Posts tagged ‘CONTEST’

March 1, 2013

The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is…

Prizes for The Night ones Legacy contest

Prizes for The Night ones Legacy contest

The contest for feedback for The Night Ones Legacy has come to a close. I’m a little bit sad, because this was a truly fun learning project. I’m happy, too, because it means I can move on to other fun experiments.

The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is A., a thirteen year old girl that has actually read my book more than once. Because she’s a minor, I can’t comfortably post her full name here.

Here’s some of the feedback I got from A.:

I really admired how beautifully written it was. The way the characters acted and responded to each other was amazing! I loved how much I was able to see Lily grow in the book. In a way I felt I was there with her during her trials because I got scared and nervous some too. The book was so full of mystery and adventure that I hardly ever put it down! I read the whole thing in a day and a half. I love how realistic the characters were.

The only thing that could make the book better is a sequel where we, the readers, find out more secrets than the first book has revealed. This book could not have been any more well written.

I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in the Narnia books, The books of Bayren series( Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born), The 100 cupoards series, Fablehaven readers, Percy Jackson readers too (maybe), kids my age, and basically anybody who is in to magic, wonder, mystery, and action.

Announcing other prizes, hinted at in this quick contest update a few weeks ago:

  • The only surprise prize I actually really announced was for feedback on the book cover. The best feedback I got on the cover was from Esther W. She won a $10 Amazon gift card.
  • For the first entry, a $10 Amazon gift card goes to Wayne Beck. 
  • For the first Amazon review, a $10 Amazon gift card goes to Charles Yallowitz.

These other prizes were not part of the original contest, but I was having so much fun, how could I help it?

And now, what I learned from running this contest:

  1. If you’re writing for middle-grade readers, holding an online contest may not be the best way to reach them. I was lucky. I got a few entries from young teenagers and some from mothers of middle grade readers, but overall, this isn’t a demographic group that’s buying books online very often. I think a localized, direct approach–maybe contacting local bookstores, book fairs, libraries and schools and having more paperback books available would have made a difference in how well I was able to hit my target market. I don’t think writers targeting markets for older readers would necessarily have this problem.
  2. Contest interest seemed to fluctuate quite a bit with the amount of promotion I gave it. I got spikes in contest interest when I posted contest updates, and smaller spikes the first few times I twittered about it. My biggest spike came when someone close to me posted about it on Facebook, but the interest from that was fairly short-lived. I guess what I’m saying here is that promoting contests are probably just about as time consuming as actually promoting the books would be. 
  3. The contest did result in more book sales. Not as many as I’d hoped, but enough that I got a small royalty payment from Amazon. THAT was really fun.
  4. One of the areas that I thought might need a lot of help was characterization. Surprisingly, readers seemed to feel otherwise. I got quite a bit of positive feedback about how the main character, Lily, grew and matured through the trials she faced. I did get some feedback indicating more interaction with children her own age would have improved the entire story, and I tend to agree with that.
  5. An area I had hardly considered before promoting this book was its cover. I received quite a bit of interesting feedback about the cover–mainly, that no one would have picked the book up based on the cover photo. This book needs a cover makeover! The more I read about book marketing, the more I realize how important this is.

Where I’m going from here:

  • Due to a handful of repeated requests from young readers, a sequel to The Night Ones Legacy is underway. I hope to have it out to beta readers within the next few months. If you’re interested in being a beta reader, please let me know–the more, the merrier!
  • Part of the purpose for this contest was to determine whether to leave The Night Ones Legacy on Amazon or to take it down. My thoughts on the matter now: I’ll finish the sequel, then go back to The Night Ones Legacy, rework it and re-release it later. I may keep the current edition of The Night Ones Legacy available as a vintage edition at that point, but I haven’t decided for sure. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear perspectives from readers and other authors.


February 27, 2013

How KDP Select boosted ratings for The Experiences and Thoughts of a Simple Freelance Writer

amazon rank first day of KDP select

I came home from running errands and attending a first-time ever meeting for a local dessert club to find The Experiences and Thoughts of a Simple Freelance Writer had jumped from around #500,000 in the Kindle paid store to:


 in both the nonfiction journalism and journalists category.

This is only halfway through the first day of my little booklet being promoted as free through KDP Select. I checked my reports, and several free copies have already been retrieved by people who are interested in it.

It’s still only #4,128 in the Kindle free store, but since I never really intended to do much to promote this booklet, the higher ranks came as a huge surprise. I was only experimenting with this booklet and KDP Select to see how the program works. I wanted to know whether it would make a difference in the amount of attention it gets on Apparently, it does–which means I may try it with other writing later.

It also makes me think that my experiences and thoughts, as humble as they are, truly might have some value to others who are thinking of pursuing the same career path. My heart goes out to everyone who wants this dream. I understand it. I breathe and live it.

Writing is hardly ever an easy path, but it’s a good one.

Along the same lines, we’re down to two days on the $25 Amazon Gift Card give-away for The Night Ones Legacy.

What a wonderful life!

