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Monday, September 13, 2010

Contests & Reviews

You may recall I have a little book coming out October 18 and I've been wracking my brains trying to come up with a creative prize package to introduce as many new people to my work and to this blog.

I can't afford Zoe Winters' fabulous prize of a Kindle. And I don't want to give the usual books and swag that m
ost blog tours offer. But not too long ago Jayne Ferst had a lovely prize package consisting of vintage books and china pieces.

Hmm...I have a few vintage items I've picked up during my travels. Maybe a couple of Texas items too. Or writers, would you be interested in a whole novel critique? I'm still working out the particulars. Since I want it to be available to anyone on the planet, I don't want the objects to be too heavy. The postage would kill me.

What's the most creative prize you've ever seen offered for a contest? Would you like me to offer something unique as opposed to just books?

I plan to do a whirlwind tour. I'm trying for 30 days, but to be honest, I don't know that I can write that many articles.

And speaking of articles, you don't have to worry about this being shameless pimpage. Every guest post is going to be a real story or article, and a couple of astounding interviews--that were done behind my back. Expect my posts to be informative, entertaining, or plain funny with a buy li
nk at the end of the post.

There's a couple of reasons I'm doing a blog tour with no sales pitch. I don't like the hard sell. It won't do me any good to beg or fast-talk anyone into buying. You'll either like my novel or you won't. And secondly, I don't want anyone to gouge their eyes out in utter boredom.

My goal is to introduce NEW readers both to my books and my blog by virtue of visiting lots of new places and charming them with my sparkling wit and humor.

Hey! Quit that guffawing. That means you, Catie. I see you chortling behind Marianne.

Oh, great. Now Liz is getting into the act. And Dru! I'm surprised at you! You were always the good one.

Please go visit these characters so they can stop laughing at me. Thank you.

Now where was I? Oh yes. I'm going to T-R-Y to be charming and witty--despite my hecklers.

And you, oh loyal friends and allies can help me spread the word. When the blog tour starts, tweet my links, mention my stops on your blogs, and post a note on Facebook.

I'm going to do a Zoe and track every mention on a spreadsheet. And I'm going to reward your efforts in return. (That's where the prizes come in.)

I think we'll have two and maybe three prizes, depending on my money situation. The top people who comment, tweet, blog or post about me and my guest appearances will win themselves a prize of unique proportions.

What will it be? You tell me. What would you like to win (that's under a hundred bucks)?

Reviewers Wanted
I don't know how many reviewers Carina is going to get for True Believers (if any), so I am looking for serious SF romance readers who will be willing to read and review the book on Goodreads, Amazon and B&N no later than October 20.

I'm only going to offer the book to a handful of qualified reviewers. What makes you qualified? If you understand the tropes of science fiction and if I don't have to twist your arm to read a couple of spicy sex scenes, that makes you qualified. But I do need the review by October 20.

If you'd like to be considered, email me at MariaZannini AT gmail DOT com. Just remember that I need the reviews fairly soon.

The blog tour will start on October 17, but I'm already lining up guest bloggers to appear here. This Wednesday, I'm going to introduce to you author extraordinaire, Krista Ball from the way up North. Be sure to bring your parkas.

You are going to see a lot of me in October and November. Just pencil me in now because I have a lot of stories to tell. Some of them might even be true.

--Don't forget to tell me what kind of prizes you'd be interested in winning.


Linda Leszczuk said...

Your mention of a critique as a prize caught my attention. That would be excellent.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I've never done anything too interesting as far as prizes go.
But I think I did do a "movie pack" theme once for my book: The Role of a Lifetime. I gave the book, popcorn, some Oscar sponges, and a movie clapboard keychain in it.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Thanks. Good to know! I'll put it on my list.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: That is so clever! I love that. And simple too.

But mine deals with spaceships and biblical legend. Now I wish I had written about movies instead. LOL!

Thanks, hon!

Ellie said...

Are you still looking for blogs to post on? I'd love it if you appeared on mine.

Maria Zannini said...


I'm more worried about whether I have anything more to say. LOL!

There are a few spaces left in November. (I'm trying not to appear twice in one day.)

