Guess what, fellow SFF fans? The nomination period for the 2013 Hugo Awards and John W. Campbell Award is now officially open! The Hugos are among the most prestigious and coveted awards in the speculative fiction genre and are announced each year at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon).

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, The Hugos are great and all but where do I fit in? Isn’t voting only for SFF bigwigs or those people who are lucky enough to attend Worldcon?

Ahh, but therein lies the rub. Any speculative fiction fan can sign up to nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards each year–you don’t have to attend Worldcon, you don’t have to be a publisher, or author, or blogger, or some other SFF pundit. This certainly came as a shock to Ana and I–and both of us are SFF junkies and long-time bloggers! We had no idea that we could actually vote for the Hugo Awards until this fact was pointed out to us by a friend, fellow blogger Renay. Renay wrote a fantastic article about her experience with the Hugos and makes an impassioned case for every fan to sign up for a membership to nominate and vote for the awards.

So how do you sign up? How do you become a member and get your voice heard? Admittedly, navigating the many different websites and rules seems daunting at first, but it’s actually a very simple process, once you know the specifics:

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1. Become a Member. Go to the LoneStarCon website (LoneStarCon is the official host of this year’s Worldcon) and check out the different membership options. The two major options are: Attending Membership ($200), which includes all publications, voting and Worldcon attending rights; and Supporting Membership ($60), which includes all the voting rights and privileges of an attending membership except the right to attend the convention. As we Book Smugglers will not be attending Worldcon this year, we have purchased a Supporting Membership to ensure that we can nominate and vote for the Hugos.

You can become a member online instantly by filling out this form. If you prefer the good old fashioned printed form version, you can download the form for snail mail here.

Deadline Alert: Make sure you sign up by January 31, 2013 if you want to nominate and/or vote for the 2013 awards.

2. Nominate. Once you’re a member, you’ll receive an official Hugo Nomination PIN via email (you can email hugopin@lonestarcon3.org if you haven’t received your PIN and want to make sure you’re registered). Once you have your PIN, you can fill out an electronic ballot online (or you can download a paper ballot if you prefer).

And now is your chance to let it rip! You’re allowed to nominate up to 5 titles in each of the Hugo categories listed below. Note that all nominated titles must have been published–electronically or in print–in 2012. Also note that the Hugos are worldwide awards, and works can be published anywhere in the world in any language (official rules and definitions provided by The Hugo Awards here).

 

    Best Novel (40,000 words or more)

    Best Novella (17,500 to 40,000 words)

    Best Novelette (7,500 to 17,500 words)

    Best Short Story (up to 7,500 words)

    Best Related Work

    Best Graphic Story

    Best Dramatic Presentation "Long Form" (more than 90 minutes)

    Best Dramatic Presentation "Short Form" (less than 90 minutes)

    Best Editor Short Form

    Best Editor Long Form

    Best Professional Artist

    Best Semiprozine

    Best Fanzine

    Best Fancast

    Best Fan Writer

    Best Fan Artist

 

But wait! You might be thinking to yourself, I don’t know about ALL of these categories! Fear not, fellow SFF fan. You can nominate for as many or as few categories as you like. If you are really passionate about short stories and don’t care about the rest of the ballot, then by golly you go ahead and nominate titles in the Best Short Story category and leave the rest of the ballot blank. It is completely up to you. In the sage words of Renay, who attuned us to the voting process: “There’s no wrong way to participate. There’s no wrong way to be a fan. There’s space on that rocket for everyone, if we want to get all sappy about it, and the more diverse the participants engaging in this fan award are, the more it becomes an inclusive, representative award that’s going to reach more people and bring them into fandom.”

So say we all.

Deadline Alert: Your nomination must be received by Sunday, March 10, 2013, 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Time. So nominate early to make sure your voice is heard!

3. Vote. When the final ballot is ready (tabulated from all member nominations), you’ll have the right to vote for your favorites on the ticket. Winners will be presented at Worldcon (August 29-September 2, 2013).

And that is the process in a nutshell! Will you be nominating titles this year? Go on and let us know which ones you think are deserving of a silver rocket ship! Here are some of our early picks:

Best Novel:

The Killing Moon/The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

Best Short Story:

“The Kairos Mechanism” by Kate Milford

Best Professional Artist:

Jason Chan

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):

The Avengers

The Hunger Games

The Dark Knight Rises

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

“The Angels Take Manhattan” (Doctor Who)

“Valar Morghulis” (Game of Thrones)

“Killer Within” (The Walking Dead)

Best Fanzine:

SF Signal

Fantasy Cafe

Other Resources (for the thorough fan)

The Hugo Awards Official Website

Hugo Awards FAQ

LoneStarCon 3 Official Website

LoneStarCon Hugo Awards Information

Thea James and Ana Grilo are The Book Smugglers, a website for speculative fiction and YA. You can find also find them at Twitter.