Monday, November 17, 2008
Heifer Fundraiser: Raising the Bar - Again.

Well folks, as I sit down to write this, we've raised over 12,000 dollars, and it hasn't even been a full week yet. That's not counting my matching donation,or any of the people who are choosing option #2 as described OVER HERE.

Click Here to Donate

Again, I wish I could make that thing say "we've raised."

I've raised the donation "goal" to 20,000 on the Heifer page because I don't want anyone to pass on donating because they think we've reached our limit.

To accommodate our growing numbers, I've increased the number of DAW samplers, maps, and signed books being given away. Also, two days ago I found an old copy of the UK galley proof. Though I have a sentimental attachment to it, I can throw it into the mix as well. I've only seen about 10 of these in my life, so a signed one is probably worth something as a collector's item.

Also, the donations have started to come in. Most of them are signed books from other fantasy and science-fiction authors. I've been amazed at how willing everyone has been to contribute.

I'll be posting those other donations up as they show up at my house. I might start as soon as tonight....

And now, a little more Q & A.

  • "If your name goes into the lottery hat multiple times, can you win multiple prizes? The first prize your name is drawn for? The Coolest prize your name is drawn for? How will that work?"
Here's how it will work.

Say you donate 120 dollars, enough for a goat.

Your name would go into the final drawing 12 times. Then, if we draw your name out of the hat and you win a signed book, your name is still in there 11 times for the rest of the drawing.

Then I'll drop you an e-mail telling you what you've won, and asking for your address. At that point, you can choose to pass on any of the prizes you've won. (For example, if you won two copies of the map, and you only want one.) I'll keep those re-donated prizes in storage until we do this again next year.

You bet. Personally, I can't think of a better way of keeping The Man away from your money.

  • I have something I'd like to donate to your lottery option. Where can I send it?
Well... before you drop that macrame owl into the mail, why don't you drop me an e-mail at Paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) and tell me what you're thinking of sending.

It's not that I don't appreciate your generosity, and it's not that I have anything against macrame. Or owls. It's just that right now we kind of have a tight focus of things we're giving away as prizes. It's mostly books and SFF related stuff. For now, I think it might be best if we keep that focus.

That said, if you've got a book or something you think would fit in into the mix, I'd love to include it. So e-mail me or send it to:

Pat Rothfuss
P.O BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

  • "I have an idea for an awesome prize. You could offer to pass the winner's manuscript along to your editor or your agent. I'd love to win that..."
Several people sent e-mails similar to this one. Believe me folks, I know where you're coming from. I struggled to get someone to read my book for years. Back then, I would have loved to win a prize like this too.

But though I feel your pain, I don't think this is a good idea. Here's why:

1) Most of the people participating in this contest don't have manuscripts I can read. I don't want to give out a prize that would be useless to 90% of the people eligible to win it.

2) It really isn't polite of me of me to inflict some random manuscript on my editor or agent. They're busy people.

3) The implication here is that you'd get published off the deal. And that just isn't a fair thing to imply. Hope is a wonderful thing, but false hope is actually more destructive than constructive.

But I think I might actually be able to offer a constructive option....

For you writers out there, I'm going to add something under the "Sure Thing" option. If you're willing to make a sizable donation to Heifer, I will read your manuscript and give you feedback on it. Revision advice.

Now, let's be clear so we don't have any misunderstandings. What I'm offering is this:

I'll read your manuscript just like I read my own, with a red pen in my hand, making notes on my thoughts: What I like. How I feel about the different sections. What is working well and could be expanded. And what, in my opinion, needs fixing.

Then I'd call you and we'll talk about the book. It's not as good as getting together over coffee and looking at the same manuscript, but it's better than me just dropping it in the mail and you trying to decipher my demented scribbling.

Also, and this is key, I'm not going to blow a lot of smoke up your ass. I'll tell you what I really think about it, both good and bad.

That said, I should mention that I was a writing tutor for almost a decade. I know how to give constructive criticism without it being excruciating to the writer. It's a talent I'm proud of. Too many tutors (and teachers, and writing groups) aren't good at this.

Here's what I'm not offering, just so we're clear.