February 23, 2013

Good things are coming

By Todd Bristol

By Todd Bristol

It’s been an interesting week. As I wrap it up and prepare for next week, I can’t help sharing some of the things on my mind.

  • I got my business license renewed yesterday. For some reason, I never expected to see a business license printed on orange paper. It’s kind of fun. I’m hanging it on my wall today. I’m sure it will catch my attention over and over again; hopefully it will help remind me to be professional. Which reminds me–one of these days, I’m going to finish my business plan. When I do, I’ll probably post about it.
  • This is the final week of my $25 Amazon gift card giveaway. I can hardly believe how excited I am to post about what I’ve learned. Even more, I’m excited for the drawing. It’s a small way to say thank you for tall the wonderful feedback I’ve received on The Night Ones Legacy. This has been one of the best learning experiences (where marketing is concerned) that I think I could have had.
  • I’ve made arrangements for a guest panel interview to address one of the issues that’s come up during this contest. I intend to post that on March 1 when I post the contest results. I’m very much looking forward to it.
  • I’ve become an administrator for National Book Week on facebook. Granted, this isn’t anything really big, but it does give me access to a wide variety of readers who love to read books and talk about them. If you have a book you want to share, please let me know. You can e-mail me at
  • I’m working on three deadlines–two due next week, one the week after–and I’ll be experiencing a fun out-of-town trip in the middle of it all. Soooo….if I’m crazy this coming week and nothing I say makes sense, you know why!
  • Debut author: my brother in-law, Todd Bristol, has written a book! It’s called From the Bottom Up: A Leadership Perspective and will be out on Amazon very soon.
  • I’m also looking forward to the official release of Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz.
  • One new experiment: just for fun, I’m trying KDP Select with The Experiences and Thoughts of a Simple Freelance Writer. It’ll be available for free from February 27 through March 3.
February 20, 2013

Platform, promotion and a possible daily plan

I wasn't going to do any promoting with this booklet--but how can I resist the urge to experiment? It's become my KDP Select guinea pig.

I wasn’t going to do any promoting with this booklet–but how can I resist the urge to experiment? It’s become my KDP Select guinea pig.

According to Rachel Gardner, literary agent with Books and Such Literary Agency, there’s a difference between developing a writer’s platform and promoting your book. In a recent blog post, she wrote the following:

You can’t promote your book without first having a platform. However…

A platform is not enough. To sell copies of your book, you have to actually promote the book.

Shocking, huh?

You can have a huge platform — thousands of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and blog readers. Maybe you’re even a public speaker, have a popular newsletter, you’re a go-to expert on your topic, or you’re already a bestselling author.

But if you don’t actually put your latest book in front of people and make it easy and advantageous for them to immediately click-to-buy, nobody is going to buy it.

Gardner differentiated between platform-building activities (blogging, social media, author branding, etc.) and book-promotion activities, which includes things like contests and giveaways, targeted advertising, and book clubs. It’s got me thinking about the way I spend my online time.

More appropriately, it’s got me thinking about how I intend to spend my online time once I have another book ready to promote.

Right now, I’m using the two books I’ve published on Kindle (The Night Ones Legacy and The Experiences and Thoughts of a Simple Freelance Writer) to test the waters. I’m coming up on the close of my contest for The Night Ones Legacy, which has been an incredible education, and I’ve just decided to try KDP Select for Thoughts of a Simple Freelance Writer. I hope I learn as much from that as I have from my contest.

When it comes right down to it, though, I spend the majority of my time online on blogging, social networking and other platform-building activities (that’s excluding time for research for particular assignments). I spend less time on book promotion, partly because I’m just testing the waters, but also partly because it’s easy to set up a contest or KDP Select and just let it go. I’m assuming that book promotion would come in here if I spent more time actually promoting the contests or the book itself…

I feel like I have something entirely new and fun to spend my time on, even though it’s always been there.

The big question for me is how to divide my time between platform building and book promotion. Gardner indicates both are necessary if you’re going to sell your writing online.

From a time management perspective, I think spending half the work day writing, a quarter of the work day on building a platform and other business-related activities and a quarter of the work day actually promoting my writing might be doable.

Is that realistic?

I’d also love to know what platform-building activities have worked for other authors, and what book-promotion activities have worked.

I’m slowly getting the hang of social media, and I’m becoming a fan of contests and giveaways. I know there’s more out there to educate myself about, and that makes this writing-publishing-marketing game extremely fun.

Gardner has another great new post on her site about self-promotion.

One more thing: The Experiences and Thoughts of a Simple Freelance Writer will be free on Amazon from February 27-March 3, if I’ve set my KDP Select up right.

February 16, 2013

A fun 100-word writing contest that makes you think

Readful Things contest

I just wanted to share this very fun, very short writing contest from the blog Readful Things. I hope you have as much fun with it as I did!

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February 13, 2013

Quick Contest Update

The Night Ones Legacy book cover--Ruby Rift is the most most recent draft of a possible sequel.

The Night Ones Legacy book cover. I’ve had some very interesting feedback about this. What’s your opinion?

