2014 Nebula Prediction: Indicators #6 and #7

So far, we’ve just looked at awards history. Now, we need to look at how the books have been received. Indicators #6 and #7 use some of the popular “Best Book of the Year” votes as an indicator. If a book isn’t well known, it likely won’t receive the most votes for the Nebula award.

The Locus Awards are one of the longest running and most reliable reader polls out there. It’s a well informed audience, and their track record is strong. Of the last 13 years, since 2000, all but one eventual Nebula winner has made the Locus Award list. These are lists of the top 20 novels of the year in a variety of genres (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, First Novel, etc.). It doesn’t seem to matter where you place on the lists–we’ve had novels that have been in 1st place, novels in 15th place, novels on the Young Adult list. You just have to show up somewhere.

Unfortunately for us, the Locus Award results came out later in the year, so they won’t be available for some time.

Although it lacks the long history of the Locus, the Goodreads Choice Awards attracts tons of voters, and gives us perhaps the best sense of the “general public’s” reaction to a book. Although only in place since 2009 (4 years data), every Nebula award winning book has placed on either the Goodreads SF or F year end Reader’s Top 20 list. Who knows if this will continue in the future–we can address that by proper weighting–but it seems like a good indicator for right now.

So, that leaves us with these two Indicators:
Indicator #6: Nominee places in the Locus Awards. (92.3%)
Indicator #7: Nominee places in the Goodreads Choice Awards. (100%)

So, how did this year’s nominees fare in the Goodreads Choice Awards?
Indicator 7

A pretty telling chart. Most of our books this year were not all that popular. Gaiman and Wecker broke through to the mainstream, but everyone else languished. I think this indicates some real problems for our other strong contenders (Fowler, Griffith). Did enough genre readers pick up their books? Even Leckie comes across poorly. The disparity between Gaiman, with more than 40,000 votes, and Leckie, who pushes a little over 300, is staggering.

Another category that gives Gaiman a clear win, and one that’ll push Wecker up in the formula.


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