I'm not offering to do this right now. I have some deadlines myself. We'll have to schedule it for some time after December.

I'm not offering to pass your manuscript along to my publisher or agent. Not. This is just you and me. Two writers having a discussion about your story and what you could do to make it better.

I'm not offering to work on your book with you as part of an ongoing editorial process. It's a one-shot deal. I'll read your manuscript once, a solid, careful read. Then I'll chat with you on the phone about it. Then I'll mail it back to you with my notes.

Just so we're clear.... Are we clear?

How much is a "sizable" donation? Well.... It needs to be fairly high in order to protect my time. If it was $10, I'd get 200 manuscripts and spend the next year reading Harry Potter fanfiction. Then I would kill myself.

So I think I'm going to have to set it at 1000 dollars or more. If you're willing to donate at least a thousand dollars to Heifer, drop me an e-mail and we'll negotiate.

Negotiate what? Well... YA fantasy is easier for me to read than quantum entanglement based science fiction, so I'd probably negotiate you to kick in more out of consideration for the extra time I'd be putting in. Same thing if your manuscript is 200,000 words long. If it's full of hot lesbian vampires making out... I'm okay with that. No extra charge.

Lastly, I feel obliged to say that the only reason I feel comfortable doing this is because it's for Heifer. You see, I'm trying to do what good I can, given my situation.

It's like this, if I were a movie star I could help Heifer by showing up and taking some pictures with a goat. Then they would use my name and my picture to help spread the word about the organization.

But I can't do that. Being photogenic is not part of my skillset. If someone took a picture of me with a goat, the journalists would get confused and the caption would end up reading something like, "Heifer also gives goats to shabby hobo-looking authors like Patrick Rothfuss. Before Heifer gave him a goat, Pat was too poor to afford a haircut or a second pair of pants. Now the nutritious milk will supplement his diet of ramen noodles, keeping his bones from becoming brittle as chalk."

And that's a best-case scenario. More likely the caption would read, "Goats provide milk to needy families, while sheep can be sheared for their wool, providing warm clothes and a source of income."

No. I'm not pretty, and I'm not famous in any conventional sense of the word. But I know stories, and I eat and breathe revision. So that's what I'm offering up on Heifer's behalf.

Lastly, can any of you out there think of a cool name for this fundraiser? Obviously (given the title of the blog) I haven't been able to come up with anything cool so far. Suggestions are welcome in the comments below.



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posted by Pat at


Blogger Sailor Matt said...

You are insane, Pat. Commendably insane. Hell, I'm tempted to write somethin' up just to get that personalized critique. I'll spare you that, but November IS National Novel Writing Month... Or maybe I could dig up an old high school essay for you to review.

All joking aside, I am continuously impressed by your down-to-earthiness. Does that describe it? Probably not, but you've got some serious cool factor radiating from your soul.

November 17, 2008 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off the top of my head...

Patrick Rothfuss' Fabulous Fanatical Fundraiser?

(I still can't use my LJ ID on this thing... )

November 17, 2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger King Sheep said...

Ideas for retitling "Heifer Fundraiser" into something sexier (or at least more exciting).

Cows for cash

Helping cultivate hope drive

Caring for the Earth...with water buffaloes.

Money for milk
Sharing for sheep
Benefactors for bees
Friends for flocks (of geese, chicks, and ducks)
Love for Llamas (or livestock)
Presents of pigs
Gifts of goats

November 17, 2008 6:06 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

A few things. First, I already asked my accountant your "is it tax deductible" question, and she said it was not for us. You get a full tax deduction for both the fair market value of all goods given away and your matching dollars, but for us since we are (in option 1) buying the chance at winning something, it is NOT tax deductible. For option two the price over the "fair market value" is a tax deductible gift, but since they are generally priced at fair market that isn't really a donation either.

Other than that I just want to say that the thoughts you think are evoked by a picture of you next to a goat... required me to cover my mouth and nose and not breathe until I cried so that I wouldn't laugh and disrupt my work.

I think this contest should really be called something like "Having Cows together: Geeking for Giving"... but that is me...
-Alexis out

November 17, 2008 6:08 PM  
Blogger sparkly_jules said...


