Category Archives: contests

T-shirts and Onesies: The Votening

Hey there everybody,

It’s been a busy day here at Rothco headquarters. Partly because we’ve been getting a bunch of new products together for the upcoming fundraiser but also because we’ve been collecting and sorting the submissions for our t-shirt and onesie design contest.

It was tough to narrow it down to just a few options, but we did it. And now, in order for us to get things ready before we launch Geeks Doing Good (on June 5th, just in case you were curious) we’ll need to see which shirts y’all like best.

Here are our top contenders. First a nice combo shot, mocked up shirts:

And individually, so you can check out their individual majesty:

Before you vote, a few polite requests:

  • If you don’t plan on ever buying a t-shirt, maybe don’t vote? (It’s not that your opinion doesn’t  matter… It’s just that it doesn’t matter in this particular instance.)
  • Please vote based on which designs you would buy as a t-shirt. If you like the art, but you wouldn’t wear it as a shirt, then don’t vote for it.
  • Let’s not descend into internet jackassery here. We’re better than that. Don’t try to game the system. Don’t vote a bunch of times. That’s not cool.
  • You can vote for two shirts. That means you should vote for the shirt that you’d really love to buy. And then the shirt that you’d love to buy if your first choice isn’t one of the ones we print.
  • When you’re voting, double check the name of the shirt to make sure you’re casting your vote correctly. The name of the shirt is at the bottom left of the image itself.
  • The poll ends at 11:59pm Tuesday, May 30th. So be sure to get your votes in before then…

Which T-shirt Should We Make?

  • Questioning Hall (20%, 1,665 Votes)
  • Cthaeh (20%, 1,651 Votes)
  • Edema Ruh (17%, 1,389 Votes)
  • How's the Road to Tinue? (14%, 1,122 Votes)
  • The Name of the Wind (13%, 1,067 Votes)
  • Amyr (11%, 942 Votes)
  • Straight Outta Tarbean (5%, 412 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,542

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We also have baby shirts to vote on. I’m excited for these, as it’s been years and years since we made a onesie.

Here are our onesie/baby bodysuit/baby shirt contenders, mocked up first:

And then individually for you to see all the juicy details:

Most of the same rules apply for the baby clothes:

  • Again, please only vote if you would genuinely consider buying a onesie. If you vote for one because you think it’s adorable, but you have no interest in actually buying it, you’ll skew our numbers and it will make it harder for us to actually get people a product they would like.
  • You can only vote for one baby shirt. That means you should only vote for the onesie you would most like to buy.
  • Again, double check the name of the design to make sure you’re casting your vote correctly. The name of the onesie/shirt is at the bottom left of the image itself.
  • The poll ends 11:59pm Tuesday, May 30. So be sure to get your votes in before then…

Which baby shirt should we make?

  • The Moon (43%, 1,101 Votes)
  • Golden Screw (27%, 687 Votes)
  • Taborlin the Cute (19%, 498 Votes)
  • An Apple Who Thinks it's a Pear (11%, 271 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,557

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Thanks for participating so far, folks. Looking forward to seeing what y’all are going to vote for.

pat

Also posted in cool things, delicious fanarts, Geeks Doing Good | By Pat68 Responses

Art Contest III: The Artening.

Hey there everybody,

If you’ve been hanging around the blog for a while, you know that in June Worldbuilders holds a fundraiser. It’s called Geeks Doing Good, and we put a bunch of cool geekery up on Indigogo for a week so y’all can come over, ooh and ahhh, then hopefully buy some stuff and help us make the world a better place.

Traditionally, we do some T-shirts during the fundraiser. And we have, in the past, occasionally run contests where people can submit designs for t-shirts which we then vote for here on the blog

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

Truth is, over the years y’all have made some beautiful art. And since it’s been two years since our last contest, we figured we were overdue. So we’re throwing open the doors again, and inviting y’all to submit designs for new kingkiller shirts.

But that’s not all….

You see, long long ago. Years and miles away. We made a kingkiller onesie:

It was adored by children everywhere.

We even shot a video of Oot describing what exactly was going on in the picture:

(Awwww… Daddy’s little shill.)

But that was a *long* time ago. Maybe seven years? And we never did a second printing, so most people never had a chance to pick one up….

So anyway, in addition to t-shirt designs, I’d love to see some ideas for onesies or baby shirts if y’all have any bright ideas. I’ve been wanting to make another onesie forever, and this seems like a good opportunity.

