“Zoe’s Tale” Auction to Benefit the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust

The Short Version:

I have recently completed my newest book, Zoe’s Tale, and am offering a special pre-publication bound manuscript version of the novel to auction to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust. This is an exclusive and extremely rare version of this novel (only four other copies of this edition exist) and will be the only way for a member of the general public to read the novel prior to its official publication in August 2008. All money raised by this auction, minus eBay and PayPal fees, will go to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust. The auction is currently taking place on eBay and will end on Feb-25-08 09:10:29 PST. Opening bid is $50.

Please let people know.

The Long Version (especially useful for new folks who might wander by):

Who Am I?

As mentioned, I am John Scalzi. I’m the 2006 winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a two-time nominee for the Hugo award in science fiction, including a Best Novel nomination for my debut novel Old Man’s War, which was published in 2005. Since then I’ve had four other novels published: Agent to the Stars, The Ghost Brigades, The Android’s Dream and The Last Colony. I also write non-fiction books (including the upcoming 2nd edition of The Rough Guide to the Universe, an astronomy book) and am the proprietor of Whatever, a popular blog (you’re likely reading this on it).

What is Zoe’s Tale?

Zoe’s Tale is the fourth novel in the “Old Man’s War” series, but like the other books in the series, can be read as a stand-alone novel — you don’t have to have read the other books in the series to get into it. Here is the description text that will be on the published book’s jacket flap:

Meet Zoe Boutin Perry: Friend. Daughter. A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player and a pawn in an interstellar chess match to save the human race.

Seventeen years old.

Readers of John Scalzi’s bestselling Old Man’s War series have met Zoe before, but now, in this compelling stand-alone novel set in the same universe, Scalzi brings her front and center, to tell her tale as only she can: “Not straight but true, and telling it all; the joy and terror and uncertainty, the panic and wonder, despair and hope.”

Zoe has a lot to tell. She and her family and friends are at a pivotal point in history, unwillingly placed at the center of a galaxy-spanning gambit by the human Colonial Union, which wants to draw an alien alliance into a war neither of them can win or afford. Zoe’s colony home of Roanoke is the flashpoint, primed by outsiders to explode and destroy everyone Zoe loves… unless she can somehow stop the seemingly inevitable process that will bring destruction to her door.

Zoe’s tale isn’t the one she would have chosen for herself, but it’s one she rises to tell, calling on every resource she has — every ounce of wit and guile and heart — to save her colony and become the woman she has to be to keep humanity among the stars.

As a personal note, as the writer, I’m really pleased with how this book turned out.

What should we know about this edition of Zoe’s Tale?

That it is not a final version of the novel. It is a bound edition of the final manuscript — which means it hasn’t been copy edited. All the author’s idiot spelling and grammar errors are still in there (sorry), and there may be a slight variance textually from this edition and the final published edition (the plot details, however, will not change).

In exchange for putting up with these pre-production flaws, however, you will have a chance to read the book long before even the critics and booksellers do — indeed, at this point only four people have read the complete novel from beginning to end.

Moreover, only five copies of this edition of the bound manuscript exist, and no more will be made. One copy I’m keeping; one copy goes to my wife and two are gifts for personal friends. For collectors, this is a rare opportunity to have something literally no one else can get.

Will it be signed?

Yes, and if the winning bidder wishes, also personally inscribed.

What is the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust?

Let me crib from their Web Site here:

The DAV Charitable Service Trust supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs, meets the special needs of veterans with specific disabilities – such as amputation and blindness – and aids and shelters homeless veterans…

Programs supported by the Trust target several groups of physically and psychologically disabled veterans. Key programs include:

* Helping to maintain a volunteer-operated transportation network providing rides to sick and disabled veterans needing transportation to and from VA medical centers for treatment;

* Providing food and shelter and connecting homeless and needy veterans to essential medical care, VA benefits counseling and job training;

* Meeting the special needs of veterans faced with specific disabilities such as blindness and amputation;

* Supporting significant therapeutic initiatives;

* Supporting physical and psychological rehabilitation projects aimed at some of America’s most profoundly disabled veterans; and

* Bringing hope to the forgotten and suffering families of disabled veterans.

The Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust is ranked as a “Four Star Charity” by CharityNavigator.org and as a “Best in America” charity by Independent Charities of America. According to CharityNavigator.org, 99.3% of the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust revenues go to program expenses. See details here.

Why did you choose the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust?

Three main reasons:

1. It is part of Disabled American Veterans, a charitable organization with a history of service going back nearly 90 years. That sort of longevity appealed to me, particularly given the mission of the organization.

2. Our current involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan means that we have new disabled veterans coming home every day; I want to honor their service. Whatever one thinks of war, generally or specifically regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, those disabled while serving deserve our help back here at home.

3. The “Old Man’s War” series has had a lot of fans in the US military, and I wanted to thank them for their support by returning the favor to those of them most in need.

