#ComedyBookWeek is changing for the better – we need your ideas!

Whew! How’s everyone feeling after that rollecoaster ride? Due to popular demand, #ComedyBookWeek is coming back sooner than originally planned – in January. It will be even better, but first, how about some stats on this first, inaugural event? This will become the benchmark to track the performance of the next event.

As you may already know, it was exactly 2 months between that first idea and post on KBorads, and the day 2016 #ComedyBookWeek went live on 16 July. So, how did we do, considering that there was no paid advertising for the event this time?

  1. Participating books: 117 and counting. The intake was finally closed during the event and a waiting list created instead of adding new books too late.
  2. Total of 72 book reviews, interviews, and guest posts took place across 28 platforms (blogs and Facebook).
  3. There has been 4,500+ views of the site since it’s launch in mid-June, barely in time for going live:Stats
  4. 2,654 clicks-through to Amazon have been generated.
  5. The site has over 52,000+ followers (although this is mostly due to my personal Twitter account).

This was a steep learning curve for everyone involved, most of all myself – I did not in my wildest dreams expect such a level of interest and enthusiasm! With almost six months until the next event, I’m committed to making it even bigger and better, and I need your help. Please let me know in the comments below what you think of the proposed changes, or if you have something else you’d like to see happen. Some of these came from the discussion board on Goodreads – we’d love for you to join the group there.

Here we go. Feel free to say yay or nay (as long as you explain why it’s a nay), or add your own ideas.

  1. Next event dates: Monday 16 January to Sunday 22 January. Some people mentioned December, but it appears that the holiday season is dead for book sales, as everyone is having too much fun. Also, I propose to make the event only 6 days, with Sunday being an Awards day. The reason for this is that I’d noticed “comedy fatigue” towards the end of the 8-day week.
  2. Daily Highlights. Since there are more submissions anticipated, I plan to split them into Morning and Evening editions if more than 10/day are submitted.
  3. Static landing page: the site already has one, with the focus on Participating Books. I plan to add one called “How It Works”, explaining exactly that.
  4. The event will continue to be free for everyone, however, to reward those that have worked the hardest to make it such a success, the books and blogs will be displayed according to a new Point System, where authors/bloggers with most points will be closest to the top of the list. Authors/bloggers will earn points as follows::
    1. Book review in PREVIOUS EVENT = 5 Points;
    2. Interview or guest post PREVIOUS EVENT= 1 Point;
    3. Donation: 1 Point per $1 USD. Each $25USD donation also earns a side banner (book link or image with link).
  5. Any donations above the cost of site maintenance ($150/year) will be used for paid ads to drive traffic to the site. I was thinking Twitter ads, but happy to hear your thoughts on this.
  6. Although not required, participating authors are encouraged to offer their books at a reduced price during the week.
  7. We will have a new banner, chosen via a competition, with a $50 prize. A separate post will be published next week, inviting graphic artists to submit their work. Once chosen, this will become a branding image for the site.
  8. More awards have been mentioned – please let me know your ideas!
  9. Authors having short bios on the site – up for discussion. I personally like the look of the covers alone on the landing page, as it’s condensed and colorful – I expect about 300 authors to participate, so with bios, it will be too much scrolling. However, there will be a separate post on participating author contact details (no more Dropbox), so that could be expanded.
  10. There was a suggestion to list 10 “most unusual” questions asked by authors, with all authors answering them on their blogs. We can do that based on the previous event’s interviews, but the only comment I have is that I personally would prefer to see more book reviews than interviews. Open for discussion.
  11. There will be a cut off date for submissions, let’s say about a week before the event. The timeline will be spelled out on “How it Works” page. Bloggers can set their own submission guidelines and cut off dates, depending on their schedules and capacity.
  12. This time, I will only accept an event (review, interview) submission with a scheduled URL for the review. Sorry, I’ve had way too many last-second requests for changes.
  13. I won’t be maintaining a list of books as “taken” for reviews – anyone can choose to review any book on the list. It will also motivate the authors to be more active, rather than “set it and forget it” approach. In addition, I’ve had to take two reviews off the list the last time, as the book reviewers emailed saying they will review a book and then disappeared.
  14. Blog structure will be (pages): Participating Books-Participating Blogs-How It Works-For Authors-For Bloggers-Blog. Author contacts will be in a blog post, with a link from the top of Participating Books. participating Bloggers will be displayed as banners, with the link from the image to the blog contact page.
  15. There could be regular “fun” blog posts highlighting something prior to the event, to help build buzz. Of course, for now there will be plenty of posts just explaining how it will work the next time!
  16. There will be a Facebook page dedicated to #CBW
  17. There will be a Twitter account dedicated to #CBW

Anything else?

