How to Sell More Books: Run a $1,000,000 Contest!

by 44 replies
"But I don't have $1,000,000 to give away as a prize," you're saying. That's okay. You don't have to. Neither do the businesses who offer those $1,000,000 "hole in one" prizes to their staff and clients at corporate golf tournaments. They aren't paying for that prize out of their own pockets, either.

Here's how it works...

All effective sales strategies start with a goal and a plan. Decide how many books you want to sell (whether it's an e-book being sold online or a paperback being sold in a traditional "bricks and mortar" bookstore) and the date you want them sold by. For example, maybe you want to sell 100 books within the next 30 days. Guesstimate how many people would have to see your book in order to sell that many (e.g. if you think you can sell to 10% of the people who see your book, then you will need to attract 1,000 people to view it in order to reach your goal).

Next, you need to Google the specialty insurance companies in your area to determine how their contest and prize structures work and what it will cost you to run the contest. In my experience, it usually only costs a couple hundred dollars (your specialty insurance premium) to offer an insured prize of $1,000,000 to X number of people. The price may vary with however many chances to win you offer to however many people. No worries. There's something there for everyone's budget.

Your contest headline may read something like this: The first 1,000 people to view and like this book on our Facebook page before such and such a date (30 days from the contest opening date) will each have a chance to win $1,000,000! And you can offer them a discounted price or rebate of some kind if they also buy a copy of your book at the designated bookstore. But no purchase is necessary to enter the contest.

Think about it! What an incredible incentive to get someone to notice your book! The chance to win $1,000,000! And if they like the book, they can buy it. If you can attract 1,000 people to view and like it, chances are you'll sell those 100 copies and meet your goal. You may even sell more.

It's a great way to drive sales more quickly. When your buyers are sitting on the fence, trying to decide which way to go, a contest is a fantastic way to pique their interest and get them to jump off that fence into your yard ahead of your competitors' yards.

Give it a try.
#offline marketing #$1000000 #books #contest #how to sell more books #run #sell #specialty insurance
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  • Profile picture of the author quadagon
    In your example how would the winner be selected?

    In the golf example you are insuring against an unlikely event taking place -same with rolling a yatzee.

    What would you be insuring against here?
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by quadagon View Post

      In your example how would the winner be selected?

      In the golf example you are insuring against an unlikely event taking place -same with rolling a yatzee.

      What would you be insuring against here?
      These insurance companies have their calculations in place to figure out the odds of winning, and they base their prices on those odds.

      One contest I've run in the past is called the Ultimate Visible Vault Challenge. Google it, and you'll see how they figure out their prices based on insurance statistics.
  • Profile picture of the author northwish
    This is great! Have you ever done something similar for yourself?
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by northwish View Post

      This is great! Have you ever done something similar for yourself?
      Yes, it definitely generated more interest in my company. I did the Ultimate Visible Vault Challenge. Google it, and you'll see how it works.
  • Profile picture of the author themikerogers
    That doesn't work. AT ALL.

    Prize insurance is available when the odds are that the House will win. This is how game shows make money. Think "The Price is Right" or "Wheel of Fortune".

    If you give everyone that buys a $10 book 3 chances to win, the House doesn't have a chance to win at all. Someone is going to win $1,000,000!

    Prize insurance would not be available. Not a single company would underwrite that.

    Hole-in-one chances are like 3000-to-1, so prize insurance would be available. Trust me, I have golf tournaments like 3 times per year and offer $1m hole-in-one prizes.
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      [DELETED]
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

      That doesn't work. AT ALL.

      Prize insurance is available when the odds are that the House will win. This is how game shows make money. Think "The Price is Right" or "Wheel of Fortune".

      If you give everyone that buys a $10 book 3 chances to win, the House doesn't have a chance to win at all. Someone is going to win $1,000,000!

      Prize insurance would not be available. Not a single company would underwrite that.

      Hole-in-one chances are like 3000-to-1, so prize insurance would be available. Trust me, I have golf tournaments like 3 times per year and offer $1m hole-in-one prizes.
      Google "Ultimate Visible Vault Challenge" for details.
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

      That doesn't work. AT ALL.

      Prize insurance is available when the odds are that the House will win. This is how game shows make money. Think "The Price is Right" or "Wheel of Fortune".

