Category: 2014 Auction

Special Auction: Of Noble Family signed manuscript, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Con or Bust is thrilled to announce that it is now auctioning a signed, dated manuscript of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Of Noble Family (forthcoming, April 2015), along with signed hardcovers of the rest of the books in the series, to help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons. The auction will run through Sunday, October 19, 2014 (see below for details on bidding).

About Of Noble Family and the Glamourist Histories

book cover Of Noble Family is the last book of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories and “the magical adventure that might result if Jane Austen walked on the grimmer side of the Regency.”

You can read the description at the author’s website, or find out about the dress on the cover over at (spoiler: “Hand. Stitched.”).

Kirkus gave a starred review to the prior book in the series, Valour and Vanity, saying that it had “a clever, captivating plot” and “balance[d] emotional depth with buoyant storytelling,” while Booklist said, “Lively, well written, and with sprinkles of history, Valour and Vanity will charm both adventurers and romantics.”

Of Noble Family will not be released until April 28, 2015, but you can bid on a signed, dated manuscript copy of it now, plus signed hardcovers of the rest of the series! The manuscript and books can be shipped worldwide (free, courtesy of the Ada Initiative; see below) and the signature can be personalized.

Why an auction now?

Short answer: because Mary and the Ada Initiative are awesome, and because the next auction would be too late.

Longer answer: Mary donated the manuscript and signed hardcovers to the Ada Initiative, which supports women in open technology and culture, as an incentive for its annual fund drive. But all the donors who qualified for the manuscript . . . were too nice to take it!

The Ada Initiative today announced a stretch goal of a free train-the-trainers workshop at WisCon for its Ally Skills Workshop, which teaches men simple everyday ways to support women in their communities and workplaces. As a companion to its announcement (and with Mary’s approval), the Ada Initiative is making good use of the donated manuscript and hardcovers by donating it Con or Bust.

Since Of Noble Family comes out in April, waiting until Con
or Bust’s regular auction didn’t make sense: traditionally, the auction has run in February, but this year I was already planning to announce that I was going to move it back to April or May. The just-completed quarterly assistance period had a very low total of monetary assistance, which means that Con or Bust’s bank balance is healthy enough that I can move the auction back so it doesn’t conflict with Worldbuilders and is further away from the holiday season.

Thus: the current auction, which will serve the dual purposes of getting the manuscript into the fortunate winner’s hands well in advance of publication and giving Con or Bust a bit more of a cushion for the next six months.

How does the auction work?

You can bid now: simply leave a comment stating the amount of your bid (in U.S. dollars) with a working email address. If you like, you can check the box that says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” to make sure you don’t miss any later bids.

The auction will end on Sunday, October 19, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time (time zone conversions and countdown). However, there will be a different procedure for last-minute bids than in past auctions. As discussed previously, to make bidding less dependent on the whims of the Internet, last-minute bids will extend the bidding period.

Accordingly: if a bid on Sunday the 19th is timestamped from 3:50 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., all bidding will be extended for another ten minutes past the original deadline (that is, new bids must be timestamped 4:10 or earlier). Bidding will continue to be extended in ten-minute blocks until no further bids are received within a ten-minute block. However, only after 4:00 p.m., new bids must raise the prior bid by at least the increments listed in this eBay table, to avoid bidders trying to wait each other out by raising in tiny amounts. I hope this will reduce the stress of hoping that a last-second bid gets published in time.

Questions? Concerns? Bids? Leave them in the comments. And please spread the word about both this auction and the Ada Initiative’s stretch goal!


Con or Bust’s 2014 auction: final report

I’m thrilled to report that the final total of pledged bids in the 2014 Con or Bust auction stands at $14,476, which is a Con or Bust record. I’m very grateful to you all for your enthusiasm and support in offering items, bidding, and spreading the word.

Thanks also to those of you who donated for the matching gift from Arachne Jericho of $1,000, which we met with about an hour to spare the deadline, and to those of you who made donations before the matching gift or bought T-shirts.

All this support is particularly welcome because in the request period that just closed, Con or Bust set another record by receiving thirty (yes, three-zero) requests for monetary assistance to attend upcoming cons. On one hand, this is a good thing: more people are hearing about Con or Bust! On the other hand, I am now going to postpone deciding whether to move the next auction later in 2015; given the current level of demand, it seems irresponsible to allocate the funds from this year’s auction and other fundraisers to cover fifteen upcoming months, instead of the usual twelve. (I was hoping to move it later in the year to avoid overlapping with Worldbuilders and to give myself more time after the holidays.)

