The Sugar Quill
Sugar Quill Community
- S.P.E.W (SQ History)

Fan Fiction and Writing
- Ask Madam Pince
(Story Submissions)
- Floo Network (Links)

Forums

Administrative Links

Dumbledore's Army

The Sugar Quill's Frequently Asked Questions (F. A. Q. )

Last updated: April 21, 2007

History and Community Life

What Does It All Mean?

Stories and Fan Art

Participating in the Sugar Quill Forums

Fund Raising and Charity

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History and Community Life

Who operates and makes decisions at the Sugar Quill?

Zsenya and Arabella started the Sugar Quill, which officially opened on January 5, 2001. Zsenya is responsible for design and technical issues, as well as monitoring the Sugar Quill email. Arabella and Zsenya make the final decisions on content together, along with assistance from Deputy Headmistress Moey, Goodwill Ambassador B Bennett, Elanor Gamgee (also known as "Cap'n Kathy), and Jedi Boadicea.

The Sugar Quill has grown so rapidly that we've had to enlist our friends to help. There is now a team of ten to fifteen official beta-readers at any given time, as well as numerous Sugar Quill volunteers who come together to help new members find their way, and to help with technical aspects of the website. For more information about the "Headmistresses," "Professors," and "Forum Ghosts," please visit the Staff Room.

In July, 2002, with the wonderful help of Instorn and James of PCHost4U, the Sugar Quill was able to move to a new server and content management system, to help accomodate the growing story archive. We decided to move away from our original gold background layout, although anyone wishing to take a trip down memory lane may view it here. During the summer of July 2002, a host of volunteers helped to categorize and archive important old posts and theories to help create the SQ Gringotts reference section.

Please remember that the Sugar Quill is run by volunteers. As much as we love this place, we have to pay our bills in other ways. We try to be as attentive as possible, but if you contact us and don't hear back right away, don't be concerned - we'll catch up with you as soon as we can!

For more information, please read The Sugar Quill: A History by Magoo, Rocky, StereoM, and Doctor Cornelius with assists from TheRealMaraJade, Manu, Asia, and GinnyPotter. For other historical links, please visit our S.P.E.W. page.

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What kinds of people post here? Is this the place for me?

All sorts of people gravitate towards the Sugar Quill, although all are connected by a common admiration for J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series. You can gain insight into the members of our community by reading through their member profiles on our forums. If you feel comfortable, introduce yourself! We have all made valuable friendships since the beginning of the Sugar Quill and we hope to see that tradition continue.

Although created in fun, the S.P.E.W statement and the Daily Affirmations there help to define the boundaries of our site. We started the Sugar Quill for our own pleasure, and not to become the official Harry Potter fan site or FanFiction.net. If you believe that Draco and Hermione belong together, you are welcome to say so, and you may start a civilized debate, but most people here probably won't agree with you.

There are hundreds of Harry Potter fan sites on the Internet, and if our mission doesn't appeal to you, we'd be happy to recommend others. We providelinks to several on the Floo Network and at Flourish and Blotts.

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What is the main purpose of the Sugar Quill?

Please read our Terms of Service and our S.P.E.W pages in order to understand the main purpose of the Sugar Quill.

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How do I become a Beta-Reader?

This is a question that we are asked quite frequently. Beta-readers are selected based on their proven ability to write, and their availability and willingness to beta-read.

Becoming a Beta-reader is a big investment. Eventually, all Professors are required to obtain the official "Sugar Quill" tattoo... :)

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What Does It All Mean?

I'm new! How do I find my way around?

There are many sections to the Sugar Quill, and sometimes it might be difficult at first to find your way around. The Sugar Quill is divided into two major sections - the Forums, which consist of our discussion boards, and our reference pages.

