As many of you know, one of the final stretch goals for Worldbuilders was a book three Q&A.
Generally speaking, I avoid talking about book three for the simple reason that when I do, a disproportionate number of people start whining at me about how it isn’t out yet. Shockingly, that’s not something I particularly enjoy. Hence my silence.
The other problem is that I’ve answered people’s questions about book three in the past. Done interviews and written blog posts. And you know what happens? Two days later people ask me the very same questions. The result is that I end up irritated, exasperated, and feeling like the whole thing was a waste of time.
So again. Silence.
Still, people *have* been asking for some time. So I was happy to offer it up as incentive to help Worldbuilders hit $2 million in donations.
Scheduling was difficult after the fundraiser, as I had a few unexpected trips to LA this month to talk about Hollywood stuff. But now we have a date for the Q&A: Friday, February 3rd from 3pm to 5pm Central Time, live on my Twitch channel.
(If you head over there now, follow the channel, and set notifications to “on” you’ll get an e-mail when my streams go live.)
If you have a Twitch account, you’ll be able to participate in the chat. If not, you can submit questions via the form below.
I’ll take questions from the chat as well, but if our turnout is good the chat will be lively, and there’s a fair chance that your question will scroll off the screen before I can see it. And yes, we’ll be putting the chat in slow mode so you people can’t spam your question over and over. So if you *really* want your question answered, your best bet is to fill out the form.
Now, for those of you who have never done a live Q&A with me before, someone at PAX South recently suggested that my Q&A’s should more appropriately be called “Questions and Anecdotes.”
This is very true. People ask questions, and I tell a story. It’s usually somewhat related, but by the time I’m done telling it it’s possible I won’t remember what the original question was. The same will likely be true for this Q&A.
A few facts about the Q&A:
I will be accepting questions on other subjects, too.
Like some of the Hollywood stuff that’s been going on. I know everyone’s curious about that.
That said, I’ll be giving questions about book three, the revision process, etc, priority.
It will be spoiler-free. (In regard to book three.)
I’m not going to be spilling any secrets about what’s coming up. Anyone who knows anything about me knows better than that.
The twitch chat might NOT be spoiler free.
The questions and comments people ask in there might contain information about the first two books. Not to mention speculation about upcoming books. So if you’re vehemently anti-spoiler, you might want to just watch the video and skip the chat.
There is no release date yet.
If there were, I would already have told you. Serious people. Why would I sit on that news?
So yeah. Submit your questions and tune in for the show. I plan on drinking a bunch of coffee beforehand, so it should be a good time.
Hey everyone, Amanda here! Pat’s on his way to a con, which means it’s time for me to post up his schedule for PAX South!
But before he gets to San Antonio for PAX, he’s in LA to do a guest spot on Critical Role, Geek and Sundry’s D&D series, TONIGHT (Thursday, the 26th).
The game’s DM is Matthew Mercer, and features a bunch of other cool folks, this time including Pat. Pat’s made a few appearances on Critical Role as Kerr in the past, and he’s really excited to be on again tonight.
If you want to check it out you can watch on either Geek and Sundry’s Twitch channel, or on Pat’s Twitch channel. It’ll be tonight, January 26th at 7PM Pacific Time, so be sure to tune in. As a bonus, if you sign up for notifications for when Pat’s channel goes live and you’ll get a quick alert from there.
If you miss out on Critical Role, though, never fear, there’s a lot of cool stuff happening at PAX, including livestreams…
It’s Pat’s first time down to South, and there are a LOT of cool things happening down there.
The folks over at True Dungeon are running a short, free demo of True Dungeon at the con to build awareness and a potential volunteer pool for coming back and running the real deal in 2018. It’ll be 10am to 7pm Friday and Saturday, and 10am to 1pm on Sunday.
It’s no secret that Pat loves True Dungeon (frankly, we all do). We’ve given away seats to play with him and some friends a few times as a part of various Worldbuilders fundraisers.
We really like True Dungeon around here, and we think you should too. If you’re going to be at PAX South and want to see what all of the fuss is about, head over to the Stars at Night Ballroom on the 3rd floor for a free, 30 minute demo of one of our favorite games.
