Auction Information

Last updated May 23, 2015.

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).

This page contains information on offering something for auction, bidding on auctions, and paying for your auction winnings.

Offering Something for Auction

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 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.

Bidding on Auctions

How to Bid

Find things to bid on by searching over in the sidebar, looking at the 2016 auction tags, or sorting/filtering the Google Docs index (manually updated, may be delayed).

(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.

When to Bid

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.

  • 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 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.

Paying for Your Winnings

You can pay online in one of two ways, through the PayPal Giving Fund or using the button below. Please don’t hesitate to use whatever method is most convenient.

Use this link to the PayPal Giving Fund if you’re paying through a PayPal account, want 100% of your payment to go directly to Con or Bust, and don’t mind forwarding your acknowledgment email to with what you’re paying for. (Please do not send money directly to that address!) 

Use the button if you need to use a credit card rather than a PayPal account and/or want to specify what you’re paying for in the same step as payment (on the “review your donation” screen, click “Add special instructions”). Your donation will be reduced by a PayPal fee, a lower charity rate of 2.2% + $0.30.

You can also mail a check, but please contact me at before doing so.

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