Category Archives: Stardust ARC

The story of a beloved book…

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.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated at least 10 bucks to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance of winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

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.

She assures me that isn’t the case. She shows me the sheets, and the ticket numbers.

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.

NeilLibraryCard

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).

DSC0562b

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

In 2015, 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 and his library card as a sign of what he won. He has his library card, and we still have a beautiful, signed Stardust ARC.

2016: Stardust ALMOST goes to France

Last year, our winner was a lovely guy named Lucas. He lives in France, and had a lovely phone call and email exchange with the Worldbuilders team, and they sent him a box full of books, including the French editions of a couple of books from The Tinker’s Packs.

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.

Stardust (6)

Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

If you donate to the fundraiser you have a chance of winning not only this book, but also thousands of other books and games donated by authors, publishers, collectors, and fans.

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.

So. If you’d like to be part of a fine tradition of people being awesome, winning books, and making the world a better place, you can head over and donate right now.

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2017 | By Pat8 Responses

Ravens and Recitations: The Kindness of Neil Gaiman

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….

what-will-neil-read-final

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.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated at least 10 bucks to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance of winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

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.

Stardust (3)

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.

IMGP0664

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.

IMG_20141201_170740

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.

NeilLibraryCard

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).

DSC0562b

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.

Jef Neil Geiman

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.

Stardust (6)

Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

If you donate to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, you have a chance of winning not only this book, but hundreds upon hundreds of other books and games donated by authors, publishers, collectors, and fans.

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.

So. If you’d like to be part of a fine tradition of people being awesome, winning books, and making the world a better place, you can head over and donate right now.

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.

_dsc0975

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.

_dsc0982

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.

  • Limited edition copy of A Screenplay by Neil Gaiman.

_dsc0976

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.

_dsc0985

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.

Sandman - towering

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.

stardust_v2

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.

Only 10 days left…

pat

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2016 | By Pat14 Responses

Stardust ARC: Many Happy Returns

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 I’d only been published for a year when, 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, helping spread the word and donating books for us to give away.

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.

It was the second year of the fundraiser, 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, maybe even a couple thousand, but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated at least 10 bucks to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance of winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

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 Worlbuilders, 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 thinks 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.

Stardust (3)

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 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.

IMGP0664

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.

IMG_20141201_170740

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.

NeilLibraryCard

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).

DSC0562b

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

Last year, we drew Jeff’s name 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.

Jef Neil Geiman

He’s the 5th person to sign them for us since Neil. And it’s a beautiful thing.

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.

Stardust (6)

Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

If you donate to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, you have a chance of winning not only this book, but hundreds upon hundreds of other books and game donated by authors, publishers, collectors and fans.

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.

As an added bonus, all donations will get us closer to Neil Gaiman’s $550,000 stretch goal of singing “Gorn Dahn the Plug’ole” to his baby.

So. If you’d like to be part of a fine tradition of people being awesome, winning books, and making the world a better place, you can head over and donate right now.

* * *

In other news, if you’re in a Cyber Monday sort of mood, we’re currently having a sale in the Tinker’s Packs (All proceeds from that go to Worldbuilders as well.)

Also, we’re launching a new event tonight. The subreddit r/Fantasy is having Worldbuilders Week, where 36 different authors who have worked with us over the years are doing AMAs every night. It will be a good time. You should stop by….

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat17 Responses

A Familiar Story About a Well-Loved Book

Over the last two weeks, authors, publishers and fans have been sending us box after box of signed books, cool games, and geeky miscellany have been showing up at WB headquarters. So many new items it’s caused a bit of a problem: There’s no way we can show all of it off in the five days remaining in the fundraiser.

It’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem.

I talked things over with the Worldbuilders team, and they’ve said they’re willing to put in the extra hours. So we’re going to extend the fundraiser for one more week. Seven extra days will give us enough time to process and organize these new donations, then show them off to proper effect.

That means the new end date will be December 15, 11:59pm. 

