free memberships to Octocon

New free memberships are available now, first-come first-serve, to fans of color/non-white fans:

  • Octocon 2016, 14th- 16th October, 2016, Dublin, Ireland. Octocon is the National Irish Science Fiction Convention; its Guests of Honor are Rhianna Pratchett, Diane Duane and Peter Morwood and its 2016 theme is Rebellion.

    Octocon has donated two memberships to Con or Bust.

Many more free memberships are available now, and monetary assistance can be requested from August 15-25. To learn how to request assistance, see the Request Assistance page. For the most up-to-date list of cons to which assistance is available, see the Upcoming Cons page.

Thanks, and please spread the word!

VividCon membership & stipend available now

Edit: this has been claimed!

Fans of color/non-white fans: the following assistance is available immediately, first-come first-serve:

  • VividCon, August 12-14, 2016, Chicago, IL, USA. VividCon is an annual convention for anyone who enjoys fanvids – watching them, talking about them, or making them.

    VividCon has donated a membership, a Saturday lunch ticket, and a $500 stipend to Con or Bust, to be claimed by August 11, 2016.

To learn how to request assistance, see the Request Assistance page. For the most up-to-date list of cons to which assistance is available, see the Upcoming Cons page.

Thanks, and please spread the word!

assistance to be available for Arisia, ConFusion

Fans of color/non-white fans, plan ahead for the winter: assistance will be available to the following two January cons during the August 15-25 request-assistance period.

  • Arisia, January 13 – 16, 2017, Boston, MA, USA. Arisia is New England’s largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention. Its Author Guest of Honor is Ursula Vernon; its Artist Guest of Honor is Stephanie Law; its Radio Guest of Honor is Krypton Radio; and its Fan Guest of Honor is Greykell Dutton.

    Arisia has donated ten memberships and two hotels rooms for three nights each.

  • ConFusion, January 19th -22nd, 2017, Novi, MI, USA. ConFusion is the longest-running fan-run sf/f convention in Michigan and a premier event for publishing professionals and fans alike.

    ConFusion has donated two memberships to Con or Bust, which must be claimed by December 31, 2016. In addition, individuals have donated two memberships and $400 toward other costs of attending ConFusion.

To learn how to request assistance, see the Request Assistance page. For the most up-to-date list of cons to which assistance is available, see the Upcoming Cons page–many memberships are available now, first-come first-serve, and more will be available from August 15-25.

Thanks, and please spread the word!

Support Con or Bust when shopping at Curious Turtle Books in the Readercon dealer’s room

If you’re at Readercon this weekend (now in Quincy and Red Line accessible!), stop by the dealer’s room, where Curious Turtle Books will be donating 10% of its sales on Saturday to Con or Bust!

If you can’t make it on Saturday, Curious Turtle Books is also donating a portion of its sales on the other two days of the con: Friday’s beneficiary will be the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund and Sunday’s will be the Shared Worlds Writing Program.

(And if you’re coming to Readercon at all, feel free to say hi if you see me!)

Support Con or Bust when shopping at Amazon

Amazon shoppers, here’s an easy way to help fans of color/non-white fans go to SFF cons: you can now have Amazon automatically donate a portion of your purchases to Con or Bust.

Specifically, if you click on the above banner or go to Con or Bust’s Amazon Smile page and then log in, Amazon will donate 0.5% of every eligible purchase you make to Con or Bust–as long as you start shopping at (After you log in, it’ll give you some suggestions for doing that automatically, and also remind you from the website itself if you’re logged in.)

And for Amazon Prime members, next Tuesday, July 12, is Prime Day, where there will be many deals exclusively for Prime members, so now’s an awesome time to sign up for Amazon Smile.

(I realize that some people choose not to shop at Amazon; this is not meant as a request to reconsider those choices, but as information for those who’ve chosen otherwise.)

Thanks, and please spread the word!

2016 auction final report

Apologies for the long radio silence, everyone; the period after the auction was ludicrously busy (and I’m still not dug out entirely, alas). I’m bringing you a series of updates today, however, starting with the auction final report.

I am pleased to announce that the final total of pledged bids in the 2016 auction was $10,948.00. This may drop slightly over the next couple of days, as there are still a few payments outstanding–if you haven’t heard from me yet, please check your spam folder or comment here, because I sent emails earlier this week informing everyone who hadn’t paid yet that this week was their last chance! Additional donations, including the matching donation, totaled about $2,200, bringing the total to approximately $13,150.

If you by chance haven’t paid yet, please see this post for what to do next; and if you have any questions or concerns, please comment or email me at!

request assistance or have your donation matched through end of today, Monday

Two reminders of things happening through 11:59 p.m. Eastern today, Monday, June 6 (time zone conversions):

First, fans of color/non-white fans can request assistance to upcoming cons. To learn how to request assistance, see the Request Assistance page. For the most up-to-date list of cons to which assistance is available, see the Upcoming Cons page. Requests should be date-stamped by 11:59 p.m. Eastern; I will probably be awake to turn the form off, let’s face it, but I might forget.

