A Winner for the Totally Awesome Teacher/Reader Guide Service! and 3 Tips for Online Give-aways

A super congratulations to Erin Hagar who won the Totally Awesome Teacher/Reader Guide. I happened to know that in addition to being a wonderful writer, Erin is also a wonderful educator. I look forward to working with her on a Guide to meet her needs!


THREE TIPS FOR RUNNING AN ONLINE GIVE-AWAY (or do what I say, not what I did.)

1. Tease.

By the time I unveiled my teacher/reader guide contest on February 7th, I had been thinking about it for weeks months. I had already worked diligently on a guide for Melanie Crowder’s, PARCHED so I’d have an example guide. I had developed the content for the information page and the downloadable PDF. I had researched Rafflecopter. Really, I had spent many hours on the project. Here’s the thing… no one else knew that I was spending hours on the project. I never dropped any clues or hints. Unless you have an amazing following, you need to get the support of those who already do. Ask them to drop teasers for you in the days leading up to the contest. Use your own social media to hype the contest and its benefits to possible entrants. Send an email to your most influential friends (research their following) asking them to use their social media as well.  Guest post on other well-known blogs to promote the contest and what you are giving away. That way, when you unveil the contest, people will be waiting for it… nay, chomping at the bit to enter.

2. Have well-defined and simple goals for the contest.

I knew my goals for the contest. I wanted people to learn about my new Teacher/Reader Guide service that is perfect for busy authors/illustrators who want focus on their creative work and leave the marketing and peripheral writing to another professional. I wanted to boost my Twitter following. I wanted to boost my blog following. In hindsight, this was too much for a mid-list blog contest. My most important goal was to inform people about the new service. I should have designed the contest with this focus. Ideally people would have shared the blog post with others and gotten something for themselves. If they commented with the link to their own social media post, it would have potentially boosted their traffic as well.

3. Make it easy for people to enter.

I’d seen Rafflecopter work really well on other blogs and was excited to use it. Here’s the thing. WordPress.com doesn’t support the Rafflecopter widget. That meant that in order to enter, people had to follow a link away from my blog post and then come back. IT IS RARE THAT PEOPLE WILL CLICK BACK.  If I’d had simpler goals, I wouldn’t have needed Rafflecopter at all. I’d rather have a single entry from many rather than multiple entries from the same person. A simpler procedure would have increased entries.

I hope this is helpful to others who are considering a contest. Tell me what you think below!

Lunafest: Short films by, for, and about women

On Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the Lunafest event at the Friends School of Portland. Lunafest is a series of short films by, for, and about women. The films were wonderful– poignant, touching, sad, happy, inspiring.

One of my favorite films was “Flawed,” by Andrea Dorfman. There’s a snippet of it here. Probably it was the picture book nature of the film that captured my creative side(she uses time lapse photography as she illustrates the story), but it was the story itself (about how she learns accepts herself– her largish nose specifically) that grabbed at my heart and wouldn’t let go. All of the films had something about them that I connected with deeply, but the most important take-away was much, much bigger.

I am a proud feminist and my sons are about sick of me drumming for more equality in the media. Still, it only takes one look at films like Miss Representation, or the work from Equal Visibility Everywhere- EVE,  or studies commissioned by Geena Davis’s organization See Jane?, or the literary work by VIDA to understand that there is still serious work to be done to achieve parity in media. Here’s the thing though, even as I drum for equality, I don’t what that equality looks like. I swim in the same clichéd, stereotypical, sexpot, happy homemaker, bitchy, ambitious, white, dragon lady, black housekeeper, bull shit that everyone else does. At Lunafest, my eyes were opened to what a different view of women could be– diverse, honest, vulnerable, loving, strong, tenacious. It is rare that we get to see that woman in mainstream media. 

Take a look at the Lunafest TrailerIf your organization is looking for a fundraiser with a head and heart, consider applying to host a screening of Lunafest. I promise, you’ll be glad you did it.