Monthly Archives: January 2016

Book Review, Interview with Tyneisha Fondren, and GIVEAWAY!

After reading – and loving – Tyneisha Fondren’s first book on the hobby of sweepstakes called Winning Is Not For The Lucky: A Friendly, Creative, And Unique Guide To Entering Sweepstakes (reviewed in my Dec. 24, 2015 post), I went in search on Amazon for more incredible sweeping advice from her.  Luckily, I did not have to wait long!  In January, Fondren published her second book on sweepstakes Tweet Your Way To Prizes: How To Use Twitter To Find, Enter, and Win Sweepstakes.

One thing I like about this book is that whether you’re a beginner or a more seasoned sweeper, there is information in it that will be valuable to you.  Let’s take myself as an example.  I would consider myself a more seasoned sweeper in that I have been entering sweepstakes on a regular basis for about 5 years.  However, most of my entries are the forms on sponsor websites and to some extent Facebook entries.  My working knowledge of Twitter was minimal, and certainly not enough to effectively find and enter sweepstakes.  I had a Twitter profile, knew the basics of retweeting, and because I didn’t really understand how hashtags worked, I had unsuccessfully entered to win through one Twitter party.

Tweet Your Way To Prizes was a game-changer for me.  This book will both show you the basics of Twitter and teach you how to locate and enter sweepstakes using this popular social media platform.  If you think you may not need to utilize Twitter to win prizes, think again!  Fondren shows you the growing importance of Twitter in hobby sweeping today, and the sheer number of additional sweepstakes you could be entering through this method.

Step-by-step Fondren’s book will help you optimize the set-up of your Twitter account to be the most successful at sweeping, while also showing you how to use your account effectively.  You will learn fast and simple methods for finding sweepstakes for things you want to win, techniques to avoid scams, using retweets and hashtags, participating in Twitter parties, and much more!  As a bonus, the book also offers an interesting interview to offer another point of view.

So no matter if you are looking for a complete guide to using Twitter to help boost your sweepstakes hobby, just need a few tips and pointers, or want a refresh on an important social media platform, Fondren’s book will have what you are looking for.  You can pick it up on Amazon HERE.

author interview

I was fortunate to be able to ask Tyneisha Fondren some questions about sweeping, her books, and life as an author.  Here is my interview with her:

Q. How long have you been entering sweepstakes and what brought you to the hobby?

A. I first started sweeping in October of 2012. I was actually on the hunt for freebies and coupons as I was looking for a way to help my family save money. I ran across an article about this sweepstakes hobby so after a little more digging I joined one of the main sweepstakes sites and started entering. I was an unorganized mess but I won a Puma gym bag that first month and there was no looking back!

Q. Your first book on sweeping, Winning is Not For The Lucky: A Friendly, Creative, and Unique Guide To Entering Sweepstakescame out in December 2015.  What initially inspired you to write books on the hobby of entering sweepstakes?

A: I wasn’t sure I should write anything about sweepstakes at first, to be honest. I’ve been sweeping less than 4 years and I’m still learning so much every day. But I love to write, and I love this amazing hobby, so I thought, why not combine the two? I really feel like there is so much out there for everyone to benefit from entering sweepstakes so if I can help people find the same excitement that I’ve found by sweeping, that’s what I want to do!

Q. In your second book, Tweet Your Way To Prizes: How To Use Twitter To Find, Enter, and Win Sweepstakes  (published Jan 2016), you hone in on one method of sweepstakes entry.  Was there a personal experience that inspired you to focus on Twitter?

A. I’ve been pretty successful on Twitter when it comes to winning. I’ve won gift cards, electronics, beauty products, clothes, and so much more. I’ve found sweepstakes that literally had only a single entry, and I’ve won them. I’ve seen people say that they avoid Twitter because it seems complicated but my experience has been the opposite. There is GREAT potential to win amazing prizes through Twitter so I wanted to get more in depth and hopefully show people how they can better utilize it to win.

Q. What was the hardest part about writing your books?

A. I didn’t use an outline to write my first book, so that one was harder. I prefer to write as I go but it’s an easy way to get writer’s block too. When that happened I would take a break and do a few sweeps. For the second book I outlined everything first and ended up finishing 2 weeks ahead of schedule. So I guess staying organized and focused was the most difficult part.

