Sci-Fi Sexism By The Numbers: It’s A Mean Girls’ Club

On yesterday’s blog, I talked about my interaction with a professional paying science fiction publishing group who decided to berate me on Twitter for asking a simple question about anti-male discrimination in Science Fiction. It’s been obvious for a long time in publishing that men need not apply, you’re not welcome. But now in the 2% where men were actually allowed to compete, it’s been completely taken over by social justice warriors who don’t care in the least about equality, but want to actively harm men both as professionals and readers.

Many normal science fiction readers saw the results of this year’s hugo awards — where every individual award was won by a woman in a small group of insular votes of industry professionals, who are predominantly women or an extreme SJW, and so there’s no surprise there. This was contrasted to the Dragon Awards, where it was men who won, in a large sample made up of primarily science fiction readers — not industry professionals. The establishment in publishing freaked at this result, stating the sexism involved in the Dragons, while the Hugos wasn’t mentioned. The reason for their vitriol was their fear: their rampant politicizing of women’s sex through fiction is making people not read their works, and is as a result destroying their power bases.

The truth is, there’s no sexism against women in the professional paying field. Readers may discriminate by not buying these over-politicized nonsense rags, but if anything, these companies are actively not buying stories from men. It is much harder as a man to get published in the field than a woman — and this doesn’t even go over the “female protagonist” angle, where almost every protagonist has to be a “strong female lead” whether it’s a male or female writing. There’s plenty of research to be done there, but I think if you look at those numbers it’ll be even more staggering. None of these groups produce content for men/boys.

My first look was into Escape Podcast, the group running this Artemis Rising event where they spend a month only looking at women’s fiction. I brought the numbers to someone who works for the company who was mocking me, and naturally excuses were made about the rest of the industry. The original claim of Escape Podcast was that women are deterred from Science Fiction and therefore need additional representation. Here’s what Escape Podcast looks like through every month of the year:

Escape Podcast:

As you can see, they not only have their Artemis Rising month in May, but they have a second women-only month that was not part of an event. The months where there are more female stories than men outnumber the men dominated months by a significant margin, and the only month where there was a men-only function was one where they produced significantly less stories for whatever reason.  Overall, you are a full 50% more likely to get published as a woman than a man.

When I brought this number to the person mocking me, he told me that they have to do this because the industry is so discriminatory in favor of men. Another interesting tidbit was given to me: they get so many more SUBMISSIONS from men that it’s discouraging to them.

That fact was staggering to me. It means these numbers aren’t the result of average submissions and just who submits to the podcast because of their leanings, their submissions by men heavily outweigh women. I reached out to someone who works for the company for comment, but they have not replied as of the writing of this article.

Let’s as an exercise say that the male to female submissions ratio is roughly 4:1 (which I believe it is in science fiction as it seems to range via Submissions Grinder’s stats and what I know from Asimov’s publication rate of about 2.5:1 to more than 10:1 depending on the publication). Yet Escape podcast has a publishing rate of 2:3 in favor of women. It means the odds of acceptance per submission, just for the crime of being born a man are significantly lower in an already difficult market to get published (estimates of how many stories are accepted in these markets even without the demographic issues is in the 0.5-3% range depending on the outlet). The only conclusion is, even outside of Artemis Rising month, that Escape Podcast actively throws out stories by men for the sake of being men.

Now this could be a low sample size and not representative of most of the industry… let’s proceed through other pro-paying markets and find out what they look like.

Podcastle:

Podcastle is another podcast set up, with many of the same employees as Escape Podcast. You see here that the numbers look even worse for this podcast. This is in fact the 2nd most hostile market toward men out there by acceptance rates, but I wanted to show it with Escape Podcast because both are part of this Artemis Rising discrimination. The myth of needing to represent women more is looking completely false. But we’re still talking a range of about 160 stories out of, what I found to be, approximately 900 total stories in the pro-paying monthly magazine fiction market (disclosure: I was unable to find data on Science Fiction Daily because their website only posts “recent stories”. If you have all the information for the past year, I will provide that data and amend this post). Fortunately, I went through all of them for you, dear reader.

