Nathan Bransford, Author

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Write a WONDERBAR Review, Enter to Win a Prize!

My pal Jacob Wonderbar has been out in the world for a little over a month now, and you've all read it by now, right?

Right? Say yes.

So! If you write a review and send it to me you will be entered for a chance to win a signed copy. Keep it for yourself! Give it to a friend! Sell it on eBay! I won't tell anyone!

UPDATE: Due to concerns in the comment section I've removed the gift certificate. Sorry for any/all confusion, we aim to please.

- You can write a review on an online bookselling site like Amazon or B&N, a book networking site like Goodreads or Library Thing, and/or a blog post. Just send me a link.
- If you've already written a review of Jacob Wonderbar you're good to go, just send me the link.
- It doesn't even have to be a good review! Be honest. I won't be offended.
- You have until Friday, July 1st, when I will randomly select one winner. So if you haven't read it yet, better get cracking!
- To send me a link, go to this page and send it to me via the form.

That is all!

Oh, and if you need a fresh copy to read, here are some helpful links:

Amazon (hardcover)!
Amazon (Kindle)!
Barnes & Noble (hardcover)!
Barnes & Noble (Nook)!


Matthew MacNish said...

This is an awesome idea, and an awesome contest Nathan, but I'm afraid I may not be able to enter.

I will absolutely be reading and reviewing Wonderbar soon, but I probably won't make that deadline. I have too many obligations in place right now.

But this isn't about me. It's about your awesome book. So good luck to all who enter!

And I'll just bring a copy or two to get signed when we manage to meet up some day.

Robyn Lucas said...

Great contest! My kiddos practically inhaled the book within several days. They're begging me for an audiobook to listen to in the car.

Maybe I'll let them write the review.

Mira said...

Definitely I'll participate!

Nathan, you've done so much for me over the years - I can't even say. This blog has been a pivital part of my growth as a writer (and a person, really), and it's cool to be able to support you in return in a real and concrete way.

And it helps that I think Jacob is an absolutely terrific book.

Besides that, I could get a signed copy.

And 50 bucks.

Not a bad deal. :)

I'll send you my review post haste.

Rebecca Kiel said...

Smart idea, Nathan! Oh, and my husband is reading it on breaks at work. Good publicizing.

JP Kurzitza said...

I'd buy the ebook edition if it was $7 cheaper...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So we're not supposed to trust one-star reviews, and now we're not sure which reviews the author is subsidizing?

I'm an avid reader of this blog and I'm predisposed to like you as writer and author, but this is just sock-puppetry. You're paying for reviews. How is a potential reader to know which reviews you subsidized and which you didn't?

You're calling into question all of your good reviews. Stop the contest.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, I'd think twice about this contest if I were you...seriously.

Nathan Bransford said...


You don't have to write a good review to enter the contest.

Patrick said...

It doesn't matter whether you say you'll pick a bad review or not. You're picking the review and I'm sure you have the best of intentions, I'm sure you intend to use a random number generator and I'm sure you want this to be as above-board as possible, but it just isn't.

You're paying for reviews.

Asking your readers to review you is great. Paying them to review you is not. Even small payments.

Nathan Bransford said...


I do plan to use a random number generator and I do plan to give the award regardless of what the review says. I guess I don't see a chance at a prize as "paying" for a review, just an incentive for people to write one when they might not have gotten around to it otherwise. I'm open to removing the prize but I guess I feel like this may be taking things a little seriously.

D.G. Hudson said...

Interesting contest, and I'd love a signed copy of your book. Only one problem - have to get the book. I'll check and see if it's available in our Chapters bookstore locally.

Our Canada Post is in the middle of deciding if we get mail delivery or not. So can't depend on that.

Nathan, is the book carried in the Chapters/Indigo distribution channel? Aren't most of those distribution points in the US?

Nathan Bransford said...


I think so, though I'm not positive.

Anonymous said...

