Novella Drawing for the Dewey Donation System

Question from the gallery:

Your Zoe’s Tale auction moved out of my price range early. Could you do another auction? And let me win?

Heh. Well, no. For two reasons: One, I have no control over how the auctions go. People bid what they bid. Two, I think the reasons the auctions work is because I don’t do them all the time. They’re for special occasions, and I think one a year or so does just fine. So, no more auctions for a while.

But I’m aware that there seems to be a bunch of folks who are bummed they didn’t get a decent shot at Zoe’s Tale. And at the same time, my pal Pamela Ribon has launched her annual charity drive for libraries, called the Dewey Donation System. I was just gonna plug the DDS, because call me crazy, but I think donating books to libraries is a fine idea, but now I have an idea I think is even better.

But first, a preface: I am currently writing a short science fiction novella (about 17,000 – 20,000 words) which is going into an anthology called Godlike Machines, which will be published by the Science Fiction Book Club at some point later this year. I’m not going to give you the details of the story, because it really is best as a surprise, but I will say that when the anthology editor Jonathan Strahan approached me to contribute, I said “I will only if you let me do this,” and then I pitched him an absolutely insane story idea that no one in his right mind would buy. And of course he said yes, just to mess with my head. Bwa ha ha ha ha hah ha! So, trust me, it’ll be a good read.

Got it? Okay, here’s what I’m gonna do. When I’m done writing this story, I will head over to Lulu and put into bound form two copies of this novella, and then sign them. And then I’m going to give them away to two people who have:

a) donated to the Dewey Donation System this year, and

b) come back to this entry’s comment thread to tell me what they’ve donated and to which of the two children’s libraries that DDS is supporting this year (the ones at The Rockhouse Foundation and The Children’s Institute).

Everyone who donates something through, oh, let’s say, March 21, 2008, and then comes here to brag about it will be eligible for the drawing, which I will have by the end of March.

These bound copies of the novella will be two-of-a-kind (well, three-of-a-kind, since I’ll probably make a copy for myself too) and no more will be made, and of course, it’ll be the only way to read the novella prior to its publication. So, again: collector’s items.

But wait! There’s more! Both of the winners of the drawing will also get final published copies of Godlike Machines from me, which I will sign and send along once it comes out (I have a SFBC membership, you see. I can buy two copies). So you’ll get the pre-pub, copyeditor-nightmare edition, and the actual edition, too — which will come with other nifty novella-length stories from other nifty authors.

But wait! There’s still more! Dewey Donation System is doing its own set of giveaways as well, so by donating, you’ll be eligible for those, too. Honestly, there’s just so much win going on.

So, to recap:

1. You go donate a book (or other needed stuff) to needy children through the Dewey Donation System.

2. When you’re done, you come back to this comment thread and let people know how awesome you are for donating to needy kids, and detail your purchase. Everyone applauds.

3. You’re entered in a drawing to win a special pre-pub bound edition of my upcoming novella and a copy of the finish anthology, Godlike Machines.

4. You win (maybe), and are the envy of every person you ever meet from now until the very end of time.

It’s just that easy. And unlike the auction, you don’t have to spend a lot to play; you can donate a book for as little as $7 (although you can spend more if you want). And the donation still goes to an excellent cause.

I’ll bring this up again when the novella is completed and printed, and then when we get closer to the end of eligibility period, so don’t worry, you’ll have reminders. But there’s no reason not to get an early start. Happy donating!

62 Comments on “Novella Drawing for the Dewey Donation System”

  1. Have you considered auctioning multiples (5-10? 10-20?) of essentially the same item? Greater supply would reduce unit price, but would probably make up (or even surpass) in volume what you lose on each individual item.

  2. No. The idea is to make the items special and valuable; one or two copies is about right for that. Also, creating more than that starts competing with the actual publisher to some extent. And that’s a no-no.

  3. I said “I will only if you let me do this,” and then I pitched him an absolutely insane story idea that no one in his right mind would buy. And of course he said yes, just to mess with my head. Bwa ha ha ha ha hah ha! So, trust me, it’ll be a good read.

