Charity Auctions for Characters: A Novel Strategy?

Actually I prefer Laura Lippman’s dress, but this one from Let’s Make a Deal has a llama!  And a Zonk!
Actually I prefer Laura Lippman’s dress, but this one from Let’s Make a Deal has a llama! And a Zonk!
Another nice thing about this year’s Bouchercon was that several of the events benefitted St. Louis libraries. Swell items were donated for the live auction where the charming bowling savant Mark Billingham worked as auctioneer, alternately cajoling, shaming, and fanning the flames of covetousness. Laura Lippman served as show hostess, displaying the merchandise and only occasionally sprinting off with it (a calendar full of firemen, in heels, no less—she wore the heels, not the firemen). She also won a character in Charlaine Harriss final Sookie Stackhouse novel with a wow-final bid on an auction hot enough to steam the glasses of delighted librarians countywide.  Another highlight of that event was meeting cool Tweeps and our own PopCultureNerd, Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, who waved me to a nearby seat and almost bid $300 in the process. 

If you don’t know how this works, when you “win a character,” it means you’ll show up by name in some future novel by the author. Some authors made pledges to work with the winners to find mutually agreeable story placement.  Some swore not to care in the least, and to leave winners pants-down dead in a barrel of rubber chickens if they saw fit. Which gave me an idea. Since it’s for charity and the author will feel incredibly obliged, I’d love to win any character and then introduce myself:

“Great to meet you! Big fan. Can’t wait to see my name in your book. Let me write that down for you. I’m Chlamydia Mc*Authorname*-Suqx.”


  1. Cat Eldridge

    For services rendered, I became a character who was an ethnomusicologist in Jane Yolen’s The One-Armed Queen. It was quite a thrill.

  2. Clare 2e

    Unless I’m wrong about the meaning of the word ethnomusicologist, that sounds like an reputable appearance, as well as a thrilling one.

  3. Elyse Dinh-McCrillis

    I’m SO relieved that meeting you didn’t cost me $300. Thankfully, my friend Lauren did a full tackle and sat on me before I could wave again. When bidding to be in Charlaine’s book got up into the thousands, Lauren yelled, “Statue!”

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