If you’re looking to find somewhere to find Pat’s merch, the folks at Toonhound will be carrying our various Pinny Pins, as well as copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. WHiffle. If you want to grab some for yoruself, swing by booth 10071 and say hi.
Anyway, enough announcements. Here’s where Pat will be and when at PAX South:
Friday, January 27
4-5pm: An Afternoon with Pat Rothfuss, Main Theater
This event is going to be live streamed on the PAX Twitch Channel, so you can watch Pat goofing off with the audience LIVE.
Remember that the time zones are in CENTRAL TIME, since PAX is in San Antonio, so account for that when you’re tuning in.
6:30-8pm: Autographing Session, Queue room
Both of the signings will have Princess & Mr. Whiffle books available for purchase from Toonhound, and if you haven’t read that one, I can assure you you want to.
Saturday, January 28
2-5pm: Acquisitions Incorporated Live, Main Theater
Acquisitions Inc is also live on the Twitch Channel (again, central time), and it’s guaranteed to be a good time.
If you haven’t kept up with Acquisitions Inc, there was a holiday special released on Amazon Prime recently (decidedly after the holidays) that you can watch and catch up. Pat plays a devilish rogue named Viari with a penchant for swinging on chandeliers, and the game is DMed by one of the best DMs of all time, Chris Perkins.
7-8pm: Pitch Your Game Idea, Cactus Theater
This one sounds hilarious. Attendees have 45 seconds to pitch their game ideas to the panel of judges (one of which is Pat), and the top 3 will win swag and prizes. If you have a really great (or really hilarious) game idea, this is the perfect place to show it off and maybe win something cool in the process.
Sunday, January 29
11:30am-1pm: Autographing Session, Queue room
1:30-2:30pm: Jackbox at PAX…box, Main Theater
I’ve really grown to love all of the Jackbox games, so watching a bunch of cool people play them is something I’m looking forward to. Not to mention I have lots of reasons to believe that Pat might lose at a couple of these games, and I love watching him look silly in front of a lot of people.
This panel is also streamed on the official Twitch Channel, so tune in with me and watch everyone goof off for an hour.
If you’re in the area of PAX South I hope you’re able to swing by (there are still a few badges left!), and maybe watch the Twitch streams if you can’t. I know I will, but I always tune in to make sure Pat’s not embarrassing himself TOO much…
Well folks, this is it. The final day of the fundraiser.
One of my favorite traditions of the fundraiser is the final day. We’ve already showed off all the prizes we’re giving away (over $200K of geeky swag.) We’ve told you about Heifer International in great detail, explaining why they’re the best at what they do.
As I write this, we’ve raised more than $2,250,000. So I’m declaring this our most successful Worldbuilders ever.
In order to celebrate, today we’re sharing stories and comments that y’all have left for us in the comments on the blogs or on the donation pages pages themselves. We do really read them all. They keep us going.
I love hearing how people get creative raising funds for Worldbuilders, like Saskia.
For our wedding, my husband brewed and bottled beer, and we offered it at the reception in exchange for cash donations to give Worldbuilders. It was a small, costumed wedding in the middle of nowhere, so not many people brought cash, but we’re contributing what we got!
I was struggling this year with Christmas present ideas that were meaningful for my family. I frequently check your blog to see what awesome things you might be up to next, and was so happy to discover your charity fundraiser for the first time (better late than never right?). This year my family will be receiving cards with a story inside. Heifer’s story. The end of the story will inform them that I have donated $30 each on their behalf, and that together we have bought another family a goat, or several families ducks, chickens, rabbits or bees, aka a positive start to a new chapter in their lives.
Susan has been supporting Heifer for years, and is enthusiastically joining up with our little shindig:
I love this! As a 73 yy (years young) person, I have given all my relatives bees and chickens and trees and shares of animals as Christmas gifts for years – Heifer is a wonderful organization, one that you know will see allotted donations reach those that the donations are intended to reach! Thank you for furthering Heifer’s mission!
And folks like Ann-Christin set aside a specific day’s pay to donate:
Tonight was pretty great. I just worked a 9-hour shift at a restaurant and this is the tip I got. I made the plan to give it all to Worldbuilders before I started working and was really motivated. It felt so great, because I knew with every table I’m waiting, I’m doing something good. And it helped me through all the stress and the long hours of running. So worth it!
