Category Archives: Worldbuilders

Love, Money, and Milk: Geeks Doing Good

Hey there space cowboys. I’ve got some exciting stuff to talk about today…

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while, probably know about the work I do with a charity called Worldbuilders.

(It delights me when people don’t know I actually started Worldbuilders on this blog, by accident, back in the day. But that, as they say, is another story.)

Worldbuilders does a lot of things. But most notably we raise money for Heifer International during our big End-Of-Year fundraiser. Over the years, we’ve raised more than $11,000,000 for Heifer, helping parents feed their children, helping little girls go to school, helping communities drink clean water, helping people have the training, tools, and education that they need to take control of their lives.

It’s a big teach-a-person-to-fish thing. Except with goats and chickens and cows and bees and trees. No. Not fishing for goats. And no, you don’t fish *with* a goat. You milk them. The goats, not the fish…

Okay. Let me start again.

It’s like this: If you give a hungry family a goat (and the tools and training to care for it) they’ll milk that goat. Then every day this happens.

(I’m writing this on father’s day. And this picture makes me weepy.)

That. That right there. That’s what Worldbuilders does. We help. We want to make the world a better place.

We’ve raised money for charities other than Heifer too: we’ve helped with Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief, with Syrian refugees, with children’s literacy, and medical supplies to marginalized communities during the pandemic…

(We kinda do a lot, actually. Kinda too much to list here. But if you like, you can go look at the map of our projects over here.)

What not as *many* folks know is that Worldbuilders also runs an online store full of delightful geek treasures: Signed books, comics, cool games, original art prints, T-shirts, Jewelry, and other assorted bits of lovely geekery. We make and sell those things to help creatives make money while giving their communities a chance to show their support (and do the geek equivalent of showing their gang colors.)

(Throws underthing gang sign.)

[Side Note: I support creators making money off their art and merch, as artists need to eat. That said, a lot of the folks who partner with Worldbuilders let them keep the royalties they would otherwise earn, myself included.]

The items we sell in the store help generate money for Worldbuilders, too. This is kind of a big deal, as Worldbuilders needs to do things like pay its electricity bill and buy paperclips and stuff. We also like to pay our employees so they can do things like buy food and clothes so they can… y’know… keep being alive.

This is one of the big reasons Worldbuilders is different from a lot of other charities. When we run a fundraiser, say, to support Mercy Corps, we pass along 100% of what we raise to that organization. Most other pass-through charities keep a small percentage of what they raise, then use that money to keep themselves running, which is important because if the business side of things fails, then no charity happens. (Of course, as you know, some charities pass along almost none of what they raise. But Worldbuilders doesn’t work with folks like that. And ultimately, that’s a story for a different day.)

Here’s the thing though. I love that Worldbuilders gets to pass along 100% of what it raises. But it *does* make things kinda tricky on the business side. It means we can raise two million dollars to feed hungry kids… and then have trouble paying our water bill or fixing a computer when it breaks.

That’s why several years ago, we started running the Geeks Doing Good fundraiser.

The purpose of GDG is manifold:

  1. We need to make that munny, yo. We gotta keep the lights on.
  2. We experiment with new products and creative partnerships.
  3. We make weird, fun stuff we might not normally have in our store.
  4. We offer limited-time deals to reward the folks on our mailing list.
  5. We raise awareness of the fact that Worldbuilders makes and sells cool stuff.

So. Here we are. Now you know why we’re doing this.

(You can just click and go over there right now, if you want.)

It’s a big week-long fundraiser where we try to raise awareness of the fact that *yes* we’re a charity, but we also run an online store full of cool stuff that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

What kind of stuff, you might ask?

How about cool Kingkiller art prints from Marc Simonetti?

Or for you Dresden Files fans out there:

A bargain on the only comic I’d ever compare to Calvin and Hobbes?

We also have some rarer stuff, too.

We’re also bundling things together to save you money, and bringing out things that haven’t been for sale in ages…

 

 

(So. Much. Stuff.)

