Tag Archives: contests

Promotional tools question redux

6 Jun

Some of you guys may remember that way back when (seven weeks, people!!!) I asked readers to share their perspectives on what types of promotion by new-to-them authors has worked for them, as readers.

What motivates you to give a new author a try?

How does often that translate into the discovery of a new “waiting to check out new releases asap” author?

So far, most of the responses to the original post were from authors—and while it’s true that writers are readers first, it’s my opinion that being published (e or print) colors their view of what truly works.

As emily veinglory said (at some point in the past over at ERECsite, I’m paraphrasing here), there’s many a new author who was completely unaware of even the existence of promotional materials (bookmarks, character cards, what have you), let alone the need to have any, until after they joined a professional writers’ organization. And once they did, they were told that these things a) are essential and b) work.

But do they? For Jane Ordinary Reader, do they really work?

So, I’m going to ask again—everyone, regular posters and lurkers who are readers:

Please post, either in this thread or in the original one, telling us what has worked for you. (If you are shy, you can always tell me privately at azteclady1 @ gmail.com)

Interviewing Shiloh Walker (take two)

3 Jun

Welcome again, Shiloh!

Through the Veil, your newest release, has a crossover appeal—romance and a mix of science fiction/urban fantasy/paranormal flavor. You have said that you have a hard time labeling this novel, and that it was very difficult for you to write it. If you had to describe, in ten words or less, the ideal reader/target audience for this book, what would those words be?

(You gave me a word count-that’s cheating… and words in parenthesis don’t count) Probably paranormal romance readers and maybe urban fantasy readers.

You’ve said that your husband inspired this story, could you share what you mean by this?

He did. 😀

Okay, so I bruise easy. Always have. There is no medical reason for it… I just bruise easy. And I’m a klutz, so I pick up new bruises all the time.

One morning, I woke up and my husband noticed this huge bruise on my hip. He sighs, shakes his head and says, “People are going to think I beat you.”

A little while later, he comes up and tells me, “You need to write a book about this woman who wakes up with all these bruises and she can’t figure out why. Turns out she’s being sucked into another world while she’s sleeping and she’s fighting a war there.”

I think… hmmmm… I can do that. And I did. It just took a few years. 😀

Why was this novel so hard to write for you? Was it the world building, i.e. keeping the internal consistency of this universe’s rules while allowing for plot twists, etc.? Continue reading

Interviewing Shiloh Walker

29 May

(nota bene: This is the very first time I attempt interviewing anyone, please be kind, okay? Thanks!)

Shiloh, thank you so much for agreeing to be my guinea pig… erm, for being with us today. You have a new book, Through the Veil, coming out next Tuesday from Berkley Sensation, and I’m going to ask all sorts of questions about it later on, but first I’d like to be nosy about other things, if you don’t mind?

😀 As long as you don’t ask about my sex life, how much money I make…. Fire away, Aztec.

Although it may seem a bit too coincidental to ask this now, it’s something I’ve been long curious about… How did you come to choose your nom du plume?

Well, it’s Scottish and I love anything Irish, Scottish, Celtic… I don’t know why but when I was trying to pick a name out, Walker just sort of jumped into my mind. Then I needed to find a first name. I’d see Cheyenne McCray’s books on EC, and I loved the feel of her name, so to speak, and was thinking of something with a similar feel, I guess. I was skimming the internet for something, I don’t even remember what, and SHILOH sort of jumped out at me. It was in reference to a church, a city, something, I can’t remember. Started thinking… SHILOH WALKER… huh, I like that.

So voilà…! Shiloh Walker was born.

You’ve said elsewhere that you don’t like having your picture taken and posted online. Would you give us the Cliff Notes of why this is so? Continue reading

Courtesy or professionalism?

24 Mar

Generosity vs business sense (promotion).

During the discussion of this piece, the question of whether author contests/giveaways are done out of generosity, or as part of promotion efforts for the author’s book(s), was raised. Obviously, the only person who can answer it categorically in each instance is the author herself.