Here are some general rules:

  • Must be your original art/design.
  • Please submit your entry as a jpeg, png, or pdf.
  • Images should not exceed 5MB. (If you win, we’ll contact you for high res.)
  • Please submit no more than three designs per category.
  • You can submit the same design to both categories.
  • Submissions must be sent via email. (Below.)
  • The submission period ends on Wednesday, May 17th.

This isn’t a rule so much as an important note: remember that fewer colors for a design tends to be simpler and more elegant, not to mention cheaper to produce.

Here’s how you submit your entries:

  • If you want to submit a t-shirt design, email it to tshirt (at) worldbuilders.org
  • If you want to submit a onesie or baby shirt design, email it to onesie (at) worldbuilders.org

After the deadline, we here at Worldbuilders HQ will sift and sort them, then post a blog where everyone can come in and vote on which ones they like best.

*     *     *

While we’re on the topic of art, there’s another project I’ve been wanting to do for ages. It started as a stupid joke years and years ago, I think I was talking with Paul and Storm about selling out, and what sort of really crass merchandising I’d do. I can’t really remember products we discussed, but it was crazy bullshit like Kvothe action figures with Real Sympathy Grip (TM) and Name of the Windbreakers.

Oh. Oh damn. I meant that to be a joke. But we could totally sell a Windbreaker, couldn’t we?

No. No no. I’m not going to do that. One crazy idea at a time.

Anyway, the one idea I do remember from that conversation was when we joked about making a kingkiller lunchbox. Mostly because I pictured it as having “The Name of the Lunch” written on it. I laughed my ass off at the thought. Partly because when I was a kid, I actually did have a lunchbox. It had Benji on it. And a thermos for milk. My mom packed me a lunch in it for years until I got too old for Benji. Then she used brown bag lunches instead.

So over the years, whenever we would talk about product development, I’d always bring up the Name of the Lunchbox as a joke. Then everyone would roll their eyes at me and we’d all move on with our day.

But when I brought it up this year, everyone kinda just looked at each other and said, “Why not?” The Indigogo is the perfect place to do it, because if people *do* want this bizarre thing and we sell 500 of them, that’s great. But if sanity prevails and we only sell 15, we’ll produce as many as we need, move on with our lives, and Worldbuilders won’t get stuck with four pallets of them gathering dust in a warehouse.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that this is a strange project. Hell, that’s most of the reason I want to do it. And it may prove too complicated to pull it off this year. But what the hell, right? Let’s at least give it a try…

But to do that, we’ll need art for the lunchbox. So if you’re an arty type, I’d love to see what you’d come up with for something like this.

The rules for the lunchbox designs are a little looser. There are size and shape issues that we’ll have to work out if we pick your design. But for your initial submission, USE THE TEMPLATE HERE as a guide, then email it to (you guessed it) lunchbox (at) worldbuilders.org.

Fair warning. We *might* not be putting the lunchbox design up for a vote. As I said, this project is a bit of an odd thing. As I mentioned earlier, you may not see the final product this year. Or maybe ever. But getting art we like is the first step in making my lunchbox dreams come true.

On a completely unrelated note, if you happen to know anyone in the lunchbox-making business who would be willing to give a charity a break on minimum order quantities, feel-free to send them our way.

*     *     *

Lastly but not leastly, I’d like to say that I’m a big fan of people getting paid for their work. Especially designers and artists, who are all-too-frequently asked to ply their craft for free. And while exposure is lovely, we all know you can’t eat it.

Since Worldbuilders is a charity, we run on donations. Partly because of that, and partly because we began as a shoestring operation running out of my living room, most of the art we’ve used was simply given to us out of the kindness of the artist’s hearts. In doing so, those folks have helped us raise a ton of money to make the world a better place.

But artists have to eat too. So from now on, Worldbuilders is adopting the policy of paying the winners of these contests for the use of their art. It’s not going to be buy-an-island money or anything. But it’s something. And don’t get me wrong, if you decide to waive the fee or re-donate it to the charity, we’re still cool with that, too…

I’m just saying. I admire you art-doers. I respect your cleverness and craft. The designs you create fill me with great joy, and help us produce things. You are important to us. So. From now on, there will be money on the table if we pick your design.

