Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bouchercon Auction - The Final Frontier

Bouchercon 2008 is over and so are the Bouchercon Auctions. Beth Fedyn, Cindy Tambourine and I spent a great deal of time on the auctions the last few months and it's difficult to remember the last time my office floor was clear of packages labeled "Media Mail". But it was well-worth the effort. We grossed $12,266 combined for the two auctions.

Our top bid of $1500 was for a character name in Laurie R. King's next book. Our top animal character was $900 for a guinea pig in Sandra Parshall's next book. And, oh by the way, she hadn't planned that little bugger in the book, but thinking on her feet, she did what she had to to support the auction. Sandra, you are a trooper.

Many people assisted us and we'd like to thank you sincerely.

We not only received wonderful donations from a generous author community, but many authors went above and beyond to help us during the auctions. Barbara Graham donated a gorgeous quilt table runner and her book: Murder by Serpents: The Mystery Quilt, and then chipped in many hours at the Silent Auction table giving Cindy and me timely breaks. Bill Cameron, Julie Compton and Julie Hyzy also pitched in their time. Sandra Parshall helped us at the Live Auction. I apologize if I forgot anyone. Consider it the result of Bouchercon burnout.

We also had great help from the fan community. At the Live Auction, Al Abramson, Carl Brown, Joe Vigna, Kate Buker, Jodi Bollendorf and Janet Costello pitched in, watching those colorful fan paddles raise the bids higher and higher. We had plenty of fans helping with the Silent Auction and unfortunately I don't have their names, but we thank them immensely. We also want to thank "Mystery Mike" Bursaw for the use of his credit card facility, which saved us a great deal of money.

We have to thank Chris Grabenstein and Donna Andrews for once again providing a brisk, efficient and funny Live Auction. Donna was under the weather and still persevered. Chris making a sentence out of Julia Spencer-Fleming's book titles busted my gut.

We have to thank Judy and Ruth for trusting us with the management of the auctions and for the support they showed us. We asked for a Silent Auction banner and the colorful paddles for the Live Auction and they didn't blink. I think those things helped make the auctions more special.

This was quite a different Bouchercon for Cindy and me. We loved working with Beth Fedyn and thank her for all of her efforts to keep us sane and on target.

We managed to have meals with some great people. At the Guests of Honor dinner Wednesday night at the Enoch Pratt Library we sat with Jon, Ruth, Mark Billingham and Reed Farrell Coleman. Mark was humorous and engaging, and Reed Farrell Coleman is one of the nicest people in crime fiction or anywhere. Spending Saturday evening with Chris Aldrich and Lynn Kaczmarek of Mystery News had us reminiscing about meeting on Compuserve in 1994 and in 1995 attending our first conference together: Eyecon in Milwaukee. Our Thursday dinner with Maddie, DJ, and the rest of the 4MA gang was great and we thank you for your company.

At the Silent Auction tables we were visited by a bunch of people whose names I recognize from Dorothy L and other groups, and we appreciate you taking the time to introduce yourselves.

Thanks everyone. We'll see you in Indianapolis.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bouchercon VI - A Last Update

Bouchercon Auction VII

I have time for this last update and then we’ll be ready to auction.

We’ve learned that Peterson Method handwriting is not the greatest skill many of our generous bidders possess. This can be a problem in the Silent Auction, especially when people with similar names are bidding. For instance, this year we have eight Andersons, 15 Johnsons, a bunch of Halls, Hills and Hales…well, you get the idea, I hope.

This year thanks to a great idea from Ruth and Judy, each Bouchercon badge will have a number on it. This is your auction identification number for the Silent Auction. So when you’re bidding, you’ll see a space for your name AND your badge number. Please use this when making a bid on an item. It will make our job a lot easier in identifying the bidders, and it will ensure that you are correctly identified if you are the winning bidder.

This auction stuff is a lot harder than we thought.