Last updated June 5, 2016.
Con or Bust’s annual online auction is its principal source of funds for the entire year. Items may be submitted for auction now through Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern (time zone conversions, countdown). Bidding will begin Wednesday, May 25, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern (time zone conversions) and end Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. (time zone conversions, countdown), EXCEPT that last-minute bidding on an item will extend the bidding for that item (see below).
New in 2016: offers should be made before bidding starts (otherwise Con or Bust might have to collect sales tax).
All you need is an email address: fill out the form on the Submit an Auction page. You can even upload images if you don’t want to host them elsewhere! You’ll get an email confirmation from email@example.com when the post is published.
Common things to offer are books and advance reading copies (ARCs), naming rights to a story character, jewelry, baked goods, editing, knitted goods, and so forth, but feel free to offer any good or service that’s legal, practical, and morally and ethically appropriate. You can also look at past years’ tags (2013, 2014, 2015) or indexes (2013, 2014, 2015) to get a sense of what’s been offered previously.
Notes and suggestions:
- Good-Faith Estimate of Fair Market Value of Item: So that Con or Bust, Inc., can fulfill its obligation to send proper receipts to those who donate, please give a good-faith estimate of the fair market value of what you are offering for auction. This won’t display in the post, it will just be added to the winner’s thank-you email.
- Shipping costs: the default is that the person offering the item will pay for shipping. If the cost of international shipping is an issue, people have in the past shipped internationally after the bidder has offered to donate extra to Con or Bust, or have limited their auctions to domestic shipping only. If you think this may be an issue, please check shipping costs ahead of time and make a note in your auction post. (Also, if you’re offering things media mail, please note that means US-only.)
For authors auctioning their own books, an additional possibility is to see if your book is carried by the Book Depository, which ships free worldwide. If it is, you can borrow an idea from E.C. Myers and offer to send your book to international bidders through that site and separately mail a signed, personalized bookplate.
- Food: if offering food, either figure out what you need to do to ship internationally or restrict your offer to your own country.
- Items to be made specifically for the auction: if you are offering original creative work to a prompt, or custom-made crafts, please consider whether you’ve done anything like that before and what a realistic delivery time is. I would like to avoid people winning stories, knitted goods, etc. that the seller has trouble creating within the delivery time stated.
How to Bid
(Note: publishers, authors, and other donors have generally donated books and other items on the understanding that they will be bid on by fans for their personal use, and not by resellers. Please respect this so that people will feel comfortable continuing to donate to the auction.)
While bidding is open (see below), leave a comment stating the amount of your bid in U.S. dollars, with a working email address (which will not be displayed). You can also subscribe to comments to get notified of later bids.
Where multiple identical items are being auctioned in the same post, and the top n bids win, each consecutive bid must still increase, for the reasons stated here.
Bidding will begin Wednesday, May 25, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern (time zone conversions) and end Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. (time zone conversions, countdown). However, last-minute bidding on a specific item will extend the deadline for bids on that item. Specifically, if a valid bid on an item is received from 3:50 through 4:00 p.m., bidding on that item will be automatically extended by the same period of time.
Here’s the flowchart:
Was a valid bid on an item posted with a timestamp from 3:50 through 4:00 p.m. on June 5? A valid bid is higher than the last one.
- If the last valid bid on an item was timestamped 3:49 p.m. or earlier, then that bid is automatically the winner.
- 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 valid bid is timestamped on or before 4:10 p.m., and bidding continues until 4:20 p.m. Repeat as necessary.
If an item’s bidding period has been extended by last-minute bids, the bidding period will automatically extend until no bids have been received during the last extension period, at which time bidding automatically closes. A moderator ruling is not required for bidding on an item to be extended.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com with the information.)
Once I’ve matched up your donation with your winnings on the spreadsheet, you’ll get two emails from firstname.lastname@example.org: a thank-you receipt for your records, and an email putting you and your seller in touch.
You can also mail a check, but please contact me at email@example.com before doing so.