It’s a worthwhile reminder that there are lots of ways to get donations together, and that every little bit helps. Chandler put it really well in his comment:
I think I don’t have much. But Worldbuilders always reminds me that I don’t have not much, I have some. And some is better than not much. And after I give some, I still have some. In fact, I have some plus feel goods. And that’s nice.
And Matthew had some great perspective as well:
I don’t have much to give, but if I can help people with a flock of ducks for 20 bucks, I can absolutely forgo eating out this weekend. Thanks as always, Pat.
People like Kurt made significant sacrifices in order to donate. (You’re a better man than I am, Kurt.)
Sold my book collection to donate to world builders. Hope I can win something nice :) . Everyone keep up the good work.
Or like Karen:
I was thinking of buying a new video game today, then I read your blog. Now today I’ll actually (instead of virtually) try to *save the world*. Well, maybe not *save the world* but at least make it a better place for those who truly need it! Brb, donating.
Lots of people have been around for a while, but haven’t had the means to donate, instead spreading the word on our behalf, which we always appreciate. And sometimes, when they finally can donate, those people do so with interest, like MeepleMinion:
As this year I am financially in a position to make a difference – and in order to let you know that your blog DOES inspire – I’ve just donated water. Which will be doubled, yeah! I’ll drink to that.
Or M the Record Keeper:
I’ve been living off of friends and family’s generosity for a few years, and so have only been a spectator to this wonderful fundraiser before… but now that I have a job, it makes me insanely happy, not just because I work in a bookstore (which is awesome), but because I finally be a part of this! Hurray! Bees and chickens for everyone!
And some people have really taken the time to put things into perspective, like Phillip:
I recently lost my home in the Louisiana Floods this fall. My entire family was hit by it and our community. I can count on one hand the amount of people i know that have not lost their house. It’s been a rough couple of months, but I know that even throughout all this that there are still some that struggle everyday to eat. I cannot give a lot, but as Pat said, this is a time when the world needs love and generosity more than anything. I wish everyone happy holidays and bright days ahead.
Or Kaye1 here on the blog:
I’ve always wanted to comment but part of me has always been too afraid. So here I am, my first post. It’s my girls 10th birthday. 10 years ago, we were both in big trouble. I was only 32 weeks pregnant and my baby only weighed a few pounds. We were both fading. I had a rare problem with my pregnancy.
Reading this blog hits me like a ton of bricks. If I had lived in one of the countries that Worldbuilder helps, we would not have made it.
However awful I feel about that time 10 years ago, how many tears we cried, we still made it. And I am blessed with daughters who are truly a blessing to us. So I will make my donation today in the name of my perfect girls.
And really, who better to put things into perspective for us than the kids. So many children got involved this year, whether it was through a group like the story Matthew shared:
From our Piggy Banks for Piggies Campaign, donated by The Gingerbread House Kids! Twenty eight kids ages 18 months – 10 years old donated their own money at our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party to support this amazing charity!
Or decidedly on their own, like this comment here:
Hi my name is Antonella and I am 3 years old. I like to do good because it makes me feel like hugs and kisses. I would like my donation to go towards 3 flocks of ducks.
Lots of kids left their own comments, as a matter of fact. Here’s one from Evan:
I’m Evan. I’m 10 and I want the world to be a kinder place. It’s scary out there. Everyone deserves a chance and I want people to have chickens to help them have a better life and survive.
But most chose to donate after hearing about it from others, like Matthew’s boys:
Just sat my boys down (ages 7 and 5) and spoke to them about the family with the chickens from Pat’s last blog post. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to give them a little lesson about how charity isn’t just about giving money but also helping people to help themselves.
Or Johanna’s kids:
This donation is from my wonderful kids – they received some money from their grandma and decided there were people that needed it more. Once I told them about what Worldbuilders, they were so excited.
Or Judy’s son:
I’m making this donation at the request of my son, Quinn Gaddy, in lieu of a Christmas gift for him, because he is awesome and requested this specific donation instead of presents. Yay for the next generation!