Clarkesworld:

Clarkesworld is a bit of an outlier (edited: updated 9/11/2017 after speaking with Clarkesworld) . Like much of science fiction, they publish quite a bit of foreign fiction that’s translated which Clarkesworld has told me is to give a breadth of different fiction. Clarkewsworld’s totals over 2016 and 2017 alike are going to be very close in terms of a male/female split in terms of publication.

A friendly professional author who will remain nameless so this author doesn’t have to risk the blackballing that is rampant is the industry did some math based on self-reporting statistics from submissions grinder. This author worked on Clarkesworld in particular, and it shows that despite the even-handedness of what’s published, when it comes to submissions it’s a different can of worms.

Based on Submission Grinder’s stats, there’s a likelihood that Clarkesworld gets about 545 submissions per issue of 6 stories. Via the site, about 436 of those would come from men, 109 would come from women, about a 5:1 ratio of submissions. Already, only 1.1% of submissions get accepted, but if there are slightly less men than women who get accepted, it makes it near impossible for a man to get published just because of the submission rates. Even if equal published it means a man’s odds are 0.7% while a woman’s odds are 2.8%.

Update 9/11/2017:. The magazine receives 60-70% male submissions to female submissions. They also receive a whopping 1200+ submissions per month, so about double what I was anticipating, wow! I have every reason to believe based on my conversation with Clarkesworld that they are a fair publication at this point and I will follow up with that on a future blog post detailing my conversation with them.

I still believe the Submissions Grinder data is interesting to look at. It may not apply directly to Clarkesworld in such proportions, but if my source is correct that Asimov’s publishes proportionately, it is an interesting look for the entire industry nonetheless.

The Smaller Markets: 

A few more here with Cast of Wonders (Part of Escape Artists), Diabolical Plots and Beneath Ceaseless Skies tell much the same story.

Where You Can Still Be A Man And Get Accepted

The oldest of the old guard of magazines still seem to be a safe place to submit if you’re a man. Now the numbers look very skewed in men’s favors and a feminist might cry foul here saying that these magazines actually discriminate against women. This is where they’re wrong.  A source that will remain nameless told me that the editor of Asimov’s, Sheila Williams, prints male to female stories in the ratio of submissions she receives. Even though the monthlies look a little suspect, if these periodicals still work in an old way of proportionate representation of submissions, this is probably an accurate picture of what Science Fiction authors make ups are overall, and what one should expect were that more the case. Even with these magazines skewing, the overall industry picture is dire for men, as we’ll see more examples of below.

The Worst Of The Worst Of Discriminatory Markets

Some are more discriminatory than others, and there’s certain markets where men need not apply at all, not even in the small numbers where they get printed. If the ratios of men to women submissions hold true in these markets, as a man, your story is likely thrown directly in the trash and maybe not even read. A frightening proposition.

Tor.com

No surprises here. Tor.com has led the way in their social justice narratives. Those who follow the blog know this dating back to #SpaceOperaWeek — a week in which they claimed was to celebrate the genre, but were mostly articles about fake discrimination both in the markets and the content of the pieces. I took the hashtag and talked about the actual art, much to the chagrin of Tor.com who banned the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction from commenting as a result.  Of course, being a man, they don’t want my voice anyway, clearly.

Apex Magazine

It’s more than a pattern at this point, it’s clearly rampant discrimination across the entire industry against men. I reached out to Apex’s editor for comment but have not received any response as of this writing.

Strange Horizons

In the middle of a fundraising drive, this is the 3rd most egregious market I could find. It’s no surprise, as they have editor Anaea Lay, who is part of the Mean Girls cabal at Codex Writers who banned me for no reason other than telling another mean girl there to stop picking on a writer. They called me “hostile” for questioning those antics and Ms. Lay proceeded to defame me on that site. They’re in the middle of a fundraising drive now. Hopefully no men are contributing to this cuz yikes, talk about self-hate!

Uncanny Magazine: (Most Man-Hating Bigoted Discriminatory Magazine and Hugo Award Winner)

Well, they like to Destroy Science Fiction as their kickstarters say regularly, and here you go. They are actively and intentionally doing just that. This was the first magazine I questioned regarding when they were going to do something for men, the magazine shot me some nasty remark back in public, wholly unprofessional, and blocked me. No wonder — they are obscenely hostile according to the numbers!