Some of the major sections are described below:

The Sugar Quill
  • F.A.Q. - You're here! This is where you can find answers to most of your questions.
  • GringottsSQ - This is our vault. Our archive. Still growing, Gringotts SQ contains an archive of important discussions that have been held at the Sugar Quill Forums, as well as essays about the Harry Potter universe by our members. Important links include:
  • S.P.E.W. - The Sugar Quill's Purpose of Existence on the Web. Learn about the history and guiding principles of the Sugar Quill!
    • Glossary - The Sugar Quill glossary helps newcomers understand some common Internet terms, and phrases that are used primarily in fan communities, as well as many that are unique to the Sugar Quill!
    • The Good Ship R/H - A place where all good R/H shippers can feel welcome.
  • S.Q. Literacy Project - An ongoing charity drive that raises money for First Book.
Fan Fiction and Writing
  • Ask Madam Pince - Visit Madam Pince if you'd like to submit a work of fan fiction for beta-reading and consideration at the Sugar Quill.
  • Floo Network - Grab some powder and prepare to visit other Harry Potter fan fiction sites, websites dedicated to the Harry Potter books, transcripts of JK Rowling chats, and links to help you with your writing, such as an English-Latin dictionary and the Encyclopedia Mythica.
  • Flourish and Blotts - Finally! You've found the fan fiction. Stories from all of the authors archived at the Sugar Quill may be found here.
  • Search Our Stories! - What it sounds like. If you want to find a story quickly, visit our search engine.
  • Staff Room - If you knock politely, you can visit the staff room and learn more about the official Sugar Quill beta-readers.

Stories and Fan Art

What kinds of stories do you accept?

As the Sugar Quill is a selective archive, we have provided a series of guidelines to help authors determine whether or not their story fits into the Sugar Quill community.

The Sugar Quill will no longer be accepting unsolicited submissions from new authors. If you do not already have a story archived at the Sugar Quill, you may try your hand at a fan fiction challenges in the 87 Rolls of Parchment forum. For more information on our story selection criteria, please Ask Madam Pince.

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How do I submit a story to be beta-read?

The Sugar Quill will no longer be accepting unsolicited submissions from new authors. If you are an existing author, please use our Ask Madam Pince form.

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How do you select new authors?

The Sugar Quill's Flourish and Blotts Fan Fiction Archive is a selective story archive. Although part of our mission is to help writers improve, we also look for stories that fit within our story submission criteria, written by authors eager for feedback, both negative and positive, and always honest and well-intentioned.

At present, the Sugar Quill has a team of beta-readers who will be actively soliciting and inviting new authors to our website.

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I'm under thirteen. Why aren't I allowed to submit a story?

To comply with United State's Federal Trade Commission's Children's Online Privacy Act, The Sugar Quill may not accept posts or stories to beta read from children under age 13. This is for our protection as well as for yours; please see the document at http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm for more information

The Sugar Quill will only post stories it feels are appropriate with regard to age of writer, content of material, etc.

For more information, please see the Sugar Quill's Terms of Service.

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My beta-reader returned my story to me, but I don't agree with all of her comments. Do I have to agree with everything they say?

No! Of course you don't. If a beta-reader points out spelling and grammar errors, then it makes sense to listen to them. Beta-Readers and authors both have certain responsibilities.

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I finished correcting my story and now I would like to archive it at the Sugar Quill. How do I do that?

Go to the Ask Madam Pince page.

Fill out the form, and check "Yes" to the This chapter has been beta-read and is ready for posting box.

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I am writing a story that has many chapters. Do I need to fill out a form each time?

Subsequent chapters of any work in progress may now be sent directly to the beta-reader in an email, without using the Madam Pince form. However, after the chapter has been beta-read and is ready to post, the author must use the Madam Pince form to submit it for uploading. You do not need to write out the story summary a second time, but you do need to select "Yes" from the "This chapter has been beta-read and is ready for posting" option.

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I have some fan art. How do I submit it?

