Thursday, June 26, 2008

Contest Post Mortem

So I did some thinking about the contests I ran last week, and here are my conclusions:

1. I can't compete with US authors when it comes to using books as prizes. The cost to me is simply not comparable. To illustrate:

To mail from my home in Toronto to British Columbia: $11.35 (includes tax and fuel surcharge)

To mail from New York to California using the media mail rate, which is not available in Canada: $2.23.

Same book, same rate, $9.12 difference.

Just fyi, it's cheaper for me to mail a book to Finland ($5.75) than it is to another province in my own country. What is up with that?

2. The first day had the most entries.

3. Timing was an issue for some people.

4. There was a lot of work involved besides simply setting up the contest and coming up with questions, like buying the envelopes, addressing them and getting them to the post office.

My conclusions:

If I do another contest using books as prizes, it will be one day only, there will be a draw aspect (meaning it won't necessarily be the first person who answers who wins), and it would be better to have one large prize (like a set of books) than several smaller ones.

I already do one draw a month from among my newsletter subscribers for a $25 electronic gift certificate from Amazon. That's fast, it's easy and there's no postage. I may decide to do something like that from my blog. The only problem with that, unfortunately, is that winners won't necessarily buy my book.

And of course, there's always the perennial conundrum: Does doing something like this actually lead to more readers and better sales?

I have no idea. I do know I had more hits to my blog, though, so in that sense, the contests were effective -- which is more than I can say with certainty about some other forms of PR.


Mel said...

OK so in all honesty. I did visit more during the contest, but since then have been here daily just to see what is going on. I have been reading your books since 1993 and actually got our my copy of the Viking to start it over again today. Because I enjoyed Lover's Kiss so much. I loved the contest for the simple fact of getting your autograph. Since I live in Texas this was my chance to get it. Thanks for the effort you put into it and for making it personal.

Kimber Chin said...

I actually didn't enter your contest.
If I like a book,
I buy it.
I don't like to wait for contest mailings to arrive.
Yep, pretty darn impatient.

That is one big benefit to eBook.
No postage required.
No envelopes, no going to the dreaded post office.

'Course that is offset by lower sales

Margaret Moore said...

I hadn't done a contest like that in a long time, so I figured it was time to try again, but also to be more analytical after it was over.

This was part of my Master Exercise in trying to figure out how to better focus my efforts in both writing and my career more effectively. I'll be blogging more on that, I'm sure.

Pam P said...

I do tend to lurk more through blogs because of time, but do read them for my favorite authors.

I understand about it being order to do contests like that to other countries, having mailed some things to reader friends I've made online. (I did find Finland to be very much less expensive then to other countries, too).

I can say contests can generate new readers if they haven't read you before, I've discovered several authors that way who I continue to read and purchase their books. I can't say for anyone else, but if I happen to win a GC from an author, I'll usually use it to buy their books, unless I already have them all, lol.

Contests or not, blogs seem to be a good tool for authors currently, have fun with it Margaret. Like Mel said once once gets here, you tend to keep reading along.

Louisa Cornell said...

How dare someone use a gift card from you to buy someone else's books! (LOL) Actually your books are on my automatic buy list and since my local bookseller, the amazing Tammy, who owns THE BOOK BASKET in our small town, has my list of automatics I am always assured of getting the next Margaret Moore book. Mel, I think I started reading Margaret Moore books about the same time you did. AND my mother is a big fan too. When she comes to visit she scans my bookshelves and says "Is that a new Margaret Moore?" and reaches for it. I smack her hand and say "Get your own!" Of course then I usually run down to Tammy's and get one for her to pop in the mail.

I'll be very interested to see what you come up with in the area of focus, Margaret, as I am an aspiring historical romance writer and I am just starting to learn what a BIG job it is!

And yes, Mel, the idea of a Margarete Moore autograph is just too hard to resist, isn't it!

Margaret Moore said...

Oh, geez, ladies, you're making me blush! Really, I just don't think of anybody making a special effort to get my books. It really boggles my mind! But it's also VERY motivating!!! Thank you so much!