Conclusions:

If you’re a man, even with the skewed results of the legacy three magazines of Asimov’s, Analog and F&SF, that are vocal about the fact that they’re proportionate in representation of submissions, you’re hosed. An analysis of all the markets that accept these submissions on a monthly basis (I left out Lightspeed Magazine from graphics but are included in the total which has dead even results), the total discrimination against men is big. The totals of all stories published in this market survey over a year are:

Men: 426

Women: 487

Which means women have a 14.3% advantage just in sheer numbers of stories published. If the industry holds with ratios of 4:1 submissions, and say the accepted represents about 1% of all submissions, it means there’s about 91,300 submissions in the industry. Rough estimates puts men at 73,040 submissions and women at 18,260 submissions.

Update 9/28/17: I added in Intergalactic Medicine Show into these numbers. Once alerted to the magazine, I added it for accuracy. The overall rates did not change much though they do skew slightly toward males in publishing.

Complete acceptance rate odds:

Men: 0.58% 

Women:  2.67% 

Staggering. Men are at an extremely severe disadvantage in the industry. Of course there’s anthologies and all that — and those mostly get their big name authors and only have a couple slots for submissions anyway based on editorial invites. There are several women only anthologies per year, and never any men’s only.

Really, if you’re a man, you cannot submit to these markets. It is a waste of time for your career because you will fail, and it’s because you’re a man. If you’re intent on being in this industry I highly recommend taking an androgynous or female pen name so you don’t get discriminated against, and don’t give the editors clues to your sex until after a story’s been accepted.

And if you’re white, it gets worse. I didn’t track race because it’s very hard to do and I don’t have time to look up everyone’s profile, but of the non legacy 3 magazines, there were only a handful of white acceptances, many from the same couple of authors who already have names and probably weren’t blind submissions. You will not get an acceptance as a white male ever. Self-Publishing and indie markets are your only options, sad as it may be. The discrimination against whites who happen to be male is frankly at near blackballing levels. It’s utterly insane.

For those who are women cheering this on: I’ll also note for you that I see the same handful of names across these magazines. Most these magazines have about the same 50 authors they print over and over, you’re competing for a smaller spot than you think even with your better odds than men. The submissions aren’t truly open, and if we opened that can of worms, the stats would get far worse I’m sure, but this is the best I can do under the assumption that everyone is equal, which we know is not true.

As the Hugo and Dragon awards showed us, there’s a huge disconnect between what the industry insiders hail and what fans of the genre want to read. Don’t give up hope, but these institutions are beyond repair. Don’t support them just to keep these markets going, as many authors do. They are only out there to hold your career down.

 

Dragon Awards 2017 Final thoughts

Getting a ton of people asking me how I feel about the Dragon Awards, from friends who are truly interested, to the general hater groups who are trying to use it as means to snipe at me, my fiction, and my friends’ fiction.

I’m stoked.

8,000+ ballots were cast. This is a win for fandom. It’s not just a select group of authors/editors who think they’re above everyone else with their little cliques voting here, it’s a mass of people. Which is incredible. The fact that I was even able to get nominated in such a field of authors who are frankly way better than me is amazing in and of itself. Big thanks to all of my readers here who supported!

But going through the list of winners, these books are all super-deserving! People voted and showed what they love. And that’s what this is about, a celebration of fiction that real people love.

In my own category, it was literally my book up against my favorite authors who have been doing incredible work for years. Just being among that crowd is jaw dropping and a dream come true. I mean I’ve always dreamed of being Chuck Gannon or Eric Flint since I was younger, those guys are the best of the best and have been for decades same with BV Larson and David van Dyke. The newer folk to the scene these last few years are equally impressive. Mark Wandrey’s Cartwright’s Cavaliers is 100% on my list for one of the top five books of 2016, and the winner, Richard Fox has the most incredible Mil SF universe that I am just starting to explore. A great writer who’s extremely well deserving of the win.

