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

by Best Seller 46 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?
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    • 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.
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  • Profile picture of the author northwish
    This is great! Have you ever done something similar for yourself?
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    • 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.
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  • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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  • 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.
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    • 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.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marcus W K Wong
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    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
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    • 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.)
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    • 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.
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  • 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.
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    • 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.
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        I think you may have missed the point of my post. There is a difference between a chance to win regardless of the amount.. and there is going to be a winner. FUN.. is actually winning.

        So let me share a quick story... Halloween at my house is a big deal. I actually run a pretty decent Halloween niche site.. I have social media accounts dedicated to the house itself and the business. Every year we do a different theme... last year happened to be Vampires. One of the many things offered above and beyond the candy, was a solid red easter egg with those cheesy white fangs glued around it. Each egg contained a piece of paper with our facebook and web address as well as a paper dollar origami folded as a bat. There was 1 $100 bill, 2 $50 bills, 5 $20 bills, 10 $10 bills 20 $5 bills, and 262 $1 bills. ( 300 in total to save you from dong the math )

        Our facebook page obviously hit pretty good late oct 31st / Nov 1. we ended up with photos from each of the big dollar winners ( all 38 of them ) and a good many of the $1 dollar winners. Without question the best $762 I could have spent.

        Just yesterday with my truck plastered with my offline business in the driveway, someone pulled in and was asking if this was the house with the crazy Halloween thing ( can you say branding? ) This happens to be the same truck that I pull into city park parking lots and post to the Halloween social media accounts about a pokestop that will be there for 3 hours.. 2 Saturdays ago there was 200 cars that pulled in with their kids. ( and they were looking for MY BRANDED TRUCK )

        I WIN... by THEM winning.. you have to give to get, and sometimes you have to give to the point that it feels like it hurts, but in the end.. that effort.. that GIVING, pays off.

        You want to build your Social media up? try offering 5 $100 Walmart cards and see what happens.. you want to sell books? every 5th book gets a $5.00 starbucks card

        And a quick side note.. that $762 investment on Halloween night.. translated in over 10K in new customer sales by Nov 5.

        Originally Posted by Best Seller View Post

        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 contest 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.
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        • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

          I think you may have missed the point of my post. There is a difference between a chance to win regardless of the amount.. and there is going to be a winner. FUN.. is actually winning.

          So let me share a quick story... Halloween at my house is a big deal. I actually run a pretty decent Halloween niche site.. I have social media accounts dedicated to the house itself and the business. Every year we do a different theme... last year happened to be Vampires. One of the many things offered above and beyond the candy, was a solid red easter egg with those cheesy white fangs glued around it. Each egg contained a piece of paper with our facebook and web address as well as a paper dollar origami folded as a bat. There was 1 $100 bill, 2 $50 bills, 5 $20 bills, 10 $10 bills 20 $5 bills, and 262 $1 bills. ( 300 in total to save you from dong the math )

          Our facebook page obviously hit pretty good late oct 31st / Nov 1. we ended up with photos from each of the big dollar winners ( all 38 of them ) and a good many of the $1 dollar winners. Without question the best $762 I could have spent.

          Just yesterday with my truck plastered with my offline business in the driveway, someone pulled in and was asking if this was the house with the crazy Halloween thing ( can you say branding? ) This happens to be the same truck that I pull into city park parking lots and post to the Halloween social media accounts about a pokestop that will be there for 3 hours.. 2 Saturdays ago there was 200 cars that pulled in with their kids. ( and they were looking for MY BRANDED TRUCK )

          I WIN... by THEM winning.. you have to give to get, and sometimes you have to give to the point that it feels like it hurts, but in the end.. that effort.. that GIVING, pays off.

          You want to build your Social media up? try offering 5 $100 Walmart cards and see what happens.. you want to sell books? every 5th book gets a $5.00 starbucks card

          And a quick side note.. that $762 investment on Halloween night.. translated in over 10K in new customer sales by Nov 5.
          That's awesome! Good for you.

          And your idea to give away a $5 Starbucks card with every fifth book ... really good idea. I think I may just offer something like that to my readers.

          I agree with you 100% that you have to give a lot of value upfront in order to get (and keep) customers in the future. That's why I'm on this forum and trying my best to post a quality thread once every day or two, completely free of charge. I genuinely want to provide help and insight to authors (whether they are traditional authors or Internet marketers) regarding effective book writing, publishing, sales, and marketing skills. Even generating publicity ... that's a whole other skill set in itself.