Many of the Kingkiller-specific items have a “7” in the price, so they’re easier for y’all to spot.

Anyway. There’s SO much stuff over there. Way too much to mention here. You should go look yourself.

Fair Warning: many items are limited quantities, so they might sell out. But the good news is: new stuff is getting added every day. So there are always more reasons to stop back in and take a look around.

Also, and I can’t stress this enough, remember that unlike Kickstarter, you can buy more than one item. 

So you can go hog wild in there.

So go…

pat

P.S. Oh. Also, I’m doing a 12 hour promotional stream today on Twitch, so if you want to see me play games, answer questions, and explain some of these items in more detail, you can tune in there. (I’m streaming all this week, and we’ll be updating this graphic with new items as they’re added.)

I’m super excited about this one in particular….

Okay. Thanks much for caring. Help us spread the word!

Also posted in College Survival Guide, cool news, cool things, Geeks Doing Good, hodgelany | By Pat5 Responses

Final day of the Fundraiser! Come see the celebratory Stretch goal videos!

Heya everyone!

It’s the final day of our big Worldbuilders Fundraiser, we’re at $900,000 already, with almost twelve hours to go, and I thought I’d share a bunch of the cool stretch goals that have been unlocked where cool people have been helping us spread the world about what we’re doing.

Check them out. Feel the joy, and please share them around on your social media. Today’s our last chance to get the word out….

(Here’s a link to my Team page, if you’re interested.)

Unlocked Worldbuilders Stretch Goal Videos:

 

If any of these brought you joy, and you’d like to help us make the world a better place while winning cool prizes, you can donate over here:

Also posted in cool things, videos | By PatLeave a comment

Seven Words: Or Stay Home And Save the World(builders).

Hey there everybody,

I’m guessing a lot of you are like me, in that you spend Black Friday huddled inside your house, wrapped in a blanket with the lights off, vowing not to go outside for hear of dealing with the worst elements of humanity.

It’s pretty much the same way I’d behave if The Purge were a real thing, come to think of it.

Luckily, Worldbuilders Market online store is running its own sale that you can participate in from the safety of your own house, or even from under a blanket, if you so desire.

(Check out our fancy graphics)

Pretty much everything in the store is on sale:

The sale is running from today until December 2nd, but the quantities of some items are limited, so if you’re interested you might want to get in there sooner rather than later.

I’m going to start with the stuff I’m most worried about selling out, so those of you who read the blog regularly have the best chance of getting in there in time…

 

Those of you who have been around for a while know that our online store used to sell personalized books. But after years, I had to stop doing it because it was eating up a huge chuck of my time at a point in my life where I was already way too busy and behind schedule.

But this year, to help out with the Black Friday Sale, we’re offering these up in the store again. But just a limited number, and only for a limited time.

I’m going to be personaizling both the gorgeous 10th Anniversary Edition of The Name of the Wind, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Now here’s the thing, part of the reason I had to stop doing this is because back in the day people used to ask for really long, detailed personalizations. Not only is there not enough space to write several sentences on the title page of the book, but the longer and more detailed the quote, the more likely it is that I’ll goof part of it up and then we pretty much just have to throw that book into a fire.

To solve that problem, here’s the rule: Keep your personalization to seven words.

For example:

“Kevin, Hope you have a great birthday!”

“Merry Christmas, Jennifer!”

“For Susan, Congratulations on your parole!”

“Happy Bris, Geralt! Sorry about your dick!”

As an interesting note, while typing up this blog, I misspelled both “Congratulations” “Anniversary” and “Parole” on my first pass. And that’s *typing* where I actually have muscle memory working for me. (You can understand why it takes me a while to sign these. )

As part of the black Friday sale, we’ll also be throwing free change jar stickers in with your orders. And folks who pick up the 10th Anniversary editions will get a free bookmark, too.

(Like so.)

I also have added some random quotes a limited number of the standard blue hardcover of The Name of the Wind.