However, for the audience looking in, particularly for a new visitor to the site or blog, what matters is the professional side of the person behind the name. Regardless of whether an author’s motivation to hold contests/giveaways is friendliness, generosity, caring, or whatever else; she will likely be expected to behave professionally when interacting with readers or other authors under her professional name.*

That, in my opinion, includes adhering to deadlines set by the author herself; i.e., if you say you’ll post something on a specific date, not doing so could be considered unprofessional (particularly if no explanation or apology for the delay is given, and/or if such behaviour is habitual). I also think that it should definitely be the author’s choice whether to hold contests or giveaways or not, and under which specific conditions and circumstances—really, there’s no question there.

From what I gather, Continue reading

Contests as a promotional tool (again)

20 Mar

After reading some of the comments to my previous piece (over at Karen’s blog), I realized that I didn’t make myself very clear—or perhaps it’s that I pointed out issues I see without giving alternative solutions. Allow me to correct that oversight here with some other ideas—including those suggested by other readers who commented *tipping hat to you, guys, thank you*

= Flexibility –set a beginning and end date for the readers to participate, but give yourself a few days after that to post winners (e.g. “Contest open from Monday morning to Tuesday at midnight, blog-time; winners announced on Friday;” or “Contest open only (day of post) and winners are announced through my monthly newsletter”—or any combination or variation that works for you.)

= Be clear on the parameters of the contest (e.g., Only one entry per household; cheaters will be automatically disqualified; winner(s) agree to post an honest review at a blog/reader forum/your choice—see Shiloh Walker’s rules here and her contest disclaimer here, for example) Continue reading

Contests, promotion, professionalism and choices

16 Mar

(This one spawned a rather heated comment thread when first published at Karen Scott’s blog)

Please note that I am not naming any names because I’m trying to address a general issue. It’s neither about pointing fingers nor embarrassing someone. Perhaps naïvely, but I hope what you are about to read may help authors maximize their promotion efforts.

First, allow me to present three different scenarios, all seen around the blogosphere in the past month or so:

Scenario A

A couple of days after I wrote this piece, I happened upon one of the blogs where I won—and never received—a couple of books last year. I have learned since that this is one of the biggest multi-author blogs around. Being intrigued by that, I started following the blog again for a few days. (Yes, I know I have too much free time.)

I read a few of the posts and posted a few comments, etc. and started noticing what I perceived to be a pattern. Some authors would post a contest but not determine an end date, or if they did, said date would come and go without announcement of the winners. Since this was related to the issues I wrote about before, I mulled it over and finally, the light bulb flashed! So I emailed this to the blog admin: Continue reading

Contests, promotions, class…

22 Feb

Not too long ago, an author asked what readers liked about contests. Scavenger hunts? quizzes? random draw? etc. And, are contests a good idea, or are readers bored of them?

There were, as you can expect, as many different favorites as responses to the question. The common thread, though, is that readers like contests—and the prizes that go with them. From the responses, and as a reader myself, free books and gift certificates are the clear winners. A well thought out and strategically advertised contest will draw readers, and even if only one or two win something, the rest would have talked about it to friends, sent the link to the author’s blog/website, mentioned the book(s)—and created buzz.

And really, word of mouth is not only the cheapest promotion tool, but also one of the most effective ones.

A couple of very smart authors (full disclosure: they’ve both given yours truly ARCs of upcoming releases) ask winners to review the book somewhere (their own blog, a friends’, a message board, somewhere). Both of them ask specifically for an honest review—no gushing if the reader doesn’t think the book deserves it. From where I sit, that’s a very savvy way to handle it. It lets the reader off the hook in one way but, by implying trust, also ensures the reader feels honor bound to do her/his best to fulfill these requirements.

So, yeah, by and large, contests are a good idea.

Unless they backfire, of course. And here we get to the flip side, albeit in a roundabout way (I’m constitutionally incapable of brevity, in case you hadn’t noticed yet). Continue reading