Basically, for Mil SF fans I can say “this is a great reading list for your book club for the next 6 months” without any reservation. Every book in the category is something I have or will be checking out myself. It’s great!

It’ll be fun to watch this award grow. What’s disconcerting is the way purported Sci-Fi magazines like Tor.com and Locus have treated this — from ignoring it to poo-pooing the award as something “real” authors drop out of. It’s not the case at all, and it’s been shown that fans turned out for this in drove. This is where real science fiction is at, and where real fandom is at. These legacy groups can throw shade all they want, but it’s really getting tired this little game of hate of a subset of people’s books, trying to force us out of the industry for not playing by their rules. The readers want none of that, and that’s why the Dragon Awards are so powerful.

Congrats to all the winners. You have my love and respect and hope to see you next year!

Mindset Motivation: The Greatest Fighters Of All Time

Naturally the talk of the weekend was the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. There were a couple narratives going on the whole time: Mayweather is too old, past his prime, can’t do it anymore. McGregor doesn’t know how to box, he won’t last, shouldn’t be there.

Both fighters were in there saying “I’m the best ever, I can do this, I’m gonna win.”

And you know what? They were both right.

This is how powerful mindset is in life. If you keep saying that you’re going to win, that you are the best, that you can do it, you won’t win all the time, but each small victory can be a large victory for you and keep you going. Keeping the drive and energy to persevere through tough spots is the difference in the marathon of life between the winners and losers.

You may think I’ve had a bit of a bad month from the outside. I was removed from a pro-writer’s group The Codex Writers, unfairly, as they picked on me for my politics, right after I was admitted entry for my successes in the field (you have to have a certain level of success to join). After removal, I had a hugo-nominated editor defame me, call me all sorts of names. I had New York Times bestseller John Scalzi, one of the most well-known names in the field ramble about me incessantly on twitter. I had another hugo winner call me a “white supremacist” and the current best novel hugo winner NK Jemisin talk about how she blocked me intentionally because of how awful I am, even though she’d never interacted with me.

On top of that, the only one that really hurt: I lost a friend in Beth Cato, who attacked a writer friend of mine on the Codex Writers and because I stood up to that, and she of course couldn’t swallow a little pride and defend me from the attacks I received for doing the right thing, she blocked me. This one hurt most as I’ve done a lot to push her books over the years and even am solely responsible for getting her a Dragon Award nomination.

That’s a lot to endure! The Sci-Fi industry is toxic. People who hate the genre, hate fun, and don’t want anyone in their little Mean Girls club to get any sort of prominence will do anything to tear writers down from the outside.

But do you know what? My mindset means it’s not even going to slow me down.

I jokingly called myself the Floyd Mayweather of Science Fiction this weekend, and I thought, you know what? That’s not a bad analogy. My opponents and haters expend a ton of energy on me. They get really riled up, outraged that I exist, that I won’t play by their rules and wait in line, that I refuse to hate the people they tell me to hate and that i love everyone equally (including them! I know one day I’ll see some of these folk in person, they’ll apologize and we’ll be good, I don’t hold grudges when people treat me right).  I found it to be a pretty good comparison actually. When I get jabbed at incessantly, I use that to sell more books every time — and it works every time. I don’t go out there intentionally trying to get these people to hate me, but they can’t help it, and they throw hard punches, overstepping and making it very easy to dodge and get in that counterblow — exactly the way Mayweather fights and exactly the way Mayweather wins.

And McGregor is about as inspiring as it comes this weekend. It wasn’t his field, it wasn’t his place to be in the ring with this champion, and he held his own. He did everything he could and he actually picked more rounds off of Mayweather than I’ve seen anyone do in years.  Despite the commentariat — the people who make their drive by negativity their livelihoods, he showed that he is a fighter, and that’s worthy of respect. Not only do both fighters have my immense respect for taking their risks, but they won monetarily for it too. Why? Because the public respects people standing up and not running away. When the going gets tough, the tough get going as was so famously said in Animal House.

It’s all about the mindset. I’m selling books, and that’s what matters to me.