I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with…

pat

Also posted in calling on the legions, cool things, fan coolness, Geeks Doing Good | By Pat28 Responses

Cool News: A Dresden Files T-Shirt

Fair warning here: Spoilers. If you haven’t read the Dresden files…

Well… first off. If you haven’t read the Dresden Files, you’re missing one of the best fantasy series in existence and you really should consider checking it out. Really really. Seriously.

Secondly, if you haven’t read the series, this blog isn’t for you. Partly because I’m going to be talking about stuff that won’t make any sense if you don’t know anything about the books. But *mostly* because some of the stuff I’m going to say here has really significant spoilers for the series.

Specifically, I’m going to be talking about stuff that happens in the most recent book: Skin Game. Big stuff that happens at the end of Skin Game.

So… yeah. If you read this it’s going to ruin big character and plot arcs that progress over the course of (does a quick count) nine books.

So stop reading if you don’t want that ruined.

As an alternate, you can go check out this video of me doing an interview with Jim Butcher a couple years ago.

Or you can go vote on which Kingkiller t-shirt designs we’ll end up using in the fundraiser next week.

Last Warning: I’m not going to be coy. Real spoilers for Skin Game below…

*     *     *

Over the years, I’ve been pretty clear about my love of Jim Butcher’s work, especially the Harry Dresden series.

As evidence, I submit for your perusal my embarrassingly gushy Goodreads review of Skin Game.

19486421

I first read this book more about two years ago. Yeah. Before it even came out. I’m enough of a rabid fan that I sweet-talked my way into getting an advance reading copy.

Since then, I’ve read/listened to the book at least two more times.

And every time it gets to the end of the book… at the very end outside the carpenter’s house where everything is at its most bleak…. I laugh my ass off with pure joy and delight when Butters takes up the sword.

Because of this, for years now, I’ve wanted a t-shirt that shows a hand holding up a katana hilt with a lightsaber blade. Underneath it the words: “Polka will never die!”

My desire for this t-shirt has come and gone over the years, but it’s never gone entirely away. And recently, when I re-listened to Skin Game, it came back full force.

So I told my assistant Amanda about it (she’s a big Dresden fan as well) and her face lit up. “I want one too!” she said immediately.

Then she said, “We should make them for Worldbuilders.

This shows she’s a better person than I am. I just wanted one for me.

At this point in my career, I’m lucky enough to know Jim Butcher a little bit. We’ve met at conventions a couple times. Had a few dinners together. He’s really a delightful guy. A proper geek, funny and smart. If you ever get the chance to catch him at a signing or hear him speak at a convention, it’s well worth your time.

What’s more, he’s helped out Worldbuilders a couple times in the past. So I plucked up my courage and dropped him a line, asking how he’d feel about letting Worldbuilders do a t-shirt as part of our upcoming fundraiser.

And he said yes.

It’s hard to squee when you’re a baritone, but I gave it my best shot. (Have I mentioned that Jim is a really delightful guy?)

That e-mail exchange was just last week, and we *just* managed to get the paperwork tied up. So now all we really need is a graphic for the shirts.

Here’s the thing: we could design this in house. But neither of the two artists I work with the most, Brett and Nate, have read the Dresden books. (Shameful, I know. I gave both of them a stern talking-to.)

I could hire someone to do it too…. but honestly, when I do a project like this, I firmly believe there’s no substitute for the passion and enthusiasm of the fans. Whenever I reach out to y’all creatively, you come back with things so much better than I ever could have imagined.

So I’m reaching out to the artistic geeks among you to see if any of you would like to take a shot and making this t-shirt design.

I won’t lie, our timeline is a little ridiculous. The fundraiser starts on June 1st, so we only have a couple of days.

But if you’re a fan of the Dresden Files, and you have the ability to art, and you’re interested in putting your skills to use for a good cause…. Well… that would be pretty awesome of you. You’d make a lot of geeks happy, and you’d be helping feed hungry kids, too.

A few notes:

  • Keep in mind that this design is for a t-shirt.
  • I asked Jim to confirm the color of the blade, and he said: “In the books, the blade is white edged in gold, like bright sunlight.”
  • Submissions go to: tshirt (at) worldbuilders.org
  • We need the entries by 12:00pm Central Time on Saturday, May 30.

I know. It’s not much time. But we can’t wait any longer because we’ll need to sort through submissions, e-mail back and forth with artists, fine-tune the design, and still launch it with the rest of the fundraiser on Monday, June 1st.

