Some of you might have noticed I am appearing often on the winner circle for books. I thought I would take a moment to help others have more success in this regard as well. Why you might ask would I help the competition? Well, that isn't what it is all about.
While keeping things to myself might help me get more books, it doesn't help permies become better. I'd rather help others create deep and rich content so that we all benefit from it. If you think of any other good advice, feel free to offer it here. We are all better off when more of us are trying to get these books and engaging with the authors.
So let me begin with my number one word of advice, TRY!!! You can't win if you don't try. I marvel at how few people try for some of the books offered. Even if the topic isn't entirely within your interest area, you might just find a new passion after reading a well written book about it.
On the first round, selection is random as far as I am aware, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't post something noteworthy. Honestly, I can only think of one or two posts ever that started out without a question or focus. Even then, it was always from someone who hadn't posted much before and so could easily be forgiven for doing so. Still, take time and consider what you might say or ask. What can you ask that hasn't already appeared on the forum and that the expert/author of that week would have the potential to offer valuable insights on. There have been times when I don't enter the first round of a book contest only because I can't think of what I might offer or ask within the scope of that week and forum.
Now assuming you didn't get drawn from the hat on the first round, the new setup has it so that you can earn the book through a quality post. This is a huge opportunity! Most of the time you have one day notice, but you also have a very broad base of things you could offer. When the forum area is brought up, most of the time it is mentioned due to a lack of posts there. With so few posts, it is easy to quickly see what has been brought up or asked and do something different.
If you don't have pictures of your own relating to the topic, do a quick search of the internet to find a few that can be linked. Humor is good, but make sure to always keep your pictures as a whole relevant to the topic. Pictures add a ton of value to the opening post, since they give our senses something to relate to more directly than just the words.
Start off with a clear title that easily says exactly what your posting is about. Follow it with short paragraphs of 3 to 5 sentences. This keeps you from accidentally creating a wall of text that is hard to read for some people. It doesn't hurt that smaller paragraphs tend to help google ratings for the site either.
Explore the idea fully, but without padding. Try to express not just facts, but also pose some form of 'call to action'. Often this takes the form of a question or two that invites the reader to participate and add their own thoughts, opinions and experiences. If all you present is a few facts, then there is little for anyone to comment on. If you only ask a quick question without details, there may not be much to say as a response.
A lot of this depends heavily on the topic area chosen, but I am hoping that this helps a few people who might have been holding back out of uncertainty. Give it a go. The worst that happens is you don't win the book, but manage to expand the value of the site just a little more. If things go very well, you could end up with another expansion to your private library. Good luck!
Well now that was some pretty darned good advice! Thanks for all the effort you put into it. You 'should' do something awesome with that talent, like be a teacher! (see Paul's latest article,http://www.makeitmissoula.com/2014/12/did-you-just-should-on-me/)...😉
Cris Fellows wrote:Well now that was some pretty darned good advice! Thanks for all the effort you put into it. You 'should' do something awesome with that talent, like be a teacher! (see Paul's latest article,http://www.makeitmissoula.com/2014/12/did-you-just-should-on-me/)...😉
Thanks for that. Interestingly enough, I trained to be a teacher in college, though I currently apply my abilities as an author. I'd like to think that is awesome, though I suppose not everyone would agree with me. After all, squeezing blood from stones is probably an easier thing than being an author as a means of supporting yourself and your family. Still, it is great to be able to do what I love.
Being an author definitely fits into the doing something awesome with that talent category. You can always supplement turnip bloodletting with snow shoveling or some other equally necessary albeit less requiring of your talents service.
extremely nice of you to think of others in this way. it may just work for some of us, and as you said, input from others 9 out of 10 times will get some type of reponse i would think. can pretty much always learn a bit of something each time on this site. i know i do. again, thank you.
I thought perhaps I would follow this up. It seems that a great many of the second round book contests have been for whoever can post a review of a book using the Acorn system favored by Permies. Many of these have been a specific book, though some have been simply to review any book. Obviously, the more books you've read, the more likely you are to have the ability to respond.
So then, assuming you have read the book in question, what makes a good review? Others have touched on this some, but I'll touch on it here again. First, you need to start off by stating clearly how many acorns you give the post. This is between 1 (or maybe zero I suppose) and 10. Put it up there numerically and make sure it stands out some. Bolding the numbers and text or coloring it may work for this. Follow it with a clear explanation of why you rated it that way. Point out the strengths of the books and point out the areas where it didn't work for you. Try to remember that even if the book was totally wrong for you, that it might be just right for someone else's needs.
That means that if you found a hand-written book style annoying, note it simply as having made it hard for you to read. Someone else may find the hand-written nature rustic and charming. Was it lengthy and full of terms? Then note it probably wasn't a text for casual reading or for beginners. Be honest, but also remember that each of us sees things through a different set of eyes.
Posting a book review when the call goes out means you have a chance at yet another great book for your collection and even if you don't win, you'll be lending your insights for others who might be looking at that same book for themselves. Just to sweeten the pot, each review is something that really helps out Permies as a whole. One last note: Don't forget to give it a little bit of your personality as well. Me? I like to add visual acorns at the bottom to display the number quoted.
These are just my thoughts on the matter. I'm going through my library to be ready to make some more reviews. Not just for the contests, but simply because they are a great resource here. Good reading.