Well folks, as I sit down to write this, we’ve raised over 12,000 dollars, and it hasn’t even been a full week yet. That’s not counting my matching donation,or any of the people who are choosing option #2 as described OVER HERE.
Again, I wish I could make that thing say “we’ve raised.”
I’ve raised the donation “goal” to 20,000 on the Heifer page because I don’t want anyone to pass on donating because they think we’ve reached our limit.
To accommodate our growing numbers, I’ve increased the number of DAW samplers, maps, and signed books being given away. Also, two days ago I found an old copy of the UK galley proof. Though I have a sentimental attachment to it, I can throw it into the mix as well. I’ve only seen about 10 of these in my life, so a signed one is probably worth something as a collector’s item.
Also, the donations have started to come in. Most of them are signed books from other fantasy and science-fiction authors. I’ve been amazed at how willing everyone has been to contribute.
I’ll be posting those other donations up as they show up at my house. I might start as soon as tonight….
And now, a little more Q & A.
- “If your name goes into the lottery hat multiple times, can you win multiple prizes? The first prize your name is drawn for? The Coolest prize your name is drawn for? How will that work?”
Here’s how it will work.
Say you donate 120 dollars, enough for a goat.
Your name would go into the final drawing 12 times. Then, if we draw your name out of the hat and you win a signed book, your name is still in there 11 times for the rest of the drawing.
Then I’ll drop you an e-mail telling you what you’ve won, and asking for your address. At that point, you can choose to pass on any of the prizes you’ve won. (For example, if you won two copies of the map, and you only want one.) I’ll keep those re-donated prizes in storage until we do this again next year.
- Is the donation that I make on YOUR HEIFER PAGE tax deductible?
You bet. Personally, I can’t think of a better way of keeping The Man away from your money.
- I have something I’d like to donate to your lottery option. Where can I send it?
Well… before you drop that macrame owl into the mail, why don’t you drop me an e-mail at Paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) gmail.com and tell me what you’re thinking of sending.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate your generosity, and it’s not that I have anything against macrame. Or owls. It’s just that right now we kind of have a tight focus of things we’re giving away as prizes. It’s mostly books and SFF related stuff. For now, I think it might be best if we keep that focus.
That said, if you’ve got a book or something you think would fit in into the mix, I’d love to include it. So e-mail me or send it to:
P.O BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481
- “I have an idea for an awesome prize. You could offer to pass the winner’s manuscript along to your editor or your agent. I’d love to win that…”
Several people sent e-mails similar to this one. Believe me folks, I know where you’re coming from. I struggled to get someone to read my book for years. Back then, I would have loved to win a prize like this too.
But though I feel your pain, I don’t think this is a good idea. Here’s why:
1) Most of the people participating in this contest don’t have manuscripts I can read. I don’t want to give out a prize that would be useless to 90% of the people eligible to win it.
2) It really isn’t polite of me of me to inflict some random manuscript on my editor or agent. They’re busy people.
3) The implication here is that you’d get published off the deal. And that just isn’t a fair thing to imply. Hope is a wonderful thing, but false hope is actually more destructive than constructive.
But I think I might actually be able to offer a constructive option….
For you writers out there, I’m going to add something under the “Sure Thing” option. If you’re willing to make a sizable donation to Heifer, I will read your manuscript and give you feedback on it. Revision advice.
Now, let’s be clear so we don’t have any misunderstandings. What I’m offering is this:
I’ll read your manuscript just like I read my own, with a red pen in my hand, making notes on my thoughts: What I like. How I feel about the different sections. What is working well and could be expanded. And what, in my opinion, needs fixing.
Then I’d call you and we’ll talk about the book. It’s not as good as getting together over coffee and looking at the same manuscript, but it’s better than me just dropping it in the mail and you trying to decipher my demented scribbling.
Also, and this is key, I’m not going to blow a lot of smoke up your ass. I’ll tell you what I really think about it, both good and bad.
That said, I should mention that I was a writing tutor for almost a decade. I know how to give constructive criticism without it being excruciating to the writer. It’s a talent I’m proud of. Too many tutors (and teachers, and writing groups) aren’t good at this.
Here’s what I’m not offering, just so we’re clear.
I’m not offering to do this right now. I have some deadlines myself. We’ll have to schedule it for some time after December.
I’m not offering to pass your manuscript along to my publisher or agent. Not. This is just you and me. Two writers having a discussion about your story and what you could do to make it better.
I’m not offering to work on your book with you as part of an ongoing editorial process. It’s a one-shot deal. I’ll read your manuscript once, a solid, careful read. Then I’ll chat with you on the phone about it. Then I’ll mail it back to you with my notes
Just so we’re clear…. Are we clear?
How much is a “sizable” donation? Well…. It needs to be fairly high in order to protect my time. If it was $10, I’d get 200 manuscripts and spend the next year reading Harry Potter fanfiction. Then I would kill myself.
So I think I’m going to have to set it at 1000 dollars or more. If you’re willing to donate at least a thousand dollars to Heifer, drop me an e-mail and we’ll negotiate.
Negotiate what? Well… YA fantasy is easier for me to read than quantum entanglement based science fiction, so I’d probably negotiate you to kick in more out of consideration for the extra time I’d be putting in. Same thing if your manuscript is 200,000 words long. If it’s full of hot lesbian vampires making out… I’m okay with that. No extra charge.
Lastly, I feel obliged to say that the only reason I feel comfortable doing this is because it’s for Heifer. You see, I’m trying to do what good I can, given my situation.
It’s like this, if I were a movie star I could help Heifer by showing up and taking some pictures with a goat. Then they would use my name and my picture to help spread the word about the organization.
But I can’t do that. Being photogenic is not part of my skillset. If someone took a picture of me with a goat, the journalists would get confused and the caption would end up reading something like, “Heifer also gives goats to shabby hobo-looking authors like Patrick Rothfuss. Before Heifer gave him a goat, Pat was too poor to afford a haircut or a second pair of pants. Now the nutritious milk will supplement his diet of ramen noodles, keeping his bones from becoming brittle as chalk.”
And that’s a best-case scenario. More likely the caption would read, “Goats provide milk to needy families, while sheep can be sheared for their wool, providing warm clothes and a source of income.”
No. I’m not pretty, and I’m not famous in any conventional sense of the word. But I know stories, and I eat and breathe revision. So that’s what I’m offering up on Heifer’s behalf.
Lastly, can any of you out there think of a cool name for this fundraiser? Obviously (given the title of the blog) I haven’t been able to come up with anything cool so far. Suggestions are welcome in the comments below.