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.