Those of you who have been following the blog for a while probably remember last year's fundraiser.
For those of you that are new to the blog, here's the short version: Last year I thought I'd try to raise a couple thousand dollars for my favorite charity. However I underestimated the awesomeness of my fans and the geek community at large. Things quickly spiraled out of control, and in the end we raised over $110,000 for Heifer International.
While last year's fundraiser was a success, it wasn't very well organized. I was just too overwhelmed. I told myself the next time I did something like this, I'd make it better, more streamlined. I might even have a name for the fundraiser other than "The Heifer Fundraiser."
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, without any further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Worldbuilders.
(We even have a logo. How cool is that?)
Last year, in less than a month, a bunch of fantasy and sci-fi geeks raised over 100,000 dollars to help people all over the world improve their lives.
This year, things will be even better.
How is this year going to be different? Well I'm glad you asked....
Way more prizes.
Last year we had hundreds of books to give away as prizes. This year we have way more. Way way more. Over a thousand. Maybe close to two thousand.
Last year, all the prizes were given out in a big raffle. This year, you'll have the chance to bid on certain special items and services.
Want a professional agent to read your fledgling manuscript and give you feedback? No problem. Want a rare signed book or a manuscript? We've got those too.
We're going to be auctioning off signed, limited edition stuff from Neil Gaiman, a piece of iron that fell from the sky, and a rockstar's guitar. I'm not even kidding.
An official sponsor.
One of our best donors from last year, Subterranean Press, has stepped up to the plate with gusto for the launch of Worldbuilders. Not only are they donating over 10,000 dollars of gorgeous signed and limited edition books as prizes, but they're also going to be helping me match donations.
This is really nice, as it means I won't have to sell my house.
More stuff available for sale.
For those of you looking for Christmas presents, I'll be offering some stuff directly for sale. You can get copies of the Name of the Wind, or rare copies of the out-of-print College Survival Guide or Tales of Dark Fantasy. All of them signed however you like.
Maps. Gorgeous posters. Worldbuilders t-shirts. All manner of things I'm just dying to show you...
The official launch of the fundraiser will be on Monday. I'll be giving all the details then. I just couldn't let thanksgiving go by without giving y'all a little peek at what's to come.
The truth is, last year's fundraiser was the best thing I've ever done in my life, and I'm thankful that I get to do it again this year. With your help, I'm hoping it can be even bigger and better than before.
Have a good Turkey Day, and remember: We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
P.S. More news about the raffle winners soon. I'm still getting in touch with people and working out the details.
P.P.S. If you just can't wait until Monday, you can donate a little early on my Heifer page over here.
Well folks, I didn't think we'd be able to do it, but we passed the 20,000 dollar mark on the name raffle. I'll never doubt you again.
Can I just take a moment to say how awesome y'all are? Yeah. You're awesome.
Because we hit 20K, I'll be drawing three winners. But it won't be for a couple days yet, as we're waiting for the last of the mailed-in entries to trickle through the postal system. Rest assured that I'll be posting up the results as soon as I've had a chance to chat with the winners.
On a related note, it warms my heart to see so many people rooting for Carly Trowbridge to win. A few people even donated money on her behalf. Extra style points there.
I'll admit that I'm excited for the drawing, and a little nervous too. There are some great names in there, and others will fit with some tweaking. But a few I can't think of how I could make them work. If I draw one of those, we'll be able to work it out, but I don't relish the thought of telling someone the name of their beloved dead goldfish just won't work in The Wise Man's Fear.
In other news, Oot rolled over yesterday. This might not seem like a big deal. But it is. It is a Big Deal. It's possible that there has never been a bigger deal happen in this house. If you'd been listening outside, you probably would've thought Sarah and I were watching the Packer game, or perhaps celebrating man's first step on the moon or something.
For those of you who have an interest in such things, here's a picture of him looking very pleased with himself.
That's all for right now. I'm in the midst of some pretty intensive revisions, so I don't have much brainspace to spare for being blog-witty. Rest assured there is some profound coolness right around the corner.
So we're a handful of days away from the end of the name raffle, and for the last couple weeks it's like every day is my birthday. By which I mean I get a lot of letters with money inside. Today when I open the mail I think I'm going to wear a festive hat and eat some cake too. I've been in the mood for cake lately.
Wait, what was I talking about? I'm not used to being up this early in the morning, and I find myself a little confusticated.
Oh, right. The name raffle.
In a nutshell, it's going really well. Paypal continues to be friendly, donations are generous, the names are cool, and I'm having a lot of fun opening the mail.
Admittedly, some mail is more fun than others.
For example, here's a set of notecards that just got sent in with someone's poor-boy entry: (You can embiggen any of the images by clicking them.)
Thanks so much, Carly. This really made my day.
And you're right. Trowbridge is a great name.... Even if I don't draw it in the raffle, it might end up in the book.
That's actually the case with a lot of the names that have been sent in. I find myself thinking, "Hmmm.... Seth could be a good name for a farmer. Mellisa doesn't quite work, but Melias would make for a good noble surname in Vintas."