 

64 thoughts on “#ComedyBookWeek is changing for the better – we need your ideas!

  1. Woww Ana!! This excites me now itself. And my joy is much more that you decide to start on January 16! .😂😍
    Well, I really think it would be good if from some predetermined date the book’s list is available to the bloggers willing to review the books.
    I really couldn’t do as I had planned, which I want to set right the next time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Ana, this stuff is great and I’ll probably add something else later but there’s one thing that stands out as a red flag for me and that’s the fact that donations count into the points system. Please don’t hate me for saying it but it doesn’t feel right that donations will count in the same system as reviews, interviews, etc. By all means have a separate award and/or special mentions/page for contributors who donate but don’t put them into the same system as reviews and other appearances.
    The main problem I see happening perhaps not right now but in years to come is that not all people are that nice and you will find people buying their way to the top of the authors/bloggers lists. Donating doesn’t take the same amount of hard work as reviewing/interviewing, etc so people who donate as little as $26 (for example) will be higher on the book blogger list for next year than me. I know this sounds like I’m trying to preserve my place but I don’t care if you stick me at the bottom (in fact do so to prove my point if need be) I’m just thinking about how it looks from a moral standing.
    IF the donations HAVE to count, how about a point for any sized donation. That way a donation can earn you a small way up the list but it will still be a generous (and good natured) thing to give more. Otherwise it’s no longer a donation and just a way of buying yourself to the top – and someone I was talking to about this just now called it corruption :o! I certainly hope this event would never even have people of that nature taking part but I have known recently of some authors (not comedy this time) who were buying reviews and well, if there are people out there like that you never know what could happen in the future.

    Also, (if you survived my little novel sized comment above!) I hated to admit it publically but I’m going to be brave and admit that currently I cannot afford to make a donation. I know there will be people in my shoes who are afraid to admit this online and so will stay quiet (I used to be one of them) but it doesn’t make those who can’t afford to pay feel good about hosting interviews, reviews, taking part in any way if someone else can just pay a handful of dollars and overtake them to be at the top. So either donations don’t count or any sized should get a static point.

    Sorry I felt it had to be said, I hope you won’t take personal offense, I didn’t mean it that way, but I’d love to take part next year and have an event that everyone can feel good about and be proud of :D. I hope I’ll be better placed to donate next time but when I’ve donated to charities in the past I’ve done it because it felt good and I never did it to gain something. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, C – I don’t tend to take things personally, especially when I’ve asked people for feedback! Donations will definitely count, as we need paid advertising to take this event to the next level. Four people have donated already, but that’s a drop in the ocean, an has not even covered site hosting fee. I am keeping the event free, so that people can contribute in the way they can. Some have time, others have money. Both are needed, neither one is required.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I understand the need for donations I’m just thinking that reading reviewing and blogging all takes a lot of time compared to donating and I don’t want it to become something where bloggers who do an incredible amount of work (Vicki did so much in so short a time) can always be bumped down by enough cash. Same with authors who might be able to do a lot of other things like blogging, interviews, etc but can’t donate much, they’re books might be constantly bumped down by authors who can pay enough in donations. Just don’t want it to turn into the nasty place like Amazon. Horrible Amazon reviewers take pride in voting down reviews to bump their own to the front page….I’ve had enough of such activity lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Donations will not be counted into awards, so bloggers who do lots of reviews will still get daily highlights and awards, hence recognition and blog traffic. Both donations and reviews will count, and those who only do reviews will benefit from the donations/ads driving traffic to the site and in turn to their blogs.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It depends on whether those awards will be looked at versus the main bloggers page lol, thank you though for clearing it up. 🙂 Hope I didn’t come across badly, just thinking aloud. As for amazon it is an amazing site for authors, everyone can sell anything there and it’s certainly the go to online shop for most :).. If it wasn’t for Amazons reviewing system I’d never have become a book blogger (it’s a long story), so I have nothing against Amazon, just the few nasty people who always try to cheat any system, wherever they are.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The ads are up for discussion – I was thinking of advertising 1) enrollments open for authors and bloggers, to increase numbers and 2) tweets with links to daily updates. they will help drive traffic to the site, from there it’s unknown where it will go. of course, with more clicks on daily updates, its more chances for clicks though to bloggers. if there was increased traffic to blogs this time, without any ads, it will be a lot more with advertising.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Sounds good, there was a definite increase in traffic for me so that’ll be great if it improves again :). Hope teitter ads work, retweeting the vote doesnt seem to result in any more people voting lol. Anyway if you need me to do anything let me know, always happy to help in any way I can 😀 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Thank you, C. I’m researching Facebook ads at the moment and will trial them in my own books first. If anyone has suggestions on ads based on their (positive) experience, they are always welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. People complain about Amazon, but let’s not forget that it’s a platform that has allowed unknown authors to publish and on many cases prosper. Any platform needs to be viable in order to sustain itself and to continue to grow, which I hope will happen here. I’d like to emphasise again that the event is free, unlike other marketing sites, where you are asked to pay up or else, and that donations will be used for ads, which will benefit everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. What about calling those who donate sponsors, opening it up to all and giving them benefits like sponsoring a page, sponsoring eack the ‘awards’ so most multicoloured cover award sponsored by … Etc. They could have a mention in the sidebar as sponsor dpd then and there wouldn’t be that conflict between earned and bought points.

