Charity Drive for Con or Bust: An Audio Version of “John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular,” Read by Me

UPDATE, 8/29/15: Donations top $10,000! The audio is up! (Update 11/17/15: And so is the song!)

UPDATE, 8/28/15: As of 1pm today, the donations to Con or Bust — not counting my $500 matching gift — are $6869.17. Which is, uh, more than the $2,500 goal! Whoo-hoo! The audio has been recorded, and will be released Monday.

Now we are going for:

STRETCH GOAL: If the donations to Con or Bust reach $10,000 by 11:59 (Eastern) Sunday, August 30, 2015, I will commission or write a ditty with the title “John Scalzi is Not Very Popular,” in which my various perfidies and shortcomings are to be enumerated — in song! You know you want this to happen. So keep donating!

Plus: If the $10k is reached today (Friday, 7/28), I will release the audio as soon as we hit that goal line.

And now, the previous version of this entry, which explains everything prior to the update:

Short version: To benefit Con or Bust, a charity which helps fans of color attend science fiction and fantasy conventions, I will make an audio version of John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels, a parody of an actual book by a certain obnoxious bigot who is obsessed with me, if $2,500 is raised for Con or Bust by 11:59pm (Eastern), Sunday, August 30, 2015. You can donate to Con or Bust here. To goose the giving, I will gift-match for the first $500 in donations.

Somewhat Less Short Version: So, there’s an obnoxious bigot who is obsessed with me who the other day released a poorly-edited ebook on the subject of “social justice warriors” and how generally horrible they are, and allegedly (as I have not read the work), I am featured in the ebook quite a lot, because, again, the obnoxious bigot who wrote the book is obsessed with me.

So “Theo Pratt” wrote a parody of the ebook, entitled John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels. Here’s the writeup on it:

Everyone knows that SJWs always lie, but few know why they lie, or at whose bidding, or for whose benefit. While other books may claim to tell you how to take down the Thought Police, only one book is taking the fight right to the top.

Yes, from the mind that brought you the popular blog feature Sad Puppies Review Books comes this definitive takedown of the internet’s culture of Social Justice as embodied by the man who controls it all:


Read this book to learn everything you need to know about Social Justice Warriors, their tactics, their treachery, their perfidious entryism. Topics include:

* John Scalzi’s blog is not that interesting and no one reads it.

* John Scalzi does not understand satire as much as I, Theophilus Pratt, understand satire.

* John Scalzi did not get me, Theophilus Pratt, kicked out of the SFWA.

* John Scalzi’s deal with Tor was not a very good deal.

And more!

I love it already.

Basically as soon as its existence was made public, people started asking me to do an audio version of it, because that would be meta, wouldn’t it. And (with the permission of “Theo,” aka Alexandra Erin), I said fine — if doing so could have a positive benefit. In this case, raising money for Con or Bust, a charity which works to bring fans of color to science fiction and fantasy conventions (and yes, donations are tax-deductible in the US*).

So, the deal: If Con or Bust raises $2,500 by by 11:59pm (Eastern), Sunday, August 30, I will create the audio version of the John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular. And because I’d actually like to do it, because I think it would be fun and because I like the charity, I will gift-match for the first $500 in donations. You can donate by going here.


Is this like a Kickstarter? 

No! You’re straight up donating. If we don’t make it to $2.5k, your donation will still go through. So you’ll want to encourage everyone you know to donate so you get the audio. There’s risk! But I suspect we can between us cough up $2.5k in three days, no?

If this succeeds, where will the audio be? 

I’ll post it up here. The ebook is fairly short (28 pages) so it’ll be a manageable file size.

How will you accomplish this mighty task?

I have a microphone and recording software. It’s not rocket science.

When will the audio be ready?

Probably very soon afterward, because it’ll be short.

Why Con or Bust?

As I said, it’s a worthy charity with admirable goals, and also it’s run by people I know and trust.

Blah blah blah something something just giving the obnoxious bigot oxygen blah blah.

Whatever. This is a fun way to help foster diversity in science fiction and fantasy fandom while making fun of a jerk. I’m in.

Thanks and let’s do this thing!

* It’s been suggested that the Carl Brandon Society, under whose umbrella Con or Bust works, let their tax-deductible status lapse. I’ll check into that. That said, Con or Bust is run by Kate Nepveu, who I’ve known for years and who I know has the best of characters. Your money will go to where she says it will. Remember, I gave $500 of my own money. I have no doubt it will be well spent.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

222 replies on “Charity Drive for Con or Bust: An Audio Version of “John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular,” Read by Me”

Long time Scalzi reader, first time Whatever commenter, donated because this is both a most hilarious and worthwhile cause. Can’t wait to listen to the audiobook.

I’ll probably be snipped. I just want to chime in that Alexandra Erin’s reviews were my favorite part of the Hugo season. Also, I got a signed Joe Hill novel through Con or Bust and the money went to the charity. They do good things.

