Tuesday, August 21, 2012

UPDATE: (Quiz Added) Critical Incident Contest - 'Book THAT!'

Pizza. Glorious pizza.

Before we had Harry Potter, horny vampires, and evil orcs urging our young to read for the fun (or whatever it is they get out of Twilight) of it alone, there was a powerful force at work in the world - performing the same task, only with more calories.

It was Pizza, and if the terms 'Book-It' and 'Accelerated Reader' mean nothing to you, well then you are either from a different generation or even more impoverished school district than I.

Accelerated Reader was - stripped down to its essence - a program that contained 'Goodreads' like quizzes on pretty much any book imaginable, stored on massive bendable discs that would go in your school library's Commodore 64 (I'm sure it wasn't a Commodore 64, but something more forgettable). If you got enough questions right, you would get a 'Book It' sticker on a little pin. Fun, fun. People have been giving stickers and pins away to children to coerce them into doing things forever.

Kids may be functionally illiterate until you teach them, and woe betide any man who drives a semi across a suspension bridge created by children alone, but be that as it may, children aren't STUPID. You want kids to put in the grind? You gotta do better than a sticker, school system.

Oh, they did.

They SO did.

They thought: 'How can we solve the illiteracy epidemic while simultaneously causing the childhood obesity epidemic of tomorrow?' The answer should be familiar to anybody who has participated in Western culture in the last several decades - bribes in the form of Pizza.

Pizza, delicious Pizza.

In one of the earlier examples of cross-sector marketing synergy I recall seeing in my life, the Department of Education, Pizza Hut, Ltd., and whoever the hell made those 'Accelerated Reader' disks for whatever primitive system it was, all worked together to 'promote awareness' of: reading, literacy, computer science skills, and Personal Pan Pizzas.

Anyway, the point is - it worked. I turned into both a lifelong reader and a lifelong consumer of too much pizza. It even started a pattern that continues to this day: I do things at a desk and a computer in order to get food.

So now I announce my exciting CONTEST! - The BOOK THAT contest!

It's like 'BOOK IT!' only the exclamation point has been removed and the pronoun has been changed to a demonstrative adjective. This absolves me of all legal concerns.

So, what -is- BOOK THAT? It's a very serious way to cross-promote pizza and synergy. Weren't you freaking paying any attention?

The premise is simple. Read 'Critical Incident' and answer some questions about it before the September 15th deadline for a chance to win a pizza party.

That's right. You read correctly. It didn't say 'Pizza Slice' or 'MicroPizza' or even 'Medium Pizza.' It said PARTY!

This is a scaleable contest, which means the extent of the awesomeness of the Pizza Party depends on how awesome you, the readers, do at my contest.

One lucky reader who buys my Kindle exclusive novella 'Critical Incident' (US Link and UK Link) and then answers the contest's online questionnaire (coming in the next couple days) with a score at least above 'chance,' why... that person will get at bare minimum a $50 gift card (or its equivalent in your local currency) for any Pizza place you care to name. If that place doesn't offer gift cards, I'll send you a Visa gift card I suppose - don't want to force you to eat somewhere you don't want to... but if you spend it on something other than pizza, I'll take your ass to court! (Or not, probably.)

Yet, cheer up! If I have more than fifty entries (believe me, I'll know), then I promise to up that prize to a $100 pizza party. If there are more than one-hundred, then I'll make it a $150 card. If I manage somehow to get two-hundred fifty entries, I'll even up the card to a cool $250.

Why am I promising this?

A few reasons: sounds fun! I like the idea of people's faces covered in sauce, getting fat all because of my story. Also, it has an outside chance at working. You want pizza, right? The book isn't even $3 full dollars, it takes a couple hours to read. You could, if enough people joined in, be sitting pretty with $250 worth of pizza and food laughing your ass off all because you read a book that has good reviews and costs less than a parking spot at a place you don't even want to go.

Admit it: you can almost smell the suspense! A crust stuffed with oh-so-cheesy crime topped off with sliced and diced RAGE and grated ACTION! Sink your teeth into a hot circle of MURDER!

Stay tuned for the official entry form page in the next few days, but remember - you have until September 15th to get your entry in.

RULES: 1) Don't delete your Amazon e-mail receipt, or at least be prepared to screen cap your order history. I am just saying I will need to verify you bought the book and didn't just Google the answers (hey, people might do ANYTHING for Pizza!) You can take a picture of yourself scuba diving with the book, whatever, as long as it proves you have it.

1) The winner will be chosen at random from qualifying entrants by a third party random choosing website on September 30th, a day that actually exists - unlike September 31st.

2) The prize will be sent by October 15th.

3) Eat the pizza! Damn, delicious!

4) 2012, if you were wondering.

5) If you have gluten allergies or for some reason don't want/like pizza, we can figure out a replacement restaurant for you.

6) If you don't live in the US, you will get a gift certificate for the equivalent value in your currency.


BOOK THAT Average Speed Reader Quiz!


  1. i like you troy blackford. and i love you mad comp. good lyck to all your entrsnts. unfortunatrly they eon't include me cos #1 i live in scotland and #2 (slightly even more impotantly) my birthday's not for another month so my hubz has not yet purchased me my kindle :-((

  2. Alright. I like your writing style. You made me smile at 6:45am. I ordered your book. Pizza, here I come :)

  3. Count me in big boy. Game on! And seeing the Aussie dollar is worth more than the US dollar at the moment, start saving. ;)

  4. It wasn't a Commodore 64, it was a Texas Instruments TI99-4a, which anyway has a far more technologically sophisticated ring to it, thereby adding considerable gravitas to the whole affair, which goes well with pizza and runon sentences but somehow not so much with stickers...
    -- Julia

  5. What a flashback! I'd almost forgotten about Book It! and the pizza prizes. I can't wait to get started. :D

  6. What a flashback! I'd almost forgotten about Book It! and the pizza prizes. I can't wait to get started. :D

  7. WOOO! Excellent! I will have the quiz up very soon, folks!

  8. I was the queen of scoring Pizza Hut Pan Pizzas. Challenge accepted. Wait, is that our theme? Is there a song about that? DO WE HAVE A SONG?!