You have an audience here who for the most part (there are always trolls) who respect you, and would do so much for you after all the advice you've given.

I really think you should reconsider this; ask your readership for honest reviews, by all means, but don't get money involved, even if you have the best of intentions, it doesn't look good.

D.G. Hudson said...

I don't understand all the whining about 'paying for reviews' by some commenters. This is a contest. Contests require some type of reward.

Isn't it the author's prerogative to publicize his book in a way that brings it to the attention of readers?

abc said...

I don't see anything wrong with encouraging reviews. Authors want to sell their books and get interest out there. It's a good incentive.

Wild Child said...

I won't make the deadline, but as I looked it up in our library system, I found two libraries in our system have it and one is checked out. Just thought you'd like to know.

Patrick said...

D.G., I'm not whining, I'm warning. Nathan absolutely has the right to publicize his book. That's not the question. The question is to what extent this kind of contest calls the reviews and the reviewers themselves into question.

Most professionals have strict policies that govern these situations (they prohibit it) because it creates an appearance of impropriety. Any quid-pro-quo is generally off limits.

But maybe I am making more out of this than it merits, that's possible.

Nathan, I'm sure you have the best intentions. Of that, at least, I have no doubt. It's your call; it's your reputation.

Nathan Bransford said...

Okay, well, I always err on the side of caution, so I'm going to remove the gift certificate. Patrick, thanks for voicing your concerns. I don't think of this a as a quid pro quo, but if it's going to cause consternation better to be cautious.

Mira said...

Well, I have to agree, it's always better to be safe. If it's going to raise eyebrows, best to be careful.

But what about offering something else? A page critique, a query critique, a consultation. Labor for labor? Does that raise eyebrows?

Mira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mira said...

I couldn't take the grammatical mistake.

All of those things, btw, ARE worth alot more than 50 bucks.


Kaitlyne said...

I guess I wasn't the only one who thought this sounded a little squicky.

I love ya, Nathan, and you're awesome and I have no doubt that you're a really nice guy, but at the same time, this just strikes me as a little unethical. It's essentially encouraging people to write reviews for you in order to potentially win a prize.

For one, it makes me, as someone else said, mistrust reviews I see because it makes me wonder if they were written because the author was encouraging them. The second issue I see is that most people aren't going to say something rude to someone's face. Social niceties tend to run that way, and by having people link the review to you and the fact that they know you'll read it and know it was them leads me to think people might be less likely to say anything negative because they don't want to offend you. Hell, I seriously considered saying this anonymously.

Anyway I might be in the minority. I'd really have no problem with you saying "Please leave a review if you read the book," but the prize aspect of it does make me a little uncomfortable.

Just my two unasked for cents. I hope you don't mind my sharing my opinion.

Nathan Bransford said...


I hear you. On the other hand, the challenge for authors is to actually get people to write the reviews. If you're an author trying to get the word out, giving people an incentive can help. People are busy, and it helps if there's a carrot. I really trust that people are going to give their honest opinion, as you are here.

I was a bit surprised at the reaction because I've seen so many contests exactly like this one in support of other books. But I'm happy to dial it back to a signed copy or to just encourage people if it makes people more comfortable.

Kaitlyne said...

I in no way think you're trying to do anything nefarious at all. Like I said, I'm probably in the minority. I just felt a little odd about it. And honestly, if I had to trust any group to be honest I would hope it's the people on here. I've been here for awhile, and it's a good group. :)

Anne R. Allen said...

I think this is a great idea and I'm kind of amazed by the comments. The truth is, most of us mean to write reviews of the books we like (or think are overrated) But we never quite get around to it. This gives us a little nudge.

Maybe next time, a critique or guest post that has no $$ value might be a better prize, but the signed copy seems fine to me.

Actually, it seems kind of brilliant.

Anonymous said...

The best promos are contests where people win ARC in digital format (pdf). Fast, simple, and everyone loves them.

