The Photo Contest: Explanations and Prizes

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….

Then the lovely folks at Badali Jewelry dropped me an e-mail. They were wondering if it was okay if they made some talent pipes in gold to go with the silver ones they were already selling.

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.


This entry was posted in fan coolness, Photo Contest 2011. By Pat43 Responses


  1. Dracc
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 1:31 AM | Permalink

    Wow, those gold pipes really are invaluable gifts. Very cool. I envy everyone who has a chance at earning these. I am definitely wishing I had submitted a pic now.

  2. chaelek
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

    First the rings, and now this? You’re awesome.

    And I just imagine someone saving your life, like pulling you out from a pile of burning wreckage or something, and you giving them a set…

    “My thanks, noble stranger. Take these Golden Pipes, as a symbol of my gratitude.”

    “Hey, neat! Do they do anything cool?”

    “Why yes! Merely blow into them the first few lines of the intro song for Firefly, and I shall magically appear and assist you.”

    “Wow! Really?”

    “Nah. They’re just cool looking. Might get you laid, though.”

    • kristin.strand
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

      Haha! :-D Love that.

    • Skoivan
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

      That would be the best conversation ever.

  3. pdxtrent
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    That sound you hear? Kind of a dull roar?

    That’s the sound of fanboys(and girls) bemoaning their failure to submit pictures. Not me though. Hell, I can’t even be half as clever as Capt Joe was the last time around. Let alone the cosplay group who’s page I STILL show people.

  4. Hxlgg
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 2:57 AM | Permalink

    Can’t wait! Everyone’s entries in the previous contest were fantastic!

  5. kristin.strand
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 2:58 AM | Permalink

    I just discovered your blog! Made my day :-D (week maybe ;-) Perfect gift idea! You made it very personal as well! Hope you write here often!

    • surfmaschi
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

      You need to check the older blogs, for example the relationship advice from the college survival guide …. one of the best ever ;-)

  6. littlecalder
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    I wish I had known about the photo contest! Oh well. If there’s ever another.. I am so in! Because believe me, I’d be that person who would proudly wear my pipes everywhere. And I do mean everywhere..

  7. Sounten
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 5:47 AM | Permalink

    It would be interesting to see a music contest for people to try and earn their pipes. I could imagine someone making their own music score to the lyrics of “Jackass Jackass” That would definetly make my day.

  8. Rebecca
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    I’ve moved since the contest, and should I win a prize, I don’t know that it will be shipped to me.

    More than slightly worried.

    • Amanda
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

      As long as you still have the email you sent the picture to us with, you should be covered.

      If that’s not the case, email us at paperback.contest @ with the picture(s) you submitted last time and we’ll sort it out.

      Still haven’t been stabbed,

      • Ippswich
        Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:11 AM | Permalink


        That’s good to know, I had moved as well and had a moment of panic!

        • Posted June 30, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

          Yeah. Don’t worry. We’re going to make contact before we send them out to folks.


          • aphitt119
            Posted July 1, 2012 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

            Still haven’t stabbed my wokers,


      • Jiyuu
        Posted July 2, 2012 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

        Glad you’re still hanging in there, Amanda. Any fans here want to send Amanda a bronze breastplate?

  9. Lucas
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    I had forgotten all about the Honorable Mentions you put together, a lot has happened in a year. It was a very enjoyable re-read. Looking back through those pictures I find that they put my pictures to shame.

    As always, looking forward to your future blogs.

  10. Gavin
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Wow this is awesome Pat and people who receive the gold talent pipes prepare for hero worship.

  11. The Other Pat
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

    Will there be another photo contest in the future?

    • Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:52 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. Maybe we’ll do another in a year or so….

  12. Ryanzor
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    The winner of the old photo contest link is now broken. By all accounts it is the pinnacle of amazing, would it be possible to upload it again?

  13. Posted July 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Gold Pipes (and really, any rare artifacts from the your world) are great prize ideas – but you’re right, we can buy or make some of those ourselves.

    For the next contest, can you consider a couple of beta reader slots for the 3rd book?

    • leaf101
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

      OMG that would be such an awesome prize!!! (even though magical golden pipes that summon pat when you blow the beginning of the firefly theme song are pretty cool…)

  14. eldrelore
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    Umm… …I think the pipes are much more suited to being prizes. No matter how much cooler you consider the status of beta reader. They hit the right cord of unique, on topic, and always a win.

    After all, there are people who wouldn’t find beta reading rewarding. My wife for instance gets seriously attached to things. Even when revisions are cooler and better she will still solidly miss the old less cool stuff. And consider the responsibility. What if the author’s reactions to my random thoughts spoiled something in the story? What if my child borrowed my copy and lost it on the bus to be distributed on the internet? Or heck, what if my house was burgled?

