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Get inspired by the Cosby Sweater Tournament

Do you want to host a book contest, but aren’t sure what to do?

Get inspiration from an unlikely source – Bill Cosby.

After years of ribbing about the sweaters he wore on his classic “Bill Cosby Show,” Cosby is hosting an online contest to select viewers’ favorite sweater.

A brilliant idea

Is it a coincidence that his website’s header promotes Cosby’s latest book? Of course not. This is a brilliant way to drive traffic to the Cosby site, where tournament participants will learn about the book.

Called the Cosby Sweater Tournament and set up in an NCAA college basketball tournament bracket format, the contest started with 32 sweaters. The NCAA bracket uses school names; the Cosby bracket uses photos of a sweater-wearing Cosby snagged from the show. Mouse over each image on the bracket to generate a larger version of the photo.

There are five rounds of voting that cut each round’s remaining contenders in half until a winner is selected.


Let it inspire you

You could do this with book covers, couldn’t you? Or, like Cosby, you could do something similar with a topic related to your book.

Even if you don’t want to bend this bracket contest concept to fit your book, use it as inspiration to think differently about your book contest. Don’t do what you see everyone else in your genre doing. Be like Cosby (whose wife suggested the sweater contest) – try something unexpected and different.

Stumped? Find contests in other consumer products categories and see what’s getting people engaged. Then modify and adapt the concept to your book. You’ll not only attract attention from people already in your networks, but you’ll expand your reach as they – and others – learn about and start talking about your clever book contest idea.

Sometimes good is good enough. But as Bill Cosby has shown with his sweaters and their contest, you can do much better than “good.”

Do you like contests that require you to do something, or sweepstakes where all you do is enter to win?

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

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  1. Sandra – Thanks for this post. It teaches one to always look for ways to adapt others’ great ideas for ones own good 🙂 Something we probably do without realizing it at times – but, that can be repeated more often in our book marketing strategies to produce more diversity in drawing traffic to our own back yards.

    1. Exactly, John! We can learn a lot, and get great ideas, by studying how successful marketers in other industries do business. (We can also learn a lot by noticing what they do wrong, too.)

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. I subscribed to your blog and your newsletter immediately after hearing your interview with Felice Gerwitz. You are a well of information. Thank you for sharing as much as you do free of charge.

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