Or Elyssa’s daughter:
We used your blog to explain the concept of charity to our 5 year old tonight and allowed her to choose the donation level (a chorus of goat! goat! goat! was heard ringing immediately around our house). Hopefully it will get a little girl full of light to share her light with others. Thank you.
We have kids like Charlotte and Maggie, who started a concert on Youtube to promote our cause, or we have kids like Julia, who has truly taken things to heart:
Thanks for everything you’ve done on the fundraising drive this year. You may (or may not?) recall that my 8 year old, Julia, sent in a picture of her bank last year along with her donation.
I thought you might get a kick out the attached photo, a snapshot of her 2016 Heifer catalog. She has read every word “at least 5 times,” and sleeps with it in her bed. Julia will contribute $20– 1/3 of her savings– to purchase a flock of chicks.
Everyone. I cannot thank you enough. You’ve warmed my bitter old heart, and made this our best year ever. Your kindness and generosity will change the lives of many people in the years to come.
Today’s our final day. And because of a generous donor’s support, we still have funds to match *all* donations coming in. So if you want to come in now, here at the end, rest assured that your money will be doubled.
Hey folks, Worldbuilders Team here! We’ve got a ton more cool stuff to show you, and we hijacked Pat’s blog in order to do it.
As we write this, we’ve officially crossed $1.91 million, which is an amazing number to see. We’ve never raised this much before, and we know that it’s because we have such fantastic supporters who are constantly spreading the word and making the world a better place.
Around the end of the fundraiser we always have a ton of cool things that get thrown in, and at a certain point it’s easier to just throw them up and show them off than try to categorize them into specifics.
Some of them are really obvious, like the truly mind-numbing number of graphic novels and comics we got this year.
Honestly, the wide variety of things people were willing to send along was stunning. Pros offered up all sorts of cool things, like Kevin Hearne’s type-written manuscript for a story in Beseiged.
You can bid on that beauty right here. It’s two drafts, covered in copy edits, making it that much more fun, and it’s a most-definite, one-of-a-kind piece, signed by Kevin. When we heard he was sending it along, a lot of folks in the office started giving each other side-eyes and making plans to see who could outbid who on it.
You could thwart all of us though, and every dollar raised on all of our auctions counts toward our matching money, so the more it goes for the more families we’ll be able to help.
But the truth is, pros aren’t the only ones sending in awesome, personalized stuff. Folks who aren’t professionals showed off some of their craftiness as well.
A fan named Alyshondra made a ton of cool cross stitches for us, doing tie-ins with some of our favorite things. The Moo-ing Draccus won Amanda’s heart instantly, and the Kvothe/Wil/Sim Story of Tonight is already raising a pretty penny over on eBay.
Serpent’s Dance has worked with us for a few years now, and we’re always thrilled when she comes back with more handmade copper jewelry for us to auction off. She sent over so much this year that we were able to put some in the lottery as well, so you can either donate and hope for a chance, or bid on your favorites in auction.
And if you want pure miscellany, Tait over at Esoteric Garage sent along a whole family of brass ducks (he’s the one who sent us copper goats last year), Jessica sent us a Mr. Tibbet backpack she made for her Princess and Mr. Whiffle cosplay, and Dale sent in a trio of steampunk guns that really need to be seen to be appreciated fully.
It’s amazing what our supporters can create, and it’s even more mind-boggling when they send it along to help us raise money for Heifer International.
And there’s so much more cool stuff than that. There are a bunch of auctions live, but it’s our last batch, and they all end on SUNDAY NIGHT, so be sure to look them over and see if anything catches your eye.
One of our other major deadlines fast approaching is a shipping deadline to receive things from the online store, The Tinker’s Packs, in time for Christmas. As a matter of fact, TODAY is your last day for cheap UPS shipping. We even made you a handy dandy graphic.
Now, you may say to us, “Silly Worldbuilders, I’ve been a supporter for years. I’ve seen the things in The Tinker’s Packs, and I have all of your Rothfuss merchandise.”
While that may be so, what you may not realize is that we just launched new products with three new awesome creators. A-ha, we surprised you!
Actually nobody was more surprised than we were to find ourselves working with a new crew of super-cool creators, and we have some brand new products we hope you’ll really enjoy.
