Beauty Contest Greens
If you've ever considered entering the Beauty Contest and earning your beloved
pet that sparkling trophy for his or her lookup, you might want to think again.
Recently, that bug has been flying around in my ear for a few weeks, so I decided
I would give the contest a try.
I sealed the door to my ground floor office and rolled out one of those long
rolls of low-quality paper, the kind the Neopian Times is printed on (Good paper
is too expensive for the millions of copies the Times that have to get printed.
They can't afford to pay their writers as it is. But, I digress), and my handy
set of Bagatelle Colored Pencils. For all the torment my darling spiteful_muse
has given me this last year, I decided that he would be the one I was going
to humiliate with my not-so-professional art. He's been begging me for a break
from the Lab Ray, so he jumped at the chance. I'm still trying to fix the hole
in the ceiling.
I hunted down the most recent photo of him I have and set to work. I quickly
discovered that beginning with colored pencils was a bad idea. I fished in one
of the messy drawers of my Marble Desk for my trusty Tatty Pencil. The result
was horrid. I ripped off another piece of paper and traced over my drawing to
hide all the erasing lines. It made it look better, but not by much. My handy
Quill Pen made those lines bolder for a sharper look. Still, it didn't help
Now that I have my outline, it's time for the colors. This part was fun. Something
about looking through all those colors and picking a few to use is like magic
(Rainbow Fountain Magic, if you were curious.). Once the colors were safely
in place, I was done. I rolled up my entry, stuck a round, red sticker on it,
and stuck in the mail.
At this point, you would think I was done and all I had to do was wait for
the contest to end. That's what I thought, too. Boy, was I wrong.
As soon as the contest began, I discovered that drawing the picture was only
half of the work. It was the easy half, too. Not only do you have to be a decent
artist, you have to have some impressive advertising skills. I don't know about
you, but I can't afford to take out a four million Neopoint ad for a Beauty
Contest entry. The trophy and the prizes aren't worth that much. The bragging
rights might be, but I wouldn't know about that. Besides, how many people look
at the 4th page of the Notice Board? Exactly.
There's only one good place to advertise for the Beauty Contest. It even has
Beauty Contest hanging over it in neon lights. Yes, that's right. The Beauty
Contest boards. Soon after the contest begins is the best time to pick up some
of those vote-things that everyone's after. So, I headed into the madness at
4 o'clock Friday afternoon. There were still fifteen minutes left until my contest
started, but I wanted to get a feel for the boards before I tried my hand at
this advertising thing. I can assure you that one quarter of an hour is not
enough time to get used to the Beauty Contest boards.
There are a few things I learned in the fifteen minutes I spent testing the
waters. First of all, the best way to advertise is to flaunt the fact that you
can vote for other people. See, they're as desperate for votes as you are and
they'll do anything short of cheating to get some. (Public service announcement:
The BC trophy and prizes aren't worth losing your account over. Don't try cheating
to get them. Also, vote trading=against the rules. Just ask people to look at
your entry. It'll get them to the voting page and that button is awfully tempting.)
Hang a potential vote in front of them and most of them will be more than willing
to spare a few seconds of their valuable time to look at your wonderful art.
If you happen to be me, your art is far from wonderful, but you manage to squeak
Silent voting is another trick to play. Not that there's anything wrong with
it, but if you don't tell people who you're voting for, they can't know what
species you have left to vote for. Attract people to your boards and vote for
the entries you really like, but don't tell anyone. Commenting on all the entries
is a good idea when invoking the silent voting technique. You help your fellow
artists and give them another reason to vote for you. I quickly discovered that
I'm more likely to vote for someone if I need to convince them to vote for me.
Though, that sort of defeats the purpose of you being a silent voter.
All right. The contest has begun and I'm busy setting up advertisements in
my shop and lookup for spiteful_muse's entry. I put a sticky note on my guild
message board, hoping the other eight members of my guild are willing to spare
a vote for a hand-drawn Blumaroo. I even updated my signature to include a plea
for a vote and some directions to the vote button (it is odd seeing "Spare a
vote for a hand-drawn Blumaroo?" before "Demon Fae" in scripty letters). Since
the premium boards move so slow, I posted ads there first. They would stay up
longer without maintenance, giving me all the time I need to post my pleas on
the Beauty Contest boards.
At 4:15 NST the boards exploded. Results from the previous round are in and
the new one has begun. People are about celebrating in odd ways, but the boards
are filled with something different. There's no better time to advertise for
your entry than when no one has had a chance to use their votes on your competition.
I was immediately glad I was hanging around when the contest started.
Now, advertising on the Beauty Contest Board gets really monotonous really
fast. Have you ever said something a bunch of times in a very short period of
time? You know how it gets hard to say after a few minutes of said repetition?
That's the same feeling I got advertising spiteful_muse's contest entry.
By Monday night, I understood why most regular Beauty Contest participants
poke their signatures instead of asking for votes the old-fashioned way. After
a few hundred times, saying something along the lines of "The link to the entry
is in my signature" takes too long. In the time it takes to get it all out,
you can just point to your signature, maybe even prod it. By the time the contest
is over, your signature will, no doubt, be incredibly sore and require a few
weeks of healing time, but hearing it complain will be worth all those votes
it earned you. Again, I digress. There is another advantage of poking your signature
instead of using spoken/written requests. It's easy, and it's fast.
The Beauty Contest is just that: a contest. Contest means you'll have plenty
of competition. Your competition knows the same tricks you do, unfortunately.
The faster you can get the message about your entry out, the more people you'll
have voting for you. I noticed, however, that most of the advertisers don't
appreciate the full benefits of getting votes. It raises your vote count, sure,
but it also takes votes from your competition. If someone votes for you, it's
one less vote that the other pets in your species can get.
Now that I've learned quite a few tricks about advertising, someone inadvertently
points something else out to me. If you've ever entered the Beauty Contest,
you know that your hard work usually has to be cut down so it can fit in the
gallery. The savvy regulars figured out a way to get around this. Take the original
version of the image and put it on display on your pet's page! Now, this is
where things get interesting. Any picky voter will check the full image before
voting. Once again, the brilliant people running Neopia have helped out us poor
Beauty Contest-ers. Guess what? Your pet's page has a built-in counter. Check
the stats from the page where you can begin editing. While that number is rounded,
it's a good guide to how many people have looked at the full image. I have my
suspicions that it's also a good way to get an idea of how many people took
the time to look at your entire entry. Though, I'm not sure if it's a good way
to guesstimate how many votes you might have. This is, after all, my first Beauty
Contest, and it's not even over yet.
The competition may be tough, but it's usually pretty fun, too. You meet all
sorts of people and all sorts of art styles. If you're me, you also like to
make friends with your competition. I'm thinking of one Blumaroo owner in particular,
and she'll know who she is as soon as she realizes who's writing this (hint:
I used the mutant Draik avatar). By the way, I'm still hoping you have that
vote to spare. ^^
Now that I've let you in on my Beauty Contest experience, I'm afraid I need
to get some advertising in. By the time you read this, spiteful_muse's first
contest will have ended, but you can always check to see if any of my other
pets are competing. I hope this has saved you a little bit of aggravation, but
I doubt it has. It didn't save me any.
Thanks to all the people who voted for him, spiteful_muse placed third
in Blumaroo in his first ever Beauty Contest. :)