200K Blog: The Golden Ticket(s)

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Back in 2009 we ran a few Worldbuilders auctions as an experiment to see if people would be interested.

Much to our delight, folks jumped all over the option of bidding on books and rare manuscripts. My read-and-critique sold for over a thousand dollars. In the blog comments people said I should auction things like “Dinner with Pat” or “Have Pat wash your car” or “Run your hands through Pat’s majestic beard.”

There were even a few e-mails requesting I auction… *ahem* intimate things. Things that I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to sell unless you live in some of more socially progressive parts of Nevada.

Anyway, there were a lot of these comments and e-mails, so I decided to have some fun with it.

I decided to auction off a favor. If you won the auction, you could ask me for something. And if it was within my power, I’d do it. (With a few limitations, of course.)

I called the favor the Golden Ticket because it sounded slightly less geeky than referring to it in terms of a D&D spell or a Disney movie:

(Is it just me, or is this picture a little creepy?)

I put it up on e-bay, and to make a long story short, the Golden Ticket sold for over 15,000 dollars.

The auction was a success. But it was a mildly disturbing success. I could *one* person out there who wanted a favor enough to spend 15,000 dollars on it. But for the bidding to get that high meant there had to be TWO people like that. It weirded me out a bit…

Over the years, hundreds of people have asked what the winner wanted. My response has usually been, “I should really post about that on the blog, shouldn’t I?”

So, finally, here’s the answer:

The winner was Bill Schaefer of Subterranean Press. (He’s the one who published The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle.)

What happened was this: When Bill found out about the auction, he called me up and asked if he could use the golden ticket to get me to write a novella for Subterranean press.

At this point, the bidding was already at a couple thousand dollars. So I told him, “Sure. But you’ll have to wait until I’m done with book two. People would kill me if I did a story with you before I finished that….”

Bill agreed, then waded into the bidding, fists swinging. In the end, he won. What’s more, he offered to buy the novella from me and pay the $15,000 to Worldbuilders out of his profits. Which means he was effectively paying for it twice.

Since then, Bill has been waiting with Buddha-like patience for his story. After three years, the novella is almost finished. It’s the main thing I worked on when I tried NaNoWriMo this year.

And to preemptively answer your questions: There’s no title yet. There’s no pub date yet. You can’t order it yet.

Rest assured that I’ll post about it here as soon as there’s solid news to share.

Since then there have been a few other golden ticket winners. When cashing in their favors, people have requested that I:

  • Have dinner with them while we were both out at San Diego Comic-Con.
  • Come to their college and do a reading/workshop about creative writing.
  • Give them a full body massage.

I’m just kidding about the last one. Probably.

There. Now that you know the story of the previous Golden Ticket winners. Let’s add two to this year’s fundraiser:

Edit: Just to be clear, I’m adding two tickets. One is going into the general lottery. The second is being auctioned off on e-bay.

  • The Golden Ticket.

This is going into the general lottery. That means anyone who donates at least 10 dollars on the Worldbuilders team page has a chance to win it. The more you donate, the better your chances.

This year though, some things will be different.

Here’s a few details you should know:

The golden ticket will actually be a ring.

I figure if I’m going to keep doing this, I should stop stealing from Roald Dahl’s books and start stealing from my own.

So, in the fine traditions of the Maer’s court, you’ll be getting a gold ring with my name on it. The ring will be real gold, designed by the same lovely folk at Badali Jewelry who did the Eolian talent pipes.

(In a perfect world, I’d have a picture of the ring to show you. But the design isn’t finished yet. Just trust me for now. The folks at Badali do amazing work. It will be cool.)

This ring will be the physical embodiment of the favor. When you want to cash in the favor, you’ll give the ring back to me. If you want to keep the ring forever, you can. You can keep it forever and never cash in the favor at all, if that’s what you want to do.

If you give the ring to a friend, then they give it to me, I’ll do a favor for them instead.

If you lose the ring, you’re screwed. You’ve lost the favor.

For more than a month now, I’ve been trying to decide if this is a stupid idea. I’ve worried it will make me look too geeky.

And you know what? I decided I don’t care if it’s kinda geeky. I mean really, what’s the point of being a fantasy author if you can’t be a bit of a geek now and then?

What sort of favor can you ask for?

Here are some guidelines:

1. The favor has to be legal. (More or less.)
2. The favor has to be something I can actually do. (Duh)
3. The favor can’t be something I find morally reprehensible.

I won’t do something like endorse a political candidate I found disgusting. Along a similar line, wouldn’t blurb your book as a favor. I’d *read* it as a favor, and if I really enjoyed it I’d give it a blurb. But blurbing a book I don’t *really* like would be dishonest.

