Well dear readers — about three weeks ago or something now, I was surprised to see in my inbox a notification that Random House Canada was now following me on Twitter. Very surprised, especially considering I hadn’t been following them (I am now…) It was a Friday evening after a long week, and let me tell you, it really made my day. A major publishing house following me? That’s what I call validation.
Flash forward to today, and the call came over the (Twitter) wire for a spur-of-the-moment contest (or so it seemed) to celebrate the 20th anniversary re-issue of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander by Random House. It was one of those dealies where you retweet a phrase (in this case, “I want to win #Outlander20 by @Writer_DG from @RandomHouseCA http://ow.ly/5x7tj”).
I have to admit, I felt a little embarrassed by it at first. In fact, I held off retweeting the phrase until the very last reminder. It’s kind of like yelling out for the world to hear: “I only rock to the rock on Rock 94 FM, Rocking Rock Rock Weekends!” or putting a bumper sticker with said expression all over your minivan. Which is fine if you are in university and don’t mind making a schmuck outta yerself. But it’s a little different when you’re living in the real world.
Of course those feelings of trepidation all changed when I won. I DM’d them my address so they can send me a free copy. Yay!
But let’s back up a second. This is very interesting to me. What was my motivation for retweeting in the first place?
Of course, there was the chance to win. Everyone responds when given the chance to win.
I’m in marketing, so I understand why Random House ran this contest (okay, I guess you don’t need to be an MBA to see what is going on here…) – you get enough people retweeting, and the news spreads through the Twittersphere like wildfire. Plus, because it was a short contest (2.5 hours), it’s highly targeted and results driven.
That’s part of what drew me to it as well, I’ll admit. I wanted to be a part of that, to see it in action. It’s a good promotion I think for writers as well as publishers. And when it comes down to it, why not help get the word out about it, if it is something that interests you, contest or no?
The other thing is that I am still fascinated by the Power of Twitter in general. I’m reaching people (and people are reaching me) that I never would have met otherwise. It is also helping with this blog. Five years ago, you wanted people to subscribe, either through RSS or email. Now, that’s just part of the mix. People hear about your posts through Twitter, Facebook, and other sources, and then click through to read. They’re all ways of connecting; retweet contests and such are also ways of participating as well. That interests me.
The one thing though that I realized through this whole experience is that I prefer contests that allow you to add your own creativity (or at least the illusion thereof). Rather than reguritate a whole phrase, I like the ones that allow you to answer a question or write a story. Hashtags are fine — you have to track the participants somehow. I also don’t mind a link — after all, you are promoting something, right?
Maybe something like: “What’s your favourite city? Retweet with this [link-bit.ly] and the hashtag #favcity to win a copy of Lonely Planet!”
Something for me to keep in mind when I’m designing my own future contests, I think.
In my own writing — got about an hour in today. Started re-reading Section 2, but didn’t get too far before I started editing. Had some good ideas, so I needed to jot them down to make a better connection between that and Section 1.
Also found out that I only have to chop about 25,000 words from Section 2, as it stands so far, to get it to fighting weight. Bah, that should be nothing.
Novel Writing Hours