    Ha indeed. One of my favorite musicals of all times (“Urinetown”) started out as a completely outrageous idea so I think you are on the right track.

  4. Gimme a tough one, Scalzi! I just donated . . .

    –A Smart Girl’s Guide To Sticky Situations to the Children’s Institute.
    –A magazine subscription to the Rockhouse Foundation.

    Cheerio, sir.

    Get donating, my fellow bookpeople!

  5. What a great idea!

    I just donated “New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) – Stephenie Meyer?” to the Children’s Institute.

    If you don’t get many people donating I’ll come back and donate more. But I don’t want to take away everyone else’s chance to play. ;)

  6. I think I’ve donated to this the last 2 or 3 years…such a fantastic idea. I donated

    How One Little Polar Bear Captivated The World
    Germs Make Me Sick!

    The Knut one because I love polar bears and have a new appreciation for preschool books since the birth of my niece. The germ one because I work in public health and want to get the kids educated early!

  7. I can’t resist a good library story. I sent six books, one for each Scalzi book I own (or intend to own in the near future.)

    The books went to the Children’s Institute:

    1. Puberty Boy
    2. Puberty Girl
    3. The Skeleton Inside You
    4. What Makes Day and Night
    5. A Drop of Blood
    6. Sleep is for everyone

    They were off the grade-school book wish list and the titles just caught my eye.

    I used bring a box of books every quarter to a friend’s sixth grade classroom in Oxnard. The first box each school year always amazed the kids – some of them had never owned a book of their very own ever before. I always brought 10 more than there were students, so everyone got a choice and no one had to settle for whatever was left. Books are magic, and a child without books is missing a huge part of the magic of stories.

  8. I’m in! I donated:

    A paperback book ($13.99) to the Rockhouse Foundation
    National Geographic Our Fifty States to the Children’s Institute

    The more readers in this world, the better!

  9. I just sent
    -The Moon Seems to Change (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
    -Your Skin and Mine: Revised Edition (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
    -Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions 2
    -What’s Alive? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)
    to the Children’s Institute. What a really awesome and fun thing this is, thanks for pointing it out.

    I knew the auction would go well beyond my means – and I was really glad too. If it didn’t it would mean so much less would go to people who really deserve and need the money. Thank God I couldn’t afford it.

  10. John, thank you for doing this. What a great charity. I just donated

    Knights of the Kitchen Table (Time Warp Trio)
    The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy (Time Warp Trio)
    The Not-so-Jolly Roger (Time Warp Trio)
    Your Mother Was a Neanderthal (Time Warp Trio)
    (They had a 4-for-3 option and had great reviews, I couldn’t resist)

  11. Five titles in “The Bionicle Legends” series to The Children’s Institute. It was the only stuff labeled as “science fiction” I could find. Boys need to read too, and there was gods-a-plenty of American Doll and Miley Montana stuff on that list.

  12. I just donated Pirates (DK Eyewitness books) to the Children’s Institute.

    Everyone needs Pirates, especially children. Though I guess actual buccaneers would probably spoil a kids day.

  13. I donated way back on Monday 2/18 – does that still count? I sent four books to the Children’s Institute from their wish list:

    The Cat in the Hat
    Green Eggs and Ham
    How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
    Locas: A Novel

    It’s great that you’re helping encourage this!

  14. I’ve gone and donated two books to the Children’s Institute (funds are a little light in CarolTown right now):

    Curious George Cleans Up Spanish/English Bilingual Edition by H.A. and Margret Rey

    I Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker.

    Way to go, fellow bookish types!

  15. I love a cause that let’s me go book shopping. I donated “Cuckoo: A Mexican Folk Tale” by Lois Ehlert and “Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?: The Dangers of Global Warming” by Anne Rockwell to the Children’s Institute, and a book to Rockhouse Foundation.