To be clear, these books aren’t personalized, but I’ve written a bunch of my favorite quotes from NOTW in them, like so…

(Click to Embiggen)

Those of you who love Julia Maddalina’s depiction of Auri will be delighted to see that we’ve made a cool new poster in two different sizes  and a greeting card based on her art.

I’m not saying this is my favorite depiction of Auri ever, because there have been some amazing ones over the years. But I did buy the original art…

The Fabulous Nate Taylor has also thrown his hat into the ring with a bunch of cool cards for the store this year, including these three new kingkiller-themed ones

As an interesting note, not only are all the cards discounted due to the Black Friday Sale, but the more you buy of *all* the cards available in the store, the more of a bulk discount you get. That includes all the cards in the store, including Julia’s new Auri card.

Lastly but not leastly, this year we’re also very excited to be offering products made by artisans in Heifer programs

It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for *ages* and I’m delighted we’ve finally pulled it off.

Stay safe today, folks. And while you’re binging on leftover stuffing, take a wander over to the store and check things out. There’s hundreds of other products from so many different creators, and for the next couple days, all of them are on sale…

pat

(I might be streaming later on to show off some of these products live. If you wander over to my channel and follow it, you’ll get a notification when I go live.)

Also posted in fan coolness, Nathan Taylor Art | By Pat19 Responses

Taking some extra money off your boss…

Hey there you delightful, good-smelling paragons of humanity.

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to the Fundraiser warm-up blog I posted up last Friday. And double thanks to all of you who chimed with companies who match their employees donations to charity.

I’d said I was going to keep a running list at the end of that blog, but that blog was looooong, and it would require a lot of scrolling to get to the list at the end. So instead we’re going to put it here in its very own place.

Here’s the list so far of places we’ve heard will match your donation to Worldbuilders:

  • Mastercard (Matches 2 to 1)
  • AT&T
  • Most Berkshire Hathaway companies
  • Expedia Group
  • Intel (up to $10,000)
  • Salesforce (matches donations over $50 logged in their Volunteerforce app)
  • Oracle
  • Lending Club (up to $200)
  • Apple
  • Cigna
  • Microsoft (up to $14,000)
  • Avanade
  • Cardinal Health (matches at 50%)
  • Global Payments
  • BP (up to $5000)
  • Illumina
  • Boston Scientific (up to $500)
  • Google
  • Boeing
  • Alaska Air
  • Dress for Less
  • Bank of America
  • Starbucks
  • Bandcamp
  • VMware
  • Keen (up to $1000 annually)
  • First Interstate Bank
  • Adobe

We’ve also heard from some folks whose companies match donations, but who don’t recognize Worldbuilders…. yet. These are great contacts for us, as it means we can start a conversation with that company and move toward getting on their approved list. (Which is typically *super* easy, as we’re all manner of legit, have been around for years, and at this point we’re *real* good at filling out this paperwork.)

So yeah. If you want to help us reel in your corporation, or if you ARE a corporation and want to become a sponsor, feel free to ping us at the following e-mail.

*Ahem*

[email protected]

(If you want to know the story behind how that address came to be, read the previous blog.)

Thanks so much to everyone who has been sharing their knowledge and helping us build this list. Your help has been invaluable. If you’re just tuning in now and know your company matches donations, please drop us their name in the comments below and we’ll use that information to keep updating this list.

This might seem odd to say, but it actually feels good to be writing blogs again. I’ve missed y’all.

Stay tuned for the upcoming black Friday blog. We’ve got a bunch of sales and items going up over at the Worldbuilders Market.

Also, I’m starting to livestream more often over on Twitch in preparation for the fundraiser. Right now I’m playing Minecraft for the first time, and it’s been… eventful. Which is a gentle way of saying that when I play a game like this, I typically start a stream as a pacifist who wants to build a beautiful aquarium, and I end the stream drowning a horse in a fit of pique.

