SCI FI Wire has a rather startling article on just how much it would cost to ‘buy’ a Hugo.
After all, last year it only took 17 votes to get on the ballot if you happened to have an eligible short story, and anyone can vote as long as they pay the fee to join the World Science Fiction Convention. This year it costs $50, so if you do the math (17 votes x $50), that adds up to a cost of just $850 if you want to fund voting privileges for you and 16 friends. (That assumes voting levels stay the same as they have been for the last two years.)
Once you’ve theoretically bought your way onto the ballot, buying a win would (also theoretically) be harder, but still seemingly within the realm of possibility. It costs about 10 times as much as a nomination, though, and presumably is more difficult to both organize and conceal, since more votes are involved. In 2008, you would have needed 176 in the “cheapest” category of Best Fanzine for a win (and you would have to have been eligible in that category). That adds up to a more sizable $8,800.
They even have a break down of how much it would theoretically cost to garner a nomination or win in each of the categories:
Best Novel: Nomination $2,000, Win $18,640
Best Novella: Nomination $1,700, Win $15,750
Best Novelette: Nomination $1,050, Win $14,640
Best Short Story: Nomination $850, Win $16,250 (BEST NOMINATION VALUE)
Best Related Book: Nomination $900, Win $11,750
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Nomination $2,200, Win $19,100 (SUPER BARGAIN!)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Nomination $1,200, Win $16,850
Best Editor, Long Form: Nomination $900, Win $12,900
Best Editor, Short Form: Nomination $1,750, Win $14,000
Best Professional Artist: Nomination $1,000, Win $15,300
Best Semiprozine: Nomination $1,900, Win $13,550
Best Fanzine: Nomination $1,300, Win $8,800 (BEST WIN VALUE)
Best Fan Writer: Nomination $1,200, Win $11,900
Best Fan Artist: Nomination $950, Win $9,250
It’s all a little scary when you think of how important the Hugo’s are to the SF world. Now, how to make $8,800….