Donated! Not much, but gotta support this for any number of reasons. How recursively meta can something get? There are so many angles to this one I think it’s moving into tesseract territory.

I kicked in a bit. I look forward to listening. :)

I do think you are missing out $$$ by not having a progress bar. That’s really the ‘secret’ to kickstarter (and Dean for America 2004 for that matter). I helped with some fundraisers for a open source project in the noughties. At one point we lost the fundraising bar because we weren’t just a “dude with paypal account” anymore but had joined a larger legal structure. That really killed donations.

Heh. Just donated $100 with the memo “This is in support of Scalzi’s challenge on his blog to raise funds for an audio version of “Scalzi is not a popular author”.” Spouse and I both have Con Or Bust t-shirts, both of us have bid on and won C or B auction items, and it’s a great organization, so this was an easy choice to make.

The funny thing is that I have never in my life actually purchased or listened to an audio book. Not my thing, I prefer the hardcopy version. But the opportunity to tweak the noses of the puppies – and especially the HMFIC of the Rabids – is just too good to pass up. I may never actually listen to the audio version. But Con or Bust just got $100 from me because Mr. Scalzi is a good guy, so there’s that.

Enjoy home, family and pets, sir. We appreciate you and what you do.

Somehow I don’t think it’ll take until Sunday to meet the goal.

If we raise double the amount will you record it again but in a nasally whiny voice? ;)

Also, to everyone, a big surge of donations is awesome, but even awesomer (especially for those who feel like they can’t spare much right now), I did see a nice little “make this recurring monthly” checkbox. If you can only spare a few dollars, but can do it monthly, that would be great and can easily wind up helping more than a single larger donation. Something to keep in mind.

In for $30. Now I need to submit for an employer match. (Which I don’t expect to count towards the $2500; I’m not even sure what the matching percentage is these days. But I can use some of their money for good rather than evil.)

Also, if we double it, John should record a version on helium.

I am officially committing to another $100 if John commits to doing Chapter 5 Mark II in Helium voice. Actually, no — the risk of actual death is too high here. Rethink…got it.

I am officially committing to another $100 of John commits to doing Chapter 5 Mark II in Helium voice for the first sentence of each paragraph. He may continue in regular voice after that, because I am not committing to his death by asphyxiation.

I’ve kept a running total, summing up listed amounts and assuming about a $10 donation for everyone who just said they donated. Looks like it’s crossed the $2500 dollar mark, not even including John’s $500 match, and in under two hours since announcement. Yeah!

In for $10 for now, more later. Did not know about Con or Bust – thanks for making it more well known. Sasquan was the 1st ever con this white guy went to. I expected a much more diverse racial group than I saw. So all for helping increase attendance of non-white peoples.

In for a bit – thanks for letting us know about Con or Bust! I’ll be back to see them again after payday. What a brilliant idea for a charity!

Though I admit – I am having a mental slice of Schadenfreude Pie right now. Only a mental one, mind. I’m fat.

Ari. B., according to their About page, Con or Bust is administered by the Carl Brandon Society, which is a 501(c)3. They don’t provide their EIN, though, which you might need to get your employer to kick in.

I hope it’s not too far off topic to say thank you to everyone for helping making John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular the number one Amazon e-book in Parodies, and number two in Political Philosophy. (Guess who that puts it right behind?)

Happily donated $20 for a great cause. I’ll be buying the book and I look forward to the audio version; I’ll listen while sipping tea from my Insect Army mug!

$20 added. I couldn’t stop laughing at this development. Thanks Mr. Scalzi, for continuing to find constructive and positive things to do in opposition to your foes.

I hope you’ll announce just how much you manage to raise? And also, people suggested reading parts of the book under the influence of helium, I’d rather hear you under the influence of sulfur hexafluoride. It’s way more bad-ass!

Woohoo! I donated. I have NEVER BEEN to a con and at over 60, the clock is ticking. Bucket list – Attend con where Scalzi is speaking. And a preview of the Scalzi-written MOVIE (one can dream).

$20 donated with instructions: This is for John Scalzi’s audio book charity drive.

Thanks for matching!

Someone should really tell Mr. Pratt that perfidious entryism is an insult to honest duplicitors everywhere :P

I can kick in a small amount of cash. You should also narrate an “Afterword,” entitled: “How John Scalzi Takes Bad Pictures of Parking Lots, While, I, Theo Pratt, Traveler Extraordinaire, Take Much Better Ones”

In for $50 but I didn’t add anything in the memo section.

To steal an idea from another fundraiser, if we exceed your goal, will you get Mary Robinette Kowal to read a passage in her “phone sex” voice?

Drat you, Marion Deeds, you beat me to suggesting MRK’s phone sex voice,

In for $5, but I made it a recurring monthly donation, so that should be $25 by the end of the year. (and continuing on from there….)