If you have a topic, I'll be glad to talk about it. I'll email you in a bit.

Liz Fichera said...

I do so look forward to reading your book!

Falen (Sarah) said...

i think any prizes you offer are awesome, but that novel critique i think would entice a lot of people

Maria Zannini said...

Liz: I'm adopting you. Thanks!

Sarah: You know it never occurred to me that people would be interested in the critique. I might set that up as a separate prize.

Krista D. Ball said...

It's still above freezing at night. You really only need a heavy sweater :p

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: Not a 3 dog night yet, eh?

Okay, I'll just wear the Chihuahua and leave the huskies for later in the year.

Sherri said...

Prizes...hmm...kinda wishing I had something crit-ready *g* Otherwise, I like the vintage/Texas item idea, it speaks a lot about who you are.

I'd happily have you over on my blog if you want to make that stop. I'd love to read and review the new book but it'd only get posted on my blog and Powell's (if Powell's carries it) though I'd be happy to link it on FB. Someday I'll get into reviewing on other sites but I'm still washing the bad taste from my Amazon experience from my mouth, LOL.

Dru said...

who? Me? Not I.

I'm going to buy your book and read it because I love the cover.

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: Now I'm curious. What did Amazon do to you?

I'm kinda like the crit prize. If I don't do it for this contest, I will definitely do it for a future one.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Oh, yeah. Little Miss Innocent. LOL!

Thanks, sweetie!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I wish you nothing but high sales on your book. And you certainly deserve an A for effort, heart, and creativity.

A critique sounds like a magnificent idea -- but while it is cheap, it is labor-intensive and time consuming. So my hat's off to you for thinking of it what with your busy schedule.

An autographed copy of your book might be nice. A date with Brad Pitt (then when it turns out that it's a date with Brad Pitt the plumber from next door, things could go south though!)

You have a delightful blog, Roland

Maria Zannini said...

Roland: Thanks, Roland!

Ref: critique
Labor intensive, yes. But then I do this on a regular basis for my CPs.

Ref: Brad Pitt
If I could wrangle a date with Brad Pitt, I wouldn't need a blog--or a book. LOL!

Thanks for popping in. Feel free to bring Brad with you next time.

Shelley Munro said...

Prizes are difficult from NZ so I find it easier to stick to books. Postage costs a fortune!

You could do a T-shirt with your cover on or a catchy slogan. That wouldn't cost much to post. I love your cover BTW.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I should've asked you first. I imagine shipping is a huge hassle for you down there.

I like the idea of the t-shirt or maybe a book bag. That would be kind of cool. I'll have to look into what those things cost.


Linda Leszczuk said...

"Crit," she whispered, leaving the quiet echo hanging in the air.

(Once we get the prize set, we'll discuss the bribe.)

Jenny Schwartz said...

Like Shelley in NZ, shipping is an issue from Aus. In fact, I tend not to enter contests for fear people will be obliged to ship something to the colonies ;)

What about an offer to include mention of the winner's pet in your next novel? I've seen people offer to include actual people, but never the pet, and yet, I think it would be neat. There your characters are up in SF world and suddenly an overweight golden retriever waddles in, placidly swishing its tail.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: LOL. You're evil, woman.

I'm thinking of saving the crit prize for a different contest. Maybe a blog follower contest or something.

We'll have it soon though. Maybe December when all this cools down. December's always my easiest month anyway.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Would you believe, Ellie up above in these comments has a contest right now with a prize of being named in her next story. I asked her if I won if I could use my dog's name instead.

I think that's a great idea. Love it!

And there's a dog in my next novel too. That would be perfect.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Synchronicity -- or something like that :)

Linda Leszczuk said...

Oooo, December. Even better. Time to get my rewrites done. (Time to think of a good bribe.)

I love Jenny's pet idea. Could you use my earless bunny?

I did SO have an earless bunny!

Marianne Arkins said...

Ooh.. I could go for a full novel crit (I have this fantasy that's half done.... it has your name on it). *G*

Was Catie chortling at YOU? I thought she was laughing at me... phew.