This is brilliant as well as philanthropic and I appreciate your sensitivity.

I'm unemployed, damn-near broke, and if I had an extra ten dollars I'd send it in ASAP with hopes of winning an autographed copy of NOTW. Should a stray $10- show up in the next few weeks, I will send it along.

And now for my suggestion for the contest:

The Wise Man's Heifer.

I'm surprised no one else thought of it first.

You're doing good, man. Pat, pat.

"Ah, yes; a pat on the back. A boy's greatest reward."
--W.C. Fields


November 17, 2008 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The King Giver Chronicles :Year One

or any play of such.

Thanks for the clarification Alexis


November 17, 2008 6:23 PM  
Blogger logankstewart said...


I donated last week, and I received a letter in the mail today from Heifer with my tax deductable receipt. Any clarity? Thanks.

November 17, 2008 7:07 PM  
Blogger Karl Ruben said...

Aw come on, it should totally be called "Patrick Rothfuss gets your goat". Or possibly not.

November 17, 2008 9:07 PM  
Blogger Chee said...

How much could we donate for a read of our 1st 3 chapters? 1k is cheap, especially coming from you, but 1k is 1k that I don't have haha.

November 17, 2008 10:07 PM  
Blogger proleporvari said...

How 'bout...
THE DUCKLING MAN - Team Human Expects: Dancing Until Completely Kathartic, Long Into the Night, Grinning Madly At a Noodlepack

November 17, 2008 11:40 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

I don't know if that will fit on a t-shirt.

November 17, 2008 11:57 PM  
Anonymous hairypoppins said...

I've read my own manuscript and it's rubbish, if I pay $1000 or, as I'm from the UK..£4000000, will you write me a nice little letter telling me how great my story is and that I've got a great future behind me, my doctor says it would be beneficial.... about:

'A heifer is for LIFE not just for...'

'For Heifer and Heifer together we ..da de do do...'

' Old Pat Rothfuss had a farm ee ii ee ii ooooooooh..'

Whatwhatwaht? nurse I want to go back now...

November 18, 2008 2:44 AM  
Blogger Captain Joe said...

Note to self: lesbian vampires = profit! in the publishing industry. That may just be the best writing advice I have ever received.

What's a little lad like me to do? A $1000 for an early Wise Man's Fear, or a $1000 for Pat to read one of my sordid manuscripts? I think I'll just stick a $1000 into the lottery and cross my fingers for all manner of author swag!


All things considered, I may have to compare my manuscripts to Harry Potter fanfiction at this stage in my writing career. Not anything I want Patrick Rothfuss to see, not by far.

'Heifer Fundraiser' Official Title:

Hot Lesbian Vampire's Making Out for the Betterment of Humanity.

I reckon that'll draw the numbers.

November 18, 2008 3:26 AM  
Blogger susan said...

How about:

In the name of the Beard!!

or just if you want something sweeter and in the end this is a little in the memory of your mother.

In the name of ..(name of your mother)

November 18, 2008 3:37 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

What about:

HeiRaiser (HiRaiser) - certainly is getting quite high in the donations, which is great...


November 18, 2008 6:17 AM  
Blogger marky said...

The wise mans tax return?

I just found out that it was my bank that was stopping me making a donation. Heifer tried to take a pound as a test to see if the account was ok, but my bank thought it was dodgy and put the Kyboshes on it. The swine’s!
It has now been sorted and I have donated my Wonga.

I feel poor but strangely happy.

November 18, 2008 7:42 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Patrick Rothfuss' Barnyard Bonanza for Poor People and Such

November 18, 2008 8:55 AM  
Blogger Kelly McCullough said...

From someone who has recently had one of those book revision chats with Pat, and who is also a professional author with a number of novels published in the fantasy field by a big New York publisher I can say with some confidence that you will get very good value out of such a critique.

November 18, 2008 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to start seconding.
My favorites so far .

1. "The Wise Man's Heifer." by sparkly_jules

2. "Hot Lesbian Vampire's Making Out for the Betterment of Humanity."
Stolen by Captain Joe from Pat


November 18, 2008 11:05 AM  
Blogger Summer said...

