Nebula Rules

Complete Nebula Awards® Rules Including the Ray Bradbury and Andre Norton Awards (Revised & Updated)

The following rules for the Nebula Awards® are effective November 15, 2018:

    1. The SFWA President shall, in compliance with the Bylaws and established operating procedures, appoint a Nebula Awards Commissioner to oversee and administer the Nebula Awards® and to carry out the duties as outlined herein and any other related responsibilities that may arise during the course of said administration. During the term of responsibility, no works by the Nebula Awards Commissioner shall be eligible for nomination. Members of the SFWA Awards Rules Committee (SARC) who appear on the FINAL BALLOT must recuse themselves from any subsequent vote that concerns eligibility or interpretation of rules in the category in which they appear for that year’s Nebula, Bradbury, or Norton Awards. These cases shall be referred to the Board of Directors for resolution, along with a report from the NAC stating the issue and the reason for the recusal.
    2. The SFWA President shall, in compliance with the Bylaws and established operating procedures, appoint a three (3) person SFWA Awards Rules Committee (SARC), to rule on questions pertaining to the Nebula Awards® rules. The Nebula Awards Commissioner will serve as a secretary to this committee, but shall not be a voting member.
    3. The SFWA Board of Directors, at their discretion, may create additional categories of award to be voted on by the Active and Associate members in good standing. All awards that SFWA administers are considered Nebula Awards.
    4. The Nebula Awards year shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31 of the year for which awards will be presented.
    5. Nebula Awards will be made in the following categories:
      1. Short Story: less than 7,500 words;
      2. Novelette: at least 7,500 words but less than 17,500 words;
      3. Novella: at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words
      4. Novel: 40,000 words or more.
      5. Game Writing: An interactive or playable story-driven work which conveys narrative, character, or story background.
        1. Works in the game writing category shall have no word count requirements.
    6. Eligibility
      1. All works first published in English, in the United States, during the calendar year, in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, or a related fiction genre are eligible for the Nebula Awards® in their respective categories.
        1. Works such as comic books, graphic novels, audiobooks, podcasts, and similar type works shall be placed in an existing category as deemed appropriate by the Nebula Awards Commissioner, based primarily on their word count.
        2. All works that are published and available to the public in a calendar year will be taken as eligible for that calendar year for purposes of the Nebula awards, regardless of the issue date on the cover or other label.
        3. The Nebula Awards Commissioner will decide the eligibility of a questionable work.
      2. Works first published in English on the Internet or in electronic form during the calendar year shall be treated as though published in the United States.
      3. Word counts for translated works shall be based on the English word count.
      4. Works not yet released to the general public, including but not limited to review copies for a forthcoming work, works published in a password protected or limited distribution workshop, or games published as early-access, shall not be eligible for nomination or the final ballot until the work is actually released and available to the general public.
      5. The novel-length version of a previously published short story, novelette, or novella shall be eligible upon the novel’s first English-language publication in the United States. A novel re-issued in expanded or modified form shall not be eligible unless previously withdrawn in accordance with the rules. A short story, novelette, or novella based on a previously-published version of the work shall not be eligible.
      6. A game must include at least one (1) credited writer in order to be eligible for the Nebula for Game Writing. A new iteration of a game (often, but not always referred to as “version” or “edition”) shall be eligible provided substantive changes have been made to content, gameplay, or story.
      7. Works are eligible whether or not their authors are members of SFWA.
      8. Works are eligible whether or not they have been previously published outside of the United States.
    7.  Withdrawals
      1. The author of any eligible work may withdraw it from consideration in a given year and request that a later edition be considered for the Nebula, but only in two specific cases:
        1. If it appeared as a limited edition publication, or
        2. If the author finds the published version unacceptable as the result of editorial changes or production errors.
      2. An author must present a written request for withdrawal to the Nebula Awards Commissioner by November 1 or within thirty (30) days after the publication, production, or broadcast of the work, whichever is later.
      3. For a later edition of a withdrawn work to be eligible, the author must present a written request for reinstatement to the Nebula Awards Commissioner.
      4. Nominations shall not be accepted for a work withdrawn from eligibility, nor shall nominations on file for any such work be carried over to the future.
      5. An author may permanently withdraw a work from eligibility by delivering a written request to the Nebula Awards Commissioner. No work so withdrawn shall ever again be eligible for the Nebula Awards.
      6. If a work published late in the year is withdrawn after November 1st and has received nominations, those nominations will be null and void. An attempt will be made to notify member(s) who nominated the work so that they may submit replacement nominations. All nominations must be submitted before the end of the NOMINATION PERIOD.
    8. All Active and Associate members of SFWA in good standing are eligible to make nominations during the NOMINATION PERIOD.
    9. A secure, web-based form will be provided for all classes of members to offer “suggested reading” throughout the year. ANY class of member will be eligible to add entries to this database, which shall be checked monthly for duplicates and errors by the Nebula Awards Commissioner.
    10. Works may not be nominated by their authors, editors, publishers, or agents.
    11. The official NOMINATION PERIOD will remain open for at least six weeks and should begin no later than December 15th and extend though at least January 31st of the following year. Nominations will be accepted via a secure online form. Alternately, members may request a paper ballot from the Nebula Awards Commissioner no later than two weeks prior to the close of the ballot. Nominations made via paper ballot will override any nominations made via online form.
      1. Only Active and Associate members in good standing shall be eligible to nominate works for the FINAL BALLOT.
      2. Nominations shall be treated as confidential information.
      3. Each eligible member may nominate no more than five different works per category and may not nominate any work more than once.