Second, donations (not auction payments) are being matched up to $500 total also through the end of today; I haven’t fully processed all yesterday’s and this morning’s PayPal emails, but I’ve reviewed the emails in the queue and we haven’t made the match yet. Information how to donate is after the jump, just for ease of reference.

(Edit: match made, just exactly, with a few hours to spare!)

And if you’re coming here wondering about the auction, bidding is over; please see this post for what to do next!

Read More →

the auction’s (mostly) over, now what?

(Tuesday June 7: my keyboard time has been and will be slightly restricted for various reasons but I expect to be able to catch up with payment emails tonight.)

If this post has published when scheduled, it is 4:01 p.m. Eastern and Con or Bust’s 2016 auction is now over, except for items last-minute bids. This post addresses: (1) how to tell whether bidding on an item is over and if you won; (2) what to do after winning; (3) what to do if you offered an item for auction; and (4) what to do if you need help.

Is Bidding Over? Did I Win?

Bidding gets extended by last-minute bids, so here’s a refresher on whether the bidding on any specific item is over yet:

Was a valid bid on an item posted with a timestamp from 3:50 and 4:00 p.m. today? A valid bid is higher than the last one.

  • No.
    • If the last valid bid on an item was timestamped 3:49 p.m. or earlier, then that bid is automatically the winner.
  • Yes.
    • If a valid bid was timestamped 3:50 p.m., 4:00 p.m., or any time in-between, then bidding on that item is automatically extended until 4:10 p.m.
    • Next, either:
      • no further bids are received timestamped on or before 4:10 p.m., and therefore bidding is over at 4:10 p.m. and the last high bid wins; or,
      • another bid is timestamped on or before 4:10 p.m., and bidding continues until 4:20 p.m. Repeat as necessary.

The extending and closing of bidding is automatic and the determinations are purely mechanical; no mod ruling is required.

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.

I Won; What Do I Do Now?

Congratulations and thanks very much! Please pay for your winnings; you don’t need to wait for me to notify you that you’ve won. When you pay, please provide the following information:

  • What item or items you are paying for (it’s fine, in fact preferable, to pay for multiple items at once);
  • If your email address is different than the one you used to comment, what email address was on your comment; and
  • Your shipping address, if you’re having something shipped (if you use the PayPal button and the address in your PayPal account is correct, you can skip this step).

To donate online, you can either follow this link to the PayPal Giving Fund and have 100% of your donation go directly to Con or Bust, or you can use the button below and have your donation reduced by a PayPal fee (a lower charity rate of 2.2% + $0.30). What’s the difference between the two methods?

  • If you need to use a credit card rather than a PayPal account, you must use the button. (You may need to click “Continue” on the left side of the screen, above the credit card logos.)
  • If you use the PayPal Giving Fund, you must then forward your acknowledgment email only to with the information above. (Please do not send money directly to that address!) This extra step is necessary because the Giving Fund doesn’t allow you to leave notes with your donation and doesn’t notify us immediately that your donation has been made, so I literally won’t know you’ve paid.

Please don’t hesitate to use whatever method is most convenient.

If you donate using the above button, on the “review your donation” screen, please click “Add special instructions” (in small letters underneath “Purpose” and “Con or Bust”), and add the information listed above. (If you run out of room, forward your email to with the information.)

Once I’ve matched up your donation with your winnings on the spreadsheet, you’ll get two emails from a thank-you receipt for your records, and an email putting you and your seller in touch.

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

Thank you for offering something! If your auction item sold, you’ll get two emails from a thank-you receipt for your records, and an email putting you and your winner in touch. Then make whatever arrangements are necessary!

If you can’t quite remember all the things you offered, use the search or the index to find any one post, and then click on your name next to “Posted by” to see all the posts you’ve made (note: this will span years, if you’ve offered things before this year).

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 It is very important to me that everyone who participates in the auction be satisfied that they were treated fairly, and I want to hear about any concerns or problems.


auction ends in just over four hours!

Con or Bust’s annual auction, which is the main way it raises funds to help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons, ends today, Sunday, June 5 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern (time zone conversions, countdown), unless last-minute bids are received (more details, which I will also put after the jump). 

I previously linked to some auction highlights, but did you know that you can sort the auction index by number of bids or current high bid (or whatever other column you want)? Just hover over the letter at the top of the relevant column and click on the little down-arrow that will appear on the right edge of that column. As of the moment I am publishing this post, the index is current; I will be in and out for the next few hours, so probably the next time I can update will be about 3 p.m., but I hope it will be useful as a rough guide in the meantime.

And now, the instructions on last-minute bidding, copied here for your easy reference:

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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.