So… yeah. If that’s the sort of thing you’d like to watch. Feel free to wander over there and follow the channel, then you’ll get a notification when I go live.

pat

Also posted in signing books | By Pat15 Responses

Bracing for Impact…

Hey there everybody – long time no blog.

This year has been… a year. It feels like it has stretched on forever. Endless and interminable. Like I’ve been living Zeno’s year.

In other ways the time has blurred by. I feel like I’ve spent the whole year running from emergency to emergency, trying to put out fires.  And now, after all of it… the fires are kinda still there? They’re not worse for the most part, which is nice, I suppose. But it feels like I should have more to show for this than singed hands and a collection of not-as-bad-as-it-might-otherwise-be crises smouldering sullenly around me.

It’s kinda like treading water, except with all that burning talk in the previous paragraph that analogy doesn’t work, does it? I’m mixing a metaphor really badly. Maybe I’m treading fire instead.

Anyway. What I really mean to say here is that I feel bad that I’ve been… away. Absent for a longish while. I haven’t streamed as much on twitch. Haven’t gone to as many conventions or signings. Haven’t completed a lot of projects I was hoping to finish and share with y’all. Haven’t finished any of the blogs I’ve started. Hell, I haven’t hardly been tweeting this year.

But time and tide wait of no man. And whether I lost this year to fire or water, whether it was fast or slow – It’s November now, and that means Worldbuilders is nigh upon us.

I feel unprepared, and overwhelmed, and… oddly grateful.

Here’s the thing. There’s a lot of stuff in the world I can’t fix right now. A lot of stuff in my life I can’t make better, try as I might.

But I can do some charity. I can feed some hungry kids.

You guys want to come along with me and make the world a better place?

*     *     *

This year the Worldbuilders fundraiser will run from December 3rd to the 17th.

If you’ve been around for Worldbuilders before, there will be a lot familiar there. We have thousands of prizes, fabulous auctions, videos about goats… I’ll be livestreaming and hosting discussion panels with other cool geeks and luminaries. We will have surprises and spectacles galore…

Before the madness sets in, before it all starts, I want to make sure you know how much you all mean to me. So many of you show up for this every year, and that is one of the few constant and unswerving joys in my life. One of the few things that never fails to warm my bitter old heart.

You are my people. Cut from a similar cloth and yearning to do something good in the world. You don’t know how much that means to me.

(Just remembered this picture someone made for me, based off a blog I wrote.)

Now to be clear, this blog isn’t the announcement of the beginning of the fundraiser. It’s just a heads-up. I’m letting you know you should brace for impact.

The fundraiser is only two weeks long now where we used to run it for an entire MONTH. That means once it starts, it’s going to come on hard and fast. If you miss even a couple days, you’ll miss a lot.

If you’re excited about what’s coming up, and you’d like to lend a hand or to start preparing for the coming storm, we have a couple ideas:

  • Wanna help us spread the word?

This is always a challenge for us. How do we get more eyes on the coolness that is Worldbuilders?

We’ve got two ways you can help:

1. Bring a Friend.

This is the simplest thing we’re going to ask people to do. Not just bump things around on social media or share links. (Though that *is* a lovely help.)

This year, we’re asking those of you who already love Worldbuilders to recruit one person and bring them into the fold. Like a cult.

Nope. Wait. I’ve just been told we’re not going with that. Not like a cult. Our branding people are 100% not cool with me comparing our charity fundraiser to a cult.

Mabye we’re more like a secret new Hogwarts house? No… they’re saying no. Copyright issue there. Maybe a gang? They’re there scowling at me now. How about a club? A cool club that you love and you want to share with other large-hearted people who enjoy winning cool prizes and making the world a better place?

So yeah. I mention that we’d like to bring more people into the fold now, so you can start to think about who your best target might be. So you can study them. Track their movements. Make a list of their weaknes…

Nope. Wait. Again. They’re shaking their heads very firmly. Not that.

Just give it a bit of a think. Odds are, I’m guessing you know someone out there who would love the chance to do some good in the world while also having the chance to win cool books and games.

