Nine tips to boost the success of your online contest


When done right, online contests are an effective marketing strategy for authors. However, these nine tips are guaranteed to boost the success of your next author giveaway.


Offer a variety of contests so everyone has a chance to participate and win.


Keep it simple, sweetheart. The more information you require, the more steps a person has to complete, the more complicated the rules of your contest, the less participation you’ll get.

Encourage chit-chat

Contests that require people to post a simple response to a prompt are a good way to learn more about your readers while creating an interactive environment. For example, if your hero and heroine meet in an unusual fashion, ask people to explain how/where they meet their partners. Other simple prompts include naming a favorite book, scene or character. Readers are notorious for wanting to be a part of an author’s creative process, so contests that invite people to name a character, suggest a setting, etc. are extremely popular.

Partner with other authors

Organizing contests with other authors offers many benefits, including the shared cost of prizes and broader audience reach. It is best to identify a common theme when collaborating with other authors, such as genre, or creating a contest around a theme such as summer beach reads.

Tag your contests

Use hashtags (#) and name tags (@) for enhanced social media reach. For example, “Enter @MyAuthorConcierge #readergiveaway to win an exciting prize.”

Be graphic

Online photo edito5fridayr programs (my favorite is PicMonkey) make it easy to create colorful, eye-catching graphics to accompany your contest. If running weekly giveaways, design a single banner/image to use each time.

Increase participation with a two-parter

Create a two-part contest to encourage return traffic. An example of this type of contest is inviting people to enter by submitting a photo, comment, idea, etc., and then featuring a second round whereby people vote for finalists. Participants will return to learn who made it to the second round while competition among finalists for a winner will maintain interest and excitement. The more opportunities there are to vote, the more engagement you’ll have.

Announce winners

Cultivate “contest credibility” by announcing winners. If privacy is a concern, you can list first name and last initial.

Leverage exclusivity

Encourage readers to sign up for your contact list by offering monthly contests just for newsletter subscribers.

For more information about online contests, read How to Set Up a Successful Online Contest.

Have you discovered an effective strategy for boosting contest effectiveness? Dish here, baby!




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