January 2019 Contest Prizes Teaser 1!

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Details are somewhat settled on the prize front, and this time we've got something super special for all of you avid readers out there: book bundles!

Yep! Miss Erin's putting in some overtime to help with this 'un, and we're going to offer two bundles of (platform free) ebooks for our top two prizes!

First place: 15 Doppler Press eBooks, 12 curated by me and Erin and the other 3 winner's choice

Second place: 10 Doppler Press eBooks, 8 curated by me and Erin and the other 2 winner's choice

Miss Erin and I have already been hard at work deciding on what books we're going to be picking for the curated list for the prize, and every week until the contest kicks off I'm going to premier the options, first from our curated choices and lastly from those you get to pick from.

This week's preview comes in the form of two classics!

Melanie's Choice: Swifter, Higher, Stronger by Angela Rasch

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Swifter, Higher, Stronger is a touching story about true friendship and love. The ending is bittersweet, but in the best way.

Erin's Choice: Headlights Girl by Catherine Linda Michel

One of the first titles in the Doppler Press library, Headlights Girl has helped pave the way for TG books in a big way, and is certainly worth checking out!

The links above are for the Amazon pages for each of the books in question, and if you have an interest in them and don't want to wait to see if you win the contest then both are available for incredibly reasonable prices there, Headlights Girl even being available in good ol' fashioned dead tree format!

For those of you who dislike Amazon, though, the versions of these books provided as part of the prize package will not be tied to Amazon, but rather Erin is going through the effort to make non-Amazon versions specifically for your benefit. Everyone, please give our benevolent mistress a hand for all her hard work!

Tune in next Friday for the announcement of the next pair of books, and get plugging away at those stories: a good series or serial takes a bit of time to gestate!

Melanie E.


Some questions

bobbie-c's picture


First off, thanks to you and everyone concerned for organizing this new kind of contest - very creative and interesting! And thank you for making a special effort for the contest prizes, as well. Sounds great! (and especially to Erin for going out of her way to make up a non-Amazon version of the prizes)

I am assuming, of course, that this is the "Reader Retention Contest" that was mentioned in a post a week ago?

If so, I have a question. Well, a handful, actually:

(1) Since this is a serial, can the author create an organizer page for his submissions? If he can, can he post the organizer page before the start of the contest? Or will all posts for his serial, including his organizer page, have to be posted within the contest period (Jan. 1-31)?

(2) Can the author do some spruiking, as some of our British and Aussie friends would say, before the story's installments are posted? Meaning, can the author do some "advertising" or, in this case, post some advance information in the blogs section, encouraging people to read his upcoming story?

(3) During the contest itself, would any "advertising" (i.e. mentions of his serial) be allowed in his posts or in his friends' posts? If not, will there be any penalties? And, if not, I am assuming this "ban" will be in effect until after February 15? and

(4) Will there be protection against ghosting? i.e. people submitting work under a different name so they can have multiple entries, or doing kudos clicks under different names. I know this is a lame idea, and it might not even happen, but given that clicks, reads and kudos counts are important to many authors...

Anyway, thanks!


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All good questions!

And here are a few answers.

Yes, this is the "Reader Retention Contest" I'm talking about :) I didn't figure I needed tot repeat it (as your assumption proves,) though I will go back to my blogs concerning it and tag them with the appropriate contest tag once it is available. Now, for the numbered questions:

1. I'm fully expecting authors to be working on their contest ideas well before the actual posting date (starting basically now, actually.) A title page for the overall volume ahead of time isn't going to hurt anything, I don't think, so long as you don't include anything like a blurb for your story or something like that, since that would technically count as early content for readers. Which leads us on to question 2 . . .

2. I honestly hadn't considered that people would choose to do this? It's a great idea, and a good way to garner extra interest, but as with the title page anything directly related to the story's content probably needs to wait until January. So, advertising that you're working on something is great, even letting the title be known is fine, but throwing out teasers, character profiles, or things like that would be overstepping it a bit, essentially letting you post story content months ahead of time. Which yet again segues nicely into number 3 . . .

3. Anything you choose to post in blogs or conversations your friends start during the actual run of the contest are perfectly fine! Once the contest proper has started pretty much all bets are off, though keep in mind that, unless Erin would prefer I do include them, would not count toward the story kudos count as far as win criteria are concerned. Advertising is a great idea though (and something we as a community very much need to do more of,) so go to town tootin' that horn of yours!

