Friday, July 3, 2009

Ruminations on Website Contests

I diverge a little from the Regency this week to ruminate on website contests. I am running a new one on my website at
The prize in the new contest is a copy of the Fashions of Regency England Colouring Book. If you sign the guestbook before August 30, you have a chance to win the prize. This is my usual promo blurb and I've been posting it in lots of places.

We authors run website contests for profoundly commercial reasons. We want to drive traffic to our websites. And also we want to gather names and addresses for our mailing lists. And our ultimate goal is, of course, to sell more books to the people visiting our websites and populating our mailing lists. These are very self-serving reasons for running website contests.

But they are very real reasons too. If I don't sell books, I can't afford to write. Oh, I can write for myself, or for my family, but I can't afford to take the extra time and energy to put my books before the public if I don't do everything I can to sell them.

'Everything I can' means writing this blog, maintaining my website, appearing on Myspace, Twitter, and YouTube. It means offering a prize and publicizing that prize to encourage people to visit my website and hear about my books.

When I began my website contest, I had a store of romance-themed book posters left over from my ownership of a bookstore. The posters had been too pretty to throw out but I had no use for them. I thought perhaps other people might enjoy them, so I offered them as my first prizes. People really enjoyed them, but eventually I ran out of them, and looked around for other prizes.

I turned to books--Regency and history-themed non-fiction books mostly--they seem appropriate and some are out of print. And I have some other interesting prizes in the offing--hand made Mardi Gras style masks and some handmade jewelry. But right now, I'm giving away prizes from Regency Fancies--because I'm so delighted with our products and thrilled with results of placing Shakoriel's art on useful objects. I'd like to know what you find interesting for prizes and I'd appreciate your opinion on website contests in general.

So I give away these prizes on my website for commercial reasons. I also give away things because it's fun. It's often said that the giver receives more than the recipient. That is certainly true for me and my website contest. It pleases me to give someone pleasure, to give them a chance to win something, to give them something pretty or useful. The gift helps my business of course but, more than that, it gives me a lift every time I notify a winner.

I hope you will enter my contests, and I hope you will win. Don't forget to sign my!

Until next time,


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