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Review of "You Can't Win if You Don't Enter" by Carolyn Wilman

Sweepstakes Tips, Tricks, and Advice from "The Contest Queen"

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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You Can't Win if You Don't Enter is a sweepstakes book full of solid advice, tips, and resources for winning prizes by Carolyn Wilman, also known as "The Contest Queen." It comes in two versions, one for Americans and another for Canadians. This review is for the American version.

Overview of "You Can't Win if You Don't Enter"

Carolyn Wilman stated that she wanted You Can't Win if You Don't Enter to be a "hub of all the sweepstaking resources in North America" and she has achieved this goal admirably. The book focuses on online sweepstakes, and includes tips, advice, and resources that help you find even more information.

Full disclosure: About Contests is listed as one of the sweepstakes resources in this book.

What is Covered in "You Can't Win if You Don't Enter"

Topics included in You Can't Win if You Don't Enter include:
  • A foreword from Sandy Gulliver, former editor of SweepSheet.
  • A personable introduction.
  • The reasons why sponsors run sweepstakes.
  • How to read the rules.
  • 5 sweepstakes entry methods.
  • Carolyn Wilman's own method for tracking her online entries.
  • A comprehensive list of online sweepstakes sites, sweepstakes entry tools, and sweepstakes newsletters.
  • Introduction to sweepstakes clubs, including interviews with members.
  • How to avoid spyware, viruses, etc.
  • How you'll know when you win.
  • How to avoid scams.
  • Handling sweepstakes taxes.
  • How to attract luck.
  • Interviews with sweepstakes fulfillment agencies.

"You Can't Win if You Don't Enter" Pros and Cons

My Favorite Parts of You Can't Win if You Don't Enter

Carolyn writes in a very easy-to-read manner which underscores the fun of sweepstakes entry. She has provided a solid overview of the sweepstakes hobby, including how to start and how to stay safe while you enter. She provides many examples to back up her advice in the form of interviews and quotes from real sweepers.

My favorite section of the book was Carolyn's interviews with the people who offer sweepstakes. The responses from various sweepstakes fulfillment companies were illuminating and answer some questions that I receive frequently. That one section alone is more than worth reading the book.

Drawbacks of You Can't Win if You Don't Enter

When it comes to downsides of You Can't Win if You Don't Enter, there aren't many. The information is solid, reliable, and easy to put into action, making this a great sweepstakes book.

The price tag of this book (nearly $20) is a bit steep for my taste, but Carolyn's advice could easily result in enough sweepstakes wins to make the price worthwhile, especially if you are new to the hobby.

Much of the information that Carolyn provides can be found for free online, but You Can't Win If You Don't Enter pulls it together in one easy-to-access place.

As Carolyn acknowledges in the book, the online world is ever-changing, and some of the links that are provided may change or the sites disappear. Carolyn offers an updated resource list on her Contest Queen Website to supplement the information in the book.

"You Can't Win if You Don't Enter" Recommendations:

You Can't Win if You Don't Enter would make an excellent gift for a friend or family member who wants to get involved in sweepstakes.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the author. For more information, please see About.com's Ethics Policy.

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