  16. Put my name in the hat. I donated three “middle school” level books. Cat and I are doing the happy dance. Or at least, cat would be dancing with me if it were not beneath her dignity. Sigh, it’s so embarrassing to be a commoner sharing an abode with royalty.

  17. Sign me up, I just sent Holes by Louis Sachar, yes the Shia LaBeouf film, I mean the Tim Blake Nelson film, I mean the Sigourney Weaver film, I mean the Jon Voight film. Yeah, Jon Voight. Thats the manly choice.

  18. Apologies for poor direction following skilz – My donation went to The Children’s Institute.

  19. Will there be any way to buy this anthology other than rejoining the SFBC? After decades of membership, I finally quit them when I had a bunch of shipping and billing problems.

  20. This is an excellent cause. The more readers the world over, the better.

    I picked four books off the Children’s Institutes’s wish list for grade-school readers:

    “Dinosaur Days”
    “Welcome to Add’y World, 1864”
    “Real Beauty: 101 Ways To Feel Great About You”

    And just because Star Wars books were near and dear to my heart as a kid, “The Story of Darth Vader.”

    Kudos to you, Scalzi, for showing you like “teh kidz” and “reeding.”


  21. I donated a selection of R.L Stine Goosebump books to the Children’s Institute: Monster Blood, How To Kill A Monster, How I Learned To Fly, The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, My Hairiest Adventure, and My Best Friend Is Invisible.

  22. Oooh, I love this charity. It’s so fun to pick the books and you can see that your money is being used directly for the purpose they intended. Last year I donated books for Katrina recovery. Just now, I donated:
    Daddy Hugs 123 by Karen Katz
    Daddy Goes to Work by Jabari Asim
    Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
    to the Children’s Institute.

    Thanks for the opportunity to do good, John.

  23. Great idea! I bought a shirt and then sent the following to the Children’s Institute:

    My Big Dinosaur Book
    How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors
    Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp
    Dinosaurs Galore!

    Thanks for encouraging more people to support Dewey!

  24. I just donated four books to the Children’s Institute. The first two books I sent are old favourites of mine from my early days as a reader, and the last two are from the wishlist.

    But No Elephants (Once Upon a Time) – Jerry Smath
    Popcorn – Frank Asch
    A Smart Girls Guide to Boys: Surviving Crushes, Staying True to Yourself & Other Stuff (American Girl Library) – Nancy Holyoke
    A Smart Girls Guide to Friendship Troubles – Patti Kelley Criswell

  25. I loved that the Children’s Institute’s middle school list includes so many sci-fi/fantasy books! So I sent them:

    – The first two Lemony Snicket books
    – The Wolves of Willoughyby Chase
    – Unexplained: An Encyclopedia of Curious Phenomena, Strange Superstitions, and Ancient Mysteries

    Plus, I sent a childhood biography of Rosa Parks, just because I think she’s the ultimate example of how an average Jane can *literally* change the world.

  26. I just donated 2 Educational DVDs for Kids to the Children’s Institute:
    “The Scrambled States of America… and More Stories to Celebrate Our Country (Scholastic Video Collection)”
    “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel… and 3 More Stories about Trucks (Scholastic Video Collection)”

    Every kid should know about Maryann

  27. Kerry: I am so incredibly bitter that you beat me to Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel… I loved that story when I was a kid! I guess I have to find something else to donate now.

  28. Randomscrub: My father gave me his copy of that book when I was little (I’m now 50) and it was one of the very first books I bought for my son when he was little – he is now almost 12 and reading HP by himself.

  29. I ordered 7 books from the ‘grade school readers’ list for The Children’s Institute:

    Spider-Man 3: I Am Venom (Spider-Man)
    Howling At The Playground (Scooby-Doo Reader)
    Power Play (Bionicle Legends)
    Faster Than Fast (A Stepping Stone Book) (Cars movie tie in)
    Arctic Tale (Junior Novelization)
    A Hero of a Horse (Step into Reading)
    Recycled Crafts Box

    I looked for books under $5 so I could send more – and chose the crafts book to help the art program.

