The power of social media has given Dartmouth writer Betty McEachern a golden opportunity.
The social media concept has many companies trying to figure out how to position their services and products through platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
FriesenPress, a Canadian self-publishing company in Victoria, BC, created an online contest through Facebook in 2011 to drive traffic to their page and website. To enter, people had to submit a creative and original photograph that included a sign with the caption, "I Want To Publish With FriesenPress."
People who entered had one week to get as many votes as possible.
McEachern was the winner and publishing her debut novel, Through Cast Iron Gates, was the prize.
McEachern said she let all of her Facebook friends know about the contest, but it was her 20-year-old daughter’s help that did it.
“My daughter joined forces and helped propel me over the edge. All I wanted was to make it to the top five,” said McEachern, 38.
The story is set in Halifax during the Halifax Explosion and is considered historical romance, but McEachern says it also contains elements of horror.
She said so far the response from family, friends and co-workers who have read the book has been very positive. And Through Cast Iron Gates has recently been one of the No. 1 selling books on the FriesenPress website.
McEachern said she had always planned to self-publish her novel, so winning the contest was perfect.
She received the first copies of her book just last month.
The value of her contest win was approximately $1,500.
McEachern, who used to work at the Coles bookstore in Penhorn Mall, is currently working on a sequel.
To purchase a copy of Through Cast Iron Gates, visit the FriesenPress website at www.friesenpress.com. Copies of McEachern's book are also available online through Amazon, Chapters Indigo, and some other book retailers.