Goats. Definitely something to do with goats.

The word verification thinks it should be called 'expla', but I'm not sure I agree on that one.

... And I'm going to try and ignore how desperately I wish I had a thousand dollars lying around. Not that I wouldn't wish that anyway, mind.

November 18, 2008 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Highlander said...


Ditto on everybody's comments, this is really a brilliant initiative Pat.

My 2 cents worth for a name:

1) Rothfuss' Ark Initiative

2) Team Literary Ducklings

3) Team "Butterfly effect"


November 18, 2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Will you be doing this again next year... or ever again, do you think? I have something in the works, and think the edit would be worthwhile... in about a year. If I am diligent. So if you are doing it again, that would probably be the better way to go, otherwise, I guess the next logical question would be will the purchased option expire and if so how soon?

Heifer has no idea that Pat is awesome beyond words and is entering your name in a hat, so yeah they sent you the receipt. Since you have that, is the government going to know that you also got entered into a lotto? almost certainly not. But I assure you, legally, because you are entered in the drawing, this is not tax deductible. If the tax deduction is important to you, and the reason you are giving to Heifer through Pat is so that he will match it, I am sure you could write him and ask him NOT to enter you into the drawing, and then it WOULD be tax deductible in an above board way.

Yay for having CPA's in your family....

November 18, 2008 3:17 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Alexis: Drop me an e-mail and we'll chat.

November 18, 2008 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The donate to Heifer and win cool prizes fundraiser

November 18, 2008 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Robbie Capps said...

Wow. You're really committed to this. Also, this is probably the best mix of idealism that I've ever seen. As for a title, I looked up synonyms for "practical" and "fun," just because those are two adjectives that describe this fundraiser. Combined, my title is "Workaday-Convival Fundraiser."

November 18, 2008 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Shadow said...

A title of a more serious sort:

Livestock for Living

November 18, 2008 7:54 PM  
Anonymous pdxtrent said...

My vote goes with Joe's, and not just cause he's old now.

"Hot Lesbian Vampire's Making Out for the Betterment of Humanity."

Makes me think of the vampire girl in Paris je'Taime.

Word verification is verefl. It means the truth a supernatural entity tells on the night of a full moon.

November 18, 2008 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Shadow said...

I'm going to revoke my last suggestion of a serious nature in favour of the following:

"Learning to Live with Livestock"

An image of a cow in an apron standing by the stove frying eggs comes to mind... ;-)

November 19, 2008 6:29 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

... If it was $10, I'd get 200 manuscripts and spend the next year reading Harry Potter fanfiction. Then I would kill myself.

The point I think we should take away from this is that Pat just agreed to read the fanfiction BEFORE killing himself. So even in this worst case scenario, your Buffy meets Harry to be tutored by Gandalf before battling Sylar story has a chance of being read by someone...

November 19, 2008 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about something along the lines of Abenthy's purse?

November 20, 2008 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Chad W said...

"One Heifera Christmas" as in "helluva".. oh well.. I tried.
"Give a man a goat"
"Give Gold for Goats"
"The P. Rothfuss Annual Heifer Christmas Raffle"
"Heifer Good Christmas" as in "have a".. in case any accent difference messed it up.

November 21, 2008 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Chad W said...

"Ah, yes; a pat on the back. A boy's greatest reward."
--W.C. Fields
(quote taken from Jules' comment)

If my name were "Pat" I would dedicate my life to the extinction of this one, single, statement.

November 21, 2008 8:47 AM  
Anonymous McVinster said...

Erm, I live in England... so is it possible for me to donate?
Just wondering cos there's usually a lot of issues with tax from the US.
Also, I'll get my manuscript to my own publisher eventually, when I finish it. And when I'm rich and famous, I'll take you out for that coffee and we'll talk writing!


November 22, 2008 12:16 PM  
Blogger S.E. said...

Okay...attempting this on here again as I seem to be having difficulty.
I'm interested in partially funding the "Nepal - Sustainable Community Development Project"...but I noticed it wasn't an option on your Heifer page. Would this interest you as a match?

November 29, 2008 9:51 PM  

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