World Fantasy Convention Board Requirements
Requirements of the Successful Bidder
Each World Fantasy Convention (WFC) is awarded by the WFC Board of Directors (Board) on the basis of the bidder complying with guidelines and conditions set by the Board, including not changing any of the salient features of the bid after the bid is awarded (i.e., dates, hotel, space, convention chair(s), etc.) without the express written permission of the Board. These guidelines and conditions have emerged from experience and, like the bidding process, evolve as technology, economies, and the changing face of publishing dictate. If a bid is successful, a board member may be appointed as a liaison to help the convention navigate board policies and conditions.
Some of these conditions are as follows:
Dates of Convention
Dates of the convention are approved at the time the bid is awarded and should not be changed without the express permission of the Board. The weekends bracketing Halloween, Thursday through Sunday are the accepted days of the convention (board policy 2011).
The proliferation of blogs, increasing on-line conduct of business, live-tweeting of events and a segment of highly connected members means that committees should ask hotels to provide internet access, at a minimum, in the public areas of the hotel. Conventions are encouraged to negotiate complimentary access to convention attendees and hotel policies should be clearly stated in the bidding and convention planning process (board policy 2010/2011).
The board may stipulate additional requirements of a particular year's convention. This may, for example, include funding repair or replacement of the Award mold or passing on some funds to a future convention.
The WFC Board does not discriminate based on race, sex, orientation, ability or religion and strongly encourages local convention committees to ensure a safe and welcoming atmosphere and be mindful of guest accessibility. It is the responsibility of local convention committees to follow the laws of the jurisdiction in which they operate. This has led to differences in privacy policies, access to facilities that serve alcohol or allow tobacco use, dispute reporting and accessibility.
Conventions are responsible for maintaining their own security. Individual conventions are encouraged to have a harassment policy statement that the convention reserves the right to remove any attendee's membership for irresponsible or illegal behavior (board policy 2011).
Local conventions are strongly encouraged to include in that policy statement a clear contact pursuant to local laws for reporting for any member who experiences or witnesses such an incident, whether it is a designated committee person, hotel staff, convention security, or local law enforcement (board policy 2013).
No book or other items sold commercially outside of the convention can use the World Fantasy Convention name. Any such item using the convention's name must be given away free to all members. The name WFC (or World Fantasy Convention) can't be used at any time without the Board's approval.
WFC committees are asked to have the capability of accepting credit cards (at least Visa and MasterCard) from members, including the ability to charge dealer tables, art show sales, banquet reservations, and memberships. PayPal has been a successful option for providing exchange rates, security and convenience for both the convention and its members. An option that allows for online payment and currency conversion is necessary (board policy 2010).
The Board has no claim, other than through its stipulations of limited amounts of funds for specific activities, on the net profit of the convention. Should the convention result in a net loss, the Board has no responsibility to cover such a loss. Many convention committees purchase liability and event insurance coverage to address unforeseen losses.
Profitable conventions are encouraged to help seed future conventions to assist with initial start up costs.
Revocation of License
Should the convention begin to breach its duties to the membership and to the Board, the Board (through its chair(s)) has the right to retract the award of the right to conduct a World Fantasy Convention or issue the World Fantasy Awards and assign it to another convention in that year.
The chair(s) of the successful bid committee become members of the Board for the year prior, year of, and two years following the assigned convention year. Board members often contribute to policy decisions and are expected to offer constructive contributions to Board discussion online and during the two Board meetings held at each convention. While co-chairs of convention committees may both attend and contribute to the Board meetings, only one vote counts in Board decisions.
Each convention is asked to pass its database of memberships (of all classes and types) on to the upcoming conventions. This should be made available to future conventions electronically within two months of the end of the convention. This file is to be used to provide members of the previous two conventions the opportunity to vote on WFC Award winners, and to send initial contact announcing the opening of memberships for upcoming WFCs. This file is to be kept confidential, however, and not to be otherwise passed on to others for any purpose.
Due to changes in privacy policies in many locales, registration forms should have an “opt in” box for members to check that their names be included in the progress reports/website (board policy 2010/2011).
Each convention is expected to maintain a website that will be linked to the WFC Website. Online registration may not be made available until the beginning of the awards banquet two years prior to the convention year. Convention committees are strongly encouraged to make online registration and payment available to members (see below), as well as contact information for principle department heads and information about applying for dealers room or art show space. Once the convention ends, the website should be archived with WFC.
GUEST AND MEMBER POLICIES
Guests of Honor
When a bid is awarded, the Board will consult with the winner as to the official guest list, to avoid the same people being repeated and to ensure a breadth of experience in the genre. Bidders should consult the list of Guests of Honor who have already been honored, found on the WFC website. The Board may provide suggestions to forthcoming conventions for slots such as Toastmaster. It is especially important to consult with Board members if an individual is listed as “special guest” in the convention Guests of Honor History, as this designation did not always apply to guests of honor. North American conventions should plan to include an international guest on their list to help maintain the world culture of WFC.
Payment to Guests
Conventions usually pay for travel costs, hotel room, memberships and a per diem for the official guests and sometimes a spouse. However, no appearance fees, speaking fees, or other honoraria may be paid to any official or other guests (except as noted below under Travel Allowances).