          I'm also here to learn. I've learned A LOT in just the short week or so that I've been on here. This is a great community with a lot of people who genuinely want to help each other. Enjoying myself.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by Best Seller View Post

        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.
        6 Mil in 20 year... So a mil every 3 years 4 months? I'm justsayin..
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          You got one 0 too many in there. It's 25k a month, 100k every 4 months.

          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

          6 Mil in 20 year... So a mil every 3 years 4 months? I'm justsayin..
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  • Profile picture of the author BigSnakeSituation
    could someone post what premium cost are for said contest ?
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    • 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.
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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?
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    • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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...
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  • Profile picture of the author Dolives
    the basic thing is that the book should be written good, otherwise ta.ta
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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      • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
        Originally Posted by tryinhere View Post

        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.
        Definitely, marketing is a big part of it. But, in terms of best sellers, people need to understand all the players in the book supply chain and how they view books. The traditional book reviewers, book sellers, and best selling lists (e.g. New York Times) view traditionally published books more favorably than self-published books due to the difference in quality.

        Can a self-publisher produce the same quality as a traditional publisher? Yes, absolutely. The problem is that many don't. Many throw together quick books that haven't been properly edited/proofread ... and they are the ones who give other self-publishers a bad name.

        So, back to your post ... Yes, smart marketing is half the equation. And smart writing/publishing is the other.
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        • Profile picture of the author socialentry
          Originally Posted by Best Seller View Post

          But, in terms of best sellers, people need to understand all the players in the book supply chain and how they view books. The traditional book reviewers, book sellers, and best selling lists (e.g. New York Times) view traditionally published books more favorably than self-published books due to the difference in quality.

          Can a self-publisher produce the same quality as a traditional publisher? Yes, absolutely. The problem is that many don't. Many throw together quick books that haven't been properly edited/proofread ... and they are the ones who give other self-publishers a bad name.

          So, back to your post ... Yes, smart marketing is half the equation. And smart writing/publishing is the other.
          So your main beef with self-published folks is that they write badly?

          Assuming I know how to write fairly well(yeah yeah I know... please suspend disbelief for 2 second) , in your opinion what's the best way to get published right now?

          It seems to me the strategy of the traditional publishing house is "let's throw a lot of stuff at the wall and see what sticks". They seem to have a very sketch method of predicting what will and what will not make money past a certain point of quality at least when it comes to fiction.

          Harry Potter was refused eight (!) times. 50 shades of grey would never have made it past a traditional publisher (judging from the poor reviews I read, for very good reasons).

          Are those professionals worth the premium they are asking for?
          Tbh, I'm skeptical.. I think proofreaders and editors are worth it, but the marketing part seems a bit 50/50.

          Don't remember where I heard the figure but please confirm/deny it: 1 out of 10 books that gets published actually makes good money, the rest don't even break even. It's not an excellent batting ratio by any means.
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          • Profile picture of the author savidge4
            Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

            Don't remember where I heard the figure but please confirm/deny it: 1 out of 10 books that gets published actually makes good money, the rest don't even break even. It's not an excellent batting ratio by any means.
            According to this article from Forbes a few years ago ( https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2.../#13e214e76d58 ) it would appear that 99% of books printed never get to the break even point.. and that's PUBLISHER expenses, let alone the author actually getting paid.

            I personally don't understand the whole printed book thing... Let me rephrase that.. I don't understand printing books, if you do not have a better than solid pre-existing audience, be it TV, previous books, social media, or a website.

            I just cant see not going digital first, and then adding printed as an option afterwards. I get the whole tactile thing with books.. the way the feel, smell, the turning of the pages. Both my mother, and mother-in-law will tell you ALL about it - They both send my son books ALL THE TIME. as in he has over 1000 printed books accumulated over his 8 yr life. ( That alone makes me cringe at the thought of moving LOL )

            But what gets real interesting.. these 2 ladies, ADVOCATES for the printed word both have well over 500 books each in their Kindles. The Mother-in-law has maybe 20 books on a small little book shelf ( They are all first editions of her favorites ) My mother maybe has 100.

            So what does that say for printed books? - it says if you are writing childrens stories then maybe.. anything else... digital all the way.

            As for my collection? hmm maybe 200 - a life time collection. 1/4 of them would be software manuals, 1/4 would be 70's and 80's sales books, 1/4 would be computer related books, and the last 1/4 would be fiction and non fiction.
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            • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
              Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

              I just cant see not going digital first, and then adding printed as an option afterwards.
              This won't work for this reason: What Should Come First: the Paperback or the E-book? (And How it Affects Your Marketing). The print option has to come first.

