Thursday, August 26, 2010

If You're Not Failing Occasionally, That Means You're Not Taking Risks...

So I guess I'm taking some risks.

Last week I teamed up with the fabulous Katie Davis, who's launched her new podcast series all about the world of Children's Literature. Katie's an innovator - she's passionate, and smart, and she came up with an iphone app to let people listen to her podcasts seamlessly with their iphones while on the go.

I loved the idea, and when we spoke, I thought it would be fun to do a contest here on this blog to give away a free copy of her iphone app. Now, at $1.99 it's not the kind of prize - like the chance of winning a new car - that will have people dressing up funny. (Anyone else remember The Price Is Right?)

But as the investment was simply to leave a comment with an idea for Katie to cover in an upcoming "Brain Burps About Books" podcast, and no one had to dress up in a chicken costume, we thought it might get a number of people to throw their proverbial hat in the ring.

And we did get a number of people. That number was 1.

Now, at first, I have to admit, I was pretty bummed out about this. I mean, it was my first contest, and it felt a bit like I'd thrown a party and no-one showed up, you know? But the comment/entry we did get was awesome.

Karen from said...

You're right, this is a wonderful podcast! And I definitely have a topic I'd love to hear about in the future: I co-manage a website aimed directly at kids, so it's difficult to reach them. We've been trying to spread the word about our site to educators, hoping that they'll introduce our site to kids. But is that the best way to do it? Or would parents be a better channel? Or are there some strategies for reaching kids directly that others have discovered? Would love to hear any words of wisdom on this topic! Thanks!

The contest, and Katie's podcast, really connected with Karen- she became engaged in a wonderful way - and her show idea is great! And that's really the goal of all of this social networking and blogging... to build community, to build your following, to engage with people who are interested in exactly what YOU are talking about - a community of people with a shared passion.

And yeah, while it would have been nice to have had 20 entries, or 50, or more... I'm delighted to announce Katie as the completely randomly selected winner of our contest!

Like building an audience, a platform, and a community that shares your passion, having a contest with a bunch of people entering takes time. And experimentation.

And you know what?

Like a number of editors and agents kept saying at the 2010 SCBWI Summer Conference,

If you're not failing occasionally, that means you're not taking risks.

And when it comes to blogging, can't we all afford to take some risks?

So think about it: What kind of experiments can you try with your blog?

If you succeed - great! Congratulations, keep at it!

And if you "fail," like I did with this contest - guess what? You can always try something else.

I know I will.

Namaste, and Remember to Keep it Zen,

ps- I found the photo of the "Play at your own Risk" sign here. I love the idea that if you don't risk anything, then you don't get to play. And what kind of fun is that?


  1. My facebook friend Daniel just let me know that it actually was the TV show "Let's Make a Deal" where people dressed up in silly costumes...
    I stand corrected.
    Thanks, Daniel!

  2. The thing that makes this contest a success is you, Lee. I'm completely won over by your take on how it went, and I'm sure everyone else is, too!