        Another way might be to set up a crowd funding page to cover the costs of site hosting, the mailing list and a modest advertising budget.

        Lastly, publicity-wise if there are say 100 authors taking part never underestimate the power of our mailing lists. I hope to be approaching 2,000 mailing list peps by that time, so even if only 7% of my list is interested that’s still 140 folks who will be up for joining the audience. Times that by 100 and we are already going places!

        Just a few thoughts

        Cheers

        MTM

        Liked by 1 person

      9. BTW when I mentioned sponsorship on that earlier post I meant trying to persuade an author or publisher or … I dunno, stationery supplies company … to give a few dollars towards it in return for a logo in the sidebar under a ‘comedy book week supporters’ tab.

        For what it’s worth, if it was me, I would definitely avoid having the people who can afford it pay to be more visible than the others. But if you had a supported by section on the sidebar, and the bloggers and authors in different sections on the other side, would that work better? Just a few thoughts on the fly.

        Cheers

        MTM

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Ana, I tend to agree about donations being a problem for some of us. If the donation was in SA rands I could maybe afford it, but the exchange rate is about $1 = R14. Unfortunately I can’t afford any sort of paid promos. Perhaps paid ads on the site might bring in more money and not discriminate against those who cannot afford to donate 🙂 Just a thought.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Do you mean in terms of paying to have your book’s position sit higher on the site, because that’s the same thing I was wondering about. I’m glad donations are optional but it still seems a bit weird to have other people jump to the top of the advertised list of books/blogs by paying and doing little else, oh well .
        I think its a really good point about paid ads on the site. As much as too many can slow down a site, maybe it’ll be a way of getting a steady stream (even if small at first) of money? I’ve never explored having ads on a website before though so not sure how good, bad or easy they are :/

        Like

      2. I am looking into sponsorships, but there’s not enough traffic for paid ads yet. I’ve used my affiliate links to post the books, but the total income was $6 for the whole month and has now stopped altogether. I’ve had interest from eReader News, which is a great company that I can personally recommend, but I don’t want to push crap, unrelated products onto anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow I thought that was enough traffic. How much traffic is needed before a blog’s considered worth of that add program?

        I can understand not wanting to push crap. I visited a kid friendly site recently that I used to go on about ten years ago, called neopets. It’s a site where people can raise these online fun creatures but they didn’t have ads ten years ago and the first ad I was met with was one for condoms :/
        Ereader News sounds interesting though, maybe there is a chance to get sponsorship and be able to control what you’re advertising. Certainly the option will open up more as each event sees more interest from the net. I’m hoping this could become one of those talked about events that everybody including nespapers knows about in the future…I’m a big dreamer lol

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoops I forgot to add that you said donations wouldn’t matter in the goodreads discussion: “(I will make it a rule that only reviews or review/interview combos will count, as that’s what authors need most of all). ”

