Originally reviewed on May 8th, 2008.

The Complete Guide To Prize Contests, Sweepstakes and How To Win Them by Selma Glasser was published in 1980. It is currently out of print, but you can find used copies online.

(NOTE: I have been buying used sweepstakes books on Thrift Books. If you wish to do the same, please use my referral link.)

What an interesting book. Its focus is on contests.  She teaches you how to win by writing all types of verse including; couplets, quatrains, limericks along with naming, caption and slogan contests.

Selma offers up some cute examples:

This book is what contestors need
To help their entries take the lead.

You needn’t be so very wise
To snare a handsome contest prize.
You only need to take a look
At winning lessons in this book.

What I really liked is she gave us a bit more history on the hobby.

NOTE: I am featuring this excerpt in Prizes, Prizes, Everywhere!

We can look back on years of prize give-aways in the United States since 1900.  Of course, there had been some contests-more literary than commercial-in this country before the present century began, but they were too rare to be recorded here.  Even in 1900, contesting was a comparatively unknown hobby, with few followers and with awards amounting to only $15,000.

By 1910, newspaper files show that $500,000 in prizes were offered, and there were about 100,000 contest fans.  Within ten years the number of prize-seekers had grown to a million, mostly attracted by newspaper and magazine contests.

By 1930, national commercial advertisers had become convinced that prize contests offered a fertile field for promoting the sales of their products.  During that decade, their ever-increasing offers of cash and merchandise brought the number of entrants to nearly 12 million, and the total value of prizes for the ten-year span soared past the $100-million mark.

Selma also wrote one chapter on recipe contests and one chapter on sweepstakes.  The book is very detailed and I felt like a D student in English class.  While reading I was quietly happy the hobby moved to sweepstakes because I don’t think I would win a single prize entering contests of yesteryear.

Selma passed away in 2013. Similar to Evelyn Ryan (The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio), she kept a lot of notes, journals and treasures of her years as a sweeper and teacher. Maybe one day there will be an opportunity for me to share those with you.

Have you read Selma’s book?