So there you go. I’m kinda silly excited about this. It’s like an early birthday present for me.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them down in the comments.

If you haven’t voted on the kingkiller t-shirt designs yet, you should check them out over here.

Lastly, I’m trying to think of something nice I can do for the artists who have been submitting designs for us. So if you are one of those artists (or if you’re just a clever person) I’d welcome any suggestions down in the comments.

Thanks for being awesome everyone,

pat

Also posted in calling on the legions, Jim Butcher | By Pat41 Responses

Temerant T-Shirts and Exciting News

Hey there everybody,

As you may have guessed, we got a lot of entries for the t-shirt design contest. Despite the fact that it was only a week long, and over a holiday weekend, *and* it overlapped the end of the semester.

We got over 200 designs. Y’all are all insane in the best way possible.

As I’ve already shared on facebook and twitter, some designs came in that broke my heart with how lovely/sweet/whimsical they were.

Paul Coffey - An Apple That Thinks Its A Pear(Such as the apple that thinks it’s a pear.)

The reason they broke my heart is that some of them I loved, but they wouldn’t work on a t-shirt. Or they’re too obscure or specialized…

Rest assured that those designs won’t be lost forever. We’re going to chat with some of the artists to see if they’re willing to let us use the art for other things. Maybe cards or postcards. Maybe after some tweaking, we can use the designs for future t-shirts.

But the harsh reality is that we needed to get the number of designs down to 10-ish for this poll to be in any way functional. That means we had to cut more than 95% of the entries.

What’s more, we needed to do it *fast* as we’re launching the IndiGoGo on June 1st.

So here we are.

The titles for the shirts are ABOVE the shirt. Keep that in mind when you scroll down to vote.

1. Ivare Enim Euge

ivare enim euge

2. You Have Died of Chandrian

You have died of Chandrian copy

3. Trouper in the streets, Fae in the Sheets

TrouperTee copy

4. What does it unlock?

unlock

 

5. Maple, Maypole, Catch and Carry

Maple copy

6. Key, Coin, and Candle

key coin candle copy

7. Property of Arcanum Sympathy Department

Arcanum T-Shirt V3 copy

8. Edema Ruh

edema ruh copy

9. Cthaeh

Cthaeh copy

10. Chandrian

Design_1

11. The Waystone Inn

ideas

12. A stone in your heart

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Before you vote, a few polite requests:

  • Let’s not descend into internet jackassery here. We’re better than that. Don’t try to game the system. Don’t vote a bunch of times. That’s not cool.
  • Please vote based on which designs you would buy as a t-shirt. If you like the art, but you wouldn’t wear it as a shirt, then don’t vote for it.
  • If you know deep in your heart that you’re never going to buy a shirt, it would be nice if you didn’t vote at all. It’s not that your opinion doesn’t  matter…. It’s just that it doesn’t matter in this particular instance.
  • You can vote for two shirts. That means you should vote for the shirt that you’d really love to buy. And then the shirt that you’d love to buy if your first choice isn’t one of the ones we print.
  • When you’re voting, double check the name of the shirt to make sure you’re casting your vote correctly. The name of the shirt is ABOVE THE PICTURE. ABOVE.
  • The poll ends 12:00pm Central Time Saturday, May 30. So be sure to get your votes in before then…

Which T-shirt Should We Carry?

  • What does it unlock? (15%, 2,132 Votes)
  • The Waystone Inn (15%, 2,125 Votes)
  • You Have Died of Chandrian (13%, 1,895 Votes)
  • I know you have a stone in your heart (11%, 1,537 Votes)
  • Edema Ruh (10%, 1,428 Votes)
  • Cthaeh (7%, 1,035 Votes)
  • Chandrian (7%, 1,024 Votes)
  • Ivare Enim Euge (7%, 948 Votes)
  • Property of Arcanum Sympathy Department (6%, 820 Votes)
  • Maple, Maypole, Catch and Carry (4%, 591 Votes)
  • Trouper in the streets, Fae in the sheets (4%, 551 Votes)
  • Key, Coin and Candle (2%, 334 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,719

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[Edit: It’s totally fair to look at the current results before you cast your votes….] [Additional Edit: Given the response here, we’ll be making at least two of these shirts. So please do vote for the shirts you would like to buy. But again: Please only vote once.]

*     *     *

Lastly, we have a piece of extra cool news.