Just a quick update on the Amazon Gift Card contest:

  • There are just about two weeks left during which I can receive entries for the drawing. Entries are trickling in slowly, and the feedback I’m receiving is excellent. Thanks to everyone who has entered so far!
  • To make things more interesting, I’ve decided to add a few ‘surprise prizes.’ These will be announced on March 1, along with the winning entry from the drawing. Here’s a clue to one of the prizes: Let me know what you think about the book cover. I’m keeping the other surprise prizes a secret until the contest is over. That’s hard for me because I’m really excited about this!
  • I’m beginning to see some marketing gaps, which leads me to believe that contests are great ways to test the water if you’re thinking about selling books. Just a thought. I’ll probably write an entire post about what I’ve learned about marketing because of this contest, but not until it’s over.
  • I still have a few free Kindle versions of the book to give away. If you know anyone who’s interested in reading, reviewing and entering this contest, please have them e-mail me at so I can get a book to them in good time.

Happy reading, happy reviewing, happy writing and best wishes to all who enter this contest!

If you’ve already read The Night Ones Legacy, don’t forget to e-mail me with your response!


January 30, 2013

Dear Lucky Agent contest


Just in case anyone is interested, the Dear Lucky Agent  contest is open through tomorrow.

This time around, it focuses on young adult and science fiction.

Read more about it here.

And here is a quick idea of what the rules are, taken from the web site, in case you’re not able to make it over to the Writer’s Digest site:


E-mail entries to Please paste everything. No attachments.


The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of your sci-fi novel or young adult novel. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any social media. Please provide a social media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your offical e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! Simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a tinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino somewhere in your mention(s) if using Twitter. And if you are going to solely use Twitter as your 2 times, please wait 1 day between mentions to spread out the notices, rather than simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks.

Happy Contesting!

January 30, 2013

Re-announcing the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


The Night Ones Legacy book cover--Ruby Rift is the most most recent draft of a possible sequel.

The Night Ones Legacy book cover–Ruby Rift is the most most recent draft of a possible sequel.


I’m re-announcing the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway that opened on January 15.

To be eligible for this contest, send me an e-mail at answering these three questions:

  1. What you liked best about The Night Ones Legacy
  2. What would make it better
  3. Who you would recommend this book to (and why)

This feedback will help me tailor the sequel. I plan to have a rough draft of that ready for beta reading by the end of February.

It will also help me decide what I should do with this particular book. Since everything about it happened on almost immediate instinct, I’m not sure the editing and re-writing process got the attention it deserved. It’s certainly been a learning experience, and that makes it valuable to  me.

For the full contest rules, please see the first contest announcement.

The first 100 e-mails I receive will be entered in a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. If there are more than a hundred entries, I’ll hold more drawings.

So far, I’ve had quite a bit of interest in the contest itself but only two complete entries. I’m looking forward to receiving more! The contest will run until the end of February.

If you want to enter this give-away but don’t have a book and can’t get one, please e-mail me at I now have a limited number of Kindle versions to share for free.

January 24, 2013

Gateways arrived, and a contest update


The book I won in author Jessica Schaub’s contest came today!

I’ve been checking the mailbox all week long, and finally my copy of Gateways arrived. I will be reading it all through next week, although I may have to steal it back from my daughters. They’ve already been reading the back cover, and both of them have mentioned how they’re looking for something good to read that they haven’t read before. My mom is already reading it on her Kindle.

It really does sound intriguing. From the back of the book:

Victoria suffers the normal troubles of every teenager: homework deadlines, a protective mother who keeps knives under her pillow, a missing father, and if she’s not careful, Victoria falls into her paintings.

Who hasn’t wanted to fall into a painting before? I always have, long before I read about Mary Poppins jumping into a painting. I’m looking forward to this adventure.

In other news,


As promised, I’m writing a quick contest update here.

At a week and a half into this contest, I have had quite a bit of interest in the idea but only one real entry. I’m still hoping to giving away all five gift cards. We’ll see if the entries pick up in the next week or two.

For those who are wondering, the prize is a $25 gift card for a drawing out of 100 e-mail responses to three questions about The Night Ones Legacy. The full rules can be found here.

January 15, 2013

I won a free book

I won a copy of Jessica Schaub's Gateways!

I won a copy of Jessica Schaub’s Gateways!

I happily received an e-mail message today informing me that I won a copy of Jessica Schaub’s Gatewayswhich is now for sale for Kindle. I’ve been wanting to buy it all week but, you guessed it, I’m working on another deadline. Reading time has been at a premium again.

I’m looking forward to reading Gateways this weekend, after I reach my deadline. I’m also going to gift the copy I was going to buy for myself to my mom.

From the post where Jessica announced her contest:

A year ago today, I took a leap of faith and self-published my first book,Gateways. It was a leap of faith in myself. Do I have what it takes to make it as a writer? Can I tell a good story? Do I use all the literary elements that make stories good?

My conclusion: Yes! Gateways has been recieved well by readers, earning seven 5-star reviews on Amazon and encouraging comments on this blog.

So grateful to Jessica for writing this, for holding the contest and for generally being a wonderful person.

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