For existing Sugar Quill authors:

In general, we do not seek out fan art, although we do occasionally ask fan artists to post on our site. However, if you are an author who already has a story archived at the Sugar Quill and you have created some illustrations to accompany your story, we try to post them. To post art relating to one of your own stories, please use the Ask Madam Pince form. Art submitted must be in JPG or GIF format and be no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side. Art submitted should be finished works, not just sketches on lined notebook paper. If you have a great rough sketch, and would like help developing it into a finished piece, please visit the Enchanted Paintbrush

For other artists:

The Sugar Quill's Enchanted Paintbrush is a forum for the study of art as it relates to Harry Potter (and in general!). Please visit them for an in-depth discussion of fan art and drawing technique. If you participate in the discussions, and the moderators there feel that your art should be archived at the Sugar Quill, they will recommend you to us for the fan art archive.

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What is the difference between the Professors' Bookshelf and the Library?

The Professors' Bookshelf and the Library are two author classifications that may be found in the Flourish and Blotts archive. Authors/stories on the Professors' Bookshelf include stories from Sugar Quill professors as well as the professors' favorite stories. Also included are stories by authors who have shown great improvement in their writing after working with a Sugar Quill beta-reader.

The Library is the repository for all authors who have not yet been moved to the Professors' Bookshelf. All Library authors have also worked with Sugar Quill beta-readers. The bottom line is that every story here is fun to read, so take your pick from either list - you won't be disappointed!

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What is a N.E.W.T and how do I get one?

At the Sugar Quill, a N.E.W.T. is similar to what it is in Harry' world. Many authors have improved significantly over the past year. Your beta-reader may award you a N.E.W.T. That means that we feel that you are responsible enough to perform quality checks (spelling, grammar, punctuation, characterizations, etc.) on your own. It is very important to have at least one other person look over your story, but at this point it does not have to be a Sugar Quill faculty member, although you are welcome to continue to ask your SQ beta-reader for input.

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How do I review a story?

At the end of each chapter is a form. You can fill out as much or as little personal information as you would like, and enter your review in the box below.

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A comment on reading, writing, and reviewing.

Reviews are a tricky thing; they can either crush or elate an author and must be read wisely. Posting one's story in public means opening oneself up to criticism. Be as open-minded as possible when evaluating your reviews (we know it's hard when the story is your baby). Honest reviews from intelligent readers (the only kind we have here at SQ :) can be awesome tools if a writer allows herself or himself to be open to them. Reviews are not, however, a measure of success or failure, so there's no sense in counting them. So writers - be smart writers. Ignore the needlessly cruel remarks, revel in but consume with a grain of salt the overly enthusiastic reviews that declare you the greatest thing since sliced bread, and keep writing. Be smart readers as well, and leave the kind of reviews you hope to find left for your work.

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Participating in the Sugar Quill Forums

What are the Sugar Quill Forums?

The Sugar Quill Forums are a place for Sugar Quill members to discuss writing, the Harry Potter books, the Harry Potter movies, and anything else that might strike their fancy.

* Active discussion forums and subforums

  • Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!: The Forum Formerly Known as S'up Figgy? and Before That Formerly Known as Parseltongue. A place for off-topic rambling and discussion.
  • Wotcher, Quillers!: (formerly Summits and Meetings) A place to plan and report on Sugar Quill gatherings as well as other travels and adventures...
  • Potterwatch: The home of the Sugar Quill's official SQodcast. Turn to 8.7 on your WWN dial!
  • The Great Hall: A forum for those Sugar Quill members who want to stay at the Sugar Quill for the holidays. This forum is only open on very special occasions.
  • The Pensieve: Discussion about fan fiction and writing in general
    • Subforum: Hogwarts, A History (Something you need to know for a fic? Ask the Sugar Quill experts here!)
  • SQ Book Club - a place to discuss books other than Harry Potter!
  • 87 Rolls of Parchment - Forum for short and sweet writing challenges
    • Subforum: The Unexpected Task. This is a place for fan fiction writers to write a note to their favorite fan fiction characters! Other contest forums may also be included in the future.
    • Subforum: Anthology: This forum aims to produce an anthology of stories called, "The Labours of Ron."
    • Subforum: Hermione's Inferno: Each chapter represents one task/test/trial which corresponds to one level or sublevel of "Dante's Inferno
  • Room of Requirement: (Formerly called Kreacher's Cupboard). Visit here to find what you are seeking, but only after you have read through the F.A.Q. The place to post questions to issues/problems/suggestions on and about the forums that cannot be found in other places. The Forum Ghosts will do their best to answer quickly and accurately.

