What is the John W. Campbell Award For Best New Writer?

John W. Campbell Award is given to the best new science fiction or fantasy writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy appearing in a professional publication was published in the previous two years. For the 2005 award, which is presented at the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon), the qualifying work must have been published in 2003 or 2004. The 2005 Worldcon will be held in Glasgow.

The author's work must have appeared in a professional publication. A "professional publication" is one that had an average press run of at least 10,000 copies per issue.

The John W. Campbell Award For Best New Writer is administered by the Worldcon Committee and determined by the same nomination and voting mechanism as the Hugo, except that potential nominees for the Campbell Award have a two-year window of eligibility and therefore could be nominated in two successive years. The Campbell Award is not a Hugo. Conde Nast Publications (1973-1978) and Davis Publications (1979-1992) previously sponsored the Campbell Award. In 1993, sponsorship of the Campbell Award was assumed by Dell Magazines. Information from the Bucconeer: the 56thWorld Science Fiction Convention Program Guide.

Information about the Hugos and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer as it is posted on the upcoming Worldcon's site may be found at the Interaction's (Glasgow's Worldcon) web site.

Where the Writers Qualify

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer rules state that a writer must be published in a professional publication. A "professional publication" is one that had a press run of at least 10,000 copies.

Magazine circulations are a thorny problem, and one of interest to both potential Campbell eligible authors and future members of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). Circulations are not always readily available, particularly for older magazines whose editors have left the scene.

SFWA membership also has a press run requirement, however their minimum is 2,000 copies (among several other requirements dealing with pay rate and frequency of publication). So it possible for someone to have joined SFWA, and maybe have been a member for years, but never made a Campbell award eligible sale.

Currently the genre magazines with over 10,000 in circulation are an elite group. They include the following:

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
Realms of Fantasy
The magazines outside the genre with a greater than 10,000 copy press run are fairly elite also, such as Playboy or The New Yorker.

Some well known magazines whose writers often are included in the nominations for Hugos or Nebulas do not have a large enough circulations to qualify someone appearing in them for consideration for the Campbell. These include Interzone, Weird Tales, Absolute Magnitude, On Spec, etc.

Anthologies from the major publishers almost always have large enough print runs. For example, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future anthology is over 10,000, and most of the writers there start their Campbell Award eligibility clock running with an appearance in the anthology.

Most paperback novels from major publishers have a greater than 10,000 copy print run, so a first time novelist with no previous professional publications is eligible for the award.

At this time, electronic publications do not qualify for consideration. There is no rule against a vanity press publication, although that would be a very expensive way for a writer to qualify for consideration.

All questions of eligibility are ultimately decided by the current Worldcon's award committee.


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