So really, can anyone disagree when I take a page out of Mayweather’s playbook and say For Steam And Country is The Best Ever? Or, the Best Steampunk Ever as I now brand it? I believe in the book, and so do a lot of readers. It doesn’t matter what a few jealous haters in the industry call me

Last Call For Dragons!

The last ballots go out this weekend, so this is literally your last chance to sign up for the Dragons. If you want to support my work in journalism and producing quality, fun science fiction, the best way to do so is of course to pick up the books themselves, and review on Amazon. But the Dragon Award is about the second best thing you can do. The sign up is here, it’s free, anyone can join. Please do so:

http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_signup.php

You’ll get an email to confirm, do so then. They don’t send ballots out right away, so watch for an email from Dragon Con, and it’ll have a survey link in there. Star Realms: Rescue Run is in the Best Military Science Fiction category. Thank you all so much for your support since this has come out, it’s really been fantastic. Love you all! Now back to writing that next book 🙂

#AntiFascistSFF – A Flawless Victory!

Yesterday was beautiful. We garnered so much support for tolerance and a real culture change in science fiction publishing that it shut down the people trying to stir up hate. My hands hurt a little bit from my piano performance yesterday, so I’m going to try to periscope some of these thoughts more and post less 2,000 word articles on it so I can save my hands for fiction. Also, video gets more love over time than writing. Here’s my thoughts on the win yesterday:

https://www.pscp.tv/jondelarroz/1vAxRNzVpgPxl

Watch My Hugo Award Commentary Live On The Official Transcript

https://121captions.1capapp.com/event/hugoawards#  

I’m on there, Jon Del Arroz.

is the link. There was a youtube channel but white male old-guard establishment science fiction harassers swore at me on repeat, and then worldcon silenced and censored your humble leading HIspanic voice in Science Fiction for receiving that treatment. Not right. I expect an apology from Worldcon.

 

Are Sci-Fi Conventions Worth It?

Over on VP this morning, Vox wrote this morning about why he doesn’t attend sci-fi conventions. It was a cheeky post with basically the message of “I’d rather have fun doing ANYTHING with normal people than listening to a crowd of nerds talk about stuff like this.” I laughed.

And there’s a good point to that worth exploring. I, as a writer of a web comic, game fiction, shorts and RPG settings for several years before releasing my major award nominated debut novel, used to attend a lot of these on a local level, both as a guest and as an attendee.

When I first-first got into writing, there were a few pretty cool things. I met people, did a couple writer’s workshop things, through those found a critique group which was pretty helpful at the very least at getting me to practice writing regularly. I found more structured, formal writing seminars/workshops like Jody Lynn Nye’s at Dragon*Con to do a lot more for me in developing the craft (if you can sign up and make that any year, I highly recommend if you are a new writer).

However once I got into the business, panels about “how to write” aren’t that useful. I know how to write. Thousands of people read me write, that now? At that point a convention needs to do one or two things for you: 1. be so much fun that it’s better as a use of your time than your pal’s soccer game or 2. sell you books/get you business opportunities. Do they do that?

Most SF cons focus on panels about social justice causes, not science fiction books, and so you get stuck in these repetitive complaining cycles for hours. When I was working with Baycon, I made a concerted effort to pitch fun panels, things that would be different and provide laughs and entertainment, in order to make that place better in that regards– and it works, even though I am so blackballed I’m blocked on every social media (they wouldn’t want to see one of their former guests be a popular writer! how horrific and triggering!), they actually still use some of my suggestions to this day to their credit.

But those fun elements are maybe 10% of the con and usually after hours after a long day of slogging panels on how to write. So for fun factor, there’s a lot of better things to do.

Conclusion: Science Fiction cons are not your best place for fun

On the book selling side, I’ve watched people who are very popular in these communities set up tables, usually in vendor halls that are tiny, don’t have much to offer and have very little con traffic, situated away from the con in a not-so-good place for selling. Like you see online, most of these people are not business oriented, and that ends up not being great for authors much of the time. The other odd part of these conventions is there are very few fans. Most are novice to intermediate writers trying to get noticed by other novice to intermediate writers. As a result, you have people who don’t have a lot of disposable income and aren’t actively looking to spend, but to penny pinch. The price of admission or a table is often more costly than the books you’ll sell at these things.

