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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 08:01 pm:   

With some trepidation I'm announcing that the updated John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer Eligible Author Web Site is now up, including the 2003 debut authors at http://www.sff.net/campbell-awards

I know that I must be a dozen or so writers short of who debuted in '03, including F&SF authors, and I'm probably missing a couple of '02 authors too. For example, only one Writer of the Future author from this year has contacted me so far.

If the author-savvy among you get a chance, could you check the names on the eligible authors' page to see if there is anyone you know who might be eligible who is not listed, and then please let them know to contact me, and/or tell me about them so I can list them? The nominations for the award will start in about four weeks, and I'd love the site to be as complete as possible by then.

Remember, for an author to be eligible, she/he must have appeared in a print venue with 10,000 or more copies. Generally that's the four major magazines, major anthologies or major novel houses. Electronic publications do not qualify an author YET, even at SCIFI.COM (go figure!).

I've cross-posted this in several places. Thanks ahead of time.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 06:18 pm:   

I have four authors from the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer Eligible Author Web Site listed as having appeared in '02 or '03. They are Allison Bowman, David D. Levine, Eyal Teler, and Vered Tochterman.

Do any of you know of other authors who have made their first sale to a major venue to F&SF in '02 or '03?

You can see the entire list of eligible authors (so far) at http://www.sff.net/campbell-awards/authors.htm
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Charlie Finlay
Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 07:13 pm:   

Jim, according to the header notes (which I just reread when checking this for that other post), Bret Bertholf's "Alfred Bester is Alive and Well in Winterset, Iowa" (Sept 2003) was a first sale to any venue.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 09:34 pm:   

I believe these others from F&SF would also qualify as first pro sales:

Clem Crowder's Catch - Al Michaud (July 03)
Shutdown/Retrovival - Aaron A. Reed (March 03)
Halfway House - Jeremy Minton (Jan. 03)

And, does poetry count?

ee "doc" cummings - elizabeth bear (March 03)
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 08:40 am:   

John and Charlie, thanks for the tips. I'm e-mailing all of them.

Best,
Jim
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Lavie
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 10:02 am:   

I believe Gary Fry, who has a story in Gathering the Bones, is therefore eligible?

btw, interesting that two of the writers listed for 2003 are Israeli, Eyal Teler and Vered Tochterman.

I'm quietly pleased about that... :-)
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ET
Posted on Saturday, January 10, 2004 - 04:47 pm:   

And you stop dawdling in the UK and come back to Israel, you hear? We need all the writers we can get if we're to take over the world.
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jillelaine
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 12:00 pm:   

For "first pro sale" in SF/F market, which publications are eligible for this award? If an author has published in other pro markets before but is debuting in the SF/F market, is she/he eligible?

Thanks.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 05:37 pm:   

Hi, Jillelain. Since the writers have to appear in print in a market with 10,000 or more copies, that pretty much limits them for short stories to Analog, Asimov's, F&SF, Realms of Fantasy, or a major publisher's anthology, like Writers of the Future. Also a novel from a major publisher qualifies. This means on the short story side that all kinds of famous and well-respected venues don't qualify, like Datlow's SCIFICTION (it's not a print venue), Interzone, Weird Tales, Absolute Magnitude, etc.; and on the book side almost all the small-press offerings, including just about anything that is print on demand.

Although I've never seen the rules tested this way, I think any appearance in print with an over 10,000 copy print run, regardless of the genre, would start the two-year eligibility running. This makes sense to me because if, say, John Grisham sold a story to Analog (there's a weird image for you), it would be very hard in any sense of the phrase to describe him as a "new writer."

However, because of the 10,000 copy cut off, which is 8,000 copies more than SFWA requires to qualify for membership (they also have frequency of publication and pay rate requirements), there are some long-time SFWA members who still could qualify for consideration for this award.

The ironies are endless.

There have been some odd qualifying writers because of these rules. For example, one year a writer qualifed by publishing a SF story in The Missouri Review, which is not a place one ordinarily looks for SF, but they have a huge print run. Also, once, a writing couple qualified with their self-published vanity novel about their dog coming back as a ghost. They must have had a ton of money, because they paid for the printing of over 10,000 copies. One imagines stacks of books piled up against the wall of their garage, but by the rules they qualified.
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jillelaine
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 10:53 am:   

OK, that clarifies. I've had pro publications, but never (SF/F or otherwise) in that large of a print run except for my journalism/nonfiction sales. (at least not yet--I'm trying with some of the qualifying mags), so I guess that makes me a "new writer". Thanks.
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 02:39 pm:   

What is the cut-off for book publication? Very few first novels and even fewer anthologies have 10,000 copy print runs--in small or large press. Therefore, I'm assuming the rules are different for books.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 08:04 pm:   

Nope, the cutoff for books is the same as short stories. A lot of time is spent by authors querying their publishers to make sure their antho appearance of novel broke the 10,000 copy barrier.
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 08:22 pm:   

That a ridiculous rule --most print runs are more like 5-7500 for first novels and the same or fewer for anthologies (HC). The only way someone will get a higher print run is if the first publication is mass market pb. With a rule like that I'd like to know exactly how many writers have qualified over the past five years on novel or anthology sales alone?
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 05:16 am:   

Hi, Ellen. About half of the writers qualify that way. Somewhere between 15 to 20 writers a year.