              That said, you don't actually have to print a bunch of books anymore. You can sell paperbacks and hardcovers by POD now. For more details, refer to this thread: Indie Authors: Sell Your Paperbacks and Hardcovers Online. No More Printing!
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              • Profile picture of the author savidge4
                Originally Posted by Best Seller View Post

                This won't work for this reason: What Should Come First: the Paperback or the E-book? (And How it Affects Your Marketing). The print option has to come first.

                That said, you don't actually have to print a bunch of books anymore. You can sell paperbacks and hardcovers by POD now. For more details, refer to this thread: Indie Authors: Sell Your Paperbacks and Hardcovers Online. No More Printing!
                I grew up in the print industry.. as in started cleaning garbage cans at the age of 5. Did bindery work as needed later in life. Learned to run presses.. up to the big daddy Heidelberg 5 color. As I was growing up, the print industry was changing.. ever so slightly digital was creaping in.

                All those years translated to the digital world I work in now. Yes, I still print.. I have a particular fondness for platen presses. I have a 2 color sheet fed press in my shop. The next room over is a collection of Digital large format printers. a pair of 24", more than a few 60's and my 3.2 meter ( 10 foot ) beast. I understand printing.

                I also understand the digital presentation of words.. be it websites, e-books or kindle or whatever. I am not a "Published" Author.. but do work for many.

                For you to say NO.. it cant be done that way.. is a stretch... a BIG stretch. YOU format for print.. because it EASIER to format for the kindle afterwords. Me? I would format each separately.. let me rephrase that.. I do format each separately.

                In the book world there is this order of things... much like in the digital world.. the discussion of desktop vs mobile vs responsive. in both.. one size does not fit all. you can discuss and maybe even argue the point.. but the time spent formatting for each platform shows itself in spades in the end.

                I absolutely stand by my statement that I would release digital first, and then release printed versions after. I say this for a good number of reasons. Lets say tomorrow I was going to release a book.. I have a bit of a following of sorts.. My marketing skills are decent.. I understand the concepts of building a review base at a reduced price, and then bringing up the price.

                I understand that YES having a printed version adds further credibility to your book... I also understand that by starting digital only, and then introducing the printed version later, gives those that have bought already the impression the book is doing good. This strategy actually increases 3rd party off site reviews ( depending on the market space you are working - works well in business, art, self help, and computer related topics for sure )

                If you think Newtons 3rd law.. for every action there is an equal... A systematic pattern of product release.. digital.. paperback... hardback... editors edition... this multiplies your efforts with every release. Your not out there saying hey buy my book and pitching the same over and over. You transition your pitch to Hey I release a digital book... People were requesting paperback.. ( you now listen to your audience ) we made the decision to go ahead with a limited print hardback copy. People were requesting some further insight of the book, we are releasing an editors edition.

                You keep releasing the book over and over and over. You create a buzz.. it wanes.. you create the next wave of buzz it wanes and the next and the next. Work smarter not harder. Inject the elements of community demand.. develop a following AWAY from your primary sales point ( Amazon ) CONTROL your marketing and reach. THIS is modern marketing... THIS works. And the end product doesn't look crappy because you are to busy cutting corners and cross formatting from print to kindle.

                Think UX.. give each and every reader regardless of the format the best experience you can offer.. that's how you enter a market.. and that's how you stay in a market over the long haul.
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                • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
                  Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

                  I grew up in the print industry.. as in started cleaning garbage cans at the age of 5. Did bindery work as needed later in life. Learned to run presses.. up to the big daddy Heidelberg 5 color. As I was growing up, the print industry was changing.. ever so slightly digital was creaping in.

                  All those years translated to the digital world I work in now.
                  We have a lot in common. I started my career in traditional literary publishing with the old print galley proofs, then I moved to newspaper (print advertising sales), and I now work in hybrid/digital publishing. I love the progression of things but those days had their own charm.


                  Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

                  For you to say NO.. it cant be done that way.. is a stretch... a BIG stretch. YOU format for print.. because it EASIER to format for the kindle afterwords. Me? I would format each separately.. let me rephrase that.. I do format each separately.

                  In the book world there is this order of things... much like in the digital world.. the discussion of desktop vs mobile vs responsive. in both.. one size does not fit all.
                  Very true! All good points. So long as the newbie authors on here understand that they can't just easily/effectively convert an e-book file into a proper digital paperback file, then I agree. If they're each formatted separately, then it doesn't matter which one comes first.
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          • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
            Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

            So your main beef with self-published folks is that they write badly?