The contacts you make from these are typically invested in their own stuff, their own friends, and so they don’t help you get loyal followings to buy future books either.

Conclusion: Science Fiction cons don’t help you sell books

There are some exceptions: LIbertyCon in Chattanooga TN is so filled with real, high level professionals that there’s value in terms of craft learning, business contacts and even selling books directly at the convention.  The larger cons like Dragon*Con or GenCon offer such a variety of things to do and SO MANY PEOPLE that you’ll be endlessly entertained.

But for the most part, these smaller writer cons don’t do much if anything for the business, mainly because they’re not focused on developing that, which hurts up and coming authors spending their time that way.

There’s a difference with local, regional and large comic-cons compared to these SF writer cons. These are vendor oriented, so if you don’t mind being a salesman and setting up a table and selling, these can be valuable for you as a way to get into the community, meet repeat customers, and form a base. To do so requires a LOT of hours and attending these on repeat so that you reap the benefits, and like anything, don’t think you’ll be gaining a reputation or getting good at selling at these without at least 2-3 years effort. Everything takes time, there’s no instant gratification.

I also enjoyed the Realm Makers Writers Conference — very different than a convention in that it was structured classes on writing and marketing, honing business and craft. This was something a little more like continuing education for professionals, and though those classes were aimed at a target audience slightly behind where I’m at in the field, there’s always something to learn if you keep yourself open to it. The other thing these formal conferences offer is meetings/talks with agents, editors, publishers etc. These are useful because you rarely get to pick the brains of these people in person. This was my first conference like this, but I understand there’s many on regional levels focused toward different genres.

Those type of events seem to be worth more than the generic science fiction con of yore. Those are my experiences and I would steer away from the groups of novice to medium writers running panels on social justice in genre, and steer toward things that are going to develop your business.

There’s Good News Out There – The Tide Is Turning

In my capacity as an independent journalist, I post a lot about corruption, blackballing, and hatred being spewed by large corporations and media conglomerates, especially ones that attack independent individual artists, workers or their end users for a product. There’s a perception by some (albeit very rare, and mostly among my detractors) that I’m angry or something, this is not the case at all. I’m a Happy Frog, and Happy Frogs are winners. By the way, please check out the Happy Frogs slate of nominees for the Dragon Award and vote, we need everyone’s help to continue this great ride. Support great fiction and independent artists. Here’s the list:  http://happyfrogs.org/2017/08/04/dragon-award-finalist-recommendations/

And if you don’t want to go so far as the slate, but want to support me in my fiction writing and journalism efforts, other than buying and reviewing my books, getting this award would be a huge step in my career. I could use your help in voting Star Realms: Rescue Run for Best Military Science Fiction. Sign up here:

http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_signup.php

(note that ballots are not instantaneous, the Dragon Awards send out ballots in batches twice per week so look for an email from Dragon Con)

With the profit-sustainability accomplished, here’s the good news I promised:

There are a lot of moderates out there and people on the left who are seeing the behavior, and are opposed to it. They are nice people, they are good people, they are often independent creators like myself, and they do good work. I’m not going to make a list and name them in this context, because it brings risk to them, but know they’re out there. There’s more of them every day. I get emails, messages, and now even public declarations of support. And it’s amazing. I cherish and treasure these almost more than the folk on our side who support me, because it takes a BIG risk to do so.

Encourage that, my people. If you see even moderate defense of artists who are struggling with blackballing or an overwhelming amount of industry hate for being who they are, make sure to reward those folk with your dollar, as they’re being brave enough to help us out. It’s so heartening!

Thank you everyone for being here and the tremendous support on the ride thus far. Onward and upward!

John Scalzi’s Dragon Awards Act Of Master Persuasion — And Why It’ll Backfire

I never expect to wake up in the morning, head onto the internet, try to make overtures of peace to a crowd and get a passive-aggressive twitter rant directed my way. But by the same token, I’m not going to be unfair to John Scalzi here. I see what went on from his perspective, and I will be as fair as I can after being attacked by an extremely wealthy white guy with a lot of followers in public on the internet.