In no specific order, we have two new t-shirts from Holly Black, one based on The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (the Dead Last Truck Stop), and one that anybody can wear (The Sweet Balm of Coffee), even if they’re not necessarily a Holly Black fan (you know, that friend of yours who doesn’t understand). If you want to grab one of Holly’s tees, you can find them in our Holly Black collection!
We also have a stunning shirt by Todd Lockwood that features the design from the cover of his debut novel, The Summer Dragon. It’s a stunning piece of work to begin with, and we can’t believe how well it turned out on the shirt. You can grab The Evertide shirt for yourself here.
Finally, we have taken over for Rat Queens as their official merchandise outlet! They had their own online store for a while, but it was tough balancing that with creating the comic, so we’ve started carrying some of their most popular shirts, as well as creating new products like a cool jersey scarf featuring their tentacle design. All the Rat Queens stuff is in one collection.
Add to that all the cool stuff we already have for sale, and it’s looking like you might just have one stop for all your gift-giving needs!
This is also your reminder that the fundraiser will be over Monday, December 19th at 11:59pm PST! Pat will be back to share more stories and updates with you guys next time, so until then: thank you all for making this the best fundraiser we’ve ever had!
Which isn’t to say her first goal wasn’t admirable, given what a Heifer can do for a family:
(Did you see my awesome segue there?)
And as a reminder, every dollar in the fundraiser is being doubled. That means if you give enough for a family to receive a heifer, you’re not just going to improve their life forever. You’re effectively donating enough for two heifers, which means you’re twice as awesome, and you’re doing twice as much good in the world.
Also, have I mentioned that if you donate, you can win cool prizes? I’m pretty sure I might have brought that up a couple times over the last month.
Ever since I started Worldbuilders (accidentally) back in 2008, my brethren and sistren authors have been amazing in their support of the charity. They boost my signal on social media. They write blogs in support of Heifer, and perform silly stretch goals. They donate critiques and cameo appearances.
And, of course, they send us books we can give away to donors.
Without getting all maudlin here, it’s meant a lot to me over the years.
A lot of times…. well… I feel like I’m not a very good author. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m good at putting words together. I’m good at telling stories. But I also know I’m kinda shit at doing those things on a consistent schedule.
To put it differently: I’m pretty good at writing, but I’m not very good at being a writer.
Despite this, I’ve met with a ridiculous amount of success. And that makes me feel like… well… it makes me feel like kind of an asshole. Because pretty much every other author I know is better at sitting down, producing text, and getting books out into the world than I am.
The fact that so many other authors come in and with this project…. It’s really kind. Authors whose books I love. Authors whose minds I admire and envy. Authors who consistantly do what I cannot. It’s so flattering that they would take time out of their busy lives to help.
And it’s more than flattering, really. And it makes me feel welcome. Like I’m really part of this community despite the fact that I only *barely* do enough to keep my union card.
Whatever their reasoning, I’m proud and excited that so many of them are willing to come and help out. This year we had over 40 different authors contributing to the fundraiser, donating well over 500 books.
(I’m horrified that I might have left someone’s name off the list. If I did leave your name off, I’m sorry. Please know that I still love you. I’m just so tired and frazzled at this point in the fundraiser. If it helps, know that I just now, in this final pass on the blog, saw that we’d left off Gaiman’s name. (I just added it.) So if anything, know that if we glitched on this list, you’re in the same brainspace I reserve for Neil, who I love and admire beyond all words.)
Some authors donated an entire series, so that a new reader would have everything they could want in one prize.
(Like Brent Weeks)
(Or Martha Wells)
(Or Kristen Britain)
A lot of our authors sent us a truly ridiculous number of books. We’re always happy to have a couple of books, especially because most authors who send us their books are going out and buying copies to send to us. Most folks are lucky to get a few author copies written into their publishing contracts, but those usually go to family and friends. What we get from authors is almost always above and beyond that.
We have shelves full of author donated books, and individual authors take up entire sections of our wall.
Like this shelf full of books from Brad Beaulieu.
Or this one full of cool stuff from Holly Black.
Or this practically-unknowable shelf of books from Paolo Baccigalupi.
