Contest Winner and a Question

So the winner of the recent caption contest is Andrew D. Arenson!  Watch this space for Andrew’s guest blogging spot in the not-too-distant future, after he and I work out a date for it.

So I’m wondering whether you, dear readers, could provide some insight.  I’ve noticed certain contests and such get a lot of participation and others, not so much.  Any thoughts on what you’d like to see here?

Coming soon:  another installment in my gothiness essay series.


4 thoughts on “Contest Winner and a Question

  1. I think contests and participatory activities on a blog are a great idea – one blog I visit regularly has a ‘picture it and write’ activity, where they post a picture and ask for a paragraph of fiction, a comment, a line or two of poetry, to illustrate what is on the picture. Usually they post an ‘opening’ paragraph and invite readers to carry the narrative on from that point, but that isn’t compulsory. They always get some interesting contributions, but never a huge quantity.

    I think one has to consider some basic site stats. For example, I have five-hundred-plus ‘followers’; I get between fifty and a hundred visits per day (I couldn’t say how many people simply read my posts on a reader or in email, because I have never asked); between a dozen and twenty people click ‘like’; I get between four and twenty-four comments, half of which might be my replies. Recently I posted that I felt my micro-poetry needed a new direction and could anyone make a suggestion; I got a handful of very useful replies, many of which simply told me I was doing fine and not to change a thing.

    I know that I only have a limited time for blog visits – between an hour an half an hour per day – and for all I know my followers and visitors are like me, similarly restricted. I suspect if I asked for confirmation I would get no more than a handful of answers! I’m not thinking of running a contest soon!

    Having said that, I soon will be, in the company of my agent, another poet, and two artists. We have a web site / blog set up and ready to go. This will be a serious contest and the winner will receive an original piece of artwork. However, we know that the way to get entries will be some heavy promotion. In our case it will mean promotion of a web site from scratch, and that is going to be hard work – before the really hard work of judging the entries.

    If you are going to run something participatory here, then you are going to have to promote it, if only by mentioning it on Facebook, linking back to it from your daily blog, asking friendly bloggers to mention it or to allow you to plug it in their comments thread.

    If you’re going to make a regular thing of it, then why not create a permanent page for it here? The content can change as often as you want to run something, and if you get bored you can take the page down. In fact you could make it a temporary page – put it up only when you want to run something. The problem with blog-post-based activities is that they fall behind.

    Can I suggest an activity? Hmmm. Why not post one of your poems and ask other poets to take a phrase, an idea, an image from it and run with it? This works best if your visitors are mainly poets, of course. You could run a ‘picture-it-and-write’, there is no copyright on that idea.

    Anything useful there?



  2. Those are some great ideas, thanks! 🙂 I do publicize it a fair bit on Facebook and Twitter and here on the blog, but I’m also trying not to overload people with reminders so I don’t alienate them. I worry about announcement fatigue. My timing might also not have been ideal on this one.

    And I’m all about cross-promotion, as you know. (By the way, I’ve begun reading your work now. 🙂 Yay!) Perhaps mentioning the contest in others’ comments sections, when topical, would go over well. I’m certainly open to that if other people want to do that over here.

    All of this bears more mulling over. Perhaps I can devote some time to it over the winter break when I’m not bogged down in grading papers and am focusing on only one career at a time. 😉

    If anyone else has further input on the matter, I’m interested.


    1. I wondered whether to talk about mentioning it in comments. That’s known as ‘blogging on someone else’s blog’, and should only really be done when you can be certain the other blogger doesn’t mind. Again there is a low-yield problem here – most people, when they comment, are only interested in their own comment and in the blogger’s response to it. All-in-all one has to make a big effort for small returns, and I think we have to get used to that.



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