How to Succeed at the Beauty Contest
You've drawn and colored an amazing piece of art. Maybe it's not entirely amazing but it's pretty spiffy and the best work you're currently capable of creating. Now you're eager to enter the Beauty Contest and earn a new trophy for your pet's lookup! Slow down, just a bit! While it is possible to win the Beauty Contest solely by entering an amazing image or even a really good image, more often, the Beauty Contest takes additional effort beyond just entering and collecting your trophy in one week.
For example, in a past week's Beauty Contest, in the Draik division, the image I thought was clearly best only received 34 votes and finished sixth. A traditionally drawn image, that wasn't extraordinary in the least, received over six hundred votes and not only easily won first in the Draik division for species but also won first in the overall competition. Art is subjective, votes received are not.
In my opinion, in order to do well in the Beauty Contest, the most critical thing you need to do--right at the moment you enter--is to dedicate yourself to finishing well. Set aside enough time to advertise properly and commit yourself to doing whatever it takes (within the Neopets rules) to get the placing you'll be satisfied with.
The Beauty Contest always starts on Friday afternoons around 2 pm NST. If possible, plan ahead and have an advertising slogan and signature or font all ready to go. If you can come up with something catchy and cute you'll have a much better chance of drawing voters in to your boards. Have your image ready to be publicly displayed on your pet's page, your user lookup, your shop, if you have one, and anywhere else you can think of. It's important to remember that you may only advertise from the account your pet is entered from. Also, no one else is allowed to advertise your pet for you.
Get out there and start advertising as soon as the new contest begins! There is a lot of excitement for a new round of the Beauty Contest and it's a relatively easy time to garner some major votes. This is a great time to take a look at how many pets of the same species as yours are entered in this week's contest and to calculate approximately how many votes you'll need to place where you would like to. I suggest, looking back to the previous week's results to see if a similar quantity of your species entered in the previous week. How many votes did the first through third place finishers get? Make an estimate of how many votes will you need to get over the upcoming week.
How will you find those votes? In addition to those early votes on the Art Chat board, rely on your fellow guild members and Neofriends to give you a good base of support. I like to divide how many votes I'm trying to get by the number of days I'll be advertising. For example, if you'd like to earn 200 votes, divide that by eight days (Friday-Friday), which means you'll want to attain approximately 25 votes a day. You don't have to count every vote. In fact, it is impossible to accurately count votes, since the number of votes for each piece of art are not made public until the contest ends. However, you can calculate roughly and make an attempt to put your slogan and plea for votes in front of more than 25 people each day. Some people will tell you if they voted or not. For the most part people will not say they voted if they did not, however, some will, so take it all with a "grain of salt."
Another vote-getting strategy is to multi-task. You cannot openly advertise your entry on any boards except the Art Chat thread (and Charter—if you have premium access). However, your signature can advertise for you! If you have a pet up for adoption or one up for trade, advertise your pet on the Pound Chat and you'll be simultaneously advertising for the Beauty Contest.
If you have a nice shop, try advertising on the Shop Ads board. If you have items you're trying to sell in trades or auctions, let people know about it on the Trading / Auction board. Do you battle? Get out and chat with some fellow battlers, share what weapons you're using or what prizes you've received. Almost everyone plays a few games each day. Strike up a conversation with people on the game boards. Even if you don't play many games, there are usually boards on the game chat related to dailies, post on them. If none of these boards appeal to you, you can always try to provide assistance on the Help Chat board or provide quest help on the Quest boards.
It's very important, though, never to advertise openly on these other boards. That is strictly against the rules of Neopets. You should conduct yourself pleasantly and keep to the subject of the board. Your signature or font is the only thing that will be visibly displaying the fact that you have a current entry in the Beauty Contest. You definitely want people to have a pleasant experience with you, so they will consider voting for your art.
The point of all this advertising strategy, is to get you to try a few new things. Especially if you're normally a quiet person who keeps a low profile, you'll have to force yourself to chat and post more than usual. Not only will the week fly by, but you'll be making gobs of new Neofriends and find places you feel comfortable chatting for the next time you enter the Beauty Contest. See that, I've already got you convinced to give it another try someday soon! Remember, at the end of the week when you see the gorgeous trophy you've earned on the lookup of your very special pet, it will all be worth it!! Best of luck!