Other than that, the rules are going to be old-fashioned common sense. No, I won’t give you all my money. No, I won’t kick a puppy. No, I won’t change book three so that, say, Kvothe and Elodin have a sex scene. Or Kvothe and Ambrose have a sex scene. Or so someone dies, or doesn’t die, or has a threesome with Bast and Chronicler, or whatever. Sorry.

What *can* you ask for? Here’s a few things I’d easily agree to:

  • We can hang out over dinner at a convention we’re both attending.
  • I’d critique your manuscript.
  • I’d come to your convention or do a reading at your local library/bookstore.
  • I’d perform your wedding ceremony. (Someone asked about this.)
  • I’d put your name in book three.
  • I’d let you be a beta reader for some of my upcoming stories.

Some things will require a little negotiation, of course. I’ve discussed getting your name in the book on the blog before, for example.

Similarly, if someone wanted me to come out to their house, make them dinner, and tell them a story, I’d be cool with it provided:

1) They didn’t mind waiting until I can work it into my travel plans.
2) They like pasta.
3) They don’t kill me and wear my skin like a coat.

See how easy I am to work with?

Now that that’s clear. Let’s put another golden ticket up for auction:

  • AUCTION: The Golden Ticket.

(It won’t really look like the One Ring. It won’t be surrounded by fire, either. But trust me, it will still look cool.)

Bill from Subterranean has told me that he will be bowing out of the auction this year. So as of now it’s anyone’s game.

Rather than get bogged down in endless rules or examples. Here’s the plain-language commitment I’m making to you if you win this auction.

If you win the golden ticket, I’ll do my level best to fulfill any reasonable favor you ask of me.

Click here to bid on the Golden Ticket auction.

Or, if you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can click  here.

*     *     *

Remember, if you chip in on our team page before February 7th, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. And every $10 you donate gives you a chance to win all manner of cool stuff in the lottery.

If you want to see the other items that have been donated, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main Worldbuilders page.

This entry was posted in Golden Ticket, Worldbuilders 2011. By Pat78 Responses


  1. Aerron
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    Having a Golden Ticket in the general pool is really awesome. I got giddy at the thought of having a possibility of winning. I think it’d be awesome to have you do a talk/reading/workshop at my school. Do you have an agent/agency where we can give you good-old-fashioned money to do this?

    • Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

      There is one on the contact page….

  2. Posted February 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    Oh my goodness, the gold ring is a FABULOUS idea! In fact I really really really hope you get them to make more rings–that we normal peons can buy and begin using in the traditional Maer court fashion.

    Oh dear, or is *that* too geeky? Bah. Don’t care.

    • IvoryDoom
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

      Oh man, thats a great idea! Even if it is geeky!

  3. Artheos
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

    It’s is a very cool idea, unprecedentedly cool idea, par for the course.

  4. Posted February 2, 2012 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    Since when does Italian ice cream count as dinner? :)

    • Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

      Heh. There were two folks I met up with at two different comic cons, actually. One was just dinner…. The other was gelato and hanging out.

  5. Predhack
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    Can I use the Golden Ticket to ask you to give me a shot at being your friend?

  6. sh5105
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    The ring is an awesome idea. I’d love to see them (non-wish fulfilling) in the tinker’s packs.

  7. dancer7887
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    OMG!!! I would totally have you perform my wedding ceremony if I won the Golden Ticket/Ring. That would be epic! But my boyfriend said he’d want to be a beta reader on Book 3. Hmm…

  8. DMac
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

    This is just a small part of why we love you!

  9. AndrewJanke
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    Excellent. I love the idea of the ring, embodying the favor in a physical token.

    Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:05 AM | Permalink

    I’m confused. You say its going to be part of the general lottery, but then you said its an auction? Are there 2 favor tokens, one a ticket and one a ring?

    • katelyn
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

      It seems to me that there will be two rings (“golden tickets,” favors, whatever you want to call them.) One in the lottery, one in the auction.

      • Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

        Yup. Two tickets. One for the highest bidder. One for the general prize lottery.

  11. katelyn
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

    Oh fuck yes. The ring idea is fantastic. Seriously. Of COURSE you should be geeky AND steal from your own book. Duh. Deciding whether to keep the ring or cash it in for a favor would be a ridiculously difficult decision, though. Yikes.

    Anyways, this is awesome. We love you, Pat.

    • katelyn
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

      I also meant to say that Bill Schaefer is pretty freaking awesome, too. OK, that’s all.