And if you happen to know a *bunch of people…

2. Plan your own page.

This year, we’re letting people create their own fundraiser pages as part of the main Worldbuilders Event.

This means you can create a place to rally a group of people around. You can make a page for your book club, your church, your local co-op or Comic Book store. You can make a page and tell your family that for Christmas, you’d like a donation there instead of a gift. You can make a page and tell your friends if they manage to raise $300 (enough for clean water for an entire village) you’ll *finally* run that Call of Cuthulu game they’ve been bugging you about for years.

You can do anything you want with your team page, really. We’ll be throwing the doors open for you to create them on the first day of the fundraiser.

But you can start your planning now….

  • Want to Leverage your donation?

Every year we get some folks who donate large chunks of money, but don’t care about winning prizes. Sometimes they’ve approached us directly and asked if we wanted to use their money for matching donations to encourage other people to donate.

It’s a great strategy. So this year we’re inviting people to do that if they’d like to. To effectively come in as sponsors to the charity in the same way a publisher or a game company would.

But before I give you the contact e-mail, I have to explain something.

Many of you may remember Thera from Last year’s fundraiser. She’s the one that rallied my own people against me and pushed for this abomination as a stretch goal:

See, Thera is a big fan of John Mulaney, which is right and good, as the man is brilliant.

Anyway, I mention all of this as context so you understand why she chose this particular e-mail as the way to contact us at our very professional charity if you’d like to offer up some matching money:

[email protected]

So… yeah. There you go.

  • Help us take some money off our corporate overlords?

Guess what? Turns out a lot of big businesses offer corporate matching money if their employees donate to official, federally recognized charities.

A charity like, just to pick a name off the top of my head, Worldbuilders.

Mastercard, for example. Offers a *double* match. So if one of their employees makes a $100 donation, Mastercard kicks in $200 of its own making it $300 total.

I’d like to compile a list of businesses that offer matching deals like that. I’m guessing a lot of you work for places that would gladly back your charity play and you don’t even know it.

So. If you work somewhere that offers something similar, and they recognize Worldbuilders as valid recipient, can you mention it in the comments below? We’ll dig through our records too, and start a compiling a running list here at the bottom of this blog?

What’s more, if you check and discover your company needs something from Worldbuilders to get officially recognized, ping us at the address above and we’ll jump whatever hoops they require so we can get hold of that sweet, sweet corporate honey.

That’s all for now. Thanks for sticking with me to the end of the blog, and until the end of the year.

I’m looking forward to surprising you over the next couple weeks.

pat

Also posted in How to be a Worthwhile Human Being, musings, trepidation | By Pat57 Responses

Final Days, Team Pages, and Sharable Graphics Galore…

Hey there everybody,

As I write this, Worldbuilders has just blown past $900,000.

Donations have been *amazingly* strong over the last couple days, especially given that it’s been the weekend, and it’s stunningly hard to get people’s attention on Saturday and Sunday.

I wasn’t sure before, but right now It’s really looking like we’re going to hit $1,000,000 despite all the format changes we made this year.

So for all of you that have helped so far… Thank you. Thank you all for everything you’ve done. Thank you for donating. Thank you for helping to spread the word.

Because of you, kids have eggs to eat, milk to drink, warm clothes to wear. Clean water. Access to medicine. Safety and security. People’s lives will be better. Forever. Because of you.

For those of you who haven’t jumped in yet, there’s still time. But not much…

*     *     *

Today’s going to be a be a bit of a grab-bag of a blog, as I’m going to mention a bunch of things that I’ve talked about on other platforms, but not here on the blog yet.

  • Team pages.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are team pages that let you win cool prizes in addition to the 170,000 of prizes we’re giving away in the main Worldbuilders lottery.

