A couple of weeks ago Science Fiction author Steve Umstead published Gabriel: Zero Point, the prequel to his very popular Evan Gabriel Trilogy. To launch his latest book, Steve decided to have a book promotion contest for all of his fans. The task was simple… help him promote the book through various social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.) and let him know about it by either using a #GZP hashtag on Twitter or tagging/mentioning him in the book promotional messages on Facebook or Google Plus.
Every day for five days he randomly picked a name to win a $10 Amazon gift card (a total of $50 for the week). Steve also announced that he would be giving away a Nook Table or Kindle Fire (each valued at $199) to one lucky grand prize winner during Week 2 of the book launch (More details on that later). I was lucky enough to have my name drawn in one of the $10 gift card drawings and purchased the print edition of Steve Umstead’s first published book Gabriel’s Redemption. I had already read the eBook version, enjoyed it, and thought it would make a great addition to my growing library of books from independently published (“Indie”) authors. I soon found out that I was the first person to purchase the print version with the new cover as soon as it went live on Amazon! Too bad it wasn’t a numbered signed edition so I could later auction it off on eBay when it officially becomes a collector’s item, and then I could retire.
Anyway, throughout the week I continued to help promote Gabriel: Zero Point through Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus via sharing promo messages Steve broadcasted and creating some custom messages of my own. As I was browsing through my emails the following Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to see my name listed among seven grand prize finalists for the second week of Steve Umstead’s “Gabriel: Zero Point Spread the Word” book promo contest. The seven grand prize finalists were selected for being the most creative and helpful during the book launch promotion and ranged from writing book reviews, blog posts, and spreading the word via various social media platforms. I was selected for having a consistent Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus campaign.
The real fun began when I read that the grand prize winner would be selected by way of casting votes. Each candidate for the grand prize had one week to solicit as many votes as possible from friends, family, neighbors, etc. and the man or woman with the most votes by 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Friday, April 27, would be crowned the winner the next day. I got a late start since I hadn’t read the blog post until later in the day and Dr. Shay Fabbro had already earned approximately 30 votes! All of the other candidates had votes too, except for me! I had zero, zilch, nada! Well, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a Kindle Fire ever since Amazon released it and my dad (who is very technically challenged) received one for Christmas and is now addicted to it!
So, it was time to hit the campaign trail in my very subtle campaign vehicle. I also sent messages to all of my friends and family with a link to the contest details and started gaining votes, but Shay continued to have a steady lead throughout the first half of the week. Then a few of my friends started putting together their posse of friends around mid-week and the margin between Shay’s and my votes began to shrink, but every morning Shay would have a large surge of votes. I called in some help, and a friend of mine (who I may only refer to as Agent X, or else you might see my picture on a milk carton) recruited her brother (who is employed by a foreign government) to utilize an undisclosed office to cast votes for this desperate little American trying to win a Kindle Fire.
On Thursday, I took the lead for the first time and continued to enjoy the lead throughout the day. It looks like my secret weapon, Agent X and her brother’s secret foreign government task force, was getting me close to victory. On Friday morning I had an 88 point lead over Dr. Shay Fabbro, but something about the sudden slow pace of Team Fabbro votes on Friday seemed very fishy. My shark radar sensed a sneak counter attack. I watched the votes carefully and then late in the afternoon, Team Fabbro pounced, almost immediately cutting my lead in half, then I was only ahead by 20 votes, then suddenly, Doc Fabbro shot ahead with a near 30 point lead! Ruh-roh! Luckily, Team Pruneda kicked it into high gear and started generating some much needed votes through some desperate Twitter campaign tweets many ending with “This is Rob Pruneda, and I approve this message.” Team Fabbro, however, continued to counter with votes coming in from Lord knows where! Personally, I think she hired Anonymous to hack into Sony’s system again and commandeered hundreds of Playstation accounts to generate more votes. I’ll never be able to prove it, but she’ sneaky like that! :-)
With only two hours left to go in the Gabriel: Zero Point book promo grand prize contest, the bullets—I mean the ballots—started flying. Team Fabbro had votes coming in from all over the place. I had unconfirmed reports of Team Fabbro votes coming in from the International Space Station and Area 51. This Shay Fabbro character was a tricky one, and with one hour to go she and I had nearly the same amount of votes. After the sneak attack Team Fabbro had launched earlier, I was ready for another one. I had more unconfirmed intelligence suggesting a special forces team was on standby to take out my communications and plant an Electronic Magnetic Pulse bomb at the Team Sharky Headquarters in Austin, Texas.
It was now time for Rob “Sharky” Pruneda to launch Operation Tuna Fish!
I sent another encrypted message to Agent X and a few other secret agents in my campaign management team that I had on standby. While I hit the campaign trail in my Shark Mobile trying to solicit as many votes as possible, Agent X, her brother’s secret government task force, and a few other hired guns pumped themselves full of their favorite energy drinks and chocolate bars and went to work. Agent X and her husband were in an Irish pub (undisclosed in a foreign land, of course) and bribed all of the patrons with free rounds of drinks if they voted for me…I just received the bill by the way! Agent X’s brother called in his secret government task force in another location of his country and promised them all a day off of work (and free beer for a year) if they would vote for some weird American known as “Sharky” in Texas. I had some other rogue agents that I claim no responsibility for that somehow resulted in phone calls and letters from The U.S. Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury, the Secretary of State, and the Department of Defense and some pretty hefty bills; one bill from the Pentagon included a plunger for $2 billion. I’m not sure what that was for, but I think I’m going to dispute that bill. Although, it may have something to do with the B-2 stealth bomber that dropped a ton of “A Vote for Sharky is a Vote for Indies” leaflets (with a coupon for a free Starbucks coffee on the back) at a major Shay Fabbro rally. I had nothing to do with that though! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
At the end of the day, all of the efforts from Team Pruneda paid off and I was crowned the grand prize winner of Steve Umstead’s “Gabriel: Zero Point contest. Below are the final results of the voting after all of the ballots were counted…and then recounted…and then recounted:
I want to thank everyone who participated in this contest, voted for me, encouraged others to vote for me, or just spread the word about the contest. I had a heck of a lot of fun promoting Steve’s new book and hitting the campaign trail to generate votes. I literally had votes coming in from all over the world, which was amazing! You all helped me win a really cool Kindle Fire and I owe it all to you. Thank you! I received my $199 Kindle Fire in the mail on Wednesday… and hired an accountant on Thursday to figure out how I am going to pay my campaign bill of $2,550,844,233.12. In hindsight, maybe the stealth leaflet bomber was a bit of overkill. It was worth it, though, because I’m now the proud new owner of a Kindle Fire loaded with Gabriel: Zero Point by Steve Umstead!
In closing please be sure to visit Steve Umstead’s website and check out his books. He was very cool to put together this contest and deserves a few sales from it. Trust me, if you love SciFi, you’ll love Steve Umstead’s books!
Steve Umstead has been the owner of a Caribbean & Mexico travel company for the past ten years, but never forgot his lifelong dream of becoming an author. After a successful stab at National Novel Writing Month, he decided to pursue his dream more vigorously…but hasn’t given up the traveling.
Steve lives in scenic (tongue-in-cheek) New Jersey with his wife, two kids, and several bookshelves full of other authors’ science fiction novels. Gabriel’s Redemption was his debut novel, published in February of 2011; Gabriel’s Return, the second in the trilogy, launched in August; the finale, Gabriel’s Revenge, book 3, hit the virtual shelves in December.
If you were a part of “Team Sharky”, are a fan of Steve’s books, or have any other comments you would like to share about this particular post, please feel free to share your thoughts. I love reading your comments! Cheers!