  12. chaelek
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

    If a loved one were hypothetically kidnapped and I showed up at your door, bloody and disheveled, clutching the ring, would you help me save them, buddy-cop movie style?

    • Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

      Oh hell yes.

      • chaelek
        Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:16 AM | Permalink

        It’d make for a really great blog, if nothing else.

        • Gearlin
          Posted February 3, 2012 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

          Or possibly the greatest novella ever written. Even if it never happens, this story needs to be told!

      • daedos
        Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

        Thank you for that. Thank you.

    • Erzberger
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

      I laughed at this

    • Marcus Cox
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

      This is quite possibly the most brilliant question I’ve ever seen asked here.

      • chaelek
        Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

        I’m just saying, I don’t want to waste the ring on a shared lunch if I could use it for something important like hostage negotiation or painting my house or something.

    • Sokol
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

      See the new hit CBS buddy/crime/mystery, “Rothfuss”

  13. Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:17 AM | Permalink

    Woot! Achievement unlocked: $225K raised! (and no, I’m not ashamed that I was hitting F5 to refresh for like…. an hour…..)

    • LisaD
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:21 AM | Permalink


      • Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

        I’ve been refreshing more than a little bit over these last couple days too…..

  14. LisaD
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

    Wow. Just…wow. Seriously, this has so much awesome in it, I can’t even find the appropriate words. I’ll sit here and drool instead. And then I’ll enter the general lottery!

    P.S. The calendar was a big hit as a Christmas gift!

    And I actually *can* give a full body massage (yep, licensed and everything!) so when you come out to Comicon, know that there are San Diegans (me) who would like to repay you for all the sheer good you put into the world through Worldbuilders and Heifer International. Thanks for caring so much ♥

  15. chuckles73
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    Is it ending at midnight between the 7th and the 8th? Or the 6th and the 7th?

    • chuckles73
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

      If it’s between the 7th and the 8th, I should be able to cover 1/8th of the way to the next milestone (assuming it hasn’t been hit yet at that point).

      • Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

        It ends late at night on the 7th. Does that clarify things a bit?

        I did consider saying things ended on 11:59PM of Feb 7th. But it just doesn’t have the same ring to it….

  16. Erzberger
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:26 AM | Permalink

    I have a new favourite thing to win in the lottery

  17. codenamerocky
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 2:52 AM | Permalink

    You’ll enjoy a holiday to Australia right???

  18. Zeppe
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 3:28 AM | Permalink

    If I won the ring, I could tell you the sad little story of my life and you’d tell me how to proceed in order to turn it into an epic *dreams*

    What name did you let someone get into the book, btw?

    • Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

      That will be a blog for another day….

  19. SarahS
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 3:29 AM | Permalink

    “I’ve worried it will make me look too geeky.”

    You just had a transcript posted on a D&D session with other fantasy writers. I think you’re beyond that worry by now Pat *pats* (c wut i did der)

    But huzzah! Lottery excitement!

  20. David
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 4:06 AM | Permalink

    $24569.99 to go!
    We can do this! Yeah!

    Note to self: Enough with the ! marks.

  21. akcview
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 4:53 AM | Permalink

    I made a donation but I live in Europe and don’t know if this initiative is open to all… I’m happy to contribute to this worthy cause so it’ll be an added bonus if I’m eligible for any random prizes.
    Many thanks to all those who generously donated objects for auction and prizes.

    • Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

      Yup. We do ship prizes to Europe….

  22. Chris from Brisbane
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    I bid ! I bid ! ………. and then got outbid !!!! … Dam !!!!

  23. vintner_jasun
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    Now I can’t help but wonder what it would take to get other rings from Pat. I mean, how awful a thing would you have to do to get a wooden ring?

    • Little My
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

      See, I was thinking that the winner maybe ought to give Pat a ring, of some appropriate material.

  24. heisindc
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

    I can see Pat doing a Europe tour!

    Pat, this is an amazing and forward thinking idea. Or it harkens back to politics in Rome, take your pick. But great job. Don’t let the power of the rings go to your head.

    And I can’t wait until Oot is a teenager and hands you a ring and asks for a car.

  25. lyssaur
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    You are incredible good at persuading me to donate more.

  26. kora
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,
    I tried to send you an email with this question, but I typed the alphanumeric “I am not a robot” code incorrectly, so I don’t know if it sent or not. /fail.

    Anyway, I donated to the Worldbuilders page, but I made my contribution before it occurred to me to actually join the team, so now there is no record of my donation. It says $0.00 next to my name. I noticed that this appears to be an issue for several other team members, so I thought I’d ask you to address it. Are we still in the running to win books, etc.?