If you haven’t paid for your auction item yet, please head to the The auction’s over, now what? post. There’s also a post for general feedback about the auction, including a poll about last-minute bidding.

And, of course, you can always support Con or Bust by donating money or con memberships and by spreading the word about free memberships to upcoming cons. (Last call for JordanCon memberships!) Thank you all again!

Auction feedback post

This is the post for general auction feedback (if you want the what-to-do post, head here). Behind the jump, I’m revisiting the topic of last-minute bidding as well as addressing some feedback I’ve already heard. I’d very much like to hear your thoughts on any other topics, as well.

Read More →


The auction’s over, now what?

If the magic of scheduled posts has worked properly, this has posted at 5:01 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, February 23, 2014, and Con or Bust’s 2014 auction is now over.

Did I Win?

Winning bids are the high bid that was published to comments on or before 5:00 p.m. today (which is to say: if you’re seeing this post, it’s too late). If there is a tie, the first comment published is the winning bid.

This is a purely mechanical determination, so you shouldn’t need me to make a mod ruling, but in unusual cases or if you just want to be sure, feel free to comment at the post in question and I will come take a look. (If you’re commenting right after the auction closes, it may take a few hours for me to respond, because of dinner and kids’ bedtimes.)

If you can’t quite remember what you bid on, you can either search for the name you would have commented under in the sidebar, or you can comment here using the same email address you would have used for bidding and I will email you when the spreadsheet is sorted out. (There are literally two hundred auction items this year, so please be patient.)

I Won; What Do I Do Now?

Congratulations and thanks very much for bidding! You can pay with a PayPal account or a credit card (after you click the orange button below, click “Continue” on the left side of the screen, above the credit card logos). On the “review your donation” screen, please click “Add special instructions to the seller” and state what auction item or items this is for. (It’s fine to aggregate payments for multiple auctions. No-one’s ever run out of room, but if you do, just email with the information.)

Other things that should go in the “special instructions” field: (1) if your email address is different from the one you used to comment; (2) if you DON’T want your PayPal mailing address to be used to ship your item to.

Once you’ve paid, you will get an email acknowledgment of your payment and I will notify your seller. Important note: this year, these emails will come from, because the wonderful Yoon Ha Lee is helping me with some of the administrative tasks, so be on the lookout for that address.

I Offered Something for Auction; What Do I Do Now?

Thank you for offering something! Just wait until you get email from, letting you know that your winner has paid and providing you with their contact information. Then make whatever arrangements are necessary!

If you can’t quite remember all the things you offered, you can use the drop-down menu in the sidebar titled “Find Posts by Author.”

Finally, I mention this only because some people have asked if they could do it in past years: if bidding was vigorous, you may, where practical and in your sole discretion, offer additional items to people with the high losing bids or who got their bids in late. But that would be an entirely optional exercise of extreme generosity on your part—which means, bidders, don’t importune or I will frown disapprovingly at you over the Internet.

I Need Help!

Comment here or email (After 90 days, I will close comments on posts to reduce comment spam, but I want people to be happy with their auction experience, so I will always be glad to hear from you by email. Update: comment spam has been very vigorous, so I’m closing comments on individual auction posts and leaving them open on the end-of-auction posts.)


Con or Bust’s auction ends in 24 hours!

Con or Bust’s annual online auction will end tomorrow, Sunday February 23rd, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (GMT -5). Any bids must be timestamped 5:00 or earlier to be valid.

If you’re looking for last-minute deals, check out the auction index: you can use the drop-down menus at the top to see only auctions with 0, 1, or 2 bids; to see only auctions with multiple items; or to see mod’s picks—at this late date, I’ve changed that to mod’s picks of everything (instead of mod’s picks of only things you couldn’t otherwise filter for). These reflect what I think are overlooked deals; if I in turn have overlooked something, please let us all know in the comments!

(And if you’d like to support Con or Bust but don’t see something in the auction to bid on, may I mention the current $1,000 matching gift? Double your donation’s effect—learn more over here.)

Anuja Chauhan box set

Item Name & Description: box set of Anuja Chauhan’s novels, including Those Pricey Thakur Girls, Battle for Bittora and The Zoya Factor

book covers

Starting Bid: $10

Notes: Last year, Deepa started The Anuja Chauhan Reading Club, where she passed out copies of Anuja Chauhan’s three published novels, which are currently only available for purchase in India. Each person read the book and then sent it on to the next person in the club. I got to read all three (my reviews: The Zoya Factor, Battle for Bittora, and Those Pricey Thakur Girls) and enjoyed them very much! I thought I’d like to give more people outside India an opportunity to read and enjoy these books, which is why I’m offering this box set up for auction. Please note that I ordered the books from an online retailer in India, and I’m getting a friend to receive the delivery and ship them to the winning bidder, so it may take a while to receive the books. However, I will cover all shipping costs.