    Yay for donating!!

  30. I’m slightly bummed that I’m no longer totally in the lead on the sweepstakes, but very glad that everybody’s pitching in.

    A particular shout-out to those who have bought Bionicle books (and Spider-Man, etc.). It’s been amazing to watch my son (now 7) turn into a bookworm, but in a totally different way than his sister (now 10) did. When she was littler, The Girl wanted to read classic kid’s books like Charlotte’s Web. But Bionicles, Exo-Force, Spider-Man — that’s the stuff The Boy geeked on first, not “proper” children’s stories.

    (He’s now in a major Garfield-the-cat phase, which I’m trying to overlook / chalk up to childish enthusiasm.)

  31. To the Children’s Institute:
    The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1)
    My Rows and Piles of Coins (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books)
    Returnable Girl

  32. I donated a Nancy Drew Starter Set and The Poky Little Puppy Book and CD to the Children’s Institute. These were among my childhood favorites, so I’m always thrilled to share them with kids today! Hope to be donating more before this drive ends!

  33. To The Children’s Institute:
    Curious George Book & CD
    The Velveteen Rabbit Book & CD

    I chose these ’cause hey – semi-anthorpomorphic animals! Men in Yellow Hats! And because they were a couple of my faves as a kid.

    I donated to Pamie’s very first book drive (and the second one, I believe). It’s a great thing to pimp.

  34. I just donated 4 books to the Children’s Institute:

    – Bigmama’s
    – Smoky Night (Caldecott Medal Book)
    – A Little Bit of Soul Food (World Snacks)
    – Honey Baby Sugar Child

    Yay Dewey Donation System!

  35. I just donated 2 biographies to the Children’s Institute:
    –Nelson Mandela by Lenny Hort
    –Eleanor Roosevelt by Kem Knapp Sawyer

  36. What a great idea! I donated 2 books to the Children’s Institute:

    Frida Kahlo (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists)
    The Pop-Up Book: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating Over 100 Original Paper Projects

    I have the popup book and it’s amazing. It shows you how to make any kind of popup you can imagine. They wanted it for their art classes.

  37. I remember how important those first books were:

    Cat on the Mat (Step-Into-Reading, Step 2)
    Cat at Bat (Step-Into-Reading, Step 2)
    Elmo Says Achoo! (Step-Into-Reading, Step 1)
    Mouse Makes Magic: Phonics Reader (Step-Into-Reading, Step 2)
    Obi-Wan’s Foe (Jedi Readers)
    Sleepy Dog (Step into Reading, Step 1)
    Shiny Spooky Knights (Scooby-Doo! Readers, Level 2)
    Galactic Crisis (Star Wars: DK Readers, Level 4)

  38. I just sent $25 to the Rockhouse Foundation (for a craft book or whatever they deem necessary) and the Leapfrog Learning DVD 5-pack to the Children’s Institute for the age 5-7 tutoring program.

    And I think it was thru Pamie that I found your blog in the first place a few months ago. It’s just all a big circle of connectivity.

  39. I donated Multiplying Menace, Mummy Math, Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (And What the Neighbors Thought), Captain Underpants Collection, Fantastic Mr. Fox, all to the Children’s Institute. I’m so glad you’re publicizing this!

  40. In honor of my kids and the love of reading that the three of us share I have donated:

    Museum Shapes (how can learning shapes be better???)


    I Stink (hooray for garbage trucks!!!)

    I certainly hope these two awesome kids books inspire

  41. I love doing this – I sent Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney (I loved this book, so I had to get it), Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell, A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements, and Wringer by Jerry Spinelli. Amazon’s 4 for 3 deal is really nice when sending these books.