And now a story about a familiar friend….

* * *

If you’ve been following Worldbuilders for the last couple years, you probably know about this:

It’s a book that has been with the fundraiser since the beginning….

2008: A Gift from Gaiman.

In 2008 I was still a newbie author, barely published for a year. 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, helping spread the word and donating books for us to give away.

The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare 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 we had this book. This beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book. And I was having a hard time deciding how best to use it. I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, maybe a couple thousand, but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

But then something strange happened. At the end of the fundraiser 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.

During year three 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 thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

His only stipulation was that we put the book back into the lottery next year, so anyone could win it….

2011: Stardust Full Circle.

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 send her a box of books as a “Thanks for being cool” present.

And Stardust goes back on the shelf…

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 run our numbers. We cross-reference our list of prizes with our list of winners.

Amanda ran through the house yelling, after she checked it three times.

When I’m told, I look at the assistant holding the handful of papers with grim, fatherly disapproval, telling them in the gentlest of terms that they’ve fucked up and are obviously using last year’s spreadsheets.

But no. The truth is, Maayan won it *again*. For the second year in row.

This is bizarre math, people. This is like Heart-of-Gold level improbability.

I called her. She was shocked, amused, and flustered. So we sent her the book.

And she sent us back a picture.

IMGP0664

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.

Last year, 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.

We sent her a care package full of goodies as a thank you.

And this year, we had a cool idea – we’ve instituted a Library Card system for the Stardust ARC.

IMG_20141201_170740

When I was a kid, every single library book had one of these. Even now, all these years later, the sight of one fills me with an indescribable joy.

Neil graciously agreed to sign the library cards for us.

NeilLibraryCard

What’s more, we are currently having all the previous winners signing the cards and passing them after keeping one for themselves of course (or two, in the case of Maayan).

That means this year, if the winner chooses to return the book, they will still have a keepsake to remember it by: signed by all the people who have loved the book before them, and the original donor, Neil Gaiman.

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.

Stardust (6)

Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

If you donate to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, you have a chance of winning not only this book, but hundreds upon hundreds of other books and game donated by authors, publishers, collectors and fans.

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 if that wasn’t enough by itself, this year Neil has agreed to do an Act of Whimsy, too. When we reach $600,000, he’s going to read a book for us, and if you donate, you get to vote on what he’s going to read.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 2.58.01 PM

So far, the voting is pretty close, but there is a title in the lead:

#NeilReads 12.2

Where the Wild Things Are and Jabberwocky were tied earlier in the week, but since then Jabberwocky has re-taken the lead.

For those of you who feels strongly one way or the other, we made Facebook cover photos for each team you might be interested. So, if you’re Team Jabberwocky, Team Wild Things, Team Goodnight Moon, or Team Fox in Socks, you can let your geek flag fly on and promote it with the hope of converting your friends to your cause.

Thanks for being the greatest, people. Let’s make these last days count.

Also posted in Neil Gaiman, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat24 Responses

A Cold Day, A Warm Fuzzy, and a Familiar Book….

Well folks, as many of you know, we’re having a bit of a cold snap here in Wisconsin.

It’s not the coldest weather I’ve ever seen. But it is cold. -20 something Fahrenheit. Or, if you’re part of the logistically consistent world, -30 degrees Celsius.

If you count the windchill, we’re closer to -40. Which, interestingly enough, is that magical place where both Celsius and Fahrenheit shake hands and agree on a number.

We’re no strangers to the cold here in Wisconsin, but this is enough to catch even our jaded attention. It’s cold enough that we’re having to make some concessions. For one thing, I actually put on gloves earlier this evening, and I buttoned up my coat.

The other thing I’ve done is to give everyone at Worldbuilders the day off. Some of them have to commute to work, and not to sound all sissy, but this *is* the sort of cold that can kill you pretty easily if your car quits on some back road.

You see, while I may be a tyrannical dictator of a boss, I like to think of myself as a benevolent tyrannical dictator. The sort that stops just short of risking my employees’ lives.