In addition, the following forums comprise the Archives - these forums contain old discussions which members are welcome to read; however, no new posts are possible. There is still plenty of good stuff to read in there!

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How do I register?

You may register for the Sugar Quill forums by clicking this link. The Sugar Quill Administrators must approve all registrations. After you choose a user name, your name will be added to a list of "validating" members. The next time that an Admin logs into the Sugar Quill, they will approve or deny your new registration.

Please bear in mind that you may have to wait up to 72 hours before your account is approved. Please be patient! We do this to stop "trolls" from creating fake accounts that could potentially cause problems on the site.

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User Names

When registering for a user name, we ask that people first check the member list to make sure that no one else has the same, or similar name as you do.

We also ask that you choose an original name. As of July 1, 2003, we ask that you not use a Harry Potter character name as your user name (for example, "Remus Lupin," "Sirius Black," "Nymphadora," or "Mundungus."). It is okay to use the character names together with another word, if you really want to, such as "Mundungus Smith," but we'd really prefer it if you used a more original handle. Names that contain profanities or offensive language will be deleted.

Registering under multiple user names is NOT allowed. If you would like to have your user name changed, you may email the Admins and make the request. If we discover that the same person has registered using several different names, we will delete ALL of their accounts. The Sugar Quill is a growing community, and multiple user names confuse the heck out of us.

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Language

Not sure why everyone at the Sugar Quill is talking funny? Why does everything seem to end in "x"? Take a minute to look at the Sugar Quill Glossary to learn some of the more common Sugar Quill slang!

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Behaviour in the forums...

At the Sugar Quill, we all strive to be as polite and understanding of each other as we can. Flames of any kind will not be tolerated, and may result in a user being deleted or banned from the Sugar Quill forums. In addition, we ask that people steer clear of specific political or religious discussion, as it has been known to cause dissent and unhappiness in the past. This is not the place for that. We have had a few threads on specific religions on the Parseltongue forum, and they've worked out well, but we ask that people keep their beliefs to these specific threads.

Why can't I start a new topic?

Because the Sugar Quill has grown in size over the past several years, it is impossible to keep the discussions organized if all members are able to start new topics. Instead, members may post a new topic suggestion in the "New Topic Suggestion" threads that are pinned at the top of the forums. Forum Ghosts review the suggestions and time the new topic postings so that members can have a chance to reply thoughtfully to a limited number of new topics at a time.

What is a PM (Private Message)?

Members of the forums may send private messages (PM) to other members by clicking the "**PM**" link at the bottom of a member's post on any topic. The message will be seen only by the other member and not by members of the forums at large (although it is fair to point out here that Sugar Quill administrators have access to the text of PMs at all times, if there is ever abuse of the system). Forum members may store up to 20 private messages in the inbox in their control panel.

We do not intend the PM system to be a primary form of communication between members. If members become friendly and wish to carry on a detailed correspondence, we ask that conversations move to private email or to a chat service, such as AIM or MSN. Not only are they probably more reliable, but they will help us cut down on bandwidth. We cannot guarantee that your PMs will be in your mailbox for eternity...

How do I get a special title under my name?

How NOT to get one...

  • Whining
  • Asking politely

How TO get one...

  • Wait for a Sugar Quill Professor's Inner Eye to call it out to them in their sleep.

Posting Guidelines

The following topics are inappropriate for the Sugar Quill:

* The Frivolous Space Filler

Examples:

Subject: I just ate two candy bars in a row!

Subject: What color socks <excuse us - SOX> are you wearing today??

* The Pat Me On the Head (also known as the Tell Me I'm Brilliant in the Face of Adversity) thread

Examples:

Subject: My English teacher gave me a C on my last book report! I'm never EVER writing again!