No memberships may be sold without advance authorization by the Board until the beginning of the World Fantasy Awards Banquet for the second preceding WFC (two years ahead).
The Board recently revisited the membership cap and raised it to 950, not counting staff, board, judges and guests and their spouses (board policy 2011).
Conventions usually have two tiers of membership fees: a staff, WFC board and supporting rate that generally ranges around half the price of the initial membership rate, and an attending rate.
WFC policy grants no free memberships except to the Guests of Honor and their significant others. Discounted memberships are allowed to convention volunteers, dealers, Board members, and others in special circumstances that the board approves (see membership levels, above). Refunds of memberships post-convention are permitted, however, without approval from the Board. This is part of the expectation that all members are treated equally.
Fees are set by each year's convention within a framework established by the Board. It is expected that the cost of membership will progress step fashion until at least US$200 is reached for any memberships that are sold at the door (if any are available then).
It is particularly required by the board that all members receive the same badge and that, except for the Guests and committee, no distinctions be made among classes of badges. This means particularly that there be no special badges or ribbons, etc., to distinguish “pro” from the rest. In this sense everyone at WFC is equal. There may be, however, a discrete method of denoting Art Show and Dealers Room special access.
Convention registration should be open before programming begins to allow late arrivals an opportunity to obtain their materials prior to the first panels of the day (board policy 2010).
It is customary for conventions to offer to assist in the travel costs of some “seasoned professionals” who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend the convention, and to discuss such offers with the Board in advance if possible. It is also customary for the convention to offer free rooms or room nights to the award judges for that year. On occasion, the convention may offer one or more of the award nominees a contribution toward expenses to attend, without necessarily telling them in advance whether they have won.
Hotel Rooms Comped
The board suggests that convention committees offer their year's WFA Judges a complimentary hotel room (or at least a couple of room nights each. See Travel Allowances).
No one-day memberships should be sold. Only the Board may make exceptions and then only on specific application from the convention in advance. This is intended to ensure the building of a convention community and to adjust for capacity.
The Board suggests that the committee notify members (on a webpage or in progress reports) of any nearby lower-priced alternative hotel rooms in advance of the expiration of any room blocks in the primary hotel.
Hospitality and Green Room
Conventions customarily operate a con suite for members which may be sponsored to help defray costs as long as it is open to all members. Complimentary hospitality suites should not be made available to groups that intend to hold closed functions. Part of the culture and community of WFC forms around party suites open to the entire membership. Private parties should not be held in communal convention space.
In addition, many conventions provide a Green Room for the use of program participants prior to their panels. Although refreshments are not required, light snacks and beverages are recommended.
Two board meetings are held during the convention, Friday from 10 to noon and Sunday from 10 to noon. This meeting is noted on the programming schedule, but should not preclude other programming items. Board members should not be scheduled against the Board meeting if on programming. The meeting space should accommodate a meeting space to handle up to 20 persons at the table and additional potential spectators.
Typically, the convention will provide a coffee/juice service and light continental breakfast for each of the two scheduled Board meetings during the convention.
The Autograph Reception is traditionally programmed for Friday evening of the convention. Hand carts or other devices which might block aisles or make it difficult to navigate are not allowed.
The Board suggests that high-draw professionals be seated in areas to allow for lines to form without interfering with the traffic flow. Conventions may limit the number of books that can be autographed each time through the line.
The number of seats per autographing has been increasing annually as more titles are published. Conventions should not try to determine who should or should not receive a seat and/or name placard for the signing, but instead make an effort to accommodate all who wish to sign. Recent seating at the autographing has gone from 160 to 180 to 200, and convention committees should consider 10 percent above the last convention’s total a safe number of seats for logistical planning (Board policy 2011).
Programming should not compete with the autograph session.
No programming should compete with the awards banquet and ceremony.
The host convention is responsible for purchasing the awards, arranging engraving for the awards, contacting nominees to encourage their attendance, and shipping the awards to any winners who are not in attendance. Since the awards are made individually from a mold, conventions are encouraged to over-order based on the potential number of awards needed, and offer extras to succeeding conventions. This often provides a cost savings as the price of the awards periodically increases. Conventions should consult early with the preceding conventions to determine the costs of the statuettes, standard language of engraving and contact information for the awards maker.
The World Fantasy Awards committee will contact the convention with the Lifetime Achievement Award winners and lists of nominees. This information can be made public. The committee will notify the convention of the winners of individual category achievement awards in time to order engraving for the statuettes. These winners must remain confidential. The convention should strongly encourage all nominees to be in attendance and/or designate a recipient if they cannot be present to accept an award.
For an 850-950 person convention, 50 to 60 tables should be accommodated in the Dealers' Room, not made available for sale until after the banquet two years prior to the hosting convention. A two table maximum should be the standard, though where space allows three tables have been granted to some booksellers.
The Dealers' Room is a juried space. Books are given priority, preferably new or collector’s editions. Art and art-quality hand-made jewelry may also be included; however, costumes, costume parts, knick knacks, games and toys are not considered appropriate for the Dealers' Room.