Yesterday, John Scalzi actually did something brilliant from a master persuasion perspective. I’m talking Scott Adams level mastery, where he used the “high road” technique to turn a situation which has a high potential to end in embarrassment for him, and turn it into a huge win no matter what the outcome.

On his blog, he made the announcement that he’s withdrawing from the Dragon Award nominations. This is his second year, and his second withdrawal, let’s keep in mind for reference, as a lot of people’s memories are short. The reason was stated as follows:

The reason is simple: Some other finalists are trying to use the book and me as a prop, to advance a manufactured “us vs. them” vote-pumping narrative based on ideology or whatever. And I just… can’t. I don’t have the interest and I’m on a deadline, and this bullshit is even more stale and stupid now than it was the several other times it was attempted recently, with regard to genre awards.

I’ve been pretty active with the Dragon Awards and what’s been going on there. I saw a total of one finalist doing this, one which, if it had been ignored as was his original plan, actually wouldn’t have done much in that regard, but this is a nice way of framing the high road to make Mr. Scalzi look very reasonable to an outside observer who barely knows what this is and has a cursory understanding of what the Dragon Awards are.

To back up for a moment, the Dragon Awards are a reaction to a political “us vs. them” movement in science fiction writing. One expressly designed to take political “us vs. them” out of the equation and just have as many fans as possible vote for what they consider best fiction. The reaction was to, actually, John Scalzi and a few of his others, who had and have a monopoly on the Hugo Award, run by a much smaller convention that Dragon*Con, where they would award themselves for their political message fiction year after year, and ignore quality, fun fiction in the field. That crowd kept mocking “make your own award then,” and so, someone did.

This is still master persuasion, because Scalzi’s target audience isn’t the people who are in the know. It’s the people who barely heard of this, clicked to see what’s going on, and are trying to get an impression. While he’s certainly guilty of the “us vs. them” he pretends to scoff at, to a random onlooker, they only understand heated politics, someone taking the high road. It’s beautiful.

I can only speculate at Mr. Scalzi’s true objectives here. It isn’t to stop or shun “us vs. them” politics. Despite a lot of his vocal opponents saying that this is his cowardice in that he was going to lose and didn’t want that egg on his face, I’m not sure that’s the case. It doesn’t ring true, because if he mobilized his fan base to vote, it would be difficult to stop him.

This action can only amplify the “us vs them” politics, however. What it did in reality was signal to other writers that are in his circle that this is the “wrong” award and that they should form a soft-boycott of it (not using the term boycott because their boycotting something as big as Dragon*Con would be a bad look).  We’ll see anyone of a certain political persuasion in the field dropping out shortly now, because of a perceived pressure on the internet that they’re in the wrong space, with the wrong audience watching. At the very least, it’ll cause those authors to keep quiet about it, and will at least, in the short term, diminish the award’s prestige.

Which I believe is the intention. Tor Books, Scalzi’s publisher, owns the Nebulas and Hugos. They pump these awards and talk about them constantly, and as a big publisher under the umbrella of mega-corporate MacMillan, that does a lot for public perception. As of this writing, Tor.com, their “online news” portion which is highly respected in the field, wrote zero posts about the Dragon Awards, even though one of their top authors was nominated. That’s what makes this look fishy to anyone who digs into it and gives a red flag to what Mr. Scalzi was saying on his blog ringing false. There is a vested interest by his publisher to make sure this award, one that is open to all fans via popular vote and not easily controllable, does not gain further traction or prestige.  Their entire establishment of book narrative is at risk by the Dragon Award’s mere existence.

Naturally, what Mr. Scalzi didn’t take into account, or perhaps didn’t care about, was the fact that multiple smaller authors get hurt by his proclamation. Some on his side of the political aisle who received a nomination out of reader demand now feel foolish, and are linked by the “us vs. them” political crowd, with people they’re not supposed to be associated with. The association game is big with this crowd, because politics transcend all thought, and if you’re associated with the wrong people, that’s about the worst crime you can have in this business. It is a petty, high school, Mean Girls-esque clique for those who are not privy to the inside of this small publishing niche. It’s really that bad.

