It all started with insomnia. Usually my insomnia-induced middle of the night ideas are as crazy as my dreams, but even in the light of day this seemed like a good idea: a Facebook event called “Romance Writers Gone Wild.” Any romance authors could participate, regardless of subgenre. It would be an event where authors could post teasers, snippets, cover photos, etc. and giveaway stuff. All I asked in return was for participating authors to promote the heck out of the event. A true cross-promotion event.
What began as a one-day – or even one-weekend – event, turned into five whole days of romance, romance, romance.
Organizing the event turned out to be a bigger logistical challenge than I’d initially thought, but the participating authors were fabulous! To facilitate communications, I created a closed Facebook Group and began inviting authors, who in turn invited more authors. I eventually created a Google Form for authors to sign up for the event. We ended up with over 80 people, and taking into account the multiple pen names, almost 100 authors.
Once we had our line-up, I made the group secret (we were getting random people asking to join). Next order of business was to settle on dates for the event.
Next, dates were selected, and that’s when the rubber met the road. We divided into five subgenres, one for each day of the event. Contemporary romance had twice the number of authors than any of the other subgenres, so we set aside two days for them.
One author designed our beautiful banner, and I created the event on my Facebook page, began inviting my friends, and we were off and running. It was really going to happen!
Another author participant started an invite competition to encourage us introverted authors to invite our friends. The author who invited the most people to the event won Amazon gift cards.
During the event, each author was encouraged to run his or her own giveaways, but the event also offered a chance to win some really cool grand prizes. Each author contributed $5. The money was used primarily for prizes, and they were great prizes, including 2 Kindle Fires, multiple $10 and $25 Amazon gift cards, and a Paperwhite!
Some money was also used to promote the event through Facebook.
I created a contest entry form using Google Forms (love Google Forms – just sayin’), disclosing to entrants the contest rules and that their email addresses would be shared with all participating authors to be added to their newsletter lists.
The participating authors agreed upon rules for the event. Five posts per author, per subgenre day. So, if someone wrote both contemporary and historical romance, he or she could post five times for each day. We kept the posts to a PG rating. A week before the event, each other was encouraged to introduce him or herself on the event page, so as not to waste one of the five posts during the event. Also, author and grand prize giveaways had to comply with Facebook guidelines on contests.
The event went smoothly, with no major hiccups, and in the end we had 774 guests and participants! My Amazon rankings were positively impacted by the event, I increased my Facebook page likes by 145, and I know I’ve reached readers I never would have otherwise, and I’m hearing the same from other authors who participated.
I created a post-event survey using – you guessed it – Google Forms for authors to provide feedback on the event – what worked, what didn’t, etc. I’ve received lots of positive feedback, with some really good suggestions for some changes and ways to enhance the event.
The group would like to run the event twice a year, although we haven’t settled on the next date yet. So, if you’re interested in going wild, give me a shout.