Jim Butcher, fabulous author and proper geek, has agreed to let the Worldbuilders team develop a Dresden Files shirt for the June 1st fundraiser, too.

We’ll be posting up the details in a blog later today. But just let me say if you’re sad you missed your chance to participate in this design contest, you might still have a chance to come and play.

More soon, folks,

pat

Edit: Here’s the link to the blog with the news about the Dresden Files shirt…

Also posted in fan coolness | By Pat153 Responses

T-shirt Design Contest

Okay. So. We’ve got some news that’s been delayed due to the photo contest.

Starting on June 1st, we’re running our second mid-season fundraiser for Worldbuilders.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web_Smaller

Last year we tried a summer Indiegogo fundraiser and were delighted with how well it turned out. So this year we’re going to be doing it again, except with more cool stuff.

One of the things we want to do is run a t-shirt design contest.

When we first decided to do t-shirts, I asked people to submit designs, then we voted for them here on the blog.

Names_Logo_02770b8e-1dd0-4ec1-9bb5-ed5e010bebc4_1024x1024

That’s how we ended up with our first shirts.

Tinkers_Packs-8_c890cc5a-716e-4688-9f3d-f929133059dd_1024x1024

And don’t get me wrong, I love those shirts. I get a warm glow when I see people wearing them at conventions and signings.

But we first brought those designs out back in 2010. Those shirts have had nearly 5 years to sit in the store. We need something new. And, because the first t-shirt contest went over so well, and gave us some of our favorite shirts, it seems only fitting that we give it another try.

Here are some rules:

  • Must be your original art/design.
  • Please submit your entry as a web-friendly image (jpeg, png, pdf). Images should not exceed 5MB in size. (If you win, we’ll contact you for higher resolution images.)
  • Please don’t submit more than three designs.
  • Email your submissions to tshirt (at) worldbuilders.org
  • The submission period ends in one week. On Sunday, May 24th.

Lastly, keep in mind when making a t-shirt design: Fewer colors tends to be simpler and more elegant, not to mention cheaper to produce.

What will the winner(s) get?

The envy of your peers. The adulation of the masses. My personal thanks. To say nothing of the warm glowy feeling that you’ve helped clothe geeks and raise money for hungry kids.

And prizes, of course. If you’d like some of the gold talent pipes, they’d be yours for the taking. I also have a few copper jots I’ve been holding back, if you’d prefer one of those.

Who knows, you might even get a free t-shirt out of the deal…

Why can I only submit three designs?

Here’s the thing. It’s been five years since the last contest. I have a lot more readers now than I did then. If everyone sends in a dozen entries, we’re going to quickly descend into madness over here. And while it’s true that I have more minions to sift through designs than I did in 2010, we’re on a tight schedule. Our big fundraiser starts on June 1st. That only gives us two weeks.

Besides. I’d much rather have you send me your best three designs than to just shotgun a dozen at me with the hope you’ll get lucky…

Everyone has one week to submit a design. After that, the Worldbuilders team and I will narrow them down and post up the top ten (or so) here on the blog for people to vote on. (Those top ten designs will probably receive thank-you gifts/prizes from me as well…)

Voting will wrap in a few days days so we can have designs finalized by the time the IndieGoGo starts.

Okay. There’s your mission, should you choose to accept it. Design a t-shirt. Email the design to tshirt [at] worldbuilders.org before the end of the day on Sunday, May 24th.

Ready, set, go.

pat

P.S. If you have any logistical questions, as always, you can ask them here in the comments.

Posted in contests | By Pat61 Responses

Three Threes or Who Wants to Be A Beta Reader?

Hey there folks,

We’re coming up on the end of the fundraiser. As I type this, we’re at $417,000 and we’re closing in fast on last year’s total of 433,000 dollars.

Traditionally, this is the time of year where I kick something into the fundraiser that’s a little… unique. Something to give a little extra incentive for people to donate here at the end of things.

This year, I have three items that might be extra-appealing to readers of my books….

ALL THE COINS 2

Here are the three things I’m putting into the lottery today:

1. Prototype sets of Cealdish currency

2. Faerie stones

3. The chance to be one of my beta readers

I’m putting three of each of these into the lottery. Hence the title of today’s blog. Three threes.

