Hugo Nomination Time: Pro Tips For Artists

Artwork for Loteria Grande Cards by John Picacio. (Lone Boy / 2014)

Artwork for Loteria Grande Cards by John Picacio. (Lone Boy / 2014)

The Hugo nomination voting period ends this Tuesday, March 10th at 23:59 Pacific Time. So if you’re like me, and you haven’t voted yet — get those nomination ballots in!

For all of my fellow illustrators and artists out there, I want to offer a few suggestions for being considered in the Professional and Fan Artist Hugo categories.


I’m not talking about hooking up. I’m talking about making it known when your artwork was published. For Hugo Award consideration, this is a tiny thing that’s really big. Why? Because only work that was first published or appeared in the calendar year of 2014 is eligible. So, for instance, right now, I’m trying to figure out my nominations in the Artist categories and if I don’t know when an artist’s work was published or first appeared, it makes it very hard to nominate them. The solution: Make these dates readily available on your websites and your blogs along with your posted works. For example, I solved that one by grouping the illustrations on my website by year published. Like this: Here are some of my selected eligible works for 2014 awards consideration. It keeps it simple, ya know?

If you have questions about dates, here’s the Hugo rules language pertaining to this:

“In general, works first published or appearing in calendar year 2014 are eligible for the Hugo Award. Works previously published in languages other than English but first published in English in 2014 are eligible. Works previously published outside of the USA but first published in the USA in 2014 are eligible. Medium of publication is irrelevant: works published or appearing online are considered the same as if published in hard-copy form or shown on television or in theaters, including film festivals. Works published in multiple parts, such as serialized stories including graphic works, are eligible if their final part appeared in 2014. Detailed rules for the Hugo Award are contained in Article 3 of the World Science Fiction Society’s constitution.”

You don’t need anything more than the publication year. If you include the publication month that’s even shinier, but not necessary unless you’re talking about a venue that appears in periodical form.

If your work is sitting out there right now with no publication data, and you don’t have time to overhaul your website, don’t panic. Do a Tumblr post, blog post or some sort of consolidated online summary somewhere (more on that in minute) where you can point and say, “Here’s all of my eligible stuff!”


Ah, yes. How do you get the word out about your work? I might as well be trying to answer the meaning of life. Simple question. Tough one to answer, or at the very least, a tough one to do well even when you know the answer.

In general, letting your audience know that your work is eligible at the beginning of the Hugo nomination voting period (sometime back in January) and at the end of it (which is right now!) is a very good idea. Maybe a sporadic reminder or two within the voting period but that’s about it. I think we all have varying channels of media that we operate upon (blogs, DeviantArt, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Ello, carrier pigeons) and my advice is to spread out your reminders over those channels across different time intervals, during the course of a voting period. I think it’s OK to hit all of them with reminders at the beginning and end, but in general, distribute the word evenly so that your people in one media pocket don’t get spammed and feel like you’re hammering them like a nail.


I know. Considering what I said in #2, this is a toughie. You’ll see other industry figures saying “vote for me” but don’t take the bait. It’s not the way to do this.

Pro Tip: Don’t use the phrase “vote for me”. Wash that one out of your system. Flush it. Gone.

Try using a phrase like, “Here are some of my eligible works for your Hugo Awards consideration.” It’s a better way. You’re making your work visible but you’re not panhandling. Voters don’t look kindly on overt public campaigning, and even though I see some industry folks becoming more aggressive with overtures for votes, you win by letting your art do the talking. That’s the advantage that visual creators have over word creators when awards season arrives. Our art can do the talking in one soul-moving glance, whereas people have to read a writer’s work to vote for them, and that takes more time investment.

Remember — you’re a Jedi.

Use the Force.

In your pictures you must trust. <Insert your Yoda voice here.>


Go forth. Let the world know your work is eligible. Let ME know your work is eligible! I want to know!

And speaking of that — I have a nomination ballot to fill out. Pronto. So do a lot of other voters too! Artists — please feel free to post links to your work in the comments section below. Don’t look around, waiting for someone else to do it first. JUST DO IT. And if you’re a fan of an artist who has eligible work for Hugo Awards consideration, then feel free to post links to that artist’s eligible work.

Good luck, everyone!

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