Sweek, a social platform for free reading and writing, and Ravensburger, a well-known German publisher, have successfully completed #SchreibMitRavensburger, a Young Adult writing contest. At an exclusive event at the Ravensburger headquarters, Samira Bosshard was revealed to be the winner of the contest and earned herself a publishing contract, after impressing both the Sweek reading community and the expert jury of Ravensburger.
This was the first pilot with a traditional publisher, with many more contests to be launched in the upcoming months. As a publisher, you might ask yourself, why you should look for talent on platforms like Sweek. Below are 5 reasons why you should run a ‘social’ talent scouting writing contest.
1) The younger generation is social and mobile
Reading has become a social activity long ago with readers sharing their favourite books, giving feedback, providing recommendations and so on. It is no longer a solitary process, but a community one. As social reading and writing can be done on mobile-first platforms like Sweek, with following, sharing and messaging functionalities, this is where you’ll find the younger generation. If you want to engage them with your brand and books – you know where to go.
2) It’s all about Netflix these days
We are always on the go, always busy; attention spans decreasing each year. Some researchers state that millennials look on their smartphone over 150 times a day! Netflix is there to stay for a reason: it gets the viewers hooked and they can’t wait for the next episode to be released. It becomes the talk of the town.
The same can be said for stories. Uploading a new chapter of your story each week (when all your followers immediately get a push notification) gets your fans hooked on the story and triggers their interest even more. This means that if you discover a writer who wrote their story in a serialized manner, they probably already have a very engaged fanbase.
3) Authors start building their fanbase from the very first chapter
In most cases, you don’t really know how well a new book will sell. With social platforms like Sweek the situation is very different. First, the author already has a large fanbase, so you do know that the chance of the book being a success is higher. More importantly, this fanbase, who actively gives feedback on the story and helps shaping it throughout the whole process, is eager to purchase the winning book once it is published.
4) Additional buzz for the publisher
Since there is a social component involved (e.g. the top 5 most voted stories get into the jury shortlist), participants are very eager to share their stories with their entire community, thereby creating PR for the publisher as well. In addition, as it’s a new way to scout talent, the media is likely to talk about it as well, adding to the branding of the publisher as an innovator who is ahead of the market.
5) Save time on going through hundreds of manuscripts
Last but not least, involving community in your voting process saves plenty of time spent on going through hundreds of manuscripts. Let the community help you choose potential candidates with the help of liking, following, sharing and commenting.
What would be your reasons to run such a contest? And do you currently run any kind of contests?
Veronika Kartovenko is co-founder of Sweek. Sweek are a free platform for reading, writing and sharing stories has grown to over 200,000 users from more than 75 countries since its launch in October last year. It has just been nominated as the Booktech company of the year during the Frankfurt Book Fair. Sweek is available via Android, iOS and a web version.