      4. The nominations will be counted by the Nebula Awards Commissioner, who shall compose the FINAL BALLOT.
    12. The FINAL BALLOT shall be comprised of the top six works in each category that receive the most nominations.
      1. In the event that zero (0) works are nominated in a given category, then no award shall be given in that category.
      2. In the event that fewer than six (6) works are nominated in a given category, then all works will be listed on the FINAL BALLOT.
      3. Any work qualifying for fifth place or sixth place in a category must receive at least 10 nominations in order to be placed on the ballot.
      4. In the event of a tie within a category for the number of nominations in any place, all tied works shall appear on the FINAL BALLOT. Except in the circumstances stated here, no more than a total of six works shall be listed per category.  If there is a tie for positions 1 through 5, no work will be listed in 6th place and all works tied for positions 1 through 5 shall be listed on the ballot, even if it means that more than six works will be listed. If more than two works are tied for the last place in any category, then the last place (including all tied works) will be cut from the ballot.
      5. The FINAL BALLOT shall be made available for viewing within no more than fourteen days following the close of nominations.
      6. The FINAL BALLOT shall be made available for voting within no more than one month following the close of nominations via a secure online form. Members may request a paper ballot from the Nebula Awards Commissioner no later than two weeks prior to the close of the ballot. Votes made via paper ballot will override any votes made via online form.
      7. Only Active and Associate members in good standing shall be eligible to vote.
      8. Voting will be open for a minimum of one month.
      9. No more than one vote may be cast per category, per member.
      10. All votes will be tallied within 48 hours following the close of the FINAL BALLOT.
      11. The work in each category that receives the most votes will be declared the winner.
      12. In the event of a tie after voting on the FINAL BALLOT, the total number of nominations received for each work will determine the winner. If the number of nominations is also tied, then the tie shall stand, and all such tied works shall receive the award.
    13. The Nebula for Game Writing
      1. There shall be no word count requirement. Interactive or playable story-driven works that are deliberately wordless shall be eligible.
      2. Any work qualifying for the game writing category must receive at least 5 nominations in order to be placed on the ballot.
      3. The Nebula for Game Writing shall be awarded to a representative of the company’s choice, and certificates shall be offered to all credited writers on the game.
      4. Any questions of eligibility, including determination of whether a new iteration of a game shall be eligible, shall be decided by the Nebula Awards Commissioner, in consultation with the Game Writing Committee and subject to an appeal to that committee.
    14. The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation:
      1. SFWA shall award, in tandem with the Nebula Awards, an annual Ray Bradbury Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. This award shall follow all Nebula rules and procedures, and be administered by the Nebula Awards Commissioner.
      2. Eligible works for this award shall be dramatic works such as motion pictures, television, Internet, radio, audio, and stage productions.
      3. The award will be given to the principal director and writer(s) of the production.
      4. Serial works must be nominated by individual episode and cannot be nominated as a season or in whole, except in the case of short miniseries of no more than three connected episodes.
    15. The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book:
      1. The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, established in 2006, is awarded in tandem with the Nebula Awards. This award shall follow all Nebula rules and procedures except as follows:
        1. The eligibility period shall be the calendar year. Any book in its first appearance in the English language published as a young adult science fiction or fantasy (or related genre) novel during that period shall be eligible, including graphic novels.
        2. Nothing shall preclude a work’s being eligible for both a Nebula Award and an Andre Norton Award.
        3. There shall be no word limit.
        4. Any questions of eligibility, including determination of whether or not a work is a young adult novel, shall be decided by the Nebula Awards Commissioner, in consultation with the SARC and subject to an appeal to that committee.
      2. Nominations: Nominations may be made by any Active or Associate members of SFWA in good standing, and shall be tallied in accordance with the Nebula Awards® rules for novels. Nominations shall be tracked by the Nebula Awards Commissioner and included as a separate category on the FINAL BALLOT.
      3. FINAL BALLOT: The top six (6) works nominated shall reach the FINAL BALLOT, according to the procedures established for novels. The FINAL BALLOT shall be voted upon by Active and Associate members and counted in accordance with the Nebula rules.
      4. Winner: The winner shall be the work which receives the most votes during the FINAL BALLOT. Ties shall be handled in the manner established for novels.
    16. The winners of the Nebula Awards, Bradbury Award, and Andre Norton Award shall be announced at an annual Nebula Awards ceremony.
      1. In the event that a multi-author work wins any of these awards, a single trophy shall be awarded and individual co-authors will each receive a certificate. Translators will be treated as co-authors in this situation, also receiving a separate certificate.
    17. The interpretation of these rules, and all questions regarding eligibility, withdrawals, nominations, ballots, etc. shall be decided by the Nebula Awards Commissioner, subject to appeal to the SARC
      1. In the event of an appeal, an effort will be made to contact the creator or creators of the work in question and inform them of any decisions regarding eligibility.
      2. If an author, a director, or writer of a dramatic production, or the responsible party for a playable or interactive work disagrees with a decision made by the SARC, he or she may apply to the Board of Directors for a further appeal by presenting to them a brief summary of the reasons for the appeal. At this time, the SARC shall provide a summary of their decision to the Board, and, if two members of the Board then believe that an appeal is justified, the decision shall be voted on by the Board, which may overrule the SARC.
      3. Board members who appear on the FINAL BALLOT must recuse themselves from any subsequent Board vote that concerns eligibility or interpretation of rules for that year’s Nebula, Bradbury, or Norton Awards.

These instructions for the Corporation’s operations shall be included in the Operating Policies and Procedures Manual (OPPM) as defined in Article III of the SFWA Bylaws and may be amended at any time by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.