Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jack Getze is holding a new contest awarding 10 winners signed copies of his new mystery novel "Big Numbers" and "Darkly Comic" T-Shirts. I contacted Jack for his comments, and here is what he had to say:

Jennifer: Tell us something about yourself...

Jack: I hated high school and had no interest in college, so I pursued writing by going to work for the LA Herald-Examiner as a copyboy. I earned my first newspaper byline at the age of 19, and went on to spend the next 13 years writing about business and finance for the two largest LA newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times. Divorce, remarriage and a new baby pushed me across the country to New Jersey where I began a new career as a stockbroker. I was always working on a novel, though, and wrote 11 manuscripts before I sold Big Numbers.

Jennifer: Tell us something about your book, "Big Numbers"...

Jack: I heard a supposedly true story one day about a stockbroker who married his biggest client's widow, and I thought, wow, what a perfect tale for what I want to say about stockbrokers and the investment business. The first version I wrote didn't sell, though, because the main character was too greedy--not likeable enough. When I got stuck on another manuscript two years ago, my agent said why don't you try Big Numbers again? This time, it worked.

Jennifer: Tell us about your newest contest...

Jack: 10 signed books, 10 T-shirts, and the deadline is June 21.

Jennifer: How will the winners be chosen?

Jack: It's going to be a drawing from the pile of correct answers. I didn't fool anybody with this one. But I'll probably send out more than 10 books. I gave away almost 100 last contest.

Jack's Online Media Contact, Eileen Cruz Coleman of CruzColeman Communications, offered the following guidelines for those interested in entering the contest:

"Be one of 10 people to win a signed copy of BIG NUMBERS and a "Darkly Comic" T-shirt (one size fits all) by answering the following

Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?

WARNING: This is a trick question. Check your facts people! Email your answers to jgetze@aol.com"

Jack will be speaking and signing books at various locations starting May 25th and throughout the month of June. If you are interested in seeing him in person, you can find the details on his website HERE.

Big Numbers

Monday, May 21, 2007

Famecast is an online competition for talented artists in various categories, which is currently running its season two contest. Contestants can upload a video presenting their talents for the chance to win $10,000 and the title of Famecast Fenom. Submissions will close on May 28, 2007 for this season's contest. Multiple videos are accepted, though not required until the top ten round.

Starting May 21st, submissions will be presented to website visitors who will vote for their favorite talents, and the top 50 will then move on to the next round. The voting will then continue progressively, next choosing 25 of these for the following round, then the top ten from this group. The top ten will then submit a new video, from which five will be selected, again by viewer votes, for the final round. Those in the top ten group who don't make it to the top five will be featured on Center Stage and critiqued by an industry expert, still a very worthwhile experience.

For the final round, those voted as the top five talents will be flown on location for a live webcast beginning on July 23, 2007, where viewers will vote for the winner in each genre.

It is advised that contestants consider a strategy for submitting multiple videos, in case they are chosen for the advanced stages of the competition. In other words, you may wish to consider your finest work for one round or another (early rounds or final ones), according to your strategy.

Entries are being accepted in the following categories, referred to as "stages" for the competition:








Spoken Word

Singer/Song Writer



Short Film

Entries must be in either ASF, AVI, MOV, MPEG, QT, DV, or WMV format, with videos being six minutes or less in length, excluding short film and animation artists who will need to keep their films at twent minutes or less. Contestants must be at least thirteen years of age to enter, with anyone under age eighteen required to submit parental consent. The competition is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland. All copyright laws apply.

Find out more HERE.

I recently interviewed Linda, owner of the Contestgirl website. This is part two of our interview. You can find part one HERE.

What are some of the challenges you've faced in running a website?

Fortunately, I do get a lot of assistance from my husband when he's not at
his day-job. He knows computers and programming and has done most of the
technical work. Without his help, it wouldn't be nearly as efficient and
easy to use. The site is becoming very popular and this sometimes creates
slowdowns in the functionality. We're looking into ways to improve any lags
created when the sites usage peaks. Also, it's very easy to find lots of
contests every day, but takes a long time to put it all onto the site,
because I need to skim the rules for each. I also get lots of email from
the sites users and try to answer in a timely manner. I do like to have
time during the day to run errands and keep the household running, so, I'd
say finding enough time to keep the site fresh, answering my email and
running my home are the biggest challenges at the moment. I'm doing it all,
but it's a balancing act.

What are some of your future goals for the Contestgirl site?

At some point, I would like to add a modified forum. Because the site now
takes up so much of my time, I'm not quite ready yet to do this. A forum
would require a lot of moderating, as they can become flashpoints when
people don't get along. I have a lot of wonderful people contributing
'comments' and interacting now and love the co-operative nature of it all.
I have a real contesting community and it would be nice to give people a
better way to interact with each other.

I'd like to share an unexpected benefit of running this website, is that
I've made some terrific contesting friends and have also connected some of
my contesting community contributors to each other for friendship. I've had
so many people thank me for making their day brighter. Some of these people
are housebound because of illness and have found this hobby and the people
they interact with in the 'Comments' makes their day much brighter. I also
get such a kick when people write to me to tell me how happy they are that
they won a prize or received a free sample. I get a lot of positive
feedback from www.contestgirl.com users, and it really makes my day a little
brighter too. The level of pleasure the website has brought to myself as
well as others was not something I had planned or expected.

For more information, visit the Contestgirl website HERE

According to the Direct Marketing Association, it is estimated that more than 55 million Americans enter sweepstakes each year, with 15 million entering four or more times a year. Here are some more interesting tidbits about sweepstakes that you may not have been aware of...

A sweepstakes mailer that states "you may have already won" really is making a true statement.

These types of sweepstakes generally have a pre-selected winning number which is chosen by an unbiased third party, or randomly by computer, prior to the sweepstakes mailer being sent out. Therefore, you really MAY have already won once you receive the mailer... of course, in this case, should you decide not to respond, you will forfeit your prize and it will generally be awarded in a random drawing to someone else (for those failing to respond to these types of mailers, it could just as easily read " you may have already forfeited your prize", so don't be afraid to enter!).

Colorful sweepstakes entries are 60% more likely to be picked than plain white entries.

This figure is according to a January 2006 article in "Woman's World" magazine. I have seen this demonstrated myself on several occasions during major TV shows when they are choosing a contest winner ("Regis and Kelly is one of them), along with some local contests. The judge will outright say "ooh, I like this bright red one!" or something to this effect. They, too, are human, and if it catches their eye, they are likely to pick it.

This same articles states that approximately 50% of sweepstakes entries are disqualified due to being incomplete, so be sure to fill in all entry fields when you are entering.

According to the National Consumers League, in the first six months of the year 2002 sweepstakes scams were the number three scam for consumers, with credit card scams taking first place, and Work-at-home scams following at number two.

This report also stated that the elderly were the most targeted group for sweepstakes scams with 61 percent of its victims being age 60 or older. Another reason to emphasize to elderly family members that they are <b> never</b> required to purchase anything, or pay for shipping, nor are required to pay any other types of fees to claim a legitimate sweepstakes prize.

The term Sweepstakes originated in horseracing.

This actually stems from a traditional horseracing game of chance where entrants would put up a stake, and the winner would "sweep all stakes". Again, current sweepstakes are required by law to request no monetary investment in order to win.

Sweepstake Art Print

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