Episode 115 – Book Marks, Discounting, and Google Indifference

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Question of the Week: What kind of prize would you need up for grabs to sign up for a $99 traditional publishing contest and why?

Summary: Michael Lister revisited the show to discuss his USA Today bestseller play, and Jim and Bryan talked reviews, discount rants, and Google indifference in the latest episode. After thanking their patron Nora Remenia (and her book Guerrilla Tactics Against Passive Aggression http://bit.ly/passagress ), the triple threat twosome tackled tips on domains, email signatures, and post scheduling. News stories included testimonial contests, book review aggregators, trad pub print stats, discounting doubters, and Google’s indifference to selling more books. This week’s Question of the Week: What kind of prize would you need up for grabs to sign up for a $99 traditional publishing contest and why?

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What You’ll Learn:

  • How to pick the perfect domain name for your author brand
  • How to create a professional, personal email signature
  • How to schedule your posts ahead of time and be more efficient
  • Why authors should think long and hard about submitting to BookLife’s contest
  • Why a new critique website claims to be Rotten Tomatoes for books
  • How Jane Friedman debunked the myth of print’s resurgence
  • Why one author wants readers to boycott discounted books
  • Why Apple and Google don’t care about selling books


Guerrilla Tactics Against Passive Aggression

Master of My Domain

Wisestamp of Approval

Ahead of the Class

Ninety-Nine Dollars and a Blurb is Won

Rotten Tome-atoes (1)

Rotten Tome-atoes (2)

Rotten Tome-atoes (3)

Colorful Statistics

Discount Double-Cross (1)

Discount Double-Cross (2)

Question of the Week: What kind of prize would you need up for grabs to sign up for a $99 traditional publishing contest and why?

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  • Lavie Margolin

    I did try a paid contest once- and didn’t win. I entered with eyes wide open as to the organization’s intentions for hosting such a contest and the potential risks/rewards. Would I do it again? Maybe. I’ve written a few books since and have not entered again. To answer the actual question: It would be more about the value of winning the award rather than a monetary gain from the organization. Could I leverage the award into more sales, media exposure and speaking engagements? Depending on the bestowing organization, it would be a helpful tool (and just one tool in a tool belt) towards those goals.

    • Bryan

      LinkedIn needs some awards :).

  • Laura Martone

    Honestly, I’m not sure that anything – short of the chance to meet Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion in person (which, of course, has nothing to do with publishing – hehe) – could convince me to pay $99 for a traditional publishing contest. Now that my writing partner and I have fully committed to indie publishing, typical trad-pub prizes like NYC meetings with agents and editors, free manuscript editing, and the like wouldn’t entice me. No matter what the sponsors of such contests say, I often feel that they’re just another way to mine the miners – and offer false hope to struggling or little-known writers. (P.S. Thanks for choosing my answer to last week’s QOTW for this episode – it made my day!)

    • Bryan

      Ooh, a Joss Whedon publishing prize. I’d be in for that too. Happy to choose you!

      • Laura Martone

        I figured you’d appreciate the JW reference!

  • I’ve got three words for you: mahogany snuff box.

    • Bryan


  • avoura

    I would not pay $99 for a contest. If my work is any good it will sell without the need for a contest. If it’s no good, then I am not going to win any contest.

    • Bryan

      Good point.

  • Dan Thompson

    What traditional publishing style of prize would I be willing to risk $99 for? I’d want the prize to be an apology from James Patterson, published as a full-page NY Times ad, where he admits that he’s been wrong about Amazon and self-publishing all along, and that it was *my* book that convinced him. I’d gladly chip in $99 for a chance to see that happen, if not for me, then for someone else.

    Sadly, I think the chances of such a contest being offered are about as low as the chances of BookLife’s contest actually helping any author’s career.

    • Bryan

      Haha, that’d be awesome :).

  • Yo, Bryan. Could you tell us all which episode Michael announced his bestseller project? I’m sure a lot of us would like to listen to it again and see how we might be able to replicate his success. 😉

  • Crissy Moss

    I can’t think of anything I’d pay $99 to enter for. I’ve thought of entering into a few smaller contests that had a $30 reading fee, and they had prizes of $50-500 for various winners. But $99 sounds absurd. Maybe, MAYBE I’d consider it if I had a really good shot at winning, and the prize was a traditional publishing contract with a $10k sign on bonus. Anything less than that and I don’t think I’d spend that much.

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