Now, if you’re interested in winning these things, I need you to read carefully, because there’s a potential problem:

Back in the day, Worldbuilders used to mostly be fans of my books. But it’s grown over the years, and now we are strong with the collected might of many different geek clans.

And that’s a good thing. A *great* thing.

The problem is this: the things I’m putting into the lottery today are a little…. specialized. They’re the sorts of things some of you are going to geek out about. But other people aren’t going to care about them at all.

I’ve been trying to figure out how I give the hardcore Kingkiller geeks a chance to win these items, while keeping them out of the hands of people who aren’t interested. How can the Worldbuilders team pull some folks into a super-special Rothfussians-only lottery for these nine items?

So here’s what we’re going to do.

If you want to be eligible to win these items, you have to go and make a donation to Heifer International on the Worlduilders Team Page. Same rules as before: every $10 you kick in gets you another chance to win.

But if you want to be eligible to win these things, your donation should end with .33 cents.

Enough for honeybees? $30.33. Enough for a goat? $120.33. A Heifer? $500.33

You follow the pattern here?

If you donate with .33 at the end of your total, in addition to being entered in the main drawing for tens of thousands of dollars worth of books, you’ll also get entered into this smaller, side-lottery for the hardcore Rothfuss fans only….

What’s more, if you made other donations under the same name, we’ll include them in this separate lottery too.

So. Just to be clear. Let’s say you donated 60 bucks back in December. But you read this blog and want a piece of the action, so you go log onto our team heifer page and donate $33.33. That means your total donation would be $93.33. So you’d have nine entries in the main lottery, and nine entries in the Rothfuss-specific one too.

You got it? You can donate over here.

1. Three sets of prototype Cealdish currency.

Coins closeup

Here we have an iron drab, a copper jot, a silver talent, and a gold mark.

A few of you have seen the jots and drabs before, but this is the first time I’ve had a full set to show off.

I’m a bit of a geek for old coins. So I’ve been working with Tom Maringer from the Shire Post Mint to develop currency for my world. If Tom’s name sounds familiar to you, it should. Last week we showed off some of his handiwork when he donated a bunch of currency from Wheel of Time and Game of Thrones.

For the Cealdish currency in my world, we’re doing something a little different. Rather than starting with the modern coins (The coins that Kvothe would be using.) We’re actually developing the historical coins first, then evolving the currency forward in history.

This set of coins would have been from about 500-600 years ago. Back when they were only a few short steps removed from bartering tokens.

The jot is solid copper. The drab is steel with a fusion crust.

The talent is made of an alloy called billion. It’s 20% silver and 80% copper. It was commonly used for coins here in the real world. It’s normally a rosy color, not bright silver like these. You see, if you heat billion in a furnace, some of the silver naturally migrates to the surface. Then, if you hammer it, it spreads the silver out so it looks much brighter, like a solid silver coin.

That’s what they used to do before electroplating. And that’s what we’ve done here.

The gold mark actually has gold in it. Not a *ton* of gold, but a little. (Even a little gold is pricey.) The rest of it is silver and copper. It’s an odd molten red color I’ve never seen before, and it’s polished and buffed to the point where it looks like it’s been enameled.

We’re doing a limited run of these. We only made 1000 jots. And there will be fewer talents and marks. When they’re gone we’re moving on to the next batch. That set will be from 300 years in Kvothe’s past. The designs will be more developed, the alloys different, and the maker’s marks more complex.

We’ll be selling these in the store eventually, but first we have to make more of them, get packaging straightened out, develop the product descriptions, etc etc…

But I have three sets now. And you can win them if you donate.

2.  Three Faerie Stones.

Fairy Stone

For those of you whose educations have been sorely neglected: a faerie stone is a stone you find on the shore with a hole bored all the way through it. They’re supposed to protect you from the fair folk. The specifics vary from story to story, but it’s generally agreed that they help you see through glamour and guard you against their charms.

When I was in Brighton for World Fantasy last November, I went looking on the beach for faerie stones. And I found some. And I brought them home.

I gave one to Oot, who promptly used it to wish for a horse. I gave one to Sarah, because I don’t want the fae to be getting all seducy on her, or pulling any changeling shit with Cutie.

Why would I give them away? Well, here’s the thing…. Some traditions say that faerie stones are only effective if they’re given to you. A freely-given gift.

I have three of these stones left, and I’m putting them in the lottery.