Lastly, something in the cold brings out the storyteller in me. So I’m going to tell you a story. A story about a book. Some of you might have heard it before, but it bears repeating.

And there’s a new chapter this year. Read on, my friend.

*     *     *

If you’ve been following Worldbuilders for the last couple years, you probably know about our now-mythical Stardust ARC. It’s a book that has been with the fundraiser since the beginning, since 2008….

2008: A Gift from Gaiman.

In 2008 I was still a newbie author, barely published for a year. On a whim, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International on my blog. As you can guess, things quickly spiraled out of control as other authors pitched in, helping spread the word and donating books for us to give away.

The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare 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 we had this book. This beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book. And I was having a hard time deciding how best to use it. I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, maybe a couple thousand, but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

But then something strange happened. At the end of the fundraiser the person who won the book gave it back to us. Their one stipulation is that we auction it off next year, so it will bring in more money for Heifer. So….

2010: Stardust on the Auction Block.

During year three 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 that most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

His only stipulation was that we put the book back into the lottery next year, so anyone can win it….

2011: Stardust Full Circle.

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 be a surprise on a doorstep).

Maayan tells me no.  She wants it back in the fundraiser. It’s sort of a thing now.

I send her a box of books as a “Thanks for being cool” present.

And Stardust goes back on the shelf…

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 run our numbers. We cross-reference our list of prizes with our list of winners.

Amanda ran through the house yelling, after she checked it three times.

When I’m told, I look at the assistant holding the handful of papers with grim, fatherly disapproval, telling them in the gentlest of terms that they’ve fucked up and are obviously using last year’s spreadsheets.

But no. The truth is, Maayan won it *again*. For the second year in row.

This is bizarre math, people. This is like Heart-of-Gold level improbability.

I called her. She was shocked, amused, and flustered. So we sent her the book.

And she sent us back a picture.

IMGP0664

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.

That’s right, Maayan sent it back to us again.

Thanks so much, Maayan. We’re glad you at least got to touch the book that seems so desperate to meet you.

And without further ado, we’re putting it back in the lottery.

  • A numbered, limited edition ARC of Stardust in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

Stardust (6)

Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

If you donate to Heifer International on our team page, you have a chance of winning not only this book, but hundreds upon hundreds of other books donated by other authors, publishers, collectors and fans.

If you’d like to see some of the auctions we’re running, you can head over to our eBay page.

If you’d like more details about Worldbuilders itself, you can hit our Website, or read my blog.

You can also see all the items in the lottery here.

Stay warm everyone,

pat

Also posted in cool things, Neil Gaiman, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat61 Responses

Signed Books by Gaiman and Pratchett

Those of you who have been following Worldbuilders for a couple years will probably recognize this book.

It’s a book with a story behind it. And the story goes like this.

2008: A Gift from Gaiman.

In 2008 I was still a newbie author, hardly published for more than a year. 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 about the fundraiser and donating books.

The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare ARC of Stardust to the cause.

Unfortunately, mail was slow around the holidays, so we couldn’t use the book until….

2009: Stardust for the people.

We had this beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book. And I was having a hard time deciding how best to use it. I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, maybe a couple thousand dollars, but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, that way anyone who donated to Heifer on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

At the end of the fundraiser someone wins the book. And in an amazing fit of generosity, they donate it back to Worldbuilders. Their one stipulation is that we auction it off next year, so it will bring in more money for Heifer.

2010: Stardust on the Auction Block.

During year three of Worldbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And, as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s copy of the Stardust ARC up on e-bay 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 died-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 that most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

His only stipulation was that we put the book back into the lottery next year, so anyone can win it….

2011: Full Circle.

 

We put the ARC back in the lottery to much cheering. After picking the prizes, I call the winner, Maayan, to set up shipping (because you don’t want something like this to be a surprise on a doorstep).

Maayan tells me no.  She wants it back in the fundraiser.  It’s sort of a thing now.

