[Redacted due to a violation of SFWA Forum policies, which forbids both quoting and paraphrasing of Forum discussions. Also, I should mention that I was in error in assuming that a question on the Forum was directed at me; it was directed at another individual’s post that I did not see. My apologies to the questioner.]
If I win I will form a committee consisting of one author from each major publisher, who will be charged with discussing the issue with their publisher and receiving either a confirmation or a denial that the publisher has engaged in “bestseller campaigns” via bulk-buying or other methods. What will be done with that information will be up to the membership, but at least they will be informed as to the facts of the situation.
Anyhow, it struck me that the problem of the appearance of corruption in science fiction and fantasy might have an easy solution. Since Tor and its authors appear to be inordinately focused on seeing their names on bestseller lists and being nominated for awards, why not give them exactly what they want? The SFWA can give out two Best Novel awards, one for Best Novel and another for Best Tor Novel. That way, all the Tor writers can take turns giving each other awards, which is pretty much what they already do anyhow, and all the other books published in the genre can be considered on their literary merits. This would likely result in the genre’s best writers, such as Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross, and China Mieville, finally having a reasonable chance of winning and thereby legitimizing the Nebula awards again.
The alternative is for the organization to continue to hand out Nebula awards for Best Science Fiction Novel to parodies of Regency romances and thereby looking increasingly insane, until McRapey finally wins one for his historic “reboot” of John Norman, Cisgenders of Gor.
As for the bestseller campaigns, I have a solution there too. Because the NYT is desperate for cash, it can surely be convinced to create a new SFWA Bestsellers category to which the various SF/F publishers can subscribe and be charged a moderate subscription fee. Different slots will be sold each month, and the publisher can place whatever title he wants each week in the slots he owns that month. Everyone can become a “New York Times Bestselling author” whether their books come anywhere close to the top 100-selling books or not, and the publishers can slap “New York Times Bestseller” on every book they publish. Everyone is happy, everyone wins!
Two brilliant solutions. Frankly, I’ll be shocked if they don’t elect me dictator-for-life. Also, given what I am told about the vital importance of these lists, I should appreciate it if every reference to me in the future includes “
TwoThree-time Billboard Top 40 Recording Artist”.