Aside from being a wonderful word you won't likely see in text messages (and that alone is reason enough to make it a wonderful word), a conundrum is often what I face whenever I consider either entering a contest or running one.
Entering Contests. I don't have too much time to enter contests, unless it's quick 'n' easy to throw my name into the hat and/or I really want to win a particular prize. Often, contests just end up pissing me off . . . or making me feel guilty.
That mess now being run at Samhain seriously pissed me off. One day, when I was between chapters of my WIP, I thought I'd give it a go. Shit almighty.
I ended up feeling like the victim of a fraternity hazing. This is supposed to be fun? I kept asking myself as I trolled through fifty effing websites, looking for a certain icon. Worse yet, whenever I found that icon, I usually couldn't read whatever damned title was printed on it!
It was definintely not fun. In fact, it put me in a boycott mood. Before I knew it, I'd wasted many irreplaceable hours and darkened my sunny disposition.
Authors who are cunningly manipulative -- i.e., bury their clues or answers in the bowels of their sites and make entrants click . . . and click . . . and click through endless book lists, blurbs, excerpts, buy links, testimonials, photos, buddy links, blog posts, chuggedychuggedychug -- are not doing themselves any favors. I assume they figure that by trapping entrants within their online labyrinths, said entrants will gobble every word on every page and salivate over covers and be swept into the Land of Awe by that parade of "4" and "5" reviews. NOT. The inconsiderate assumption that readers have nothing better to do with their time than spend it spelunking through linked caverns of self-promotion is, purely and simply, offensive.
Lesson: From now on, as soon as I see a "Scavenger Hunt" that will make me feel like I'm Dumpster diving, I'm gone.
Winning Contests. Over the years, I've won maybe four book giveaways. Total. Only one win, Blind Eye's Tangle anthology, made me sing "Celebration Time." The other three titles weren't of my choosing but were picked -- randomly, I assume -- from groups of books being offered in mass giveaways. (You know how that goes.)
When I have no interest whatsoever in the title I end up with . . . my heart, it sinketh. I always feel obligated to try reading my prize. The least I can do is give it a chance. But I'll tell ya, I've ended up with three stinkers out of four wins, and not being able to get through even the first chapter of a book fills me with guilt.
Lesson: No more entering giveaways unless they're for titles that have piqued my interest or by authors I know are good.
Running Contests. Almost invariably, this is a depressing exercise. I've been doing it on and off for several years now, usually on my publishers' chat loops but sometimes in other places (e.g., TRS, various Yahoo groups, and the like). Two of the three books I've offered through The Romance Studio's Book-a-Day Giveaway were never claimed, even after I sent the wieners big ol' upbeat congratulatory messages. And never once has any winner through any venue emailed me with any kind of feedback -- good, bad, or indifferent. I feel as if I've shot these downloads into black holes.
Lesson: As yet undetermined.