So I send her a box of books as a “Thanks for being cool” present.

And now we go back to our roots. It’s back in the lottery, where anyone can win it.

  • A rare, numbered ARC of Stardust.  Signed by Neil Gaiman.

This beautiful book comes with its own slipcase.  Numbered 28 out of 250.  Signed.

Rest assured that the book is in immaculate shape. It’s been cocooned in bubble wrap for years. If you win it, you can finally give it a loving home, and Neil can sleep a little sounder knowing that someone out there has finally claimed his book.

All it takes is a donation chance of winning it if you donate at least $10 to Heifer International on our team page by January 21st.

*     *     *

Only one person can win the Stardust ARC, so this year we’re putting in some extra Gaiman items to spread the joy around. Some are auctions, some are in the lottery.

We have some books and posters signed by Pratchett, too. And this seems like a good place to put them, given that we’ve got a copy of Good Omens signed by both Pratchett *and* Gaiman up for grabs too.

  • Stardust, Fragile Things, and Neverwhere audio books by Neil Gaiman.

If you haven’t ever heard Neil Gaiman read his own work, you owe it to yourself to make that happen. Someday I hope to be half the narrator he is.

How good is he? Well, we listened to Neverwhere on the drive back from ChiCon last summer, and it kept Oot transfixed and quiet for hours.  So it’s practically magic.

  • Telling Tales and Speaking in Tongues audio CDs by Neil Gaiman.

These are a bit more rare.  They were published Dreamhaven Books, which makes them extra cool, and also means that’s really the only place you can get them easily.

Or, you could donate some money to the Team Page and have a chance to win them while making the world suck less.

  • Auction: Warning: Contains Language audio CD.  Signed by Neil Gaiman.

This CD was also published by Dreamhaven. It’s got a bunch of stuff from his Angels & Visitations collection, with music provided by illustrator/director/all around renaissance man Dave McKean. There’s even a hidden track, but don’t worry. It’s not too hidden.

To bid on this auction, head over here.

“Set in ancient Japan, this story is a haunting fable of ill-fated love and dream-eating monsters, told in an illustrated text format, and painted by Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano.”

  • Auction: An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer poster.  Signed by Neil Gaiman.

(Lead weights not included.  Those are mine and I need them. Because.  Because reasons)

Here’s something cool.  It’s a promotional poster from the tour Neil and Amanda did. These weren’t easy to get at the time, and odds are if someone has one now, they’re probably going to keep it.

Added Bonus? It’s fuzzy.  I want to touch it, but Maria keeps slapping my hand away.

To bid, click here for the auction.

Gaiman has done some great kids books besides Coraline.  This is one of them.  It’s not quite as dark as Coraline, but Odd is no less clever.  Some day Oot will meat a bear, a fox and an eagle, and I know he’ll be prepared for his adventure because of this book.

“Using several figures from Norse mythology, Gaiman has written a thoughtful and quietly humorous fantasy that younger Percy Jackson fans will enjoy.” – Library Journal

  • The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish.  Signed and doodled by Neil Gaiman.

Kids trade the darndest things. I only hope that if Oot trades me off for something that he’s savvy enough to get more than a couple goldfish.  I’d like to think I’m worth at least an iguana or two.  Or one of those brightly colored, poisonous frogs, the kind you use for lickin’.

“A bittersweet, guffaw-out-loud story from the most distinctive partnership in picture books today.” – The Guardian

 

Blueberry Girl is an awesome children’s book that encourages unconventional girls to keep it up.  As usual, Gaiman manages to be relentlessly inspiring without being saccharine.  If you know anybody who happens to have a daughter, be a daughter, or be at all human, you may need to get this for them.  Crazy Hair is goofy and weird and awesome.  It involves hair, something I’m pretty familiar with.  It also must be read out loud, even if you’re by yourself.