3.  Three chances be my beta reader.

So ever since I talked about my writing process on the blog a couple years ago, I’ve had hundreds of people e-mail me, asking how they can get to be one of my beta readers.

Generally speaking, the simple answer is this: go back in time 15 years and get to know me back before I was published.

You see, back in the day, anyone could be my beta reader provided they were willing to slog through 250,000 words of unpublished fantasy novel.

These days, the main requirement is that I trust you.

Why? Because if an early version of Book Three gets leaked onto the internet, the results will be catastrophic for both me and my publisher.

But I *could* let someone beta my new novella about Auri….

AuriAmyWinterbreeze

(Art Courtesy of Amy on Deviantart.)

You’ll sill have to sign a truly draconian non-disclosure form. Then I’ll mail you a copy of the story with some instructions and a red pen. After you’ve had a chance to read it, and scribble some notes, I’ll give you a call, see what you thought, and pick your brain a little bit.

And maybe, *maybe* if things work out well, and I feel I can trust you, and the stars align. Then I might add you to my list of permanent beta readers….

If any of these things seem like they might be up your alley, remember, all you need to do is head over to the Worldbuilders Team Page and donate directly to Heifer International.

And don’t forget, end your donation with .33….

Good night, Nightvale.

Goodnight.

Also posted in calling on the legions, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat177 Responses

Twitter Contest – The Memes, Cleverness, and Prizes….

So we’re almost a week in, and the twitter contest is ticking along nicely….

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can check out the first blog explaining the game here.)

TheRealRothfussUpdate

There’s been a lot of discussion as to the best way to refer to a group of Rothfi. A ponderance? A blither? Someone very clever suggested “Pontography.” Someone else proposed “Pisser” as the proper collective noun. There were a lot of good ones.

Personally, I think a group of us should be “a maunder of Rothfi.”

And don’t bother running off and seeing which of the profiles has mentioned that. I just made it up right now. I’m not going to tip my hand here.

Grammatical flummery aside, so far the contest has been a ton of fun. I’ve enjoyed it immensely, and it seems like most of the spectators are digging it too.

And honestly I’m amazed at the level of competition. Amazed. I knew I was bringing in clever people here, but I didn’t give them *nearly* enough credit.

But it hasn’t all been sunshine and kisses in the shade. There have been a few problems, and the biggest of these has been…

  • Verification:

Normally, getting verified on twitter is something you strive for. It’s a stamp of legitimacy. It shows you’re *really* Neil Patrick Harris, and not just some schmoe that grabbed a picture off the internet.

Before I started this contest, I thought verification was something you applied for. I thought there was some arduous process, some gauntlet you had to run. A quest you needed to complete that would please the distant ineffible twitter gods, high on their mountain.

And apparently, that’s kinda true. There is a form you can fill out. There is an application you can submit. Many do strive for verification. Apparently John Scalzi himself has been trying to get verified for ages and hasn’t managed it.

But look at what happened to us about 18 hours into our contest:

First Verification

See that little blue checkmark? That means that they *verified* one of our accounts.

What’s really funny is this. We created all these accounts using throwaway e-mail addresses *literally* named like this: twitter1@etc.com, twitter2@etc.com, twitter3@etc.com, twitter4@etc.com…

What’s more, the accounts were all identical except for the name and the picture. They all followed the same 7 profiles. They all had the same tagline: “It’s my job to break your heart.” They all listed my blog as their website. They all had one identical post.

And they’ve all sat there, inactive for more than a year.

Then the contest started, and within 18 hours, one of them got verified.

This is because, in addition to having an application process, twitter has a bot that searches around for people and auto-verifies them.

We were all a little stunned when this happened. We figured it was an odd fluke, and figured out how to remove the verification by changing the name on the profile and changing it back.

Then less than a day later….

The second verification

Re-verified.

We don’t know what sort of algorithm the twitter-bot uses. Nobody does.

After the shock wore off, I realized how hilarious it was. You see, this means is that one of us has completely convinced twitter that this profile is Pat Rothfuss.

And I think this is awesome.

A lot of people have taken this to mean that the contest is over. That it’s spoiled. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is, the only information the twitter-bot has access to is circumstantial. It’s deciding based off the tweets themselves. The friends added. The links linked. I dunno. Maybe the picture, too?

It’s making a judgement based on those things. The same information you have access to.

All this really means is that the twitter-bot has decided to cast its vote early in our contest.

You can trust it if you want. It seems pretty sure of itself.