    Please don’t hate me everyone for sounding so negative I’m really positive about everything else. I definitely like the facebook and twitter feed which maybe can post links to the individual events rather than a big blog post with them? Maybe.
    I also hope people will find a way to come back for the 7th day, there has to be something to motivate them to come back on the last day of the week, or to help with awards or something. Either that or awards will have to be decided by other people!? I don’t know just thinking aloud here, lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, C – I was throwing ideas around at that point, and it was actually about not counting interviews, but then I thought it’s not fair, so interviews count, but at a lower point level, because it’s the author that has to do most work.
      There should definitely be an incentive for people to vote. A prize would work, but I’m not sure how to do that, as voting is anonymous.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Either people vote via a poll of via some kind of form? Not sure if that’ll work. Perhaps if nothing else a seperate giveaway where the winner is announced after a vote is finished? Maybe some others will have better ideas

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry I’m clogging the comments section 😮 ! lol
    I think everything else is great. Maybe a clear time on when you expect to post your morning and evening blog posts to come out (or the latest time). With different time zones it’ll be good for people to know when to expect that blog post and might help push more traffic as everyone will know to expect the next set of links :).

    Also if and when you want to make a page for bloggers taking part let us know what you need like banner image or bio of ourselves? I’ve already got a short bio on the book review directory so if you need one it could be the same one or a newly written one for #CBW, or no bio, lol

    Awards: Not sure how these would be awarded or who would vote but funniest book maybe? Something that is an award for an author as well as a blogger. Author that participated the most? Not sure just bouncing ideas here :).

    There also needs to be a way to work this whole week without overworking yourself! Not sure how we can all help but you’re a comedy author too and you might be needed for interviews, Q & As, etc again so need to work out a system where everything works. I’m sure you’ll find a way, we’ve got 6 months to figure it out 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The posting times will definitely have to be spelled out – happy for people to make suggestions. Since most visitors are from the US, it would be US morning and evening.

      There should be awards for authors, but perhaps tongue in cheeck? Like “Best use of XXX” or “Most unexpected cover”? I think “funniest book” is impossible due to people’s humor tastes being different. Maybe a “congeniality award, as in most helpful to bloggers?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ana, I want to thank you for a fantastic first event! Probably the best “first” I have ever experienced- well done! I will take the time to study this- but from my initial review- it all makes sense to me! I look forward to being more active with reviews and blogging. I liked the low key style of it all- easy to be a part of, and I thought it was quite effective. Looking forward to January and thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ana I have read some more of the comments and I agree that more “instructions” to bloggers and authors will be helpful. I am psyched to do more reviews and features. I did think more about suggestions 1. how about badges that we can display on our social media account for accomplishing goals and tasks, i.e. completed 5 reviews, did a Q &A (like what Fitbit does.) 2. Games and contests, even if they are simple like “Who can make the most words out of ComedyBookWeek.” 3. A comedy “boxed set” or comedy anthology? Thanks again for a great event and for being open to new ideas. Even if yo udon’t change anything- #ComedyBookWeek is awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you – I love 1&2! In terms of a boxed set, I might put it as a prompt, but would let authors organise amongst themselves. There could be multiple and themed – romcom, mystery, even divorce!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for this, Ana. Looks like Comedy Book Week 1.0 was a huge success! I’ll be happy to give feedback once I get a chance to dig deeper into this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ana, this looks awesome and I can’t wait to be involved in the next one! For me as an author I guess the main thing is for me to know precisely what is expected of authors – I’m assuming blog posts, guest whatevers are also going to add to the appeal of the week, and I’m happy to do stuff but need a set of instructions so I don’t simply ponder and wind up doing nothing. (But that may be just me – y’know, kids + work + writing = fried brain.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey Ana! I am stoked for the launch of the #ComedyBookWeek in January next year! I am sure that the event will go well. Hopefully, I can participate next year. Having a page on how we can be involved would be a great thing so that more can contribute to the event. Have a great day and much love ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a good idea, not only would it be good for bloggers to know what they can do (I’m new to anything but reviewing) but authors might not know what way they can participate.