If that wasn’t enough, some also sent rare, limited, or otherwise fancy editions that we’ve thrown into the lottery for you. We received ARCs, numbered editions, and books that have been out of print for a while. And a truly astonishing number of them to boot.
There are so many books that if I tried to show them all here, the blog would be twenty thousand words long, and… well… knowing me, I wouldn’t post it until 2018.
Support has been pouring in from all sides as people continue to donate and help spread the word. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the help you have given us…
Also, we’ve been adding new items to our prize lottery left and right. We’re currently giving away more than $185,000 dollars worth of geeky swag. So much stuff that if you donate $30, you have a 12% of winning something. We’re giving away thousands of books and games, a gaming table from Geek Chic, a cabin for two on the 2017 Joco Cruise, this beautiful Tak board from Wyrmwood games…
(I want it. So. Much.)
You know what else donating $30 dollars does? It buys a family honeybees….
This is Feliciana Martin, a small-scale coffee farmer. Her one-acre farm barely supported her and her daughter until she received the gift of honeybees from Heifer International in 2012. Since then, Feliciana has seen a noticeable increase in her coffee harvest every year. This isn’t really surprising, as improved pollination can increase crop yields in any farm by as much as 200-300%.
What’s more, Feliciana is now also able to collect and sell honey, providing her with additional income. As a bonus, coffee honey is believed to taste better than regular honey, so she is able to charge about 10 percent more.
(Additional note: Now I *really* want to try coffee honey.)
She collected 60 pounds of honey in the first six months and doubled the number of hives she owns. Then she trained some neighbors on the proper care of bees and gave them hives to start them on their own road to increased independence. This is called “Passing on the Gift.” All Heifer recipients take part it, and it’s a big piece of what makes Heifer’s work so amazing and long-lasting. The good Heifer does spreads through a community like a shockwave, spreading outward for generations…
Feliciana dreams of a better life for her daughter. Now, with more reliable income she can use for food, medicine, and schooling, that dream is a reality.
Except after I typed that dramatic little asterisky scene break there, I realized I’d just told you a lie….
The truth is, this year that’s not what happens if you donate thirty dollars. This year Worldbuilders has access to matching money. So if you give us $30, we’re going to double it and send $60 on to Heifer International.
So… yeah. This is your big chance, folks. Kick in some cash and know that you’re sending twice the awesome into the world….
Seriously. You can spare the time. It will improve your day.
Over the last couple weeks, whenever I started to feel tired, or beat down, I’d watch this video. Watching how excited these girls were at the thought of holding their online concert and raising money for Worldbuilders gave me a boost when I really needed it.
As time went on, I came to realize that I really *really* wanted to help make Charlotte and Maggie’s concert a success. I love that these girls want to change the world.
So I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and I donated to their page.
And *then* I decided to put my mouth where my mouth is, and when my throat recovered from my cold, Sarah and I sang a bunch of songs together on my livestream. And then, using their carefully detailed instructions, we added them to the playlist.
Then we sent out links to some of our our favorite geeky musician friends to see if they’d be willing to participate. And they added songs they’d already recorded to the playlist, and now we’re up to 50 videos in the online concert.
So now, at last, I’m reaching out to you.
I invite you to listen to these songs. I hope they bring you joy.
I invite you to record songs of your own and add them to the list. Don’t worry if your voice is not perfect. That’s not what this is about. (I feel I make that perfectly clear in my videos.)
Last week our fundraiser hit $1,000,000 unlocking one of our cooler stretch goals. Namely, Neil Gaiman reading whatever story raised the most money in our donation totals….
As you can see, it was close. Where the Wild Things Are and The Raven were neck and neck through the whole fundraiser, but The Raven pulled ahead at the very end.
He really went all out with his video, too. Well-met by candlight, Neil….
But this stretch goal isn’t the only way Neil participated this year. Though, I admit, the next bit was initiated quite some time ago…
Today I’d like to tell you a story about a book. Some of you might not have met it before. But to many of us here at Worldbuilders, it is an old, familiar friend….
It’s a book that has been with the fundraiser since the beginning….
2008: A Gift from Gaiman.
In 2008, on a whim, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International on my blog. Things quickly spiraled out of control as other authors pitched in, spreading the word and donating books for me to use as donation incentives.
