Yesterday, the author running The Best Ebook of the Summer contest blogged about whether or not contests are based more on popularity votes than on merit. I imagine she was referring to her own contest as well, and wondering how many people who voted did so without reading the ebooks.
Is it a popularity contest? In some aspects, I suppose it is. For those of us near the top, it became a quest to see who could pull in the most votes. But isn't that the case with most contests/elections/polls? People choose a candidate for a variety of reasons, whether it's top quality or word of mouth or wanting to help the underdog.
I know many people voted for my book because they read it, if not in full then in part, as a beta reader or friend. I know many more voted for my book because they knew my name and were intrigued by the excerpt and the reviews they read. And yes, some voted because a friend or family member told them to.
Should I feel bad, soliciting votes from such a variety of people? I don't know...I don't think so. Publishing and sales is all about promotion, like it or not. This contest got my name in front of people who now are interested in buying and reading the book. The hits on my website and blog have doubled in the last 4 days. And if I win the contest outright, I'll get a free review as well.
So what do you think? Was it just a popularity contest? And in this case, is there anything wrong with that? Did the end result - free promotion - warrant my approach to getting the word out? Or did I overstep bounds by asking people to vote even if they hadn't read One Night in Boston?