Shadonna said...

Great idea, Nathan! I agree with Anne, most of us never get around to writing reviews. I haven't written any on Amazon yet, but I will be soon. Starting with yours. Been quite busy lately offline but I'm glad I caught this blog post. As a writer-mommy who is always on the hunt for great children's books for my son, I have to say that your book is amazing!!! You're definitely one of the hottest new children's writers out there! (Quality writing--excellent storytelling) Can't wait for the sequel. (Wow! Maybe I should post this comment on Amazon!:-))
Great work!
Great blog!

80s Queen said...

My son is in the middle of reading it right now. I'll see if I can get him to hurry and finish it...maybe you can get a review from a seven year old. He seems to be enjoying it.

Matthew J. Beier said...

Nathan, I'm not exactly a blog comment regular, but for some reason I really want to share that I respect the heck out of you. I'll admit there was a SLIGHTLY "Gosh, is he really doing this?" feeling in my gut when I first saw this post. Then, I read the comments, and I saw how absolutely professional you were in taking the criticism. I put myself in your place and really felt for you. I realize you were coming to this as an author with an incredible platform, and considering how many people make up your audience, it would be (and is) a brilliant way to sell books and get the word out. I completely believe you were coming from a good place--not just with the contest but also with the gift card.

I started following your blog in 2008, when I wrote a book partially because of something you wrote in one of your blog posts. Then, just when I was getting ready to send you a query earlier this year, you announced your job change. The irony and humor of that is something I'll never forget, and your subsequent posts have actually continued to influence the direction in which I'm taking that particular book. I'm probably not saying anything unique and original here, but you and your blog really have changed my life.

Even though I won't have time to read the book by July 1 (I don't think), I just bought Wonderbar as a NookBook!! You've done so much for me, and you don't even know who I am. Supporting you is the least I can do to thank you.

Sorry to ramble. I'm not even sure if you'll see this! Either way, I'm excited to read Jacob Wonderbar and see what was in your head all this time. I wish you all the best (and at least 25,000 copies sold, along with follow up reviews) with this contest!!

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks, Matthew!

Ashley said...

I think this is a great idea Nathan! And I'm sure you'll be getting some great reviews!

Carol said...

I am a fourth grade teacher. I got Jacob Wonderbar at the library. Read it earlier this week. Thought it was hilarious. Can't wait to share it with kids. Blogged about it. Didn't know anything about your contest, but then a friend who reads my blog wrote a comment and directed me this way.

Not sure I totally understand all the controversy about giving away books. I enter contests for free books on a regular basis (Please note I didn't say I win free books on a regular basis!). Sometimes the contests are hosted by authors and sometimes by publishers. Often they involve some kind of blogging or tweeting about the book, and the more you do, the more chances you get to win.

Also, publishers and authors regularly send free books to bloggers because they hope that they will review them. In that case, I always note on my blog that I received a review copy from the publisher. I don't review the book if I don't like it or wouldn't use it with kids.

To some degree, I think that lots of authors blog or tweet or whatever because they know they have to get their books out there. And I don't think that's wrong either, although if it seems too self-promoting I don't generally follow the blog for very long.

Anyway, here is my review. When does #2 come out?

v.n.rieker said...

Aw. No paperback?

Isabella Amaris said...

Hi Nathan,

I'm glad you removed the reference to the gift certificate. When I first read that bit (in the original post) it did feel like an author indirectly paying ppl to review; BUT I knew this simply couldn't be the case because I've been a follower of your blog for some time and such 'paying for reviews'-ness just didn't click with what I'd interpreted to be your personality (which I feel btw is pretty chockful of integrity and all that good kind of jazz:D).

Anyway, to let the opinion of someone reading the blog (esp new fans) hinge on the probability of them having a good gauge of your personality would probably be risky business. Erring on the side of caution's a good bet sometimes:) The signed copy should be incentive enough, I think:) Cheers.

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