      I’m really looking forward to next time. With so many more involved it’s going to be really fun :)!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. The only thing I don’t know how it will work it with the awards will there be time to nominate. Of course we want to avoid the ‘fatigue’ and get people interested in voting but how do we do all that nominating plus voting in such a short space of time 😮 ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am thinking of the awards nominations to be opened BEFORE the event – people can submit the best quote based in the books they are reading for a review. Same goes for the books covers and blurbs. Then voting happens during the week, and awards are announced on Sunday. It would be best to make all awards on Sunday, to finish on a high note. The only one that won’t work will be people’s choice best review – perhaps it becomes People’s Choice Best Blogger period, and nominations can be based on overall contribution to book blogging (lots of reviews, posted consistently), consistently quality reviews, congeniality, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, not sure I’d ever win again then…lol just having fun. I think it’s actually a really good idea 😀 .

        I like the idea of keeping people interested by having all the voting by Sunday. I still think it’ll entice people further to come back on that last day if there’s something else for them to look forward to. Not sure if it would be a giveaway or something else but something that would make people want to keep checking in on the blog that last day…thinking of those people that might not care about the awards so much. Some thing might keep them interested to vote in the meantime (or not, just thinking aloud lol)

        Like

      2. Yes, the current experience is showing that doing award nominations and voting after the event is not a good idea. I would expect a slow and steady rise in the interest in prior months, frenzy during the week, and then exhausted silence right after.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think voting on everything as #CBW goes on is a great idea. Once the week is over the motivation to return to reviews/interviews/books is lower. So at the bottom of every review and other content there’s a button that takes you to a voting page. Of course we can’t choose the best of them all before we’ve read them, but we could give points to the ones we really like.
        To give the other perspective on donations, I can’t contribute reviews because I don’t run a blog on my author website. It has my books, a signup form and that’s it. I accepted a while ago that blogging wasn’t my strength and I was better off spending my effort elsewhere. All I can do is tweeting and other social media shares, and author interviews. So I’m very happy to be able to donate instead and contribute and show my appreciation that way. Plus there needs to be an incentive for authors to contribute money – the event needs money as well as content to grow.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thank you, Jenny – that was my thought exactly, to give everyone an opportunity to contribute. I have very high hopes for paid ads! It certainly has worked for my own book sales – without paid ads I get a tiny trickle; with them, it’s a nice tall mountain on my sales charts 🙂

        I love the idea of voting via a button at the end of a review – I could do a huge poll with all reviews in it. It may disadvantage those that choose to post towards the end of the week, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m replying to Jenny’s comment but there was no reply button visible for me on my phone, lol…
        Thank you for that I can see the idea behind paid contribution. Sorry if I came across all gun ho against donations, if you don’t mind me explaining why:
        Say 20 (made up number for easy explanation) people contributed either by blogging or donating. Those 20 people’s blogs or books would appear above any other participants on the page, so far that makes sense.
        My worry was that say the 10 who donated money each collected more points, through their donations, than all 10 people who blogged. This would result in the 10 money donors appearing above the 10 blogger donors. Now imagine that happening every year…hopefully you can see why those who can’t give money would feel really deflated and disheartened, if year on year their contribution meant only ever appearing under all the money donors.

        I have thought of a possible solution while I was typing this though:
        Say you split people into two main groups and give points. Then you’d alternate them down the list. Say the blogger (for example) with the most points followed by the money donor(sorry can’t think of a smarter description right now :p). Then the next person a blogger, then money, etc. People who’ve donated both could have their points pooled together and put into one group or the other for the list. What do you think?
        I know it’s not perfect but I could see those who can’t pay not feeling cheated out of the higher spots on the list and those who’ve donated money won’t feel like they’re getting nothing back in return for their cash.

        It’s just an idea, let me know what you think 🙂

        Like

    2. Sorry, I hope I made sense, I typed up that answer on my phone early morning and not sure if I came across right, lol. Anyway it was just an idea to alternate money versus bloggers. I guess it all depends on whether all of the donation points outweigh the total points of bloggers but if not then maybe a different method…Just trying to make everyone feel happy with it 😀

      Like

  10. The one I loved was 10. 😉 Very happy to do reviews, can’t usually manage more than a couple but might do more over the year and keep them for a splurge that week! Happy to have a voting button on my review.

    Not remotely bothered about an author bio near my book cover I think a v. short description would be better. You know, one sentence elevator pitch.

    Cheers

    MTM

    Liked by 1 person

  11. After having contact with a couple of authorsof comedy who came to my blog via my book review directory link and then asked questions I think whatever you decide the static pages with the explanation of how CBW works and what authors should do (sign up, what participation means, etc) should be done as soon as possible. That way any new authors who might want to take part can be directed there and would understand how it all works 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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