Steve Davidson turned me on to the fact that there is unusually low turnout for the annual voting for the Hugo Award, which is like an academy award except that it is for SF.
I did a little research based on Steve’s model for “Rocking the Hugos” and I was able to discover that in recent years it has taken under 20 votes to get a nomination on the final Hugo ballot. Although there are more than 500 nominations for each category, the minimum to get on the ballot was 17 a year ago. That means that all you need to appear on the final Hugo ballot is about 20 nominations. Once on the ballot you could have a real shot at winning a Hugo or at least boosting sales with a “Hugo Nominee” banner on you book, magazine or short story.
The gotcha is that it costs $50 to get yourself a voting membership in the World Science Fiction League. People who would gladly spend $50 on a weeks worth of smokes decide that it is not worth it to hack the system. You get all kinds of bling and extras for that $50, but $50 is too much.
Unless I can find 20 people with $50 burning a hole in their pockets, I can give up on “Best Short Story” this year. I would have been an honor to be nominated.