      If you give everyone that buys a $10 book 3 chances to win, the House doesn't have a chance to win at all. Someone is going to win $1,000,000!

      Prize insurance would not be available. Not a single company would underwrite that.

      Hole-in-one chances are like 3000-to-1, so prize insurance would be available. Trust me, I have golf tournaments like 3 times per year and offer $1m hole-in-one prizes.
      The wording of the original post has been adjusted. I think it will sit better with you now. Let me know.
  • Profile picture of the author Gary Chapple
    Interesting concept, have done this in a minor way on FB pages for small prizes to quite a reasonable ROI. Never considered a prize so large, but have doubts on insurance. themikerogers has a good point in respect of insurance.
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by Gary Chapple View Post

      Interesting concept, have done this in a minor way on FB pages for small prizes to quite a reasonable ROI. Never considered a prize so large, but have doubts on insurance. themikerogers has a good point in respect of insurance.
      Google Ultimate Visible Vault Challenge for details. Yes, it can work for authors and book publishers.
  • Profile picture of the author Boy Zodiac
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  • Profile picture of the author wartest
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  • Profile picture of the author WFMarcus
    Administrator
    I think it's probably ideal to mention that the contest is in no way related to being a raffle... that was my immediate assumption here and by that assumption I thought this was basically an insurance rip off / scam (which after reading deeper, it's not).

    Ultimate Visible Vault is a cool idea though. I'll link it here for referencing:

    http://www.epauci.ca/ultimate_visible_vault
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by WFMarcus View Post

      Ultimate Visible Vault is a cool idea though. I'll link it here for referencing:

      EPA
      Thank you for sharing the link so others here can read more about it. It is a great idea, and it's all aboveboard. (I would have posted the link myself, but I'm new here and still learning the DOs and DON'Ts of forum posting ... so I stay away from posting links for now. Don't want to be banned by accident.)
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by WFMarcus View Post

      I think it's probably ideal to mention that the contest is in no way related to being a raffle... that was my immediate assumption here and by that assumption I thought this was basically an insurance rip off / scam (which after reading deeper, it's not).
      The wording of the original post has been adjusted. I think it will sit better with you now. Let me know.
  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    I'm a bit lost here.. some clear acrylic box with a prize in it with a keypad and large display is something totally different from being one of the first 1000 to buy my $10 book for a chance to win $1,000,000.

    Last I checked... 1000 x $10 is $10K. Obviously not enough to pay out $1,000,000 but you are saying there is insurance that for a few hundred bucks will pay out the cool mil? In another thread you got all huffy about "fake reviews" - I'm just thinking that FRAUD might be a bigger issue. - I'm just saying.

    So lets go a step further shall we.... Wayfarer Insurance Is the parent company to EPA.. both are Canadian companies. Interestingly Wayfarer is a privately held company and unlike its American counterparts being privately funded in Canada they don't have to do the same amount of financial reporting - if any at all actually. There is no way to determine if there has ever been a payout. ( nor is there any news article to state as such ) Considering with the little clear box.. they control the actual code that sets the winner, as well as providing the cards with the "Winning" code.. there probably in the history of this little clear box has never been a winner.

    Considering the little clear box has the ability to have a 2 to 10 digit code.. the odds of winning are anywhere from 1 in 100 - 1 or 1 in 10,000,000,000 -1 ( yes that's as in 1 in a 10 BILLION )

    Don't get me wrong.. I understand the gimmick and the hype... A hole in one with the odds of your average golfer being 1 in 12,500 ( 1 in 2,500 for a pro golfer ) is truly a CHANCE... the little box... not a chance in somewhere deep.

    Speaking for my self... I believe in integrity, and am not seeing it here. I personally would not use such a magnet. I am more of a prize will be awarded kind of guy. In golf that would be closest to the hole vs hole in one.
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      I'm a bit lost here.. some clear acrylic box with a prize in it with a keypad and large display is something totally different from being one of the first 1000 to buy my $10 book for a chance to win $1,000,000.