$5, and sorry it’s not more. Think I missed the memo field on the donation form, though – it was formatting oddly on my tablet, or I hadn’t had enough coffee, or something.

Looks like a heartbreaking work of staggering genius!

But… if I may say so without being intrusive, you really need to find a better class of person to be obsessed with you, John. The current obsessive is a very disappointing sample of Arch Enemy. I feel sure that if you sit absolutely still and do nothing, you can find someone better to obsess over you.

If you didn’t put anything in the memo field, your donation won’t get credited to this fundraiser. But I got an email confirmation, so if you forgot to mention the fundraiser, you could email them back and let them know.

I was in the audience at the reading/signing in the Madison Library. I believe you might be one of the few authors I’ve heard read who actually has a flare for it. A little humor, a little schadenfreude, a little charity — Thank you for doing it this way.

Yeah, I had a formatting problem too, so no memo. I’d let it slide, because there will definitely be a reading (yay everyone!), but it seems important for every voice to get counted here.

Dear all,

You’re amazing. I am super-grateful.

Please don’t stress if your donation doesn’t mention this fundraiser. I’m crediting every donation that comes in during the time-frame (except the handful of T-shirt orders) towards this total.

(That note on the main donation page is because the vast majority of donations come in at auction time, and matching up payments with auction items is far easier if everything is labeled appropriately.)

I will post an update at the end of today, if not sooner, regarding the progress toward the stretch goal!

Thanks again,
Your friendly neighborhood Con or Bust administrator

Not that that family-money bastion of White Male Privilege and self-loathing closet case twerp Beale doesn’t deserve everybody on Earth slapping some respect into him, Scalzi, but tell the truth – wouldn’t you both rather settle this in the ring at Wrestlemania?

Damn, I love this. I think everyone who donates and everyone who gets to the con because of this particular effort needs a tees that says “John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author” and a honkin’ huge-lettered “SJW” on the back. Imagine a few hundred of those wandering around…

In for $100. Also bought the book. There are currently 3 one star reviews of the book – two are from butt hurt puppies but one is a complaint that the book isn’t about the REAL meteorologist John Scalzi but some other guy. I love that review!

If you do not commission Filthy Pierre to accompany you on the new song with his organ you will forever be sorrowful at that lost opportunity. It could become a con tradition!

“UPDATE, 7/28/15:” Proof! Proof that this whole situation is a sinister conspiracy hatched last month by you liberal marxist social commie justice warriors.

Count me in. Bought the book, donated $25.

I couldn’t donate a lot right now, just few bucks, but since our finances should be in recovery by next month (fingers crossed), I signed up for a monthly donation for that amount.

Guidestar is talking legitimacy in regards to actually being a tax deductible organization under the rules of the IRS. The CBS certainly seems to be legit with regards to actually DOING THINGS.

Absent anyone explaining further I would simply assume that they failed to do the needed paperwork to keep their 503 status; the CBS website doesn’t claim to be a 503, that’s only on the Con or Bust website. I think Kate Nepveu needs to sort this out – it’s pretty uncool to make people think they’re making tax deductible donations if they’re really not.

Personally I’m still going to give to things like this – and I did, here – regardless of their tax status; I’m not giving at the amounts I do for larger charities where it would matter to my tax planning. But it sure sounds like the CBS needs a volunteer to take on getting their bookkeeping sorted out.

My brain is not working after 11 hours of coding. Would someone be so kind as to point me to a place on their site that shows total donations?

I think you all are being had.

Why would the Carl Brandon Society NOT want to be a 501? Perhaps because of the reporting requirements, especially how much of each dollar donated actually goes to funding POC convention going?

Does anybody personally know of any Persons of Color who attended Sasquan though Con or Bust?

“The Carl Brandon Society, which administers Con or Bust, is a 501(c)(3) organization, and therefore your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.” Sez so in my e-mail where they gave a headsup that the donation had arrived.

That said, I also bought the book, because at this point, why not? In for a penny, in for a pound.

Dorien, I don’t know anyone who attended Sasquan through it, but it’s not specific to Sasquan. It started with WisCon in 2010, and opened up to all cons after 2011.

I do in fact know people who received funds for WisCon through its auspices. It has a 6 year history of delivering the results it promises, which is why I immediately thought of it when John Scalzi suggested a fund drive was in order.

Just spoke to the IRS. According to them, the Carl Brandon Society’s 501(c) was revoked as of May 15, 2013 and NO contributions to the Carl Brandon Society made AFTER August 12, 2013 are tax deductible.

The IRS official also stated that there is no record of the Carl Brandon Society acting as an “umbrella” for ANY organization. He didn’t even know what that meant.

Call them yourself if you want. 877-829-5500.

You are being had.

