Chicago in 2012 bidder Helen Montgomery is encouraging people to get site selection memberships before the August 9 postmark deadline for mail ballots.
Chicago is unopposed, but Helen offers two arguments for taking the time to vote:
1) If you are a Friend of the Bid (i.e. you gave us $100 or more), then $80 of that money has been held aside to pay for your conversion to an attending membership – but only if you vote! If you do not vote, you forfeit your automatic conversion to an attending membership. If you do not vote, you will need to purchase a supporting or attending membership, and we guarantee that will cost more than the voting fee.
2) Everyone’s voting fee will go to the winning bid (which we hope will be us!) and will be used as the “startup” money for the convention. The more people who vote, the better the financial position the convention will be in at the start, which helps us do more fun stuff at the convention.
Any Worldcon is anxious to have a solid amount of startup money, and it’s true that only the winner of a two-horse race benefits from a rival’s success at turning out voters who have no interest in a con held in the opposing town.
Yet there’s rarely a push to get people to join a Worldcon at the lowest rate available. Every Worldcon budget I’ve ever seen depends on receiving additional revenue from fans who join later at the graduated membership rates.
I expect Chicago to have a very healthy number of members, eventually, still one must have enough money for publications and other immediate needs and maybe they have reason to be concerned.
Remember, it’s not just a matter of being willing to buy a voting membership to join Chicago — only supporting or attending members of Aussiecon 4 are eligible for those memberships. Aussiecon 4 will be a smaller-than-average Worldcon, of course, and the non-Australian members are the ones more likely to be interested in joining a Chicago Worldcon, which leaves a lot of fans faced with buying an “unnecessary” $50 supporting membership in this year’s Worldcon for the privilege of joining Chicago at the lowest rate. Aussiecon had around 1100 North American members in June 2010 (see PR 3), compared to over 2500 North American members of Anticipation in April 2009 (see their PR4), so that $50 is a barrier for a lot more fans today than it was a year ago. That’s why it would be no surprise to discover that a lot more fans than usual are putting off the decision to buy a 2012 membership ‘til they’ve decided for sure they’re attending the con.
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