Subject: My aunt told me I'm pretty but I hate the way I look! Here's my picture - don't you agree I'm ugly?

* The I Don't Really Want Your Advice, I Just Like to Start New Topics topic (may be of the Personal Crisis I'm Going to be Melodramatic About variety):

Examples:

Subject: HELP ME!!!!

Poster A: Story idea! Ginny gets kidnapped by Neville, who is evil. Harry has to save her! What do you think? Is this a good idea? Would you read it?

Poster B: No, I don't think it would work, unless you can justify why Neville would do something like that. As is, it sounds very out-of-character for Neville. Do you have any other ideas?

Person A: Sorry you don't like it, but all of my friends told me it's a really great idea, so I'm going to write it!

Subject: My brother is such a JERK!

We had a whole box of Twinkies in the pantry and he ate them all and didn't even give me ONE!!! Mom bought those Twinkies for BOTH OF US!! I'm seriously <excuse us - siriusly> at the END OF MY ROPE! I'm going to RUN AWAY!!

Discussions that will be allowed (and encouraged!):

* Any discussion that offers intelligent discussion or are legitimate requests for advice, particularly on writing:

Examples:

Subject: How do you deal with criticism?

My English teacher gave me a C on a book report, which initially upset me - until I actually bothered to read her comments and admit to myself that they were valid! Now I'm trying to work on improving some of the things he suggested. My question: how do you handle criticism?

Subject: A Mary Sue Dilemma

I'm writing a story about a new character that moves to Hogwarts during fifth year. Well, I'm afraid she's turning into a Mary Sue. Does anyone have suggestions to help me restore my character's originality?

Subject: Summer job advice (Outward Bound)

I'm 17, and I have two options: work at my usual retail job, or take an Outward Bound course, which my parents have offered to pay for. My question: has anyone attended something like this, or can anyone offer me information on the program?

* Discussions that are of national or world interest:

Examples:

Subject: Drought

It hasn't rained here for 300 days now! I've never seen Maryland this dry! Any tips on water conservation! Anyone got any water you can lend us??

* Discussions on Significant Personal Triumphs or Events:

Examples:

Subject: It took me five years, but I finally got my degree!

Subject: My first child was born Tuesday! (click here for gloating and proud parent photos!)

Pinned Threads

At the top of each forum are several "pinned" threads. These are threads that are commonly used, and have been pinned to be at the top of the page. Some examples include:

* Large, Sticky, Chocolate Cake - there will be one birthday thread at the Summits and Meetings board. When you register for the Sugar Quill, you have an option to enter your birth date in your profile and make it public. If you do, it will show up at the bottom of your screen in the "Today's Birthdays" table. Anyone who wants to may wish that person a "Happy Birthday!" in that thread.

* Coming and Goings - there will be one thread at the Summits and Meetings board where members can post announcements about prolonged absences and "hellos" when they return. If you want to talk about a vacation, or let everyone know about a kewl place in general, you may start a new thread. If you just want to let us all know that you are moving and will be out of touch on email for several days, please use the new official thread

Just general posting guidelines:

1. Limit your signature line to six lines of text, or images no larger than 50 pixels high (your total signature should be no larger than about an inch and a half).

2. If you respond several times to a thread, please only post your sig line once per every ten posts or so (it keeps the boards from getting cluttered).

3. Many treads at the Sugar Quill are very long. Before posting to a thread, please scroll through the most recent 3 or 4 pages at least to see if your comments/concerns have already been addressed.

4. Please refrain from using "Net Speak." For example: Wuld some1 xplane 2 me how 2 post my storEZ?

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Why can't I type "Herm-own-ninny"? And why does everything end in X?

Because it's funny. And because the Sugar Quill administration have added what are known as "word filters" in order to change some words into others when they are typed at the forums.

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Who are the Forum Ghosts?

The Forum Ghosts are the Sugar Quill's team of forum moderators. Like the Hogwarts ghosts, these teams of moderators float through their assigned forums, making suggestions when people stray away from the topic, or violate the posting guidelines. The Forum Ghosts are to be respected and treated the same as the Headmistresses and Professors. If you have a problem or concern with an action taken by one of the Forum Ghosts, you may send us an Owl or you may post a message in the Kreacher's Cupboard forum.