Personally, I'm really interested to see what names get drawn....
And now some FAQ:
You said the contest ends on November 15th. Did you know that's a Sunday? I can't mail you anything on a Sunday...
True, but people can still paypal in their donations on a Sunday. If you want to mail in your entry, you should send it earlier in the week.
Pat! I screwed up and forgot to enter my phone number and suggested name into the Paypal form! What should I do?
You should weep bitter tears. Did I not put instructions on the blog? Clearly worded instructions? In red?
Seriously though. Don't worry about it. You're not alone. This happened to a bunch of people.
If you donated online, I have a record of your e-mail address. I'll write that on the card and use it to keep track of your entry. Then, if you win, I'll contact you and get the other information I need.
How much have we raised so far?
Checks and donations are still coming in every day, so I don't have a final tally yet. But right now I think we're at a little more than 16,000 dollars. Which is awesome.
That means if you buy one ticket you've got (roughly) a 1 in 800 chance of winning. If you buy six tickets for 50 bucks, you've got about a 1 in 260 chance of winning.
I'm hoping we can have a strong finish. So how about this? To encourage people to donate and spread the word during the final days of the fundraiser, I'll draw a third name if we hit 20,000. That means the odds will actually get better for everyone if more people donate.
Is this the only Heifer fundraiser you're doing this year?
Oh no. Not at all. This is just a warm-up for the people who are specifically interested in my book.
As I've mentioned before here on the blog, we'll be doing something very similar to last year's fundraiser. Except this year we're going to have even more prizes, and some cool auctions too. Stay tuned for details.
I live far away, and I know my letter won't make it to you in time. Can I just e-mail you the name for my poor-boy entry?
I've had a few of these e-mails from foreign countries or from people in the army.
While I sympathize, I really don't want to change the rules that I laid down at the beginning of the contest. Changing the rules partway through is kinda unfair to all the people who would have liked to e-mail in their free entries, but went online and bought a ticket instead.
Maybe the next time we do this I'll have an online option, but for now, I think the only fair thing is to stick by the original rules.
Once the drawing is over, do we get to know what names you've picked?
I'm going to leave that up to the winners. If they're cool with me mentioning it on the blog, then I might. Otherwise, I'll respect their privacy.
I'm having my first baby boy with my wife (due date April 13). The only boy name I have found that we both like is "Andan", found on page 188 of The Name Of The Wind.
I just really wanted to know if you remember where or how you came up with that name, and what you had in mind using it. I mean, the story reads that his name meant anger, but if you had any more information it would without a doubt be the single kindest thing anyone has done for me for a long time (in other words much appreciation:)
Although I have searched endlessly, I just can't seem to find any good information on the name... which I really like for my baby... but am apprehensive using it as I really don''t know where it came from.
Anyway, if you got to read this I thank you so much for your valuable time. Here's to Kvothe and his story... let more people find his tale and experience wonder. Seriously, though -- Thank You.
-Jordan & Melissa
I was flattered, of course. And I dropped them the following note in return:
I wish I could help you more, but it's hard for me to remember with that particular name.
You see, sometimes I make up a name and say it means something. And other times I take an old word and twist it a little and turn it into a name. And sometimes I take an old name and use it...
Unfortunately, that part of the book was written so long ago that I can't rightly remember which it was. But I expect that I might have made the name up entirely....
Best of luck with the new baby, and if you do decide to name him Andan, drop me a picture of him. That'll be a first for me, someone named out of the book...
And that was that. I knew it wasn't really a satisfying answer, but it was the only one I had. I didn't hear anything back from them, which isn't particularly odd. And I assumed that using the name had pretty much been a passing fancy on their part.
Then, just a couple days ago, I got the following message:
(Slightly edited for privacy's sake)
I emailed you awhile back about the name Andan in your book. You were gracious enough to provide with a prompt response, and I feel horrible that it's taken so long to get back to you.... but we did have a BOY!
His name is Andan. I'm so glad that you wrote that name in your book one time b/c we simply love it for our boy, and it is just perfect.
Anyway, I wanted to get a few pictures of our son Andan to you as I said I would... and I'm a man of my word, pretty much, mostly, yeah... we'll go with man of my word.
So, with no further ado, I would like to introduce everyone to Andan.
You have to admit, this is one seriously cute baby. He looks like one of the podlings from the Dark Crystal. I mean that in the best possible way.
At this point I'm tempted to say something witty, or pithy, or glib. But honestly, I can't think of a thing. All I can do is think about how very strange my life has become in the last couple years.
My best to you, little Andan. Your face doesn't look like a mask with burning eyes at all. It's my sincerest wish that you someday meet a sweet girl named Ordal and form a good relationship built on the common experience of having some seriously cool geeky parents.
Jealous of little Andan? Wish your name was in one of my books? Well wish no longer...
You! That's right, YOU have a chance to donate to a great charity AND get your name in my next book. Wow. I know. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But remember, the raffle only lasts until November 15th.