Bidding is now open; it closes Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. More Information.


Another auction index update–now with mod picks!

I have updated the auction index with the following:

1) up-to-date bids;

2) a column to filter on offers that include multiple items;

3) a column to filter on offers that have 3 or more bids and only include single items, but I think are still really good deals. (There are also extremely good deals on items with 0, 1, or 2 bids, and on many of the multiple-item offers, but those are separately filterable.)

Go forth and find something awesome! And if you’d like to support Con or Bust in other ways, stay tuned tomorrow for more information.

Two pounds of custom chocolate truffles

Item Name & Description: Approximately two pounds of hand-made chocolate truffles from Dark Matter Chocolate Laboratory, made to your specifications. Specifications can be particular flavors, compatibility with dietary constraints, or even literary or geeky inspiration. (For example, I made Ginger Scald truffles inspired by a recipe in Lies of Locke Lamora for a Scott Lynch visit– ginger-infused dark chocolate ganache with pear brandy, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with handmade caramelized ginger sugar. Crazy ideas are *totally* welcome, and if you’ve got an idea you’re wondering about the feasibility of, go ahead and ask.)

Handmade caramel, marzipan, or molded chocolates can also be substituted for truffles. Vegan truffles are available, and they do taste just as good. I’m also happy to consult with you to help you pick something you’ll be very happy with.

Starting Bid: $40

Notes: Truffles can be shipped anywhere in the continental US, although please, if you’re in a hot region, up the bid amount to justify the extra shipping costs. ;) Delivery will default to sometime between late March and mid-April, but timing can be adjusted based on your chocolate needs.

I use no preservatives. Truffles will keep for approximately three weeks at room temperature, but can be kept (much) longer in the refrigerator or freezer. If you’re worried about not eating them in time, I can substitute for two pounds of shelf-stable bars or molded chocolates in the flavor of your choice. Geeky molds available.

Bidding is now open; it closes Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. More Information.


Starters and Enders, YA series, signed to you

Item Name & Description: Signed and inscribed to you, a paperback copy of STARTERS, a YA science fiction thriller published by Random House Children’s Books, Delacorte, and the sequel, ENDERS, in hardcover, first printing, first edition (Starters is in the 8th printing).

Desperate teens rent out their bodies to seniors, so they can enjoy being young again temporarily. Ages 12 and up.

Starters and Enders, YA series signed to you
Starters and Enders, YA series signed to you
Starters and Enders, a YA series signed to you
Starters and Enders, a YA series signed to you

An international bestseller published in over 30 countries, winner of several awards, Best of Lists (B&N, Chicago Library, LA Library, YALSA Quick Pick, IRA, state reading lists). Dean Koontz said “Starters is a smart, swift, inventive, altogether gripping story.”

Signed bookmarks, two buttons (limited) and a cover postcard with a personal note to you will be included. This paperback includes an exclusive short story, “Portrait of a Spore,” that is not in the original hardcover.

Starting Bid: $20

Notes: US only. Other countries can bid, but we reserve the right to determine the winner and/or alter the prize after consultation.

Bidding is now open; it closes Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. More Information.


The Steerswoman Series, by Rosemary Kirstein, with map and jewel-like object

Item Name & Description: Trade paperback editions of The Steerswoman’s Road, The Lost Steersman and The Language of Power, with framed map, including jewel-like object

The complete Steerswoman Series, in trade paperback, including The Steerswoman’s Road (which combines Volume 1, The Steerswoman and Volume 2,The Outskirter’s Secret in a single book); Volume 3, The Lost Steersman; and Volume 4, The Language of Power. I will autograph with or without personalization, as you request.

Also included: a framed map, with attached “jewel” as referred to in the series — an actual example of the actual object from the books.

Steerswoman series, map, jewel
Steerswoman series, map, jewel
Steerswoman page edge damage
Steerswoman page edge damage

Please note: the copy of The Steerswoman’s Road, while unused, does have some some page-edge folding, due to being stored after shifting during shipping.

Starting Bid: $25

Notes: I will ship within two weeks of end of auction, to any location in the Northern Hemisphere.

Bidding is now open; it closes Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. More Information.


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.