Why are you putting the auction on eBay instead of running it off Whatever, like you did for the charitable auction for The Last Colony?

One, I don’t want to have to police the bidding; I have a lot of work to do, writing-wise. Second, I hope this might get the auction out to a wider group of bidders, and also convince bidders unfamiliar with me that this is a legitimate auction for charity.

How and when will you donate the money from the auction?

I will be accepting payment for the auction through PayPal. When the payment gets into my account, I will then make a contribution to DAVCST for the full amount of the auction bid, minus eBay and PayPal processing fees, on the following business day.

To ensure to all and sundry that the money has gone to DAV and not into my pocket, I will post a copy of the receipt of the contribution on my personal blog, Whatever as soon as it arrives.

How will the item get to me?

I will ship it to you, worldwide, without charge. When I ship it I will provide you with the tracking number so you will know where it is and when it’s going to get to you.

Can I tell others about this auction?

I hope you will — please, feel free to tell anyone you’d like. You can point them here, or at the eBay item page.

Let me know if you have any other questions — and happy bidding!

65 Comments on ““Zoe’s Tale” Auction to Benefit the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust”

  1. your publisher doesn’t have a problem with you doing this? i would think they’d be worried about leaks affecting sales or something like that.

  2. Sarah:

    I asked permission first; PNH (my editor) said “yes” almost before I could ask. This sort of thing doesn’t hurt the book in any way. Also, we did it last year and there were no leaks to speak of.

  3. Too rich for my blood already. This is the real DAV, folks, not some scam operation. They really help wounded vets; I know, because I am one, and they helped me. Thank you, John.

  4. Your cat is so stunning.

    I too hope the bids go crazy! (I shall stick to owning the non-special copies of your books, myself.)

  5. Massively Cool, John. Too rich for my blood already, but thank you for making this donation.

    BTW, Does Chang know? about the book taped to Her Gloriousness?

  6. Okay, I’ve got a question–to what extent would the purchase price be tax-deductible? Do you happen to know? I believe the rule is, we can deduct whaever we pay over and above the value of what we get. I guess the question is, is the “value” just the price of the hardcover book that’s going to be released later this year? Or is it higher, because this is a special limited edition? Any idea?

  7. I salute you, literally with tears in my eyes, and dripping into my beard, for the honor and service that you do for our heroic and under-appreciated Disabled American Veterans.

    Most of my relatives who fought in wars, or attempted self-defense in pogroms, merely died in agony. Some escaped Nazis and death camps and fought with partisans. Some, such as my maternal grandfather (in World War I), were physically not wounded, but bore the emotional scars forever from being bogged down, completely cut off by heavy artillery, decimated, in muddy freezing trenches, catching and cooking rats to eat, for the sake of survival.

    My father (in World War II) volunteered again and again to fly combat missions, but he was always denied that, and ordered to continue to train Free French pilots who would go into combat and, many of them, die for freedom and liberty.

    I am not a veteran, but am damned proud of the work that I did on many contracts for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force, in what de facto was World War III (Korea + Vietnam + Cold War proxy battles) and in uniformed US casualties, falls (I think) between the Civil War and World War II.

    Count me as a mere civilian, but one with a faint clue about war, who loves your fiction for the deep human truth in that theatre, as well as for its imagination, style, execution, and chutzpah.

    And kudos to your editor, with whom I do not always agree, for recognizing a work of genius when he saw it, and making it more widely available.

  8. htom 15, sentences 1-2,

    They really help wounded vets; I know, because I am one, and they helped me. Thank you, John.

    Sincere thanks for your service to our country.

    John, awesome choice of charity!

  9. Tim Keating:

    I looked and didn’t see that. If there’s a problem I’ll re-list that way.

  10. SO I glanced over my finances and found a number I could live with and am now the high bidder – and expect to be outbid within the hour. – 9 day auction, John – this should be well into 4 figures before it ends, especially with such a worthy cause.

    Now if only my wife would believe we won’t be getting a tax refund this year, maybe I could push my bid higher…..

  11. Andrew S – assuming the charity is a 501(c)(3) — and I’m sure it is — you can deduct anything above the fair market value from your taxes. This is true with almost anything from a tax-deductable gift: that PBS mug or whatever you get with a $60 donation is really only deductible for $57, assuming a coffee mug is worth $3, although the IRS rarely says “boo” about something like that.

    Now, what’s a “fair market value” for a draft of a novel? Hard to say, but I doubt — in the event of an audit — the IRS would be hard pressed to say that a $2K bid, say, was not $1800 or $1900 or $1950 more than the FMV of a limited edition novel from a relatively obscure author. (All due respect, John). In the end, all you’d need to do is justify your valuation to the IRS. The winning bidder might want to get a letter from John that indicates the value of it and the intended use of the proceeds.