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Are there any disciplinary procedures at the Sugar Quill forums?

The Forum Ghosts try to make sure that everyone who posts messages on the Sugar Quill Forums follow the posting guidelines, which are listed above. The Sugar Quill's disciplinary procedures help to guide the Forum Ghosts in determining action. The Sugar Quill reserves the right to suspend or Banish any member who fails to follow the posting guidelines or respond to the disciplinary procedures below.

Step 1 - Determine if a post is inappropriate.

A post is inappropriate if:

a. it violates our general posting guidelines

b. it is 'psuedo-intelligent flame bait' - the poster has legitimate and on-topic comments, but his or her manner is provoking/insulting

c. it is clearly flame-bait (pure nastiness with no legitimate attempts at conversation or on-topic commentary)

The actions are:

For a. delete/edit post and notify poster as to inappropriateness, follow-up monitoring of poster (user may be put on probation if commits 3 more times)

For b. delete/edit post and notify poster that they are on probation or use Banishing Charm on poster (see Step 2 below)

For c. member may be banned.

Step 2 - Probation or Banishing

If a poster is put on probation, he or she gets one (1) chance to straighten up before a very strong Banishing Charm will be used.

Step 3 - If the member doesn't shape up, then they ship out on the bad ship Evil.***

***Some people are just evil. If our evil detectors figure it out early, we may put the person on probation or ban them at any time.

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Chatting

If Sugar Quill members would like a place to meet and chat, they may do so using the Chat feature on the sugarquillchat Yahoo Group that we have set up for that purpose. You must sign up for Yahoo Groups to participate.

There are other ways to chat with friends, including Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, and MSN Messenger. When you sign up for the Sugar Quill forums, you may fill in your user names for each of these programs if you wish. In that way, others will know how to contact you and chat with you using those programs. To find out another person's chat IDs, simply click on their names in the forums, and you will be able to read their member profile.

YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO FILL IN YOUR CHAT INFORMATION. Please think carefully about whether you want your IDs to be known to everyone at the Sugar Quill.

For basic information about registering for the Sugar Quill Forums, please view the help files.

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Fund Raising and Charity

What is the Sugar Quill Literacy Project?

The Sugar Quill Literacy Project is a charity drive organized by the Sugar Quill. We are selling T-shirts with our site's name printed on them, in order to raise money for First Book. First Book is an organization that gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. JK Rowling is an inspiration to us as writers and as people. Her generous authorship of Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has raised a great deal of money for Comic Relief, UK (an excellent organization that primarily funds famine relief projects). We wish to follow in her footsteps. Her Harry Potter universe has given us The Sugar Quill, which in turn has given us (and many of our members) a lot of joy. It's time to give back.

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How do I support the Sugar Quill?

It costs $200/month to keep the Sugar Quill up and running. As you probably know, the Sugar Quill is supported solely by your contributions in the form of checks, credit card or ordering through the sites with which we are affiliated.

No matter how you choose to help us, please be assured that all contributions go to support the site. The professors that run the Sugar Quill do so on a volunteer basis and none of us profit financially from our involvement. We want you all to know that we appreciate your help and that we wouldn't be here without you. Any additional funds will be kept to contribute to software/hardware that might make the Sugar Quill a better place in the future.

There are several way to support the Sugar Quill.

* Order from Amazon.com or Amazon.com.uk using our special search boxes. We will receive a percentage of anything you buy after connecting to Amazon.com from our search boxes.

Search the U.S. site! Search the U.K. site!
Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com
Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.co.uk

* Order Sugar Quill merchandise from Cafe Press.

* You may also make a direct contribution to the Sugar Quill. You make a secure credit card donation through PayPal. To do so click on this button.

* If you do not wish to use PayPal, and wish to make a secure credit card donation, you may also do so via our Amazon.com account:

 

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

THANK YOU!

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The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

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