The Contest Bandwagon – are you hoppin’ aboard?

A few months ago, blog contests happened here and there.

The contest would be part of a debut book launch. I get that. It makes sense. And I understand that when selling a book, you want to get the word out. So, I didn’t mind the list of hurdles I’d have to jump, just to enter the contest. I understand new agents wanting to draw attention to themselves by offering critiques of queries or opening pages. 

Shelli at Market My Words, and Elana Johnson, are holding separate contests, but promoting them together. They are not promoting a debut book launch, but they are doing more than offering a free book. They are helping writers. There are some incredible prizes having to do with agents. So, go check it out.

Outside of these two contests, lately, there are contests every week! And they are not for book launches. Bloggers are giving away books, maybe arcs, maybe not, and little nick-nacks.  Somewhere along the line, word got out that in order to grow your blog , a contest was the winning lottery ticket.  

My conclusion: If you are holding a contest to promote your forthcoming book or a friend’s book, or to help fellow writers, I’ll enter the contest and jump through all the million hoops that comes with it.

But, if you are holding a contest, just to promote your blog, I probably won’t enter.

 And whether you enter contests or not, remember – it still comes down to one thing when selling your book or signing with an agent.

Your writing.

17 Responses to The Contest Bandwagon – are you hoppin’ aboard?

  1. Heather Kelly February 15, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    In January, it seemed like everyone’s resolution was to have a contest. I entered a few, and promptly forgot that I had entered. But there are a few unique ones that I really like (like Jon’s–because it was creative and in the spirit of giving back!) And, I’m very excited for Shelli’s and Elana’s, in fact, when I started reading your post, I realized that I had planned on blogging about it today, but had forgotten. Drat. oh, well. Yes, I got over saturated by the contests this January. Except for the very coolest. Too much of a good thing, you know!

  2. Karen February 15, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    Laura, good point on giving contests just to promote a blog. Do you think that people get all caught up in how many readers they have?

    I’ve always wondered.

    It depends on what you’re trying to do I guess. But I heard that it takes a while to grow a blog following.

    And yes, the writing does matter — for getting the book deal and for getting blog followers.

    I always return to blogs with good writing and subjects. No contest needed to lure me! 🙂

  3. Laura February 15, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    Heather – Not too late to throw in a random blog post about the contest!

    Karen – Yes, I think it’s easy to get caught up in keeping track of blog followers. But, I for one, don’t want blog followers just because I ran a gimmicky contest. I’ll hold a contest when I have something to truly give back. I do understand giving away books to celebrate reaching a certain number of followers, but don’t make me jump through hoops to enter. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I reach that point, I’ll let you know. 🙂

  4. Jennifer Shirk February 16, 2010 at 2:02 am #

    Yeah, I agree. I’ll jump thru hoops for a good or fun contest.
    I’ve won a lot of nifty items thru the years!

  5. Laura February 16, 2010 at 2:10 am #

    Jennifer – Totally depends on how badly I want the book the contest is offering. 🙂

  6. Anna February 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    For a while I was undecided about blog contests. Then I actually won a book I’d been really wanting to read and it made me see them a bit differently. I know what you mean about people having contests only to promote their blogs, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having contests that give away things people actually want (like critiques or books that they’re itching to read). I’ve also discovered some really great blogs via contests, ones I might not have come across otherwise. So I think they can be great for both bloggers and readers, as long as they don’t take over the blogs.

  7. Laura February 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Good point, Anna. I agree, when the contest is helping other writers and offering arcs or a great book, I have no problem with a little blog promotion.

  8. Anita Miller February 16, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    I don’t usually enter contests. Jon’s was fun, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he creates.

    I don’t like jumping through hoops, either.

  9. Laura February 16, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Anita -I’m looking forward to seeing what Jon creates too. Fun.

  10. MG Higgins February 17, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    It feels like the blogosphere is inundated with contests and the more there are, the less of a fan I become. I tend to agree that it makes the most sense when you’re promoting a book, rather than increasing your follower base. Maybe I should want lots and lots of followers, but it just isn’t that important to me.

  11. MG Higgins February 17, 2010 at 2:38 am #

    That said, I do want to find out what’s up with Jon’s contest. You and Anita have me intrigued.

  12. Laura February 17, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    MG – He’s creating something, that’s all I know. I missed it, so I don’t know the details. 🙂

  13. Kelly Polark February 17, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    I like to think people have contests to support and give back to the writing community. Of course some are to promote the blog, but I think most are to promote other authors and illustrators.

  14. Robert Guthrie February 17, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    I think I’m a gater lurking in the water, submerged but for my eyes, watching and waiting until I’ve been blogging long enough to feel okay about contests. Except for Jonathan Arntson’s which have seemed obviously fun.

  15. Laura February 17, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    Kelly – I do hope you are right. I can usually tell the difference though. It’s a fine line to walk self-promotion without pushing it too far.

    Robert- I totally understand. Jon’s seemed to have been more community building, which is great. 🙂

  16. Sara February 17, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    I’m actually a pretty big fan of contests. While there IS the side of promoting your blog, it’s also fun to give things away (I think). I held one and gave away two really awesome writing/editing books. Books that I believe helped my writing immensely. And I loved passing them on to fellow writers. And I participate in most, regardless of the reason why a writer’s having one, because usually there are things given away that I want!

    Though that said I do think that blog contests are the new blog awards. Remember when those things started REALLY taking off and it was like all you read about for weeks at a time?? (not that the blog awards really ever died down). I wonder what’s next?

  17. Laura February 18, 2010 at 1:16 am #

    Thanks for stopping by Sara. I wasn’t blogging yet to realize that the blog awards was a wave that hit the blogosphere. But it all makes sense. And for the most part, I understand why bloggers hold contests. Every once in a while, the spirit behind the contest feels a little off, or maybe forced. And if nothing else, it gives you something to blog about. 🙂

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