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Guide to Winning a Spotlight


by purplepadfoot

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Written and submitted by Pet/Site Spotlight winner, Grover07 the Blumaroo

Hello, my name is Grover 07 and I am a Blumaroo. I originally wrote this guide for my petpage with the help of my owner, Rose (PurplePadfoot). She suggested I send it in as an article to the Neopian Times, though. I'm not sure how often pets publish their own entries, but I figured it was worth a try. :)

Introduction

So you want to win a Spotlight, huh? Well, I don't blame you! In our opinion, it's the best kind of trophy you can win on the site. Why? Because it takes talent, determination, maybe a little luck, but a lot of creativity! Ever since Rose's first Spotlight win, she's been entering as often as she can because she loves to see her pets win the Spotlight. So far she's won 7 Pet Spotlights, 1 Petpet Spotlight, and 3 Site Spotlights!

As you can see, Rose has been pretty successful with the Spotlights (Finally winning the Petpet Spotlight with my very own Petpet, Teddee!). So, since I was her first pet to win a Spotlight, the first pet to have a Petpet win a Spotlight, and the first of her pets to win all three Pet-focused Spotlights, I get to write this little guide. You'll notice I only really talk about Pet, Petpet, and Site Spotlights in this guide - I'm afraid we just don't know enough about the Gallery or Userlookup Spotlights to be of much help there! Rose and I have worked hard to combine a bunch of tips that have worked well for her to share with you to help with your Spotlight entry. So pay attention - you've got a Spotlight to win!

Before you read our tips, it's a good idea to start reading at the Spotlight Rules page! That's where you can find all of the rules straightforward and laid out in a sharp, bulleted format. Rose and I are just going to go through and reiterate or clarify on ones that we think are most important.

Guide and Tips

The first tip we'd share would be to keep it Neo. What does that mean? Well, to put it simply, don't write a story about how your pet did things in the "real world" (or "human world")... your pet is from Neopia!! Write about Neopian things! If you read through Rose's Spotlights, you'll notice that the one thing they all have in common is that they show knowledge of the Neoworld. She'll write about the Defenders of Neopia, Tyrannia, Krawk Island, Count von Roo, Jeran and Lisha, Neoschools... whatever! As long as it belongs in the Neo world, you can and should use it for your spotlight :) Rose thinks the Neopets Team likes to see Spotlights that write about their creations - that way, in a way, it shows that you appreciate them!

Secondly, be original! We all like to look at the most recent Spotlights and read them over. A lot of the winners are really creative! We've seen really awesome entries about a pet that was from Kreludor, a Carrot Chia, and even a Baby Lupe who was obsessed with Meepits or something! The more original your pet is, the more they stand out from the rest - and this makes them more likely to be a winner! Keep it fun - make it fun to read - make it one that your readers will remember! One thing we've noticed is that, in a Spotlight, the artwork really doesn't matter. In fact, if you enter a Site for the Site Spotlight, the picture is optional! (when Rose entered Romani, she didn't send a picture, so they just used the regular Kau picture for her Spotlight entry).

One thing that we've noticed gives us a lot of luck is to keep with current themes. If Neopets has a plot going on at the time you're entering your Spotlight - why not write a little about how your pet is involved? What do they think of what's happening in their world, what do they think of the heroes? What about the villains? Also, it never hurts to end your story with a moral - you don't have to, but it's usually a nice way to wrap it up.

About pictures for your Spotlight, make sure the picture and story are your own. It says clearly in the Terms and Conditions of the site that:

"So that everyone has a good time, you understand and agree that you will not post or send through the site any words, images or links containing or relating to materials created by someone else without their express written permission."

And even in the Spotlight Rules:

"All written submissions must be 100% your own work, we do not tolerate plagiarism."

What does that mean? It means unless you have an artist that has given you permission to use an image, you can't use someone else's picture. "Plagiarism" is a fancy word for "stolen work". If you claim someone else's picture or story as your own, then you have plagiarized it. Draw your own picture and put your username on it to send with your own, original entry. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece - as long as you do the best you can and it's something you can be proud of, then show it off with pride! All of the Neopian artists and authors had to start somewhere! Besides, some of the best Pet Spotlights we've seen had some really modest art or stories with them!

Oh, by the way - if you've read the Terms before (which you should have if you signed up to play ;D) then you will know that you shouldn't send anything into Neopets if you are under 18 without first getting your parents' permission. Don't forget to ask them first!

Now... housekeeping tips. It's always a good idea to run your entry through a word processor or program that can spell check. If your entry's going to be Spotlighted for all of Neopia to see, you probably don't want some nasty spelling errors in there! You might even have a friend read over your Spotlight entry to make sure it all makes sense and maybe they can check for spelling errors as well!

When formatting your picture, try to keep it under 300x300 pixels high and wide. I've seen Spotlights squeak by with bigger pictures but, since that's the size the Neopets Team asks for in the rules, it's probably a good idea to honor their request and shrink it down ;) Also, remember to save it as either a .gif or a .jpg. We usually save our pictures as both and then look at them side-by-side to see which one looks better before we pick which one to send in!

Now, if you're ready to send in your entry, we'd suggest knowing your Pet Days. What are Pet Days? Well, you can find them on the Neopets Calendar (link found in "Pet Central"). As of writing this, 55% of Rose's Spotlights and 71% of her Pet Spotlights have been on Pet Days - Lani won on Chomby Day, Tiri won on Tonu Day, I won on Blumaroo Day. You have a better chance to win if your pet is entering on their special day - then that narrows the competitive field a little bit.

Also, you may want to be careful if you're entering while using the Firefox browser. I guess Firefox has a tendency to send in empty fields - this sometimes gives Rose a lot of trouble when she's entering the Beauty Contest especially. If you have a different browser, I would send in your Spotlight with that one - just to make sure that it goes through.

And finally, a few tips for if you manage to be successful - get ready for a wave of popularity! You may not be expecting the amount of exposure you're going to get with a win, because I know Rose wasn't expecting it with her first win! She lost track, but on average she receives over 100 Neomails, over 70 Battledome Requests and... who knows how many Neofriend requests! So if you're not ready for all of that, we highly suggest that you change your User Preferences to block Battledome and Neofriend Requests for the time being. You can always re-allow them after you're out of the Spotlight. We're just giving you fair warning that it can be pretty hectic with that many requests going through! We always like to leave Neomails open, though, because a lot of people say really nice things or just want to congratulate you. :)

Wow! Now you're ready to send it in! I wish you the best of luck! We'll be watching the winners and we hope to see you in there some time in the future! If you'd like to see Rose's Spotlight entries, be sure to stop by my page: http://www.neopets.com/~Grover07

Thanks for reading!

 
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