      Last I checked... 1000 x $10 is $10K. Obviously not enough to pay out $1,000,000 but you are saying there is insurance that for a few hundred bucks will pay out the cool mil? In another thread you got all huffy about "fake reviews" - I'm just thinking that FRAUD might be a bigger issue. - I'm just saying.
      There are many ways you can attract people to your contest. I used one example in the original post about using this $1,000,000 prize as an incentive to move more books. But you can use other incentives. For example, in a contest I held a few years ago, I offered chances to win a $100,000 prize to anyone who liked my company's Facebook page, followed us on Twitter, or subscribed to our blog. Nobody had to buy anything to enter the contest. I was just looking to increase my social media base at that time.

      In other words, you can use the contest to incite whatever behavior you're trying to encourage ... to promote your books, to get more social media followers, whatever you want. As it says on the EPA page, "Promotional / fundraising scenarios utilizing the Visible Vault are nearly infinite."

      The insurance policy you pay is based on their own risk calculations. The higher the "risk" of having to pay out the prize amount, the higher the premium ... just as it is with all insurance. So, for this visible vault challenge, you can set it up that your contestants have to type in a random number of their choice to try to guess what the winning number is. You can have that winning number set as a three-digit number or a six-digit number or whatever the choices all are ... I don't recall. But the higher the digits they have to type in, the lower the risk which I believe brings down the premium price.

      It's probably better to contact the company themselves to ask them to explain it. I may not be doing it justice here. But all I'll say is that it is a legitimate contest. It's all aboveboard, legal, and FUN! We had fun when we did it. Nobody won the prize, but everyone enjoyed themselves. And my company ended up with a whole bunch of new subscribers/followers to our various social media sites as a result of it ... which was the whole intention.

      I hope that helps explain it a bit better.

      It's not for everyone. Clearly, this type of contest doesn't sit well with you, and fair enough. Just sharing ideas on here like everyone else.

      I've done other contests, too. Where this contest gives only a chance to win, I've also done contests where there is a guarantee that one person will win ... in that case it was a free book publishing package. Both contests generated around the same amount of interest. So, everyone is a little bit different. This works for some people and not for others. It's just an idea.
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      I'm a bit lost here.. some clear acrylic box with a prize in it with a keypad and large display is something totally different from being one of the first 1000 to buy my $10 book for a chance to win $1,000,000.

      Last I checked... 1000 x $10 is $10K. Obviously not enough to pay out $1,000,000 but you are saying there is insurance that for a few hundred bucks will pay out the cool mil? In another thread you got all huffy about "fake reviews" - I'm just thinking that FRAUD might be a bigger issue. - I'm just saying.

      So lets go a step further shall we.... Wayfarer Insurance Is the parent company to EPA.. both are Canadian companies. Interestingly Wayfarer is a privately held company and unlike its American counterparts being privately funded in Canada they don't have to do the same amount of financial reporting - if any at all actually. There is no way to determine if there has ever been a payout. ( nor is there any news article to state as such ) Considering with the little clear box.. they control the actual code that sets the winner, as well as providing the cards with the "Winning" code.. there probably in the history of this little clear box has never been a winner.

      Considering the little clear box has the ability to have a 2 to 10 digit code.. the odds of winning are anywhere from 1 in 100 - 1 or 1 in 10,000,000,000 -1 ( yes that's as in 1 in a 10 BILLION )

      Don't get me wrong.. I understand the gimmick and the hype... A hole in one with the odds of your average golfer being 1 in 12,500 ( 1 in 2,500 for a pro golfer ) is truly a CHANCE... the little box... not a chance in somewhere deep.

      Speaking for my self... I believe in integrity, and am not seeing it here. I personally would not use such a magnet. I am more of a prize will be awarded kind of guy. In golf that would be closest to the hole vs hole in one.
      The wording of the original post has been adjusted. I think it will sit better with you now. Let me know.
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      So lets go a step further shall we.... Wayfarer Insurance Is the parent company to EPA.. both are Canadian companies. Interestingly Wayfarer is a privately held company and unlike its American counterparts being privately funded in Canada they don't have to do the same amount of financial reporting - if any at all actually. There is no way to determine if there has ever been a payout. ( nor is there any news article to state as such ) Considering with the little clear box.. they control the actual code that sets the winner, as well as providing the cards with the "Winning" code.. there probably in the history of this little clear box has never been a winner.