I, too, have friends/acquaintances who have been able to attend F/SF conventions all over the U.S. and occasionally overseas as a result of help and support from Con or Bust. Con or Bust is a completely legitimate organization that is doing exemplary work enriching the genre by bringing a more diverse group of fans to the con-going experience.

It is a fine, fine choice for this particular endeavor, and I am delighted to have another good reason to support their mission.

I claim no knowledge as to their organizational structure, Dorien. I do have direct knowledge that they do what they say they do. I agree that it’d be better to have official clarification about the tax-free status about the donations, but I’d point out that “umbrella” is a descriptive term, not a legal one.

Dorien, you are not defining your terms. You keep saying “being had” because the CBS has forfeited its 501(c)(3) status because of paperwork violations. That’s a real problem! But it’s not evidence that Con or Bust is defrauding donors. Multiple people in this thread testify that they do in fact know fans of color who have gotten help from Con or Bust. And I personally know Kate Nepveu, the administrator, to be a person of unimpeachable character. (It does sound like she needs to update the website PDQ though.)

Against the personal testimony of people that the money is going where it is supposed to go, your evidence-free assertions that Con or Bust is defrauding donors don’t convince.

And this last bit does not excuse any slipshod reporting by the CBS or misimpressions donors might get about tax status of their gifts from the C-O-B website, but:

It is hilarious that an obvious follower of Vex Doh! is deeply concerned about someone’s good standing with the US Internal Revenue Service.

In addition: I would like to assure everyone that I had no idea that there was any question about the Carl Brandon Society’s IRS status, that I am looking into it, and that in any event, 100% of all donations to Con or Bust are spent directly and fully on grants to fans of color to attend SFF cons. I donate all of my expenses, such postage and web hosting, and the Carl Brandon Society donates PayPal fees and other administrative costs.

$9,057.17; unfortunately I cannot stay awake until midnight, or indeed any longer, but will update John as soon as I can in the morning so he can determine if the audio gets released early.

(Donors who haven’t gotten acknowledgment emails yet: I’m hoping to be able to include an update on the tax status and will send them soon.)

Just in case anybody was curious, the Carl Brandon Society has been around since the late 1990’s to promote and support SFF authors of color. Con or Bust has been around for quite some time and everybody involved in convention fandom knows who they are and what they do, which is to help non-white fans and particularly non-white SFF authors to be able to participate in convention fandom. The CBS also runs the Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship, which helps writers of color attend one of the famous Clarion Workshops where Butler got her start.

And no, nobody is going to explain to you, in a SFF field that has been kept to 80% white authors, why these are good things. You should know already.

I’m looking forward to the audio edition and the song.

Over on file770, someone suggested that John read the book and mispronounce his own name as he does so. I suggested he pronounce it ‘Scaleezi’, as in ‘mother of CHORFS’. Then someone thought that would make a great t-shirt. Anyway, the book is hysterical and if he can read it without breaking down and laughing, well, he’s a better man than I am.

In for $20, bought the book. Frankly, if Vox were TRYING to make Scalzi more popular, he could not be doing a better job. Not to mention how awesome Con or Bust is and how much he must hate it. Fandom: turning lemons into sweet, sweet lemonade :)

“I will commission or write a ditty with the title “John Scalzi is Not Very Popular,” in which my various perfidies and shortcomings are to be enumerated ”

Wel,l Vox Day won’t be needing that little blue pill the night this comes out.

(oh and bought the book just now as well)

Good morning, everyone. The stretch goal of the ditty is very close: as of this moment, the total stands at $9,607.17, from 317 donations (my spreadsheet-fu isn’t good enough to pull out unique contributors from that, since a few people have said they’d donated again). Thank you to all of you!

Donated $20 and purchased the book as well! Thanks for this opportunity to contribute to fandom. *chortling quietly while reading the comments as I don’t want to scare the cat*

John, just FYI The Carl Brandon Society shows up on Guidestar as having its 501c status revoked for failure to file the necessary returns. If you know anyone over there who could get that straightened out it sure would be great. I wanted to propose the Octavia scholarship for a grant but I can’t while the Brandon Society’s status is in question. I sent them an email months ago but never got a response. Thanks in advance if you can let someone know.

Please note I am not in any way questioning the legitimacy of the society ai believe it is absolutely a legit organization with laudable goals and I do understand that admin can fall by the wayside in short staffed orgs. It just would help some of us out a whole lot if the t’s were crossed.

Good morning, everyone. Two updates: (I meant to post this here last night as well, my apologies for overlooking it)

Donations continue to trickle in as people listen to the audiobook, and right now the donation drive stands at $10,987.59, plus John’s matching donation.

Which is so amazing that I can’t come up with a description word besides “amazing,” which seems rather inadequate, but I hope it will do on a Monday morning. Thank you all so, so much.

Comments are closed.

Exit mobile version