By John Achor

I look for opportunities to introduce contests to help me get my name out, assist in brand building and because they are fun. I’ve had readers help me with the name of my next mystery. I play off the old nursery rhyme: one, two – buckle my shoe, etc. Since I write 3-4-kill-covermysteries, I toss in a bit of gore: “One, Two – Kill a Few” & “Three, Four – Kill Some More.” This series features Casey Fremont, a female, amateur sleuth, and although this is a series, each book is written to be a stand-alone.

The naming contest was to find a title for the third in the mystery series, Five, Six – ????. I combined two entries and the result was: Five, Six – Deadly Mix (I’m looking for the release of this book shortly). These two ladies got credit in my Acknowledgments section and using the first name of one and the last name of the other, the character Janet Jordan appeared. While this one was fun, I stayed out of the judging process. I palmed that chore off on my daughter and the book discussion group she meets with (The Chocolate Chicks group has been going for 18 years! My wife and I sent our daughter a T-shirt recently which read: Sometimes Books get in the way of the Wine.)

For one contest, I put up cash (not enough to get rich, but a reasonable amount); and the offer was again met with minimal response. I did manage to give the money away, but it was a battle. For other contests, I’ve offered free copies of my novels in eBook format. Never thought giving away freebies would be so hard.

Recently at a conference, I was able to award five copies of one of my books in audio format ( The lady, Aisling Gray, who narrates my stories offered five codes for the audio downloads. Aisling (pronounced Ash-ling), is a true professional. After listening to a few chapters, I emailed her and told her she was Casey. I refer to her now as: the Voice of Casey. I certainly hope she is selected to “voice” the third Casey Fremont mystery.

Seems to me that my offers are straight forward, however the response at times is massively underwhelming. To publicize each contest, I typically use limited numbers of emails, Twitter posts and Facebook to spread the word. All posts have a link to my blog site ( where I outline details.

In today’s world, I recognize many may are turned off by an offer of “free” cash ― Yeah, Right! What’s the catch? Since I’m not Emperor, I don’t have the ability to change the World ―at least not yet. J I’m looking for input from all you folks out there. After all, if you are unsatisfied with my offer/results, you can go to my web site ( and find where I live.

For Readers: What turns you on with relation to online contests? What turns you off? Have you entered contests offered by authors? What were they about (what was involved). Have you ever been “stiffed” by a writer offering contests? I hope no one falls into that last question.

For Authors: What contests have your offered? Which types got the best response? What types do you shy away from? What sort of incentives/prizes do you offer?

I’m interested in your comments. As well as Comments to this blog post, feel free to contact me directly by email:

I’ll do my best to “lurk” around here and respond to your comments.

Casey Fremont mysteries are available in Trade Paperback, eBook and audio formats from your favorite online booksellers.poster-12-12-13-14

The first of John Achor’s three careers spanned twenty years as a U.S. Air Force pilot. He accumulated over 4,000 hours flying planes from Piper Cubs to the military equivalent of the Boeing 707. After the military, he entered the real estate industry. He joined a national real estate franchise as a management consultant working at the regional and national levels. Those positions led him to Phoenix, Arizona, and an affiliation with a major Savings & Loan institution.

In John’s words, “When the Savings and Loan industry melted away like a lump of sugar in hot coffee, I knew it was time to develop a third career.” He became a freelance computer instructor, user-developer, consultant, writer and Community College instructor.

In mid-1999, John moved to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, where he lived in the piney woods with his wife Pat and their two cats, Lexus and Betsy Ross. As you may know from his latest book or web site; these two cats are no longer with them. Big hole in their lives, but both are waiting for us by The Rainbow Bridge. Their latest move was a recent relocation to the Omaha, Nebraska area where John is busy meeting and greeting new writers, readers and writing groups.

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  1. I’ve done two giveaways so far with a 15 dollar Amazon gift card plus a book for the prize. The number of entrants was pretty small for the first one but it more than tripled for the second giveaway so I feel encouraged. I’m hoping each with each giveaway there will be a few more entrants.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do not enter contests. I guess I view them much like the lottery. Waiting for lightning to strike. Getting hit by a comet. Maybe I’ll change my mind after reading this. The odds seem better with writers’ contest with your post and Connie’s comments. I would never enter a contest that charges entry fees. I’ve considered having one as they’ve been listed as ways to increase readership or at least awareness. Seems like a lot of work with only a little effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome to MMO, John. Contests are always difficult. My experience, the better the marketing, the more the response. I belong to a number of listserves and I find the best results when I post on those, and my fb author page. I’m posting to people who are already familiar with me, and sometimes that is half the battle. I have had some winners that didn’t claim prizes for months, but they did, eventually, contact me. For what it’s worth, Twitter has never been a big success for me, I think it moves too fast.

    Good post, and thank you for visiting. (We have a Cherokee 6 – love that little puddle jumper!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John, I do enter contests but have never won anything. I am working on a second edition of my first book so am not doing contests with the current edition. I expect I will when the new one comes out. And I will use Kait’s methods described above as there are people who deal with contests all the time.
    I enjoyed your post and wish you well!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I generally offer a giveaway whenever I have a blogger review a book or host an interview for me. I usually offer a $25 Amazon gift card, a couple of printed books to entrants in the US only, and a couple of ebooks internationally (the Amazon GC is offered internationally, also). I’ve had decent response; the bloggers usually use Rafflecopter to host the contests.
    Another giveaway I like and use now and then is Goodreads giveaways. You can offer as many books (print only, I believe) as you want, and set the time limit for the event. You also have the option of US only, or any number of countries.
    I enjoy contests/giveaways, both entering and offering. I’ve actually won a few books and other “stuff” (can’t think of the word right now that author’s offer).
    Enjoyed the post, John. Please come back and visit again. We’d be pleased to have you! 🙂


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