Announcing Con or Bust, Inc. and the 2016 Auction!

I’m excited to announce that (1) Con or Bust is now a not-for-profit corporation with the official name of Con or Bust, Inc., and (2) the annual online auction to support Con or Bust is now accepting items for auction, with bidding to take place from May 25 through June 5.

Con or Bust, Inc.

As you may know, Con or Bust started on extremely short notice in 2009, so short that I literally was using my personal bank account to temporarily hold the funds. Obviously that was not a long-term solution! But I did not want to create a separate corporation at that early stage, and so I was immensely grateful to the Carl Brandon Society when it agreed to act as the fiscal agent for Con or Bust. Con or Bust would never have made it past the very first auction with the CBS’s help and support.

Thanks to that help and support, Con or Bust has kept growing over the years, and here at the start of its eighth year, Con or Bust has become large enough that I and the CBS have mutually agreed that it makes sense for it to become its own organization. As a result, on April 6, 2016, Con or Bust, Inc. was formally created as a not-for-profit corporation, when its certificate of incorporation was filed with the New York State Department of State (search its database).

The inaugural Board of Directors is:

Our application for federal tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) was submitted on April 17, 2016, and once approved, the tax-exempt status will be retroactive to the date that Con or Bust, Inc., was created. (The IRS says we should expect to hear within 90 days.) As a small charity, Con or Bust, Inc., is exempt from registration with New York State, but we will also be submitting an application to confirm that exemption. You can read all of our corporate documents at the updated About page.

As for the Carl Brandon Society, it is filing the tax returns necessary for its re-application for tax exempt status, and looks forward to having that in place later this year.

Before I move on to the auction, a final thank-you for the Carl Brandon Society for supporting Con or Bust until it was ready to strike out on its own. Be sure to check out the CBS’s ongoing projects: the Parallax and Kindred Awards, which honor works of speculative fiction by people of color and about issues of race and identity; the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship, which enables writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops; and scholarships to the annual Writing Excuses Retreats.

2016 Auction

Con or Bust is principally funded through its annual online auction. There are (edit) three changes this year, one major and two minor.

First, people cannot submit items to the auction AFTER bidding has started, because under New York State law, having different bidding periods for items opens us to the possibility of having to collect sales taxes. [*] Bidding starts May 25, which gives a little more than a month to offer items; I hope this will be plenty of time.

[*] The state tax department guidance says that “the occasional late addition” is okay, as long as the additions have the same end date (PDF); that’s squishy enough that I prefer to err on the side of caution and save those “occasional” additions in case we are fortunate enough to have (insert very famous person here) offer us (insert too-good-to-be-refused thing here).

Which leads me to the minor changes: as usual, anyone can offer something for auction, by filling out a form on the website–all you need is an email address. This year the form allows you to upload pictures at the same time you submit your auction, which should be more convenient for those of you who aren’t linking to pictures hosted elsewhere. (There are also some backend improvements to make my life easier.) In addition, so that we can send proper receipts to winners, when you submit an auction, you are asked to give a good-faith estimate of the fair market value of what’s being auctioned; this won’t display in the post, it will just be added to the winner’s thank-you email.

You can find out more about offering things for auction at the main auction information page, or go right to the Submit an Auction form. Please note that posts may be a little slow getting approved, as next week my Internet access will be dubious at best; but you’ll get an email with the link to the post once it’s published (from a new address,

Note: because of the later start to the auction, the next period for fans of color to request monetary assistance will be May 27-June 6, rather than the usual May 15-25. There will be more announcements in May.

Thanks again for all your help and support, and please spread the word!


  1. Awesome news, glad to hear it!

  2. Thanks, we’re all pretty excited!

    (Oh yeah, because I changed my email address to a one, I’ll have a new icon. Weird.)

  3. Congratulations. All that paperwork is quite arduous and tedious and I applaud Con or Bust and Carl Brandon Society for sorting it out! And thank you for working to put these endeavors on a solid and sustainable footing.

  4. Thanks so much!

This is an archive view of Con or Bust's 2013-2016 auctions and posts. For the 2017 auction, to request assistance, and other current information, please see Con or Bust's main site.