Thursday, April 9, 2009

Join me on the swing?

If you have a few minutes to join me here on the swing, I need your help.

What kind of prize most interests you when an author is doing a drawing at a booksigning?

This week we gave away a $10 gift certificate to Salon Z. I had thought of doing a gift certificate to Kingfish. But here's the thing. On my form, people are invited to sign up--if they wish--for my newsletter. I had lots more completed forms than I had book purchases, which is fine. But sometimes I wonder if people think that signing up for the newsletter makes them more likely to win. (It doesn't; winners are chosen completely at random.)

And then someone raised the question of whether it would be better to give a book as the prize, thereby encouraging entrants who actually wanted to read a romance novel.

Some problems with using a book as a prize are that either the person needs to be present to win, or it should be an ebook. Paperbacks are expensive to ship. Another problem is that I think I'd be dissuading people from buying the book, if they had a chance to win it. What about a $10 gift certificate toward the purchase of a book? I'm currently carrying three titles in the Booksigning on Wheels.

I also have baskets--I showed you some the other day--that I can put stuff into, to create a prize. Do you like to win a basket? If so, what kind of stuff is best to put into the basket?

I'd appreciate feedback and suggestions, if you have the time. Thanks for listening.



  1. I love the basket idea, but again, you have to be present to win, or else there is a cost for shipping it, unless you could call or email them and say, "You won the gift basket! Please come pick it up at my next book signing at..." Maybe they would be so inclined then to buy the book. I like a gift certificate to buy a book, and your hope is that they will use it to buy YOUR book. I'll be interested in other comments on this topic. Will you bring your booksigning in a bag to Dogwood? I think that is a fabulous idea. And LOVE the swing.

  2. Thanks for your good ideas, Jennifer! Yay--feedback!

    The Booksigning on Wheels is BIG if I'm also bringing a suitcase for my clothes and the trolley of cosmetics.

    I think I'm riding to Dogwood with Maddie James, and she might make me tie the B.O.W. to her back bumper if it won't fit into the trunk. Hm...I'll have to ponder...

  3. I'm afraid my comments are going to be a bit cynical, but what's new.

    I would suggest having a drawing for a prize other than your book, for the reason Jennifer already stated. If they think there's a chance they might win a free copy, they're not as likely to buy it beforehand. From comments I've seen around the net, it looks like the reading public expects a bunch of author giveaways at every turn these days. So, in my opinion--and in a perfect world--for the participants in any kind of drawing where there's a really nice prize at stake to be eligible, they should all buy a book as the price of entry in said drawing.

    I know, I'm Scrooge. So shoot me, but I've noticed that readers mostly hang out on the blogs where there's a promise of a prize at the end of each post to one of the lucky commenters. I heard from a couple of authors who participated in group blogs that they closed the blogs because the only way they could get any traffic was with continuous giveaways, and it was always the same group of people who left comments in hopes of winning something.

  4. Well, okay, Scrooge. We love ya anyway! ;)

    But shoot, I'm not a wealthy person. I can't give away a fantastical prize each time. It's fun to make up a little gift basket, but I can't afford to put expensive stuff in it. Hm.

    I'm not sure we can require a purchase in order to be in the drawing, either. There's something in the back of my mind telling me that's a no-no, but I can't remember why.

    If you sold tickets to win a book, would people be interested? Is that a weird idea?

    It's too bad about people closing blogs because readers only came for the prizes.

    Maybe we're causing our own problem by offering the prizes in the first place. Oh, ouch--it becomes my fault.

  5. Magdalena, you hit the nail on the head. I don't know about you but my publisher doesn't give me books to hand out. I have to buy them, and it gets pricey. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck! Let us know how it goes.

  6. I'm afraid I don't have much insight into this aspect of the market. Only as a reader. I can say, I loved winning books at the workshop. (I never win anything!) Even if a reader has one of your books, they may not have all of them. So maybe offering one of your alternate books is an idea. I think anything you do is going to cost money, but word of mouth is priceless. One good $10 book may encourage 5 or 10 people (or more) to look you up.

  7. Thanks, Devon. You always have good insight, and a realistic way of looking at things.

    Jennifer, I'm like you--love winning books! Did you see how excited I was to win MURDER ON THE MOUNTAIN? I appreciate your point of view.