The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare, numbered, slipcased ARC of Stardust to the cause.
Unfortunately, mail was delayed because of the holidays, so we couldn’t use the book until….
2009: Stardust for the People.
So the second year of the fundraiser rolled around, and I had this book. This beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book.
I was still doing the fundraiser pretty much by myself then, and I was having a really hard time deciding how best to use it. I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, but that didn’t seem right somehow.
Then something strange happened: the person who won the book gave it back to us. Their one stipulation is that we auction it off next year, so it would raise more money for Heifer. So….
2010: Stardust on the Auction Block.
Year 3 of Worldbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And, as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s Stardust ARC up on eBay too.
After some fierce bidding it sold for over $2500 to a lovely guy named Dan. There were many high-fives in Worldbuilders central. We were sad to see the book go, but $2500 bucks buys a lot of goats.
But when I e-mailed Dan to arrange shipping, he said he wanted to donate the book back to Worldbuilders.
I asked Dan if he was sure. He said he was sure. I asked Dan how he got to be so cool, and he said he was inspired by the story of how last year’s winner re-donated the book.
But most of the credit, he said, should go to his mom. She always made a point of donating to charity even though she never had a lot of money. Not only that, but she was a dyed-in-the-wool geek like the rest of us: she read fantasy and sci-fi, she played Infocom games…
From everything I’ve heard, she sounds like my kind of lady.
Dan told me she had passed away recently, and most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He told me she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.
His only stipulation was that we put the book back into the lottery next year, so anyone could win it….
2011: Stardust Full Circle.
Year Four of Worldbuilders, we put the ARC back into the lottery with much cheering. After picking the prizes, I called the winner, Maayan, to set up shipping (because you don’t want something like this to show up as a surprise on someone’s doorstep).
Maayan tells me no. She wants it back in the fundraiser. It’s sort of a thing now.
I thanked her kindly, and sent along a box of books as as “Thanks for being cool” present.
Then something weird happened….
2012: Stardust as Statistical Anomaly.
In 2012, we put Stardust back in the lottery again. Mostly because I like the idea of this amazingly cool prize being something anyone can win.
At the end of the fundraiser, we pick the prizes and when I’m told who the winner is, I give the assistant holding the papers a look loaded with grim, fatherly disapproval, telling them in the gentlest of terms that they’ve fucked up and are obviously using last year’s spreadsheets.
This is bizarre math, people. This is like Heart-of-Gold level improbability. Maayan had won again.
I called her. She was shocked, amused, and flustered. So we sent her the book.
And she sent us back a picture.
Here’s what she had to say:
I was really extremely surprised to win the Stardust ARC two years ago, because I don’t think I’ve ever won any kind of online contest before. I was actually sitting in a hot tub on a ski trip to Colorado when Pat called, and my friends got to watch me make the craziest faces while on the phone. A few weeks later, Neil Gaiman sent me a little card with a picture he had drawn in it, which was so nice of him.
When Pat called me this year to say that I had won again, I’m pretty sure my first words were, “No, I did not!” Surprised doesn’t begin to describe it. If I win again this year, I’m going to start to be suspicious of your randomization algorithm.
Worldbuilders is such a great fundraiser, and Heifer International is an outstanding organization. I’m thrilled to take part. Thank you to Pat Rothfuss for putting it together, and thank you to all of the authors and artists who donate the prizes! I’ve enjoyed reading the fruits of your generosity.
Then Maayan sent it back to us again.
Thanks so much, Maayan. We’re glad you at least got to touch the book that seemed so desperate to meet you.
2013: Stardust In the Lottery Again.
Year six of Worldbuilders, Stardust chose a new person to love. It chose Jennifer.
She was overjoyed, happy to have won it, and just as happy to return it.
That was the year we had a cool idea – we instituted a Library Card system for the Stardust ARC.
When I was a kid, every library book had one of these. Even now, all these years later, seeing one fills me with a strange joy.
Neil graciously agreed to sign the cards for us.
What’s more, we had all the previous winners sign the cards and pass them on after keeping one for themselves of course (Maayan got to keep two).
