A few eligibility questions came up today.
First one. Alexandra Erin has an eligibility post up here: http://www.alexandraerin.com/2018/12/for-your-consideration/
As I’ve been talking about Fan Writer, I’ll note that she has suggested that some of her Twitter threads are relevant to the category. She doesn’t cite a particular thread but I’ll mention one as it segues into eligibility questions. In this case a discussion she posted about eligibility for the Campbell award:
On her blog post she discusses the issue of ‘published’ and eligibility more generally.
‘Now, you might be thinking something along the lines of, “But these stories were all self-published on your Patreon! Does that really count as being published, for purposes of an award requiring publication in 2018?” My answer to that is pretty straightforward: they count as published for all other purposes, including any attempts to subsequently publish them (the first rights are gone) and also under United States and international copyright law. I recognize that there are differing opinions and an ongoing conversation and if you have a strong personal conviction in this area I’m not going to attempt to sway you.’
The Hugo FAQ is unambiguous on the question:
‘Self-published works, e-books, and other “non-traditionally” published works are eligible. There is no restriction requiring works to be published through “traditional” publishers.’http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-faq/#Are%20self-published%20e-books%20considered%20as%20potential%20nominees
The constitution doesn’t say anything specific but there’s certainly no rule for works that says they need to be traditionally published.
The second question relates back to fan writer.
Does writing at sites like Tor.com and Barnes & Noble count?
The Hugo FAQ says:
‘Best Fan Writer: This is another person category. Note that it does not just apply to writing done in fanzines. Work published in semiprozines, and even on mailing lists, blogs, BBSs, and similar electronic fora, can be including when judging people for this Award. Only work in professional publications should not be considered.’http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-categories/
However the eligibility rule in the constitution is more vague — particularly when read next to the otherwise similar category of Best Fan Artist:
3.3.16: Best Fan Writer. Any person whose writing has appeared in semiprozines or fanzines or in generally available electronic media during the previous calendar year.http://www.wsfs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/WSFS-Constitution-as-of-August-21-2018.pdf
3.3.17: Best Fan Artist. An artist or cartoonist whose work has appeared through publication in semiprozines or fanzines or through other public, non-professional, display (including at a convention or conventions), during the previous calendar year
It’s not a well-written rule as ‘generally available electronic media’ covers almost anything online but the presence of “fanzine” and “semiprozine” implies that the rule doesn’t cover professional magazines. The fan artist rule covers this by overtly saying ‘nonprofessional’ but the fan writer rule does not.
I’d be worried about a change to the rule that made Patreon posts or blog posts fueled by Kickstarters etc ineligible. In the meantime it’s not demonstrably a problem i.e. the immediate post-Puppy landscape has not been all Tor.com writing for Fan Writer. However, it is also one of those gradual changes in the landscape that weren’t reflected by slow changes in the Hugos because normal service was suspended due to hydrophobic shenanigans.
I think the rules as they stand mean if the work is freely available then it counts towards being a fan writer. However, what then of Patreon posts or Medium posts behind a pay-wall? They can’t really be called ‘generally available’ but are less obviously professional.
No conclusion from me on this one!