  • Manuscript Read-and-Critiques

I haven’t mentioned The Professional Manuscript Read-and-Critique page on the blog this year yet, but it’s one of the cooler things we do in the fundraiser. Honestly? it’s something I wish I’d had access to when I was an unpublished author. If you donate there, you have a chance of winning a critique of your writing from various lovely authors and editors from the sci-fi community. (Including me.)

So if you or someone you know is a writer, be aware that for every $10 you donate on that page you get a chance to win a professional read-through of your unpublished work.

  • The D&D Team page.

In case you haven’t seen them yet, we created some really incredible prizes for our D&D Team Page.

(Click to Embiggen, and behold their full glory.)

If you head over to the team page, you can see ALL the cards. We’re producing dozens of them, featuring amazing people from Critical Role and Acquisitions Inc and The Adventure Zone and Wizard of the Coast.

We’re giving away over a thousand of these cards, including full sets. What’s more, the higher the donation total gets on the page, the more we’re going to give away.

So head over there to see all the cards, and remember, every $10 gets you a chance to win them (and all the stuff in the main prize lottery, too.)

*     *     *

Lately, a lot of people have been asking how they can help spread the word about the fundraiser. And that delights me, because the only reason Worldbuilders is the success it is today is because of y’all telling your friends about it.

So to make it easier for y’all, we decided to put together some graphics you could share on social media.

That said, if you *do* share these images on social media, can you do me a favor and share a clickable link, too? It makes it way easier for people to actually go and take a look at the fundraiser.

We made a bunch of them so that y’all could pick and choose whatever part of the fundraiser you’re most excited about, or what you think your friends and family would be most interested in.

  • Main Fundraiser Page: http://bit.ly/worldbuilders10
  • Pat’s Twitch Stream Page: http://bit.ly/wbpat
  • Oot Change Jar: http://bit.ly/ootchange
  • D&D Team Page: http://bit.ly/wbdnd

Share and enjoy. We made a LOT of them…

(To use, right click and either ‘copy image’ or ‘save image as’.)


That’s all I have for now, folks.

Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for helping to save the world.

pat

Also posted in being awesome, cool things, Worldbuilders 2018 | By Pat46 Responses

A Dream of Cows….

Hey there everyone,

As I write this, the fundraiser is closing in fast on three-quarters of a million dollars and there are only three days left.

I’ve been working pretty solid 12-16 hour days for a while, and I’m starting to feel it. So today I’m going to keep it simple and share a video of my little boy: Codename Oot.

For the last couple years, Oot has had his own team page for the fundraiser because he wants to raise money for cows. This year, he had the bright idea of painting some pictures he’s going to give away on that team page, to encourage people to donate.

This is “Cow in the Morning.”

This is “Cow in space.” (I didn’t do a good job of catching the gold painted stars on this one. But they’re pretty great in better light.)

Here’s a third one: “Red Cow in the Desert.”

When I asked him if the red cow had a sunburn because it was in the desert, he just looked at me for a while as if he were confused. Then he said in a slightly exasperated tone, as if he really couldn’t believe I’d asked the question, “Is the cow in space blue just because it’s in space?”

So yeah. That’s fair. I’m obviously overthinking it. I didn’t question the blue cow. Why should I question the red one?

A few quick notes before I turn in for the night:

  • Anyone who donates on Oot’s Cow Jar page is also eligible for the daily prize draws and stretch goals on my page.
  • You’re also eligible for the $170,000 worth of books and games we’re giving away, too.
  • My younger boy, Cutie, has painted some pictures, as well. Including quite a nice one of a duck. We’ll be putting those up on Oot’s change jar page soon too. (I’d do that myself right now, but it’s three in the morning and I need to be up in less than five hours.)
  • If you’d like a graphic that would help you promote the fundraiser on social media, here you go:

Here’s another link to Oot’s Page, if you’re feeling like you might want to help make the world a better place.

See a bunch of you on the stream later tonight,

Spread the word.

pat

Also posted in Cutie Snoo, love, My Mom Would Like This Blog, Oot, Worldbuilders 2018 | By Pat18 Responses
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