@akathereader Wins, and Thoughts About Contests/Promo
The winner of the Let It Snow release day contest is…@akathereader! Look how happy she is, all puffed out in her rainbow. And she’s in Arizona, so she’s so much warmer than me right now. OY, IOWA. So, Carolyn, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll hook you up with whatever it is you’re wanting most from the list of choices.
So, speaking of contests and choices.
That contest yesterday was unplanned, which you could probably tell because it got confusing. This is why I hate contests, because they get so insane so fast. I’ve heard mixed reviews about Rafflecopter, and not much about alternatives. I love the idea of contests, though, because it’s fun to give things away. Plus there’s this joining thing going on, where I feel like everyone is doing a contest so I should too.
Readers, how much do you care about contests?
Do they get your attention? Do you find them fun, or are you sick of them? Do you ever feel like the influence you to buy a book or annoy you so much that you don’t?
I guess I like giving them, but I hate them too for the same reason I never enter, because the not winning always makes me bummed out, and I’m always bummed for the people who don’t win, which in this contest was a lot of you. I don’t enter contests because part of me is still eight and gets wounded when my poster isn’t metaphorically picked. Well–scratch that. I enter writing contests, and that’s fine for whatever reason, but somehow things like books to read and iPads and random things make me nuts. Too much Randy Jansen in my head, hating the crappy odds.
On the other hand, I couldn’t ever give everyone a prize, and I suppose one would argue the best way to reward everybody would be to write a free short or something.
It’s hard because there’s this huge push to promote, except we have no idea what we’re doing, really. We’re all throwing shit at the wall and hoping it sticks. I am constantly torn about the review drives (the asking people to post reviews on Amazon, et al, which is apparently the new black). It really does seem like number of book sales plus reviews is the way books rise or fall on Amazon, for one. Except I am both idealistic and oppositional defiant enough to hate to ask for reviews. Even when I give someone an ARC I always say, “It’s okay if you don’t review it.” Because it is. I always want things to be organic. I don’t do the weird inflating twitter follow things, or the like-for-like FB pages. I take a lot of pride in the fact that the nearly 2000 people following me on twitter and the close to 800 FB page likes are all actual people who chose to be there. Except I think a couple Rafflecopter things have messed that up–though I’m assuming if they’re tired of me they’ve left the building.
But at the same time, I know that my idealism is one of my greatest faults. What if even 70% of those Rafflecopter adds have turned into people who found out they love my work? What if it helped them decide I drive them nuts without spending money on my books—still a win to me, because I never want a reader who doesn’t want to be there. (See above idealism.) And if Amazon really is ranking by reviews, then am I not serving my book and my publisher by not doing my best to make it as big as it can be? This is to say nothing of the fact that reviews, everywhere, help readers decide what to buy. Though I guess if the deck is stacked with positives, it’s less helpful.
I really don’t know, and I’d love to know what readers think. I mean, I could say I’d write a free short out of the universe of fan’s choices based on a poll if everyone added enough reviews to X book of mine on Amazon…but I kind of don’t want to. I totally want to write the story, but I don’t want to say “GO POST REVIEWS TO DRIVE MY NUMBERS.” Every time I’ve thought about something like that my skin crawls a little. If I knew it would be a true balance, that there would be a bunch of “It’s okay,” reviews on there too, then sure. Let’s review the whole world! Except if I ask for reviews, how will that balance ever happen? Now, if the Goodreads reviews automatically aggregated, that’d be okay with me. Because there’s always someone on there one or two starring going I DIDN’T LIKE IT WHY DID EVERYONE ELSE DAMMIT and weird as it is, I kind of always high-five those people in my head. They’re keeping it real, man.
I suspect I shall forever remain stuck between not wanting to game a system and needing to play the game. I just have to figure out how to do it. I want to do it my way is the only thing I know for sure. I am kind of really hoping Carolyn asks me to write a scene instead of getting a book because it sounds like all kinds of fun. (That is no pressure, Carolyn! You do what you want.) In yesterday’s newsletter (where I stupidly said the wrong date for Special Delivery: it’s Feb 4, not April 4) I put out a call for people who were interested in helping or hearing about helping with promo for the re-release of the series and the new book. I don’t know what I want this little tribe to do yet, but I”m so excited about it.
I guess for me at the end of the day when someone emails me or tweets at me or whatever and says, “Your book made me happy,” I get happy. I usually don’t know what to say and say something lame, but in that moment I’m back at the drugstore in college buying romances to save my soul, except this time I’m on the other side of the mirror. I want to celebrate that.
I guess that’s what the promo is all about, making sure anybody who can get that hit off my work is able to do it. Maybe I have answered my own question. The right promo for me is what enables that and allows me to stand there and still feel pure, whether or not that purity is something I actually require. Because I know people who encourage and reward reviews, and I respect the hell out of them both as artists and people, so apparently this is a standard I have only for myself.
This means, though, that I really want to know what you want. How can I make you happy with promo? What will give you that bubble of joy not that sad sense of “damn it, I didn’t win AGAIN” or at least mitigate that? I can’t promise I can do it all, but I can sure try. Please do let me know. If you don’t want to leave a comment, email or PM me or something. Just be aware that I am sometimes slow with PMs and sometimes I read them on my phone then forget to go back and answer when I have a keyboard. As I think some of you have figured out.
Now I must get up to 45k on my NaNoWriMo novel not yet at par and then go bake a million things. But thanks in advance for your comments. And thanks for reading, whether you buy or borrow, whether you review or not. Just thanks, ’cause you’re awesome. ❤