            Assuming I know how to write fairly well(yeah yeah I know... please suspend disbelief for 2 second) , in your opinion what's the best way to get published right now?
            To answer your first question:

            No, that's not at all my beef with self-published authors. Not at all. I think many of them write well. But I also know that every author--without exception, even the J.K. Rowlings of the world--need editors and proofreaders to help them polish their work. We cannot edit our own work. None of us can. And it's arrogant to think that we can.

            So, my beef isn't writing quality so much as it's the lack of "polished quality" of the final product with so many self-publishers who are trying to do things fast and cheap. You get out of something what you put into it.

            "By the work one knows the workmen."
            ~Jean De La Fontaine


            There is a noticeable difference between most self-published books and trade published books for this reason, and it is the primary reason why so many of the reviewers and booksellers and traditional players in the book supply chain don't take self-publishers seriously. But the more self-publishers who start producing better quality (by having their work properly edited/proofread and professionally designed), the better it will be for all self-publishers. Their overall image will improve.

            To answer your second question:

            I haven't been on this forum long enough for all of you to know me well yet. Once you get to know me, you'll learn that I believe in self-publishing ... but the model of self-publishing I believe in is "supported self-publishing" which is a hybrid of traditional publishing and self-publishing.

            I believe that the flexibility and copyright retention of vanity (a.k.a. indie, self) publishing combined with the professional quality of traditional trade publishing provides authors with a much more balanced approach to book publishing, sales, and marketing. Balance is better because it arms you with all the tools you'll need to make your project a success. It gives you more creative control over your book. And it gives you more marketing control, too, which can make or break whether your book becomes a best seller.

            Which brings me to...

            Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

            Don't remember where I heard the figure but please confirm/deny it: 1 out of 10 books that gets published actually makes good money, the rest don't even break even. It's not an excellent batting ratio by any means.
            No, it's not an excellent ratio right now, but I believe that ratio can change with some education. Numbers are low now because so many writers think their job is simply to write the book and then sit back and let other people sell it. WRONG. Authors are entrepreneurs ... well, the most successful ones are, anyway.

            "I saw myself as a businessman first. Too many actors, writers, and artists think that marketing is beneath them. But no matter what you do in life, selling is part of it."
            ~Arnold Schwarzenegger, quote from his autobiography Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story


            Some people will say that it's only in recent years that authors have had to sell their own books and that's due to the increase in books being published each year. But that's only a half truth. The full truth is, it was always this way for the majority of authors. Even back in the day when there were only the traditional (trade) publishers publishing our books.

            I don't want to place a link in here that may cause this post or thread to be deleted. So, instead, I'll ask you to do a Google search for "how to market and sell your book in only one hour per day" along with my name (which you can find on my profile page) if you want more details on this. But only if you choose to. No pressure.

            And here's another good read on this topic: [A Strong Case for Self-Publishing] What Traditional Trade Publishers Don't Want You to Know
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      • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
        Originally Posted by tryinhere View Post


        As for current day marketing I think Tony Robins is giving a good lesson with Unshakable.
        Well there it is at number 1

        THANK YOU for your support everyone - #UNSHAKEABLE just hit No.1 on Amazon!
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  • 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.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    This seems like a similar Strategy.

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  • 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.
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  • 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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  • Profile picture of the author p30webhost
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by p30webhost View Post

      I am hardworking
      Hardworking, and working smart are 2 different things... if you are going to post just so your signature can be seen.. it helps to have the link goto a page that the reader may be able to read? I'm just saying you are on a forum that is well, primarily English and all.

      Aside form that.. in terms of SEO.. what is the relevance of you sending us off to a page that sells computers from an offline forum? You need to be hammering your link on tech forums that are more inline with what it is your site is related to. With Google at least, CONTEXT is kinda a big deal.

      Good luck with your link spam strategy
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  • Profile picture of the author rprieto60
    Sounds like a rather interesting concept. I can see how it would work for a hole-in-one contest. I'm not sure how it would work for a book sale. I would think it would have to be a whole lot of books sold to make it work.
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    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by rprieto60 View Post

      Sounds like a rather interesting concept. I can see how it would work for a hole-in-one contest. I'm not sure how it would work for a book sale. I would think it would have to be a whole lot of books sold to make it work.
      The more books sold, the better. But it can work well with fewer sales, too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexis Webup
    This is Great !
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  • Profile picture of the author Rollmodl
    Here is one of our contest beginning this month.
    Powerplay: The Online Cosplay Contest You've Been Waiting For!
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