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Biz Blog: Ideas for Promoting a Contest?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ideas for Promoting a Contest?

I actually wrote this about a month ago, but it has some information you, as a fellow publisher trying to promote your ebooks might like to mull over. Again, this is in keeping with my favorite quote from despair.com:  "Maybe the sole purpose of my existence is to serve as a warning to others."

(originally written sometime in Sept. 2012)

Well, on this journey together, perhaps you've had a successful contest to promote your book because mine isn't going as smashing-ly as I had hoped. How did I get this crazy contest concept spinning in my cranium?  I was actually looking around for websites that parents might go to find books for their children and what should I find, but the  the AMAZING Reading Rockets website.  Clicking around,  I was instantly attracted to those little boxes that tell you there's a youtube video on this site.  The videos posted at Reading Rockets had adorable pictures begging one to click onto even more adorable videos.  Never being one to want to re-invent the wheel, I thought:  "I can have a children's video contest, too!"  I'll run a google ad and ask for video re-enactments of my ebook, "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy" and voila', hundreds of entries will come tumbling out my email inbox.  I worked really hard on contest's webpage, purchased just the right prizes, set the deadline to coincide with International Left-Handers day (August 13) since Lucky is left-pawed, listed it on Facebook, Twitter, updated my facebook business page and on and on.  Result:  NOT ONE ENTRY so far. 

So I went to the place where I post some essays and articles, hubpages.com and learned this much at least:

1.  Never charge an entry fee.  (So my requirement that parents purchase the download-able, narrated ebook for $3.99 so that their child could actually ACT OUT the Lucky story on video was apparently too much to hope for).  I have since offered a FREE download.  The cost of the prizes that I thought would be covered? You guessed it.  I changed my goal from earning money to earning name recognition.  iii !

2.  Don't ask for a video to be made unless the prize is REALLY big.  After contemplating that advice, I changed my submission requirements to INCLUDE:  a drawing, a song on an mp3 file, a written little summary or report of "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy" or ANY creative way of re-telling Lucky's story.

Update on the contest:  I never did get ONE response to all that hard work.  If anyone has any promotional ideas, be a sport and pass them along this way.

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