You can see the whole list at http://www.sff.com/campbell-awards. Click on the ELIGIBLE AUTHORS button. The first publication for every writer is their qualifying one. After thay've qualified, I list everything they've sold, regardless of whether it would qualify them or not. Part of the purpose of the JWC site is to highlight the work of new authors, so if readers discover a new writerin, say, F&SF, they can find out where else that writer's work has appeared. Theodora Goss, for example, debuted in Realms of Fantasy in '02 (the story was reprinted in the Year's Best Fantasy and horror--that's quite a debut!), but the next story listed for her was in Alchemy 1, and the next after that was at Strange Horizons. Neither of the later pubs would qualify her for consideration.

A more extreme example would be Greg Beatty who debuted last year in The Mammoth Book of Road Stories, and then has dozens of stories listed, none of which appeared in large-print-run venues.

Every year around 35 writers make the breakthrough into a 10,000 or more copy venue.
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ellen
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 07:41 am:   

Jim,
Sorry, but that url gave me an error message.

You mean those 15 -20 all were eligible through novel or anthology publication?
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Paul Melko
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 07:57 am:   

The URL is http://www.sff.net/campbell-awards/
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ellen
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 08:14 am:   

thanks Paul.
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Lavie
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 08:17 am:   

Surely you mean "publication in an _English-language_ market with over 10,000 copies"?

Because there are a hell of a lot of Chinese SF writers out there who are otherwise eligible...

And as for the novel qualifier, how come there are no British writers with a novel debut listed?

I ain't dissing you, it's a good award, but it is (like any award with "World" in its title) American-biased.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 11:00 am:   

Argh, I mistyped the URL. It's http://www.sff.net/campbell-awards/ (thanks Paul!)

No, any publication in any venue with 10,000 more copies makes an author eligible. I can only list the writers who send me their information, however. I'd certainly list a Chinese writer if I got the information.

The award is voted on by the attendees of the WorldCon, however, which is a predominantly English speaking crowd (despite the "World" in its title). British writers have debuted in the past, although, I guess, not many SF/F novels in Britain by debut writers are printed with more than 10,000 copies. As Ellen pointed out, there are American debut novels that don't get 10,000 copies, and America is a much larger market. There are British writers listed on the site, but they debuted with American publications. There are a couple writers from Israel listed too. They debuted in Asimov's.

By the way, in case anyone wonders, I don't have anything to do with the rules for the award. I just run a website that tries to show who is eligible, since most folks can't tell who is "new" when they go to vote.

I should point out, though, despite the obvious American bias to the award (which mirrors the Hugo bias), Winners Nalo Hopkinson and Cory Doctorow were Canadian.

If I was running the rules, it would be somewhat different.

By a quick count of the 2002/2003 authors listed on the site, 30 debuted with novels or in anthologies, while 24 debuted in magazines. The L.Ron Hubbard Writer's of the Future antho provided a fair number of the new authors.
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ET
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 03:05 pm:   

> There are a couple writers from Israel listed too. They debuted in Asimov's.

F&SF, if you're talking about Vered and me. Not the right forum to make that mistake. ;)
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 05:19 pm:   

Eeek! Clearly I need to check my meds before I post on the bulletin board. Eyal Teler and Vered Tochterman debuted in F&SF, the July and December issues, respectfully.
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ellen
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 08:13 pm:   

Jim, my point is that very few hc anthologies print more than 7500 copies and that mass market sales are way down as well. So, for example:

Short story, "Principles and Parameters," The Children of Cthulhu, Jan. '02--this book, if I recall was a hc--did it have a print run of 10,000 ?

Shadows Over Baker Street, Del Rey, Sept. '03--was definitely a hc--what was the print run? Anyone check?

Novel, Star Dragon, Tor, Oct. '03. --Tor always publishes in hc first--were there 10,000 copies printed?

Short story, “Protecting Data’s Friends,” Strange New Worlds VI, June '03.--what is this antho? Never heard of it? DId it have a print run of 10,000?