“Fans of Gaiman and Vess will pounce on this creation; so too will readers who seek for their daughters affirmation that sidesteps traditional spiritual conventions.” – Publishers Weekly

“Provoking questions about what it is to be free in thought and form, this is a work of unique luminescence that may well change the way hair is looked at forever” – The Bookseller

The auction for Blueberry Girl is here.  The auction for Crazy Hair is here.

Here we have a children’s book from Discworld that Pratchett references in the book Snuff. I honestly didn’t know it even existed until it showed up for the fundraiser. I guess that makes me a bad fan.

Given how much I liked his other discworld children’s book: “Where is my Cow?” I’m eager to read this one, too.

Click here and bid on it.

Some of y’all may not have seen what Terry Pratchett does when he signs books.  He’s got a stamp AND a cool foil sticker.  I wish I had thought of something like this.

(Click to Embiggen)

This book is super awesome.  It’s rare, first edition, and double signed.  And it’s in the lottery. Only donors can win it.

This, however, is not in the lottery.  We got some really cool Pratchett/Kidby art this year, and this print is one of the coolest.

To bid on the print, click here.

Discworld is something everyone needs to read at some point.  If not all of them, at least a few.

A good place to start is here, with the first one that was published.  It even has a decent mini-series you can watch as well.  Though, as always, the book is better.

This copy is even the UK edition.  It has a “u” in “colour” so you know it’s fancy.

And here it is.  The big one.  A double signed, UK edition of Good Omens.  This has a beautiful dust jacket that represents both the angel and demon characters. Signed by Pratchett and Gaiman both.

If you want to bid on it, you should click here.

*     *     *

You should make sure to make your donation on the Worldbuilders Team Page by January 21st. For every $10 you pitch in, you get another chance to win thousands of books and DVD’s.

You can view all of our current auctions over here to check on all of our last-minute awesome that needed to get out.

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

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat37 Responses

Gaiman and Goats: Gifts that Keep on Giving

Those of you who have been following Worldbuilders for a couple years will probably recognize this book.

It’s a book with a story behind it. And the story goes like this.

2008: A gift from Gaiman.

On a whim in 2008, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International. Things quickly spiraled out of control (in a good way) and soon all sorts of authors were mentioning the fundraiser on their blogs and donating books to help out.

The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare ARC of Stardust to the cause.

Unfortunately, the mail was slow around the holidays, and we didn’t get hold of the book until after that year’s fundraiser was over. That meant we couldn’t use it until….

2009: Stardust for the people.

The second year of the fundraiser was going well, but I was having a hard time deciding how best to use Gaiman’s beautiful donation. I knew I could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars…. but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So in the end, I decided to put it into the lottery, that way anyone who donated to Heifer on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

At the end of the fundraiser someone wins it, and in a surprise turn of generosity, they donate it straight back to Worldbuilders. Their one stipulation is that I auction it off next year, so it can bring in more money for Heifer next year.

2010: Stardust on the auction block.

During year three of Worldbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s copy of the Stardust ARC up on e-bay 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 died-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 that most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

Dan’s only stipulation was that we put the book back into the general lottery next year, so anyone would be able to win it….

2011: Full circle.

As per Dan’s request, we’re not including the ARC in the Worldbuilders auctions this year. (Though we do have some other stuff in there from Gaiman and some other big-name authors, if you want to go look.)

Instead, we’re putting the book back into the general lottery, where anyone can win it:

  • A rare, numbered ARC of Stardust. 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.

You have a chance of winning it if you donate on our Team Heifer page before Feb 7th.

How much of a chance do you have of winning this book or one of the other thousands of books that have been donated to the fundraiser?

Well, funny you should ask, because today I’ve been doing a little math….

A brief discussion of odds.

Last year, I tried to calculate what the odds of winning a book from Worldbuilders would be. After careful calculation, I shamed myself by declaring that if someone donated 170 dollars to the fundraiser, they would have a better than 100% chance of winning a prize.

Specifically, they’d have a  106.25 % chance of winning something.

It was bold math, considering the fact that conventional wisdom tells us you can’t have more than 100% likelihood of anything happening.

