Friday, January 27, 2012

Tip #27: 4 Keys to a Successful Contest

In my opinion, a contest is different from a book giveaway. In a book giveaway, you’re giving away a copy of your book, most likely in connection with a blog tour or interview of some sort. In a contest, you are asking participants to do something in exchange for a prize. So the first step is offering a great prize. But that is not all. Even with a great prize your contest can be a flop. Trust me. In my very first giveaway, I offered a Kindle. Pretty cool prize, but I didn’t get a single entry. Here is why. I had no way of telling people about the contest. I only had friends and family on my facebook list. I had no newsletter subscribers. And I don’t even think I was on Twitter at the time.

The next time I gave away a kindle for a contest, I had over 450 sign up to win. I consider this a success. The reason it was successful, however, was because I teamed up with ten other authors. We combined our efforts to get the greatest response possible.

Since then I’ve tried what are called giveaway hops. (There will be a separate post about these later). The reason why these are successful is because there are hundreds of blogs working together to give away prizes.

The reason why I’m providing this tip early is because I plan on another big contest. Logic says I should team up with other authors or bloggers, but I’m a hardworking daredevil and I want to see if I can do this myself.

Keys to a successful contest:

1. Offer a great prize

For my big giveaway, I’m offering a Kindle Fire. Yeah, it’s expensive, but I’m using my profits to buy it and I’m hoping to get Priscilla the Great in front of at least 1000 new faces.

2. Make the rules clear and easy

There is usually a mandatory entry and then several optional entries so that people can increase their odds of winning. For me the mandatory entry is going to be following my blog. I will also have extra entries for blogging about the contest, signing up for my newsletter, tweeting about the contest.

3. Contact as many people as possible

Here is where it gets challenging. I don’t expect to just post the contest on my blog and wait for the masses to come. I have the email addresses of several hundreds of people who have won my books in the past and I will be sending them individual emails. I will also attempt to contact 100 bloggers and personally invite them to the contest. I also plan on posting to online giveaway sites. Let’s see how it works out.

4.Choose your winner

There are several ways to collect entries and choose your winner. Lately, I have become a fan of Rafflecopter. They keep track of the entries for you and even choose the winner. An alternative to this is Google Docs which you can embed into your website.

Sign up to win a Kindle Fire below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sybil, this is pure genius, GF! I'm still sorry I wasn't able to participate on that last kindle giveaway. And if you decide you don't want to go it alone, I'd totally join in! (Assuming no hospitalizations occur--knock on wood!)

  2. Sure! We definitely have to do some sort of YA giveaway this summer again.


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