    Thanks very much,

    • kdculb
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

      I don’t join the team, I just contribute to the team and I have won prizes in the past.

      • Posted February 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

        Yeah. You don’t need to create a team. Most people do that by accident, or because they don’t read my instructions saying “Click the button that says ‘DONATE TO THE TEAM.'”

        But either way, we have a record of your donation. So it’s all good…

  27. Marcus Cox
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    Oh my god, I want one! I’d honestly have the hardest time giving up the ring though. It would be my precious. Oh, my. Why did I just cough the word “gollum” a couple of times.?

    And I second the idea from above about selling rings like this to us normal peons. I’d dread to know how much the personalization process would cost but I would love to have a set of these made.

  28. tgraham
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    The ring idea is awesome! That right there makes me want to donate. Good lick with the rest of the fundraiser!

  29. tgraham
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:50 AM | Permalink


    • Posted February 3, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

      I like “good lick.” It has a certain charm to it….

  30. Sokol
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    Yes, the ring idea is positively geek brilliant.

  31. PHXDale
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    Two rings of gold have come to light,
    Forged in goodness, hope and right.
    Kissed by fire, dreams and hammer…

    Hunger quakes amidst the clamor.

    Two rings of gold now sing a song,
    A choral chant of righting wrong.
    Gilded strains of melody sweet…

    Hunger beats its slow retreat.

    Two rings of gold have come to bear,
    Wrought with kindness, love and care.
    May they ever gleam so bright…

    And hunger lose its loathsome bite.

    Long Live WorldBuilders!
    Long Live Rothfuss!

    • Maureen
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

      This is beautiful

    • Constance
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

      I think even Kvothe would approve of this poetry.

    • daedos
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

      Nicely done, sir/madam.

    • IvoryDoom
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

      You rock!

  32. Sagerenee
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    I think that a ring is an EPICALLY good idea. Excellent work sir. Now I need to go scrape up another ten dollars to enter the lottery again.

  33. daedos
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    If I craft a Gold ring that is in all respects identical to the ring you give away, may I trade it in for a favor?

    Also, how can I get a bone ring from you? Serious question.

    • IvoryDoom
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

      Good Question!

      But then again, something rather screwed up would probably have to happen to merit any hand outs of bone rings. :(

  34. Mike Kremen
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    Long time reader, first time poster. Two things:

    1) The Favor Ring is a great idea. One of the really fun additions in Book 2!

    2) I was one of the thousands who you saw at B&N in NYC; the dummy that brought up a couple bags of books for you to sign later. I just started a reread of the book you signed for me and saw your note. Thanks again!

  35. justajenjen
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    The ring is an awesome idea. I would be so torn to turn it in or keep it. I’d wear it if I kept it, even though that means I’d have to stop wearing my wedding ring. So sorry, love of my life, some things are just more important. (He’s laughing at me right now, too.)

  36. Posted February 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    Too cool, Pat!
    I’m guessing there’s been an awful lot of work behind the scene.
    “Thank You” to everyone who has had a hand in this.

    I know exactly what I would ask for with that ring.

  37. Daniel Goldberg
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

    So if I asked you to end book three like this,

    “…and then Kvothe woke up, and his name was really Daniel and he now lives in an apartment in St. Paul with two cats…and a wife.”

    Would that be cool? I mean, that’s probably what you had planned anyway, right?

  38. Kyroh
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    If I win the golden ticket, my favor is going to be you setting up a double date. You, Sarah, Felicia Day, and myself. Just a heads up.

  39. priscellie
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I note that you did not rule out the possibility of a sex scene between Kvothe and Bast.

  40. Hospice RN
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Can the ring be exchanged for the right to be the first person to read book 3?

    • sh5105
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

      He said somewhere that a legitimate use would be to be a beta reader, so yes. That was my dream, too.

  41. William Wall
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

    Just out of curiosity, but why didn’t you go with a human bone ring instead? Obviously you can’t use real human bone but still. Sorry, not trying to criticize, just thought I’d ask ;)

  42. Kalai3
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

    I just spent the last 20 minutes trying to explain to my husband how cool the golden ring thing was. He’s not quite far enough into the book to understand yet.

  43. Hospice RN
    Posted February 4, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    The winner should ask pat to deliver a ring made of wood to George RR Martin

    • Kalai3
      Posted February 4, 2012 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

      That would be hilarious!

  44. Miliv
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    I guess spoiling some part of book 3 (or saying it without the negative connotation of the word “spoil”, answering some unanswered questions of book 1 and 2) would not be a valid favor, right?

  45. Lie
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    I think the “make xxxx person a Beta reader” idea is not very safe

  46. chat
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

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