October 6th, 2014

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

Originally published at Con or Bust by Kate Nepveu. Please comment there ( comment(s)).

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 Tor.com (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!