      Considering the little clear box has the ability to have a 2 to 10 digit code.. the odds of winning are anywhere from 1 in 100 - 1 or 1 in 10,000,000,000 -1 ( yes that's as in 1 in a 10 BILLION )

      Don't get me wrong.. I understand the gimmick and the hype... A hole in one with the odds of your average golfer being 1 in 12,500 ( 1 in 2,500 for a pro golfer ) is truly a CHANCE... the little box... not a chance in somewhere deep.

      Speaking for my self... I believe in integrity, and am not seeing it here. I personally would not use such a magnet. I am more of a prize will be awarded kind of guy. In golf that would be closest to the hole vs hole in one.
      I contacted EPA to ask them to:
      1. Read my original thread to ensure it properly represents this type of insurance prize
      2. Allow me to share their reply here for you guys

      They sent me the below reply this morning...

      Good morning Kim,
      Thank you for the posting. First, Wayfarer Insurance is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviva Insuramce, one of the largest insurers in the world. My recommendation when running a contest is to allow people a chance to win a significant size prize which could change their lives, without having to make any sort of purchase.
      There are many contests run which offer a chance to win something significant, if they make a purchase. These types of contests generally do not do as well as the free entry ones.
      You are correct that the higher the odds of winning, such as a 5 digit guess with our Visible Vault program, cost less than a 2 digit guess.
      We at EPA pride ourselves in helping clients offer a contest with the chance of winning large prizes based on the clients budget. We are also proud to say that over the past 20 years in EPA offering prize indemnity coverage, we have paid out over $6,000,000 to winners throughout Canada and the United States. So yes there are winners, because without them we would not be in business.


      I hope that helps to explain everything to everyone here. Based on this, I could have kept my original post the same, and it would still have been legitimate. But I'll leave it the way it is now since he recommends running contests where no purchase is necessary.
  • Profile picture of the author jholsingermarketing
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  • Profile picture of the author BigSnakeSituation
    could someone post what premium cost are for said contest ?
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by BigSnakeSituation View Post

      could someone post what premium cost are for said contest ?
      Every contest is different. Premium costs are dependent on your unique requirements. All customized.
  • Profile picture of the author Logixgrid
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    It is one million ever 3 1/3 years - or 25k a month - or 300k a year....but considering 6 million in 20 years....it's more often "not a winner".

    These are people who advertising "someone could win a million dollars" ...instead of "someone WILL win a million dollars"

    I know it's done quite often both offline and online - but I still think it's sleazy.

    When you used this 'method' of running a contest - didn't you have to post the "odds of winning"? What were they?
    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      I know it's done quite often both offline and online - but I still think it's sleazy.

      When you used this 'method' of running a contest - didn't you have to post the "odds of winning"? What were they?
      No, I didn't have to post the odds of winning. They showed me the odds while I was looking at all my options and choosing the premium that I could afford best for my contest, but I honestly don't recall what they were.

      People buy lottery tickets in droves every single day for the chance to win millions of dollars, and they know the odds of winning are very low. Far from viewing it as something "sleazy" or bad, many of those people turn it into a fun game (e.g. work colleagues who buy weekly lottery tickets together as a group). You can view this contest in the same way, I suppose. I know we had a lot of fun when I ran my company's contest a few years ago. Really enjoyed it.

      Again, it's not for everyone. It's just an idea I posted here that may work for some, may not work for others. But as EPA confirmed in my earlier post (in blue font), this is all legal and aboveboard.
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I understand it's done - but I thought there were regulations that required you to list the chances of winning. Maybe that's US only. I have seen these contests and every time it did have a disclaimer. Now I wonder how many I've seen with no disclaimer.

    The lottery is high odds and every knows it because the odds are printed right there for you to see...but there are winners. People buy tickets because they know someone will win...soon. Winners are announced and the pot grows until there IS a winner.

    I'm sure it's perfectly legal and truth is - if you put the disclaimers or whatever in fine print, most people wouldn't read them anyway.
  • Profile picture of the author Slavko Desik
    Wanted to create a much much smaller contest for a fitness program... like 5k or something to whoever makes the most progress with it. In order to participate you have to buy the program and send the before pic.