4. In the case of cheating at the contest by posting multiple stories or kudo-ing your own work, I really don't feel anything that extreme is necessary. For one thing I never specified that authors were limited to only one entry in the contest: in past iterations I have allowed multiple but only counted the highest overall voted story toward the actual contest, and I don't see why I would run this one any different since it's basically putting in double the effort, and I believe in rewarding hard work. The likelihood of one author winning both prizes under different names is something I hadn't considered, but doing so would do little to benefit them: they would in essence be getting 17 books rather than 15 for first place since all the curated titles in the second place prize are also in the first, so why?

The Kudos thing is perhaps a slightly bigger concern, given how much an extra vote or two could add up over the course of multiple parts, but at the same time is not really something I could control. Even using a poll of some sort would have the same issue, after all, with people being able to vote multiple times from different accounts, and though there are potentially ways around it they are all either too complex, too expensive, or too invasive to bother with for a pokey little contest like this.

Much like with previous contests, we're working on the honor system here. The main purpose of these contests is to help promote and fund BCTS so that it can continue to survive and, hopefully, one day even thrive. As naive as it may sound, I truly believe that we have a pretty good community here, and that, even though the opportunity is there, the desire or drive to cheat in any significant way are something that shouldn't cause an issue. The prizes are mostly there to give people something to aspire to, with their main benefit being that I'm paying BCTS for every one I offer, which adds just a bit more to the site's coffers and helps keep the servers in electricity and fiber.

If you feel that cheating is a serious potential concern for this contest, I will offer this up: if anyone sees an entry or author that they think is cheating in some way, whether it be vote fixing or whatever, feel free to PM me with the information. Despite my rather easygoing demeanor in terms of MY expectations of cheating, I do want to make sure that these contests can serve as a pillar for the community to gather around, and I will take any requests for inquiry into this matter seriously.

Melanie E.

Thanks! So that means...

bobbie-c's picture

Thanks for the reply.

Hope you don't mind that I reply to your reply. heehee...

With regards your last point about cheating, I think the temptation is undeniably there. And, though you may think it small of me, I do remember dozens and dozens and dozens of blogposts where people devoted a lot of talk to readership statistics and about strategies on how to raise readership, and et cetera et cetera, with some actually complaining about low stats, or people comparing read stats or kudos numbers much in the same way people argue who among them has the higher number of likes or twitter followers. I can therefore imagine people doing cheating-type stuff.

To be fair, though, these arguments and discussions have tapered down in recent years compared to the time when the site had just changed from the old readership stats to the Kudos "system." I felt sad when that happened, actually, since the stats my stories had accumulated by then were all wiped away and all my stories' stats fell to zero. And stories will start to accumulate the new-fangled kudos counts now. I guess, for me, the importance of stats lessened because of that, and I never really bothered to take much note of stats since. But I can well imagine people still tracking them closely, much like Ashton Kutcher does his twitter followers and likes. (I remember years ago when he hit 1 million, and he posted a video of himself thanking everyone as if he won an Oscar. He even wore a tie... hilarious...)

But, you're right - honesty system is the thing, and you are also right that the point of all of this to help promote and fund the site after all.

Anyway, to summarize your points:

(1) You're saying organizer pages or blogposts are okay, but only if they don't have any content or advance information of any sort, like blurbs, summaries, teasers, character profiles, hints and such. Basically, people can say they're writing something for the contest, the title of the story, and nothing else.

(2) However, during the contest period itself (Jan 1 to 31), all bets are off, and anyone can post anything about their stories then.

(3) With regards cheating or ghost-clicking, this will be left to the writers' better angels, but any information regarding this should be PM'd to you.

Hope that's correct.


To read my old Working Girl Blogs, click this link -
To read all of my blogs, click this link -
To read my stories in BCTS, click this link -
To see my profile and know more about me, click this link -

Readership stats replaced by Kudos?

erin's picture

No, that's not what happened. Kudos replaced the star system, which had the problem of cliques of people low-balling stories and authors they didn't like. Also, there were people using multiple accounts to inflate or loball ratings. Much less advantage in Kudos which are just yes/no.

The read counts are still here and have been all along, though we did lose about 6 weeks worth of them in a catastrophic server crash which was around the same time as we replaced Stars with Kudos.


= Give everyone the benefit of the doubt because certainty is a fragile thing that can be shattered by one overlooked fact.