Luckily some of my clever readers clued me in to the fact that while my math was strong, my understanding of binomial distributions was somewhat flawed.

I’d like to suggest that my carefully calculated 106.25% actually reflected the likelihood of winning a prize in any number of alternate realities, combined with the chance of having two prizes delivered to your house due to a shipping mistake at the post office.

Yeah. Not my proudest math moment. You can see the whole shameful thing over here if you’re interested.

Anyway, this year I looked up what the hell a binomial was and brought in some helpful facebook friends to check my math.

For those of you who don’t care about the numbers, here’s the non-math version:

We have so many books.

(Click to Embiggen and you can actually read the titles….)

This isn’t even all of them. This is just the books on one wall that we’ve put up on the blog. We’ve got another 100-150 books that we’ll be adding before the fundraiser is over on Feb 7th.

So let’s say you donate 20 bucks, enough to give a family a flock ducklings.

Your odds of winning something are really good. They’re like, a hajillion times better than winning the lottery. Roughly two-point-five hajillion times better.

For those of you who do like numbers, here’s the mathy version:

As of now, we’ve raised $185,000 for Heifer, and there are almost exactly 800 prizes in the fundraiser. Not just 800 books. (We’ve got way more than that.) There’s 800 prizes you can win, a lot of those prizes are sets of books, trilogies or longer series. Other prizes are limited editions, signed by the authors, or otherwise rare.

So let’s say you donate $30. That’s enough to give a family a hive of bees that will provide honey and pollinate plants, increasing the productivity of farms and gardens throughout the community.

With that $30 donation, your odds of winning at least one prize are better than 12%.

You could donate $120. That’s enough to buy a family a goat. The milk the goat produces means children have more protein and calcium in their diets, and the family can sell the extra milk as a source of income.

With that $120 donation, your odds of winning at least one prize are over 40%. Your odds of winning more than one prize are about 10%.

Let’s say you go all the way and donate $500, enough to buy a Heifer.

There’s a reason the project’s called Heifer International, you know. As their website says:

A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day – enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. Milk protein transforms sick, malnourished children into healthy boys and girls. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing and home improvements.

Better still, every gift multiplies. The animal’s first offspring is passed to another family. That family also agrees to pass on an animal, and so on. Because a healthy cow can produce a calf every year, a single heifer will eventually help an entire community move from poverty to self-reliance.

If that isn’t enough for you, you should know that a $500 dollar donation gives you a 90% chance of winning some swag.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you donate on our team page before Feb 7th, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. So in addition to getting good odds, and doing good work, you’re getting a good deal with a matching donation, too.

Will these odds change over time? Yeah. A little. As people donate more money, the odds will go down a bit. But we’re going to be adding new books to the fundraiser almost every day for the next week, and that will bring the odds back up.

*     *     *

Y’know, I didn’t plan on this being a long blog. My plan was to talk about Gaiman’s book, throw some odds at you, and call it an early evening.

The truth is, the Worldbuilders is a lot of work on this end, and I’ve been close to burning out. But looking at these pictures and talking about the good work that Heifer does… it’s actually made me excited about the fundraiser again.

Here are some kids in Romania that are growing up happier and healthier because of Heifer. You and me, we’re actually helping make this happen.

How cool is that?

We’ve got a little more than a week left, and I still have books to show you. We have a few more auctions to run, too.

Right now, if you really want to help, the best thing you can do is help spread the word. Talk to your friends. Drop your parents an e-mail. Point people toward the main Worldbuilders blog so they can see all the books that authors and publishers have donated.

Facebook it. Tweet it. Tell that cute hippy boy/girl in the coffee shop about it. You’ve been looking for an excuse to talk to them anyway, and this will make a great conversation starter….

We’ve got a week left, let’s go out with a bang.

pat

P.S. Some of our auctions will be ending soon. You might want to check them out before they’re finished.

Also posted in fan coolness, Neil Gaiman, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat36 Responses
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