    Landing page with the contest info on it, and FB ads I guess...
  • Profile picture of the author learnadvanceprogramming
    Banned
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  • Profile picture of the author Dolives
    the basic thing is that the book should be written good, otherwise ta.ta
    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Dolives View Post

      the basic thing is that the book should be written good, otherwise ta.ta
      Written well.
    • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
      Originally Posted by Dolives View Post

      the basic thing is that the book should be written good, otherwise ta.ta
      A few weeks back, attended a marketing day, and the host (who is a best seller) made a comment that did make some sense.

      In short he was a best seller and he made the statement that if he ever wrote another book he could pretty guarantee it would be another best seller.

      He then said his book may not be the best written book, in fact he said that there would probably be some one out there who could write better on a subject than he could.

      He then explained that unless that other person knew how to market that book effectively then regardless if it was the best written book ever, then mostly no one will ever hear of it.

      He did explain yes it needs to be a good book but more importantly you need to learn how to market it, otherwise it will just stay in the shadows, which I suppose sits in the prize promo idea here as just one option, and that just writing a good book alone is only part of a bigger picture.

      As for current day marketing I think Tony Robins is giving a good lesson with Unshakable.
  • Profile picture of the author quadagon
    I think that there is nothing wrong with the principal of running a competition to help promote a book launch but I also feel there is a disconnect between the type of competition that's been highlighted in the OP and book marketing.

    The competition is great for event marketing or when your customer is there. They press the buttons and immediately know if they've won. How this translates to a New Yorker buying my book when I'm London based I'm not so sure.

    There are other competitions that you can run such as signed copies, hardback versions of ebooks or ideally tie it in with the book.

    'I will pay off the credit card debt of 10 lucky readers' for a money management book would work.

    Dinner for two at a top resteraunt for a cook book.

    Tie the competition into the purpose of the book/author and it makes more sense to the customer and if used well would help garner press attention.

    I think as well you need to realise that you want someone to win as this gives you another round of publicity.

    Actually you could get a third if you book is in self help by having a 'Book xyz' changed my life story 12 months down the line.

    It doesn't have the same ring as win a mill but sometimes somethings are worth more than money.
  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
  • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
    Here's a link to another contest a man is running to sell his book on Amazon: Finding Treasure

    I thought you might find it interesting.
  • Profile picture of the author TrickyDick
    Originally Posted by Best Seller View Post

    "But I don't have $1,000,000 to give away as a prize," you're saying. That's okay. You don't have to. Neither do the businesses who offer those $1,000,000 "hole in one" prizes to their staff and clients at corporate golf tournaments. They aren't paying for that prize out of their own pockets, either.

    Here's how it works...

    All effective sales strategies start with a goal and a plan. Decide how many books you want to sell (whether it's an e-book being sold online or a paperback being sold in a traditional "bricks and mortar" bookstore) and the date you want them sold by. For example, maybe you want to sell 100 books within the next 30 days. Guesstimate how many people would have to see your book in order to sell that many (e.g. if you think you can sell to 10% of the people who see your book, then you will need to attract 1,000 people to view it in order to reach your goal).

    Next, you need to Google the specialty insurance companies in your area to determine how their contest and prize structures work and what it will cost you to run the contest. In my experience, it usually only costs a couple hundred dollars (your specialty insurance premium) to offer an insured prize of $1,000,000 to X number of people. The price may vary with however many chances to win you offer to however many people. No worries. There's something there for everyone's budget.

    Your contest headline may read something like this: The first 1,000 people to view and like this book on our Facebook page before such and such a date (30 days from the contest opening date) will each have a chance to win $1,000,000! And you can offer them a discounted price or rebate of some kind if they also buy a copy of your book at the designated bookstore. But no purchase is necessary to enter the contest.

    Think about it! What an incredible incentive to get someone to notice your book! The chance to win $1,000,000! And if they like the book, they can buy it. If you can attract 1,000 people to view and like it, chances are you'll sell those 100 copies and meet your goal. You may even sell more.

    It's a great way to drive sales more quickly. When your buyers are sitting on the fence, trying to decide which way to go, a contest is a fantastic way to pique their interest and get them to jump off that fence into your yard ahead of your competitors' yards.

    Give it a try.
    My company is going to run a $7,000,000 contest this year...

    Someone will win!!!! It will be great publicity!

    $1 a year for 7,000,000 years....

    Talk about social media hype... We'll get a lot of "bang" for our buck. :-)

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