But personally, I’d like to think that my readers are more independent than that.

In fact, one of my favorite things about the contest so far is watching people declare their allegiance, sometimes just due to a turn of phrase:

@PatRothfuss Header Photo

Or a piece of punctuation:

@patrickrothfuss4

Some folks are just having fun with it:

Beautiful game 2

I see folks planting their flags, then sometimes spinning 180 with such force that you’d be amazed they don’t break their own necks.

beautiful game 4b

Here’s one of my favorites:

Beautiful game 1

I love this. These guys are fucking *into* it. They are using their vasty human intellect to crack this puzzle.

This is the very essence of a #BeautifulGame.

So… yeah. If you want to pick a profile based exclusively on what some computer algorithm thinks. That’s your choice. But honestly? I’m a little sad for you….

  • Other ways to screw yourselves by being too clever.

I know a lot of you are game players. Probably excellent game players. And if you like my books, odds are that you have at least a passing interest in looking for hidden clues.

So when I put this contest together, I knew I had to thwart those tendencies. For example, if you try to guess based on what device different profiles are twittering from? You’re probably going to be wrong. Why? Because one of the requirements for all the players is that they tweet from all manner of different platforms and devices.

Also, you should be aware that some of the profiles started this game with 5000-6000 more followers than others. In the year the profiles sat around, some collected 6-7 thousand followers. Others only collected 1-2 thousand.

So if you look at a profile and think, “Wow, this one has 4000 more followers, obviously that’s the one pat would pick to use as his own.” or “Wow, this is the one pat would pick because this twitter name is more like something he’d want.” you’re kinda screwing yourself.

First, because you’re missing the main point of the contest, to see who’s best at being me.

And second, you’re screwing yourself because when we assigned these profiles, we pulled names out of a hat for each one. They’re deliciously random.

Ultimately, this game is based on skill. It is a contest of trickery, persuasion, and cunning.

If I were you, I’d base your choice off that….

  • What’s still to come.

Two weeks is kind of a long time.  Particularly with something that moves as fast as twitter.  Maybe I should’ve thought of that before, but I had no way of knowing.

Lest things start to get a little same-y. We’re going to add a few things to the contest just to keep things interesting.

One of the suggestions someone made to me was that if I’m selling out and getting on twitter, I might as well go whole hog and start making memes too.

I don’t know if they were being snarky or not, but either way, I think it’s a great idea. I think memes and twitter go together like…

Like a…

Like a pithy writer and a good analogy.

So I’m going to challenge my fellow competitors to meme everyone’s new favorite pet from the photo contest.

That’s right: Ugly Cat.

I’ve never memed before. So we’ll use this as another piece of the puzzle that will help people discover #TheRealRothfuss.

UC-Holding

(Oh Ugly Cat, you still fill me with such joy…)

Are you good to go, gentlemen?  Ready… set…. meme!

  • On Being A Winner.

After my first blog post, there was some confusion about how the money was going to go to the charities in question.

So. Just to clarify, when the contest is over, there will be a great voting. The profile that gets the most votes, wins. The person running that profile will be the winner, and the charity they chose will get the $1000 from DAW.

Originally, that was my entire plan. But now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t see why y’all can’t be in the running for some cool things too….

Iron Drabs resized

These are some prototype drabs we’re working on. They’re not ready to go up in the store yet. But do I have a few we can give away as prizes….

So here’s what we’re going to do.

The whole point of this contest is for people to be clever and have fun. To play a beautiful game.

So starting now, if you do something on twitter that strikes me as particularly cunning, or funny, or sly, or smart. I will make a post along these lines.

“Congratulations, @JoeTwitter. That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen today. You know how to play #ABeautifulGame.”

Or

“That’s a really good point, @JustSusan. I bow to your unassailable Aristotelian logic. Congratulations on #ABeautifulGame.”

Then one of my lovely assistants will get in contact with you, get your mailing address, and we’ll mail you one of these prototype drabs. You can then use that drab to taunt your friends until they cry.

Each of my five Rothfussian comrades will be doing the same thing, of course.

This is a new part of the game. Not only do you have to guess at what might tickle the fancy of the Rothfi, but seeing what behavior each profile rewards should give you a lot of insight into which one of us is #TheRealRothfuss.

Have fun, everyone.

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Beautiful Games, My brilliant ideas | By Pat58 Responses
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