This way, if the winner chooses to return the book, they still get a memento of the experience: signed by all the people who have loved the book before them as well as the original donor, Neil Gaiman.
2014: Stardust Makes a New Friend
In 2014 Jeff’s name was drawn as the winner of the Stardust ARC. He donated it back again, and we sent him much love in return as well as his own signed Library Card.
The more we do this library card thing, the more I love it.
2015: Stardust Returns Again
Last year, Stardust went to a wonderful supporter named Don.
It was the first year Amanda called the winner. She had a great conversation with him, he told us to keep it, and we sent him a box of goodies. He has his library card, and we still have a beautiful, signed Stardust ARC.
This year’s winner will get their very own library card signed by Neil Gaiman and the other winners.
So, without further ado, allow me to add today’s book to the lottery.
A numbered ARC of Stardust in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.
Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.
Every $10 you donate gets you a chance to win. So if you donate enough for honeybees ($30) you get three chances to win. Donate enough for a goat along with the training and materials to care for it ($120) and you get twelve chances to win. Donate enough to provide clean water for a village ($300), you get 30 chances to win.
And, just to sweeten the pot, I’m personally putting some of my own horde of Neil Gaiman rarities into the lottery::
Two limited edition copies of The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman.
These books are incredibly rare. They’re Special Limited Bookstore Day Edition, printed and sold exclusively for California Bookstore Day in 2014. A select few bookstores had them to sell for the day, and I’ve managed to lay my hands on two copies, both of which we’re putting into the lottery.
It’s a beautiful, sweet short story about two princesses. It’s a great story to read to your kids, so donate $10 or more to enter the lottery and possibly win them.
This is a beautiful story, and seriously hard to come by. Most places, it goes for as much as $500. It’s printed on specially selected red-speckled paper with black and white illustrations and several color plates that were hand-set.
This one’s in the lottery too. So every $10 you donate on our fundraiser page gets you another chance to win it and all the other books we have in the lottery.
This is a screenplay Neil Gaiman wrote a long time ago. It’s an adaptation of the novel Good Omens which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett.
This thing is a true rarity. It is the First and Only Edition of this work, numbered 473 out of 500.
According to Neil Gaiman in his introduction, this screenplay was revived from “a dusty and cobwebbed place on my hard disk, where people never go.” It was never available for general sale, and hasn’t been read by many.
Donate $10 or more to the lottery, and it could be yours.
A complete set of The Absolute Sandman Volumes 1-5. Signed by Neil Gaiman.
I’m guessing most of you know about Sandman. It’s a comic series that finally convinced a lot of people (including me) that comics were a brilliant storytelling medium in their own right. That comics could be as marvelous and orchestral and clever as anything ever written by Shakespeare or Chaucer or Homer.
These are the Absolute editions of the entire Sandman series. The art has been retouched. And they’re collected into gorgeous, slipcased, hard-bound books.
Just calling these “books” doesn’t give the right impression. These are Tomes.
They’re incredibly beautiful, and very rare. We know we could make a lot off of them if we put them up for auction, but we want to offer them up in the lottery for anyone to win.
A completely different Stardust ARC. Signed by Neil Gaiman.
We got an email from Neil a week or so ago that simply asked “Would you like another Stardust ARC?”
Naturally we jumped at the idea. And it’s a true ARC, not the special limited edition hardcover version that keeps coming back to us.
This one has been signed, doodled, and inscribed by Neil himself. And it’s a Stardust ARC that you can win and then keep without feeling guilty for not returning it to us.
Please keep it? We’re a little worried that Neil might develop a complex if people donate this one back to us as well….
Don’t forget that Worldbuilders is matching all donations. So if you donate enough for a flock of chickens ($20) it becomes two flocks. $120 becomes two goats. $300 dollars becomes enough to give two communities clean water, along with tools, training, and management techniques to manage their water resources more effectively.
For every ten bucks you donate, you get a chance to win. Not just the books we’re showing here, but over 5,000 prizes donated by authors, fans, and publishers. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of books.
Not to mention, of course, our beloved Stardust ARC.
If it encourages you to donate more to increase your odds, that’s fine by me. There’s even more coming, and the final round of auctions are now officially live. Be sure to check those out, look around the lottery library, and and donate while you still can.