The jury process has followed a grandfather rule where priority consideration is given to those dealers who have purchased space at WFC on a regular basis. If space is at a premium and choices must be made, then those who have been to more WFCs are considered first.
While many authors have petitioned for single tables for themselves, efforts should be made if there are tables available to encourage individuals to coordinate with other authors and micro-presses. The goal is to achieve a diverse and interesting room; unfortunately, a series of single-title tables is less likely to achieve this.
The convention chair may reserve the right to revoke a dealer's space or order material withdrawn from display when inappropriate.
The convention can make separate arrangements outside its dealers room to have t-shirts, totebags, etc. commemorating the convention sold. An appropriate area might be at or near convention registration.
The WFC Art Show is juried. The following information is intended to provide guidelines for Art Show chairs in assembling juries, how those juries should evaluate submissions for display and sale, and the financial relationship between the Art Show and artist (Board policy 2013).
Art Show Exhibitors
All exhibiting artists must be either attending or supporting members of the convention. The list of Art Show artists for a given WFC must be passed along to all seated WFCs.
When mail-in art is permitted, the art may be shipped to the artist's representative or to the address provided by the convention. Return shipping expense must be included by the artist in case the work fails to sell or is Not-For-Sale (NFS).
The Art Show jury should include two or three people, one of whom must be a professional artist, artist agent, or art director.
To be accepted, the art must be of a fantasy or dark fantasy nature and of professional quality as determined by the Jury. Both two-dimensional and three-dimensional art, fine jewelry and prints should be accepted. Jewelry must be art (unique), not craft (mass-produced). All jewelry must contain more than 50% unique material if a mixture of mass-produced and unique art is used to make the piece.
Art Shows should allow diverse artistic mediums. Digital art should be created as closely to an original as possible, such as a print-once-and-destroy-file or printed once at a high resolution at a large size for display.
Exemptions from Jury Review
Artists who have been an Artist Guest of Honor at a World Fantasy Convention or have been a World Fantasy Award winner for their art are exempt from the jury selection process.
Artists who have been included in WFC Art Shows at least twice in the past four years do not need to be juried again for the current year.
Tables/Panels and Print Shop Sales
Panels and tables should be priced to encourage participation by excellent artists. The Art Show may take a commission on any sales.
Art Shows should pay artists their sales funds, minus commissions and shipping fees, if any, within 60 days of the close of the convention; earlier is preferable.
Only work by artists exhibiting original art will be allowed in the Print Shop. Prints should appear in the Print Shop rather than the Art Show proper unless they are of a limited run of 100 or less.
Charges for work in the Print Shop may be different from panel/table rates. A commission may be charged for Print Shop sales; this commission may be the same or different from the commission for original art.
The Board expects consultation by each convention on the annual program. The Board accepts two simultaneous tracks of program and two tracks of readings/non-panel events. This is a serious obligation of all WFC programs. Light evening program is okay as is light Thursday programming. Program should be reviewed by August 31 prior to the Convention with David Hartwell, for the Board.
Programming traditionally breaks for dinner, at which time the dealers room and art show often close for the evening unless there is a scheduled reception, and does not usually begin before 10 a.m.
Our program is exclusive to the convention. No meetings for other organizations such as HWA or SFWA may occur during programming hours. We do not invite or allow organizations to put items on the program. Groups may work with the convention chair(s) and programming to hold membership meetings before or after the day program, but not in competition with it.
The Board discourages the promotion of off-site activities that occur during programming hours.
WFC Progress Reports
The Progress Report schedule and content discussed below, if managed as specified, is adequate to communicate all necessary information to the membership in a timely manner (Board policy 2011). Many WFCs schedule additional PRs to allow some flexibility in how often some information is sent out, or to allow space for advertising, or for other reasons, but those aren’t required unless some essential information can’t be sent out on time and must be caught up as soon as it’s available.
The Progress Report content notes below are items that are specifically needed for that PR. All PRs must include: membership rates and deadlines, contact information for the con and all departments (postal and email addresses, and web site), and the current membership list.
At least one PR must be mailed to the membership of the preceding two WFCs (attending and supporting members), which is also to the advantage of the current WFC. The requirement doesn’t specify any particular PR, but many WFCs find it most efficient to use PR or the PR including the WFA Ballot to meet this requirement.
For all PRs:
First-class mail is recommended, for timely communication and to allow enough lead time that people will take the membership rate increase deadlines seriously.
Having pdf versions of all PRs available on the convention web site is recommended.
Email cannot be an exclusive option for sending out PRs due to the risk of important information lost via spam filters.
World Fantasy Awards Nomination Ballot
Between the PR at the preceding WFC and April 15 of the current WFC year, there must be two WFA ballots:
- at least one ballot must be included in a PR
- at least one ballot must be mailed (hard-copy, postal) to the membership of the upcoming WFC and the preceding two WFCs (attending and supporting members)
It’s not required that all the judges be appointed for this ballot to be mailed, only that the category descriptions (and who is ineligible) and the administrator address be accurate. The awards committee will provide information on categories, deadlines, eligibility and contact information.
Return to WFC Board Page