But all this wouldn’t have mattered. If Mr. Scalzi had left it there, he would have had a beautiful message, and he probably would have succeeded in tarnishing this award, slowing its progress for years, and hurting the independent writers down ballot of whom he doesn’t approve or want to gain any traction in the business.

Instead, he took to twitter, delivering a couple posts that were direct shots at your humble Hispanic independent journalist. He continued that later on in a rant which he framed as “marketing” – but in those tweets, he made very clear signals: we need to shun THEM. The “us vs. them” thing he claimed to want to stop was shown to be a complete farce, and it nullified any good will that any person doing a cursory search would have gotten from his blog post. And now, as I said before, those tensions are amplified, as he’s used his privileged platform to attack independent writers. What it’s going to do as an end result, is make the Dragons much bigger because now a lot of people have a vested interest in making this political, and that was started by Mr. Scalzi’s post.

And that’s where his persuasion tactic breaks down. If he kept to his own narrative, it would have really been a masterful job, but since he apparently couldn’t help but go attack writers who shouldn’t even be garnering his attention from his position, it’s effectively nullified, or perhaps amplified the opposite of his stated or what I consider to be his true objective. We’ll see how this progresses over the next few days but what I expect to see is: 1. Authors getting loud and calling foul on Scalzi  2. Authors downstream of Scalzi feeling pressure to drop out of the Dragons and signaling who’s team they are on themselves 3. Major escalation into politics that pushes these stories into mainstream news.

It’s definitely not a good thing for anyone in the field, and sadly, it started with Mr. Scalzi. Some of us are just here trying to win a Dragon Award and make our way in this very difficult business. Thanks, multimillionaire ivory tower author, for making it harder on us.

(I know a lot of my readers are looking for what happened and how Mr. Scalzi attacked me yesterday – I’ll get to that in a separate post. This needed to be discussed first because it’s very interesting for the genre. Thank you all for being here and for your relentless support. It means the world to me. – Jon) 

 

In The Wake Of The Dragon Awards, Baycon Doubles Down

Vox Day has been quite vocal about his laws of SJWs, starting with his first book, SJWs Always Lie. We saw this immediately after my being removed as a speaker, when folk who were running the convention took to the hate/smear fake news site, File 770, in order to try to destroy an independent artist that they already were trying to keep down. That was me back in February.

Soon, book 2, SJWs Always Double Down will arrive. And not soon enough, as they’re already doin so with me.

This last week has shown that, as we already knew from the stellar sales that I get as a newer independent author, that people crave my science fiction. I’ve been called the leading Hispanic voice in Sci-fi by many, and then received further validation/vindication of the demand for my writing (if all of the positive reviews on Amazon/Goodreads weren’t enough!) when I was nominated for the most prestigious award in Science Fiction, Dragon Award for Best Military Science Fiction.

As I still have many friends and readers who attend Baycon and volunteer there, I naturally posted my elation to their facebook group of 1,000+ sci-fi readers/attendees. I received many likes on the post, and appreciate all the people who attend who do support my career. I wouldn’t be here without my readers, after all.

Here was my post, which I saved before I was removed from the group, and the hateful leadership who blackballed me last year removed my post:

No one can disagree that this post contains nothing to merit blocking from science fiction fandom. It’s a pure celebration of sci-fi fandom!
After only receiving positive response from Baycon members in the group, I was removed and blocked from seeing the group, my wife was removed as a member (not blocked, hwich is how I saw they took down my post as well), and I was blocked from BayCon’s twitter feed.

There are a lot of gatekeepers in the cultural establishment who don’t just ignore me despite my overwhelming popularity in the field, but they actively hate and want me to fail in my career because of who I am, a Hispanic writer with a voice that people want to hear.

The best way you can send a message to these elites is to buy my books of course, and share with your friends, but right now there’s an even bigger message to send: ensure that Star Realms: Rescue Run wins the Dragon Award for Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy. I need your help, as I’m up against the best of the best in the field (and I mean it, I read most of the books on the list– I’m honored to even be among them) but every vote and every push that you make, my readers, changes the culture for the future to create a positive world. If you haven’t registered yet, the link is here.

http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_signup.php