  12. Seriously John, this is an awesome cause. There are so many vets who need physical and psychological services. Bless you.

  13. Tim Keating @27:

    I just checked with eBay customer service and they say there shouldn’t be a problem with the listing.

  14. I am currently the high bidder, which I don’t expect will last for nine more days, but I can hope. And I *do*…..

    Seriously, though, Mr. Scalzi, good on you for doing this, and for a truly excellent cause.

    I have not read through the whole comment thread, but I think you should re-mention this on subsequent posts over the next nine days, to maximize the impact on bidding. (Though that will do little for my existing bid.)

  15. I’d surely love to win this auction, not least of which is the fact that my own father is a disabled vet. But I’ll have to content myself with spreading the word on my own blog.

    Thanks so much, John.

  16. Drat – curses to you, p***b, whoever you are.

    My leading bid lasted for just 35 minutes and 30 seconds. The good news is that the bidding is over $750 in just the first few hours.

    Congrats, Mr. Scalzi, and (again) good on you.

    You’ve got some well-heeled fans, and so much the better for the charity you’ve selected.

    Now, I need to check with my wife to see just how high she’ll let me bid before she puts her foot down once and for all.

  17. Your choice of a charity could not be more apropos. And the bidding and comments are certainly indicative of how strongly that sentiment is held. I think you are going to have a great return on the offering of the book for auction.

    My plan is to call in all favors for having let lots of people borrow my previously read Scalzi books, and ask they spread the word about the auction. Believe me, that is a good size audience. They aren’t moochers, per se- perhaps we’ll just categorize them as the form of symbiosis called “controlled parasitism”.

  18. Wow. Almost $900. Excellent. Good choice of charity institutions, too. My wife is a veteran from the first Gulf War. My grandfather and great uncle (deceased; asbestos poisoning from Navy ship-building) from WWII. Needless to say, I have a lot of respect for anyone who serves.

  19. John,

    As a disabled Veteran, thank you for doing this. I sincerely appreciate the gesture you are making!!!

  20. Oh wow…

    O Great Scalzi, what a superb picture of Her Superbness. It is unfortunate that your narrative was excessively long and – amazingly – had no mention of the Beauteous Ghlaghghee at all.

    But it is acceptable because a single picture of Her is worth a million words, and this picture is so excellent it is worth ten million words.

    Due to your praiseworthy charitable auction and (most importantly) a truly stunning picture of Her Shimmering Radiance, the Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club presented a motion to the membership, which passed unanimously, to wit –

    That Scalzi is hereby awarded the first 2008

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club Seal of Approval Award
    Valid through the end of the auction.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  21. Wow!

    I woke up, saw this and went to bid and its already almost 1000 dollars, the 250 in my paypal account look sad now, but is all for a good cause even if i wanted the MS badly.

    I was surprised as last year i bid in the Clarion charity auction and won a very nice first edition (Heart of the Comet signed by Benford and Brin) for about 50 bucks, i ended up paying closer to double that as I felt it was too little in a charity auction (I am in the UK so i pay half pretty much). Glad to see Whatever readers getting their cash out.

    Way to go John! an Zoe! And Zeus for the tail.

  22. Well, the auction is beyond my price range. But what I am going to do instead, is to donate directly to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable ServiceTrust.

    Thank you for turning me on to a very worthy and efficient charity. I have never seen a charity with such low administration expenses. It tells me alot that their TOTAL admin expenses were about $75,000 especially since most of the well know charities pay their president alone 6 figure saleries.

    Keep up the good work.

  23. Gerry:

    It does help that the Charitable Service Trust is part of a larger organization, so most of the administrative costs are borne by the organization, not the trust.

  24. This is a great thing to do. On a personal, and very selfish level, I am just excited that the world you created and I have enjoyed multiple times will not be abandoned.

  25. If I read “Old Man’s War” and like it….. and intend to buy the other books in the series…. how screwed up would I get reading book one, then book 4, then the other two?

    Please answer honestly, and know that I’m the wife of a veteran who also donates mightily to our local DAV. No DAV money will be lost if I skip this auction due to not wanting to eff up my Scalzi continuity….and, in fact, you will probably come out a couple of dollars ahead in the deal if I pick up whatever the other two books are called.

    If you get these questions all the time, I apologize. Same goes for not knowing what the other books are called… I’m thinking “Ghost Colony.”

  26. John: once again you remind me why I’m a fan of you-the-person in addition to you-the-writer.

    Auction note: It’s hit $2025.01 as of less than half an hour ago as I write this (“Feb-17-08 21:20:38 PST” is the timestamp on the bid). Whoever m***c is, I salute you and your disposable income.

  27. Fine blog. I got a lot of great information. I’ve been following this technology for awhile. It’s intriguing how it keeps varying, yet some of the core elements remain the same. Have you seen much change since Google made their most recent acquisition in the area?

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