Q. Did you learn anything while researching and writing your books?

A. I learned that there is still a stigma associated with sweepstakes. Many people look upon them negatively or think that they are all scams. It kind of makes me sad because I’ve won some amazing prizes for my family and I wish people would try to get informed on what this hobby is about instead of immediately looking at it in a negative way. I have friends and family that I know could really benefit from entering sweepstakes if they would just give it a chance.

Q. For both sweepers and authors, it is often hard to feel supported by those around us.  Other than family members, is there a person or place you go to for support?

A. One of the best parts of this hobby is interacting with other sweepers! I have a very small group of sweeper friends and we all support each other. Those ladies were nice enough to read my books and give me feedback. I TRY not to complain too much when I’m not winning but if I really need to, I talk to them. And of course my hubby and kids are my number one support system. Especially my hubby- he believed in me first.

Q. What is your latest news or current projects?

A. I’m hoping to have my next book out by my birthday, March 23rd. That one will focus on running an online business while taking care of small children. As a stay at home mom of 3 kids aged 3 and under, I can tell you that there is an entirely different set of challenges when it comes to being a small business owner and a parent of little ones. It won’t be a sweepstakes book per se, but I WILL be talking about how sweepstakes can help get your online business off the ground through gift cards and such, so stay tuned for that!

Q. Do you have any bottom line advice on entering sweepstakes for your readers?

A. If this is something you want to do, first set any doubt aside. You are a winner, and you will win. If you can’t accept that first part, don’t expect to be successful. Next, have no excuses. Through the Internet, you can learn anything you need to win; there is no “I can’t” or “I don’t know how”. I will Google the heck out of something if I don’t know it! Get organized, make friends, maximize your time, and of course, enter, enter, enter!

Giveaway graphic

This giveaway is now over.  Thank you to all who participated!  The winners have been contacted.

Valentine’s Sweepstakes: Looking For Love in All the Free Places

Wouldn’t it be nice to give your sweetheart an epic Valentine’s Day gift?  What if you could do this but not put a dent in your wallet?  Even better, right?  Then be sure to enter the Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes now being offered by many companies, radio stations, and more!

This is an excellent time to check for local giveaways where you have a greater chance of winning.  Local businesses, restaurants, hotels, radio stations, and television stations may be offering the chance to win date nights, gift cards, flowers, candy, gift baskets, and Valentine-themed items.

Here is a national sweepstakes to get you started:

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz

The Gimbal’s Fine Candies 2016 Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes winner will get a custom Valentine’s Day baking set packed with Gimbal’s signature Cherry Lover’s candies.  Plus anyone who enters will receive 10 percent off their next online purchase with Gimbal’s using code VDAY16.  ENTER HERE

Don’t delay in getting entries in for Valentine’s sweepstakes because many of these entry periods will end prior to Valentine’s Day so that you can have the prize in time to celebrate!

One final note is I’m going on vacation next week, and won’t be posting again until I return.  But stay tuned because I have something VERY special coming up for my readers in the next blog post and you won’t want to miss it!

Sweeping Resolutions

This year I have made five very specific resolutions in regards to my sweepstakes hobby.

  1. I have decided to re-brand myself as America’s Sweepheart. I think it is fun to have a playful nickname while working toward my 2016 goals in sweeping.  I wanted something catchy that people would remember when they think of me, my blog, or my local sweepstakes Facebook page.

 

  1. I want to meet other sweepers and help people learn how to become a sweeper. To accomplish these goals simultaneously, I have applied to teach a class for beginning sweepers through my city’s Community Education program.  If my suggested program is chosen, I would begin teaching this spring.

 

  1. Win more trips. That may seem like an obvious resolution for a sweeper, but to present I have not been trying that hard to win a foreign trip because I did not have a passport.  But because I knew I was going to make foreign travel a 2016 resolution, I finally applied for a passport at the end of last year and received it in the mail this week.  Now to work toward this resolution, I am going to enter as many trip sweepstakes as possible!

 

  1. Write a sweepstakes memoir. Until now, I have been a fiction writer.  You may have read my novel The Debt Collectors: A Lucy Vaughn Mystery in which the main character is also a sweeper.  This year I want to branch out with some nonfiction, but as they say, it’s important to write what you know.  I figure I know my life pretty well, especially in regards to how sweeping has helped me through some difficult times.

 

  1. My final sweepstakes resolution is to build more readership for this blog. You can help!  If you know any fellow sweepers or aspiring sweepers, please refer them to the blog!

 

What are some of your resolutions for the 2016 sweeping year?  Do you have a wish list of the top items or experiences you would like to win this year?  How do you plan to make it happen?