Please can you share with us an example of a contest you had to promote your work, or one you entered and really enjoyed.
One way to maximise the chance of running successful contests expands exponentially where you share the options with others thereby offering visitors the the linked blogs with a plethora prizes ranging from awesome to simple but still a prize offered for effort on the part of the visitor.
Every month the organisers create a different monster blog hop . This month's was "TREASURE QUEST: DISCOVERY LIES BETWEEN THE COVERS:MEGA AUTHOR BLOG HOP TOUR although it is finished there are links you can follow if you are interested in participating.
Has this increased book sales? It's too soon to be certain. Is this blog hop part of my strategy for extending myself and my books, then yes, absolutely. Is it worth the effort? Again, I am sure it is. Possibly you will not see immediate results, but it is one of the fatest ways of getting 'your name out there'.
I have met and made friends with other authors, and readers I would rarely, if ever meet otherwise. So I get the personal benefit from joiningblog hops too.
Is bigger, better? IMHO not necessarily. If you are at the end of a long list of participants, visitors may not 'stay the course' and visit your site. But... if they've come across your blogs on other hops they may just make you one of their first visits. I have been on the end of a very long and active blog-hop and had the most hits and comments ever recorded for my blog in the week that it ran.
One of the biggest hops I am involved in regularly now, is the Six Sentence Sunday Since joining this hop I have learned how to pear my writing right down for maximum impact whether the scens are full of conflict, passion, or comedy.
If you want to join a similar and new blog-hop starting this week-end visit Sweet Saturday Samples and take a look. Already - for week one - it is has several bloggers signed up.
Admittedly the last two hops mentiooned do not offer prizes, but the connections you make at both of them have the potential to lead you to blog-hops that do!