Once, years and miles away, I did a photo contest on my blog.
It was way back in 2008. It was the first time I realized how creative and enthusiastic my readership was.
Fast forward to April of 2011. The Wise Man’s Fear had been out for a month, and I tossed the idea for a second contest out onto the blog.
Then the photos started coming in. And coming in. And coming in….
People sent more than a thousand pictures. Amazing pictures. Terrifying pictures. Pictures that clearly broke my rule of “Don’t do anything dangerous or illegal.” People got crazy. People got naked. People asked for an extension to the deadline so they could comply with FAA regulations. Seriously.
I felt like I’d gone into my backyard to start a campfire and accidentally ended up with a volcano instead.
And, much to my shame, it’s been more than a year, and I still haven’t posted up the winners.
The biggest problem, of course, is that it takes a long time to sift, sort, and pick winners from over a thousand pictures. Complicating things was the fact that I got some bad news last august which knocked me out of play for a while. Then came the fundraiser, which, while awesome, ate up a couple months. Then my assistant left unexpectedly and I had to hire and train some replacements….
And of course, I had a few other things to do, too. Like hanging out with my little boy, and, y’know, writing and stuff.
It would have been easy if there had been 70-80 pictures and half of them were crap. But there were so many, and there really wasn’t much chaff at all.
Simply said, I was unprepared for the full extent of your combined awesome.
Y’all caused me one other problem by being too cool. When I saw the quality of the pictures that were coming in, I realized that I was going to have to produce something really worthwhile in terms of prizes.
You see, for the first contest, I just gave away signed books and posters to the winners. But that was before we opened up the Tinker’s Packs. These days, I’m guessing most of you who really want signed books, posters, or a t-shirt have probably bought them already.
I wracked my brain for a long time. Because so many of the pictures were so cool, I really wanted the prizes to be cool. But I couldn’t think of anything….
I e-mailed them back saying I’d really rather they didn’t make any gold-colored pipes. If the pipes are meant to be replicas of the jewelry from my world, it wouldn’t be realistic for there to be any gold ones. The only pipes given out at the Eolian are silver.
Well, except for two. Deoch and Stancheon each have a set of gold pipes because they own the Eolian. They get the gold pipes because they run the show. They’re the ones behind the scenes make everything work….
That’s when I realized what I could give out as a prize….
I asked Badali to make a special batch of gold talent pipes. And they did.
Now before you get too excited, they’re not solid gold. They’re plated.
That said, these are pipes that money can’t buy. These are pipes you can only get from me. I’m giving them out to people that have done nice things for me. People who have helped with the book. People who have made me happy.
For example, I’m giving them out my beta readers, because their feedback helped me polish and refine book two.
And I’m giving them to the folks that win the photo contest. Because they have filled my heart with geeky joy.
That means if you see someone wearing a set of gold pipes, you know that person is some special flavor of cool.
So. Now I have prizes and time to finish organizing categories and picking winners. That means you’ll be seeing the results of the contest over the next month or so. I’m going to be breaking them into several blogs because there are *way* too many for me to post up in just one blog.
Hell, there were ten blogs worth of pictures in the first contest, and this time around we easily have 7-8 times more photos. I’m going to have to make some hard choices….
[Edit: The grand prize winner's link works now, or you could just click here and take a look...]
So get ready, folks. You’re going to see some cool stuff in the weeks to come….
For now, if you *need* to look at some pictures, you can peek at the honorable mentions I’ve already posted up and set Seussian-style rhyme over here.