And on and on. I'm guessing several of the writers listed are not eligible according to the rules.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 08:52 pm:   

Hi, Ellen. I ask the authors to check on print runs if it wasn't a major release. I was in the Children of Cthulhu antho, and it went over 10,000 (in better book stores everywhere), or so the editor told me. For Star Dragon, I just queried Mike Brotherton as a double check. The Strange New Worlds antho is a long-running (well, six years) collection of Star Trek short stories, published as mass market paperback, so I know that one's good.

Fortunately, I'm not in charge of the final validation of the authors. When the Hugo committee at Worldcon is putting together the final ballot for the Hugos and the JWC, they double check everything. Sometimes, they call me, and I do the double checking.

The most interesting problem we ran into was an author who by nominations should have been on the final ballot, but he had been a coauthor for a D&D type game a couple years earlier (he designed one of the modules or something). The Hugo committee had to decide if that was a debut since the game had more than 10,000 copies. They decided that he hadn't written text for the game, so he was eligible and stayed on the final ballot.

Occasionally an author has said the print run was big enough, and it wasn't. In one case, Ellen Klages in '98, her story (which made the Nebula final ballot I think), was in an Overlook Press antho, Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction. Its initial print run was under 10,000, but it went into a second printing that kicked it over, making her eligible.

This rolling print run precedent is an interesting problem. What if a print-on-demand book comes out from a small press this year and it does very well for that kind of book, eventually breaking the 10,000 copy barrier, but it takes five years to do it? Did the author debut the year it came out, or the year it broke 10,000? Too much of a puzzler for me. I just list them as best I can and let the Hugo rules committe and Dell Press who sponsors it answer questions like that.

Speaking of which, Sheila Williams answered an e-mail query I made to her about using SCIFI.COM as a debut venue. She said you should e-mail her about traffic at the site. Since we've been chatting for a couple of years about e-zine qualification for this award, and I've been campaigning to get SciFiction as a qualifying venue, I think this is pretty exciting.

If I do find listed authors who shouldn't be there, I have no problem deleting them.
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Thomas R
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 09:10 pm:   

I'd certainly list a Chinese writer if I got the information.

SF World of China is the largest SF magazine in the world. However Worldcon is predominately English as you say. Does that mean a person published once in SF World in say 1998, but whose career doesn't really start until they move to the US in 2003 is inelligible? A reverse issue did Angelica Grodischer count as a new writer when she first appeared in the Starlight series, despite the fact she'd been writing in Argentina for many years?

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ellen
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 09:42 pm:   

Jim, I know you're not the person who checks eligibility of anthos. And it's not my job to check anthology print runs (not that any publishers would tell me other than Tor).
However, Thomas, you mentino Angelica Grodischer--did her appearance in Starlight make her eligible?
Was it for her original appearance in the hc edition of the antho or for the trade pb? If the former then I can state unequivocally that Starlight has never gotten a 10,000 copy print run in hc.

Anyway, thanks for the tip re: Sheila. I'll email her but since we don't keep tabs on individual parts of the site, I don't know if I can satisfy the qualification of 10,000 readers. We just don't know.
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Jim Van Pelt
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 11:55 pm:   

My understanding of the rules is that an author's JWC clock starts running as soon as she/he breaks the 10,000 print run mark, regardless of where it was or what language.

There are some well-known authors, some of them of long-time SFWA status who have never published in a 10,000 or more copy venue, so it's possible that a long-time author could suddenly show up as a JWC-eligible name. Last year, I think, or the year before, I thought Charlie Stross was going to be eligible. His previous publications were mostly in Interzone, and although he was well known, Interzone doesn't print 10,000 copies. But it turned out he'd made an appearance in an anthology in the early 90s and burned his eligibility that way.

Like any award, I think that the rules can cause some inequities. However, in general I think that the idea of the JWC is good, and the website gives some visibility to new folks. The award has been hit or miss on predicting the success or staying power of an author, and the list of incredible folk who didn't win the award is much larger than the list of the ones who did. Still, it's fun to watch people break in, particularly when the conversations among the unpublished can become so bitter and defeatist. I've had new writers tell me that no one who isn't previously published can be published today, and that it was so much easier to break in during the golden age (whatever that was), but every year a new batch of writers does it. Making a sale to a major novel house or a major magazine is tough--incredibly tough--but it's not impossible. The JWC award's existence shows that.
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Wondering
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 04:56 pm:   

The rules for the Campbell seem to be crazy, especially that they exclude electonic media (such as SCI-FICTION). Nuts.

Whats the process for getting this changed?
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 09:40 pm:   

I emailed Sheila and told her that I really don't have records for the traffic on the SCIFICTION area of the site but that our newsletter goes out to a certain # of people per week. It's not up to her--she can make suggestions to however gives the awards--I don't recall who that actually is.

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