Saturday, June 30, 2012

How about Book BINGO?

I thought of a great way to promote Indie Authors while reading the newspaper this morning. There was a BINGO insert promoting a local business. Instantly my mind wandered to "book bingo."

I'm really excited about this.

Can't you tell?

How It Would Work

The basic idea is a specialized giveaway. We have a list of (digital) books that are up for grabs. Books are "won" when someone scores a BINGO.

Here's what a (blank) game board would look like:

Instead of using numbers for the BINGO slots, I would use words. That way we could have a theme, using words that deal with writing, including names of characters, places, and so forth.

You're going to just have to imagine what a full game board would look like. Below I give you the top line full of words.

You've probably noticed the numbers on the right side and the bottom. That corresponds to books. If you score a BINGO like the following, you win book number 1.

If you score this kind of BINGO, you win book number 6.

If you score a diagonal BINGO or any that use the FREE SPACE, you get to choose which of the 8 books you want.

Throwing in Donations for Fun

To make the game interesting, donations would help decide certain things. For example, every player would get one free game board, but for a $5 donation, a player could get a second game board. So, if someone donated $25 (thus me bumping it up to $30), that person would get 7 game boards (1 free + 6 bought boards).

However, since it isn't about the money so to speak (but simply as an incentive to donate in the first place), I wouldn't count playing BINGO as using your donation, meaning your donation could be used toward other services on our site. (And I'll gladly grandfather those who have already donated.)

Half of the books offered for each game board will come from authors who donate. The other half will be books we have reviewed and given either 4 or 5 stars to. And best of all, as a player, you get to pick your 8 books, selecting them from a list of books I will blog about when the time comes.

A Round of BINGO

Each day one or two BINGO words will be released, appearing at the bottom of some of our posts. There won't be a BINGO word with every post, and I won't tell you which ones contain a word or not (except that I won't put BINGO words with actual book reviews). You'll have to open up the post and scroll to the bottom, hopefully reading as you go. But we appreciate the visit even if you don't stop and read the post.

By this point, you would have printed out your game card(s). With each new word, mark your game card(s). When you BINGO, send me an email. After I confirm the win, you'll get the appropriate book.

The round will end when we reach a certain number of winners or a certain number of words. For example, we may play until 10 people have won a book. Or, we may play with a pool of 100 words but only use 50 or 75 of them. It might depend on how fast people win. I'm experimenting here.

How You Can Help

Besides playing the game (and/or donating), the best way to participate would be to help me think of words for the game cards—the more the better.

So, what words can I use? Leave a comment below, or you can email me. msl_007 {AT} ... Or, you can tweet some words. Use the hashtag #masqbingo or mention me @MasqCrew so that I can find your suggestions.

What words can we use?

Any word that deals with writing and the like, meaning names of your characters, places and so forth. Your last name could be featured as a BINGO word. Pretty much any appropriate word that isn't super long. I would say the max would be around 7 letters or so.

Another word about donations: I haven't talked much about what I'm going to use donations for except to support Indies. Our short story writing contest winnings will be partially supported by your donations. There are other things that I want to use the donations for. Here's another: future rounds of BINGO might feature books that are not offered up for free by the authors, meaning donations would fund the purchase of BINGO winnings.

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