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When being Mom trumps being author: Brenda Novak uses her fame for others

Bestselling author Brenda Novak's titles include the Whiskey Creek series as well as other contemporary and historical novels.
Bestselling author Brenda Novak's titles include the Whiskey Creek series as well as other contemporary and historical novels.
Cover art courtesy Brenda Novak; graphic by Mary Beth Magee

Bestselling author Brenda Novak uses her success on the written page to raise funds for diabetes research with an annual auction that draws support from around the world, both writers and non-writers. The month of May means the auction goes live with donations of items in all categories, including things for writers.

When her 5-year-old son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Novak went into action mode. She looked at various fundraising methods and began an auction. In 2005, she was discouraged by the low turnout at an in-person event and turned to the online auction model demonstrated by companies such as eBay.

Novak has raised over $2 million over the years. By using the online traffic she generates through her author website, Novak has attracted bidders to the auction and built a potent group of supporters for the cause of finding a cure for diabetes.

Her online auction items include writing conference packages, jewelry, clothing, food, books, as well as meet-and-greet concert packages with well-known performers. Aspiring authors can bid on training programs and time with editors. The donations come from her fellow writers, publishers, editors, entertainers and others who want to help raise money to solve the problem of diabetes.

One of the most impressive prizes is an opportunity for a book endorsement from Novak herself. She limits herself to one such endorsement per year and this auction provides the only avenue to obtain it.

Another opportunity for readers to support the cause is a “boxed” set of eBooks from fourteen bestselling authors available for sale at $2.99, with the total sale benefitting the research program. All proceeds from the auction go to the Diabetes Research Institute, an organization doing cutting edge research toward a cure.

“When I was dreaming about it, I remember thinking ‘Gosh, if I could just raise a million dollars in my lifetime…,’” she remembers. “Now we’ve passed the $2 million mark. I…am in awe. I know that it isn’t me. I really feel like there have been blessings from heaven.” Her target for this auction is $500,000. With ongoing items and one-day only auctions, there’s something for everyone t Brenda Novak’s Online Auction, running through May 31.

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