RE: Carina Press and reviews -- they offer all their releases on NetGalley which has hundreds of reviewers and reviews' sites as members. That's not to say your story will be picked up by that many, just that it will be offered to that many.

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: Catie is shameless. But you can't deny she has the best looking socks. :)

Ref: Net Galley
I know they use NG, but it's the genre. Being science fiction, I think it scares people. LOL.

I have a friend with a great SF premise but she had a terrible time getting reviews.

Sangu said...

This is a great post! You must be so excited about the book coming out. I'd love to do a review, but I fear my SF knowledge isn't quite enough. :-)

Jayne said...

Aw thank you for the link - so sorry your name didn't come out of the vintage handbag!

As for contest prizes - I like it when people make it personal - so for me vintage / Texan things would have great appeal. However it is pricey, especially if you open it up to everyone, as I did. Two people won prizes from over your side (hee!) and I guess that cost me about £20 P&P, which made me think yikes! I'm not a rich soul by all means but blogging has been such fun, so I just thought why not?! However, offering to do a novel critique is pretty awesome! And vouchers for things like Amazon work wonders.

As for your book - OMG - you have a book out soon! I didn't know but how fantastic. The cover looks great. I can think of two friends who would instantly love this. October 18th is nice and soon as well!

Please do drop me a line if you want to do a little star turn on my blog as well. :)

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: ...I guess that cost me about £20 P&P...

I can believe it. I once sent a prize package to Holland. I think it cost me more to mail than the prize itself cost. That's what taught me never to send something heavy again.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

That's awesome, Maria! I also like the whole novel critique. I don't know what other prizes would be cool...a free e-copy of the book? That would be sweet. Once you know where all you'll be on your tour, I'll definitely mention it on my blog.

arlee bird said...

I've been wondering how effective the contests and giveaways are. It's expense, but does it pay off that much?

If anything, on the practical side for you, something that can be done electronically, like the critique or hosting the winner on your blog site sounds like more of a win-win.

Giving your book away I think should come with a promise that it will be honestly reviewed. But what do I know?

I've already committed myself to 2, maybe 3, upcoming book reviews for October. That might be tough. If you ever want a main character who is the slowest reader in the world, I'm your inspiration.

The only thing I ever did was celebrate reaching 200 followers on my blog by offering readers a month long challenge of Blogging from A to Z this past April. It built some credibility for my blog, added 100 followers to my roll, and contributed greatly to my Google search presence.

I think something participatory where everybody can "win" and share a more personal stake in your celebration can have good results. Although the challenge I offered was a heck of a lot of work. Maybe you can come up with some sort of Virtual Book Release Party or something like that.

Enough chatter from me. Just thought I'd Toss Out some suggestions for you. Good luck and wish you great success with your release.

Tossing It Out

Maria Zannini said...

Sangu: Thanks for stopping by! It is exciting in a brain-eating kind of way. LOL.

Why do we put ourselves through these things?

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: Thanks, Barbara!

You guys have convinced me to do some sort of contest later this year, strictly for a crit prize.

Maria Zannini said...

Arlie: Contests provide one little-appreciated bonus. Good will.

I don't mind spending a little money if it will draw people together. Hopefully, they'll like what they see and stick around.

LLL Reviews said...

Aloha Maria,

I just sent you an email!=)

I follow you here on your blog as well on network blogs (chasNkai).

My blog is always open for any kind of postings!!

I wanted to answer your question as to the prizes. I just recent; implemented a giveaway feature on my blog: Sewn book covers. There are so many awesome book bloggers out there and I have been racking my brains on how to make my own stamp in the blogosphere world and since I was already sewing my own covers I thought it would make a great feature to share. I have another project in mind and I am working on the prototype now.
I don;t have any ideas specifically but thought I share my own creative idea.

Oh-- perhaps, a game of some sort around the blogs that are on the tour or a theme of some sort. I am probably rattle off an idea or two.=)

Anyhow, thanks for reaching out reviewers. It's awesome to be apart of the launching process!!

Maria Zannini said...

Aloha, Chas!

Thanks for stopping by. I love the idea of the book cover. Too bad my sewing is as bad as my cooking.

Well...actually, it's worse. LOL.