royce price, you expect Rolls-Royce quality. While I appreciate his effort and find most of his post accurate, (Update, they are now saying further examination shows price-point for price-point Indy still licks the big 5) on this I must differ. This is not price expectation. This is the Bumiputera effect*. This is why Donald Maas’s big five bestseller clients are, on average, not as good as the Independent bestsellers. This is why on average independent bestsellers – or even those achieving midlist sales, are better than I am.

Maas and his fellow travelers inform us that as they filter, it means that what gets to the top (through them) is better at the top… because it is filtered first. But the final measure of quality is not what it went through to get to the top, it is being at the top of the sales. To put it in slightly different terms. Many skiers wish to get Olympic medals. Three will get medals. The final measure of quality is the medal (a bestseller), not the process that got them there. (A million writers will put their books up for sale, a hundred will become bestsellers). The million entrants and their origins and methods are irrelevant. What counts is that they are bestsellers (or medalists) NOT the run-up to that.

One skier may have been picked up by a talent scout (literary agent) at a minor competition and had all their training and support at the expense of the state and more sponsorship than they can spend (publisher’s dahling), and the best equipment and training money can buy.

Another skier was self-taught, and got there by sheer determination and endless self-training, won competition after competition without sponsorship and without support, and had to sell his home to be there. They’re both in the Olympics. They both win medals. Which had more talent? (Odds on the self-taught got the gold, but that aside.)

On average, the independent bestseller is a better writer, works harder, and deserves more credit for their achievement (and generally seem nicer, more supportive of others, and less insecure too). They had a bigger mountain to climb and needed more skill to get there. Given the degree of support that the Big Five dahling had, the average Indy midlister would eat their lunch. Being an agent’s pick, a Big Five dahling… is NOT the imprimatur of quality that being an Indy bestseller is. Actually, all it may be is the mark of a spoiled brat or a good kiss-up artist. It’s something I’d love to see those in that position show they can rise above, show independence of mind and generosity of spirit, but alas, so many fail. So, in the interests of not being one of them, and with a reputation for insanity to keep up… (I was told I was insane to promote other authors and not myself. Hey, what can I say? You’ve blown my cover.) Here are some Indies that have shown me what hard work and good writing are. (The pictures are links to Amazon) I can recommend all of them, and they cover all types for all tastes. There is something there for you unless you like bleah grey goo.

A-pleasure-to-read sf series. At last.

Our Kate at her snarky best. If you ever went to a sf/fantasy con… do not read in front of a keyboard with liquids.

I wrote cover copy for it. I do not write cover copy. Do I have to explain?

Yes, I know. It’s a dirty job but someone has to write decent shapeshifter/urban fantasy/romance-ish stuff. And a lot of people like it.

As for Maas’s ‘luxury of culling the prize cattle from the herd’: Yes, this is quite an accurate assessment of the future of publishing. Only I wouldn’t call it a ‘luxury’ so much as a ‘total disaster’. And we may differ about what we see as the ‘the herd’ — I see as those well-domesticated cash-cows who are ‘farmed’ by NY publishing, rather than indy writers, who don’t placidly get herded into cattle trucks . Culling the prize cattle – killing the future breeding stock — certainly seems to be what they’re heading for. You know where that ends, don’t you? Just as bankers are finding out the boring bits of banking exist for good reason. They’re reliable and work. Gambling is just that. (Gamblers who are consistent winners or even above break-even aren’t ‘gambling’, believe me.) Maas’s weird daydream that: “Better still, because some authors are now—voluntarily!—willing to bear the expense and undertake the effort of building an audience by themselves” – and then somehow give this for love to help poor little agents and the publishing industry, without it costing said Industry more than they can make without them, is straight delusional. Firstly, I’ve yet to meet an author who chose to do their own publicity because they enjoyed it, and thought that seeing it was so much fun they’d write a book. It may happen, but it’s not just a black swan, it’s a Higgs-Boson black swan. They chose to do it, because they had to. Some are good at it. But having borne that expense and put in that effort, they know what they can reap from it. They will only agree to a deal with a publisher (who 10:1 is from an industry that rejected them) for a serious multiplier of their own effort and income. And they will be setting tough terms, often only possible for a publisher by robbing Peter – existing authors, to pay the new Paul. What is Peter going to do about this, if he can?). In short, the only clients that agents (who, contrary to popular belief, do not, by-in-large work for authors, but are little more than slush filters that publishers generously allow authors the luxury of paying for) can look forward to having, and being eager for publishers to exploit in the traditional way… are losers. Those with no skill, who can’t sell without publisher push, or no self-confidence, will still want the third-class validation.

There are going to be some culls happening, but methinks not quite where you thought they would. Don’t forget that SASE with your resume.

*The Bumiputera Effect – as displayed in Medicine in Indonesia, where historically, most of the Doctors were ethnic Chinese. So in effort to make the society ‘indigenous’, hurdles were put in front of ethnic Chinese students, meaning it was far harder for a non-Bumiputera (look it up, Google is your friend) student to get in to medicine and to graduate, whereas Bumiputera had fantastic support and needed lower marks to proceed. The end result of this was if you were really, really sick, or had a precious sick child or partner, or parent, you took them to a Chinese doctor, because while Bumiputera Doctors MIGHT be good, Chinese ones almost had to be brilliant, because it was so much harder to get there. Yes I know, the entry to making a book available for sale has no barrier for self-publishing, and a huge barrier through an agent. But we’re comparing SALES, not availability. And authors who have been accepted by an agent and a big 5 publisher, even if they’re no better than one who hasn’t, have a substantial bookstore exposure, and supposedly professional help with covers, publicity, editing and proofing. If you’re a dahling, push with promotion and marketing too. If someone who hasn’t had that, has equaled or bettered your sales, they’re more popular with readers = better than you are, in that sense, and that’s the sense the world measures, not Hugo awards.