    Pat addressed some of this in his beta reading blogs. And besides, what special reward would he have to thank his beta readers with?

    • Oatmeal
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly.

      Well … ok … my thoughts were actually “way to sound like an ungrateful a-hole”. But yours is nicer.

  15. PhotographicAlchemy
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Bahhhhh. So upset that I missed this contest, considering I was contemplating a setting to put the books in to photograph just for fun anyways. Oh well…perhaps I will send one in just for amusement. Ha. A pre-congrats to the winner(s)!

  16. Beej
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    My new goal in life: do something worthy of earning a set of gold pipes from Pat.

  17. IvoryDoom
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    So Pat – just to verify my reading comprehension…there will be the possibility of earning one of these pins again in the future correct?

    Just want to make sure before I make that my life goal…ya know – I like to keep it attainable. LOL.

    (Now if only I was joking :/ ….)

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

      Yeah. I’ll be using these for a while.

      • IvoryDoom
        Posted July 5, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

        Thank you!

  18. lykashii
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    So so VERY excited! One of mine made it to the honourable mentions, that made me die of geekdom. Thankfully I am fully alive again, but totally prepared to die of total geekdom if any of my other pictures make it.

    • Oatmeal
      Posted July 3, 2012 at 11:13 PM | Permalink

      Mine was one of the honorable mentions too. It immediately became the background on my computer and hasn’t been changed since.

  19. Big Sam B
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat. Completely unrelated to the Photo Contest.
    I just looked at the world map, and remembered reading in the second book that the Adem Cross the stormwal mountains to go to the Tahl to get cleansed of STI’s/STD’s. I was just wondering. Does Kvothe ever go there?

  20. Posted July 4, 2012 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    Totally awesome prize idea Pat! Can’t wait to see the winners. Congrats to them in advance, just in case I miss the post! (your blog keeps dropping off the list of blogs I’m following for some reason :( )

  21. duke7883
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    I think these pipes are amazing. I mean, to own a pair would beyond a doubt be one of the coolest geek things ever to brag about to your friends, family, etc. That being said, don’t underestimate the value of your signed books as a prize. For some people, receiving your book in that way adds value to it that simply purchasing it from a website doesn’t make up for.

    I’ve got the opportunity to be living in England right now and the ability to travel through Europe with a lot more ease than those on the other side of the pond and because of that I have picked up Name of the Wind in a few different forms. The first being the American paperback that I first nabbed in an airport without a clue of how amazing it was going to be, a nice hardcover in the Queen’s English, obviously, as well as the Gollancz 50th Edition (which is my favorite so far), and the German hardcover which is gorgeous. I recently missed a chance as I drove through France and saw a bookstore, unfortunately they had an abysmal fantasy section which was basically George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb and about seven other obscure authors, so I’ll have to go back through there to get it. Going to hit Turkey, Italy, and Greece in the next month and will be on the lookout for copies in those places.

    When I first starting collecting various copies of the books, I purchased one of the Japanese ones off of the interwebs because I really enjoyed the different art style. I don’t regret it, but it definitely takes some of the umph out of it when I look at the different books and think about the situations I was in to get them and then know I just bought that particular one from my computer, sans awesome memory usually involving hand gestures and my failure as an American to speak any other languages at all.

    So to sum up my long winded logic, to glance at that section of my bookshelf and see a signed copy of Name of the Wind/Wise Man’s Fear and think, “Patrick Rothfuss took the time to send that specifically to me because he cares.” Wow, that adds some meaning to it. Of course, maybe some people don’t think like that.

  22. lenamoster
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    I wasn’t following the blog during the 2008 photo contest, so I missed the grand prize winner as the link is no longer good. Does anybody have a link that works? I’m so intrigued, especially because the comments make it sound AWESOME.

  23. cd2222
    Posted July 14, 2012 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

    What a wonderful way to gift a thank you. Patrick you have not used the old book in your brainstorming of prizes which is much better than anything of financial value. The gift of something priceless gains more favor and respect for the meaning of the thought of the gift. Love it!

    Seems like a great way to create a underground readers club or followers…gesture joyful excitement and respect.

    Let’s make up some names of this group of gifted fans~
    One family?
    Kvothe’s shadows?

  24. Celegus
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    I’m pretty surprised nobody has said “Storytime with Pat” yet, so consider it said now!

  25. AGRooster
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Scribe Mind, or Scrive Mind

  26. Posted July 24, 2012 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    Narractive (Narrativa and active) … that’s all my little brain can say …sorry :(
    Love your books …. actually I think reread them :) love Auri

  27. thelinster
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Permalink


    simple, smart, descriptive. and kind of sexy.

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