Most World Fantasy Award nominees and winners are decided by attendees and judges of the annual World Fantasy Convention. A ballot is posted in June for attendees of the current and previous two conferences to determine two of the finalists, and a panel of five judges adds three or more nominees before voting on the overall winner. The panel of judges is typically made up of fantasy authors and is chosen each year by the World Fantasy Awards Administration, which has the power to break ties. Unlike the other World Fantasy Award categories, the Convention Award has no nominees and is not decided in the usual way; instead, the winner is selected by the convention organizers themselves and announced along with the nominees in the other categories. The final results are presented at the World Fantasy Convention at the end of October. Through 2015, winners were presented with a statuette of H. P. Lovecraft, but at the 2015 ceremony it was announced that the statuette would not be given out in future years. No announcement was made about a replacement award.
During the 11 active years, 11 people and 1 publishing house have been given the Convention Award. Less than half of the winners are primarily known for their writing, as opposed to editing work or artwork. Six of the winners have gone on to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement award, sometimes only a few years after they were given a Convention Award: Evangeline Walton four years later in 1989, Andre Norton eleven years later in 1998, Hugh B. Cave two years later in 1999, Donald M. Grant nineteen years later in 2003, and Stephen King and Gahan Wilson twenty-four and twenty-three years later in 2004.
In the following table, the years correspond to the date of the ceremony. Items in the Work(s) column are items and companies that the winner created or worked at; they are meant to be representative of the winner's career in the field of fantasy to that point, but the World Fantasy Convention Award is not given for any specific achievement, and no such achievements are listed by the World Fantasy Convention as reasons for the award. In some cases the winner is well-known for their non-fantasy works, such as science fiction novels, which are not listed.