  42. This is probably the most fun I’ve had making a donation ever! To CI:
    -“When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth”
    Jamie Lee Curtis
    -“The Complete Adventures of Curious George”
    H. A. Rey-
    “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Pebble Books)”
    Helen Frost-
    “Lost In The Woods: A Photographic Fantasy”
    Carl R. Sams
    -“Those are MY Private Parts”
    Diane Hansen
    -“Say Please!: A Book about Manners (Backyardigans)”
    Catherine Lukas

  43. I donated Nancy Drew #22, The Clue in the Crumbling Wall.

    Doesn’t matter how old I am, I still love children’s books. Somehow Nancy Drew never gets old to me. The Dewey Donation System is a beautiful idea.

  44. I got as far as the grade school kids list, and sent these off to CI.

    Fat Cat (Fun With Phonics)
    Time For Kids: Bats! (Time For Kids)
    Time For Kids: Bears! (Time For Kids)
    Aliens Ate My Homework (Alien Adventures)

    Libraries are always a good thing.

  45. I had a Christmas gift certificate needing use, so 3 more books are on their way to the Children’s Institute via their middle school wish list.

    “Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy” – Rhoda Blumberg

    “Early Humans (DK Eyewitness Books)” – DK Publishing

    “The Transformers: Escalation TPB” – Simon Furman
    (Yay for librarians supporting graphic novels!)

  46. I donated to the Rockhouse Foundation before I saw this post, so the prize would just be in addition to the warm fuzzies I already have received… but I do like prizes. Thanks John for promoting this cause!

  47. I donated some rad pirate books!
    Pirates: Most Wanted – John Matthews

    Pirates – John Matthews

    and also
    Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood – Benjamin Alire Saenz

    These were to the Children’s Institute from the middle school list.

  48. I love being a part of the Dewey giving.

    This morning, I sent to the Children’s Institute:
    * If I Ran the Circus – Dr. Seuss
    – since I love a classic Dr. Seuss

    * Curious George’s Big Book of Curiosity
    – starting an animal theme

    * Jessica
    – not part of an animal theme at all

    * Pi-Shu: The Little Panda
    – again, part of an animal theme

    Thanks, John.

  49. I donated the following:

    Swiped (Orca Currents)
    by Michele Martin Bossley

    Babe The Gallant Pig
    by Dick King Smith

    Do the Funky Pickle (School Daze)
    by Jerry Spinelli

    The Book Thief
    by Marcus Zusak

  50. I donated $50 to the Rockhouse Foundation and came here to brag as per your instructions! They pick out the books they need so I can’t give a list which makes me think I should go back and donate to the Children’s Institute but how would I ever pick!??! So many choices. Thanks for your sponsorship.

  51. I just donated 12 books from the Middle School wish list.

    Gordon Korman’s Dive Trilogy

    Gordon Korman’s Survival (Island Book 2)and Escape (Island Book 3)

    Elvira Woodruff’s The Magnificent Mummy Maker

    Ann Rinaldi’s The Girl in Blue and A Break with Charity: A Story About the Salem Witch Trials,

    Coleen Murtagh Paratore’s The Wedding Planner’s Daughter Books 1 & 2

    Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13 and Dial-A-Ghost

  52. I just donated $25 to the Rockhouse Foundation. Perhaps I’ll scrape up some books for the Children’s Institute after my next paycheque…

  53. Hello John: This whole idea is great! I’ve been in love with books since I was about 4 and loved having the opportunity to help kids fall in love the way I did. I went a little crazy on my lunch and donated the following to the Children’s Institute:

    1 My Dog May Be a Genius
    1 Going Solo
    1 Rip’s Secret Spot
    1 Big Pig and Little Pig
    2 Big Brown Bear
    1 Come Here, Tiger!
    1 Rick Is Sick
    1 Big Brown Bear’s Up and Do…
    1 Lost!
    1 Pretzel
    1 The Great Gracie Chase:
    1 Long Night Moon
    2 My Best Friend is a Prince…
    1 Flashing Fire Engines
    1 Tough Trucks
    1 Tremendous Tractors
    1 Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Wh…
    1 Chewy Louie
    1 The Wind in the Willows
    2 The Wedding Planner’s Daug…
    1 A String in the Harp
    1 Hush Little Digger

    To everyone – keep up the fantastic work!

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