A Surprising Way to Supplement Your Income : Enter Contests

evelyn ryan prize winner of defiance ohioHave you heard of Evelyn Ryan (pictured left)?

Better known as "the prize winner of Defiance, Ohio," Evelyn helped support her family in the 1950's and 60's by entering writing contests. It's an inspiring story - how an optimistic mom of ten kids used her brains and brilliance to wow judges with words.

Although entering contests certainly isn't for everyone, it can be a nice side "hobby" that produces excellent opportunities for you and your family. There are scores of contests out there with prizes ranging from cash to cars to Caribbean vacations.

contest queenCarolyn Wilman, a self-described Contest Queen, knows full well the benefits of contesting. She wins 10 to 20 contests per month on average and has made tens of thousands of dollars from her hobby. She's won everything from trips to Europe and a year's supply of pizza to theatre tickets and cash prizes. Wilman obviously knows her stuff and she recently wrote a book to help other interested and ambitious contestors - "You Can't Win If You Don't Enter" (Imagination Edge, 2008). The book - available in both US and Canadian editions - offers tips for managing your time, increasing your chances, spotting scams, and more.

It's true that it may not be possible to pull in a steady full-time income through contesting, but it is a past-time worth looking into. It certainly beats watching hours of television, that's for sure...

you can't win if you don't enter carolyn wilmanWIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of "You Can't Win If You Don't Enter" by Carolyn Wilman ($19.95). To enter, leave a topic-related comment on this post prior to Wednesday, March 11 at midnight (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.). * Winner must provide a U.S. or Canadian mailing address.

*UPDATE* The winner is #133 Marjorie. Congratulations!

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240 comments on “A Surprising Way to Supplement Your Income : Enter Contests”

  1. Jan.18, 2010
    I have been entering sweeps & contests for 60 years, and have never won. I sure could use your expertise!!

    Thanks so much, B. Reiman

  2. I've had my eye on this book. I do like to enter contests and would like to know how to better my chances of winning.

  3. This would be a big incentive to keep you motivated to enter sweeps. I would enjoy reading this. I have to congratulate Evelyn on her winnings and thank her for her generosity in helping others by writing this book.Sure would love to win!

  4. I'm subscribed to Carolyn's email list. It's very interesting and informative. Thanks for the great contest!

  5. I would absolutely love to win this book especially since I enjoy entering contests so much and am always looking to read books about contest winners and pick up tips to how to have a better chance to win. This is a great giveaway. Thanks.

  6. I feel like I've been entering contests for months with nothing to show for it - I would sure love to learn her secrets!

  7. This is something I have been looking for with a fair amount of fervor. I have been "sweeping" for over two years now, but I have yet to fully understand the in's and out's of how to increase the enjoyment of my little hobby.

  8. Entering contests is my new hobby. I spend far too much time doing it and could use some tips from someone far more experienced than I am.

  9. I would love to win. Sweeping and entering contests is a hobby of mine. I would love to learn some tips on winning from one of the best.

  10. I would love to win this book!!! I have become fascinated with entering sweeps and contests. I've never won anything really big, but a lot of neat little stuff, fun things and some pretty good Christmas presents.

  11. I am really interested in reading this book. I am so curious to read about the experiences and advice of a winning sweeper/contester.

  12. I love to enter contests. I see it as my hobby and not a part time job. I do believe you can win big and of course in order to win you must enter. This would be a great read for me. I know i would enjoy it.

  13. This looks like a great book. I love entering contests and could use any tips to help win. It is a great hobby.

  14. I enter contests often and win now and then. I've been a winner all my life when it comes to drawing names for some reason, but I would like to know how to increase the value of my prizes. I'm sure there are lots of tips in this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Ever since i won 3rd place in the name the face for mad magazine ( no i did not choose what me worry, that was 1st place and won) i have been hooked on contest. So, naturally I am very interested in this book. What a nice giveaway!

  16. It would be great to win her book, I get an email from her blog and listen to her podcast, she has very interesting ideas. Thanks for the giveaway.

  17. I would love to read this book and find some tips for winning. I enter contests and have won a few but would love the opportunity to possibily increase my chances of winning. Thanks for the chance!

  18. I've been entering contest for several years, and have won a few big prizes. I would love to read this book & see if there are any tips I can pick up that will help me win a car or vacation. Thanks!

  19. Well I could really use some helpful hints on how to win and this is the first time I have heard of this book. Thanks

  20. The title of this book reminds me about variations on the old joke, about the old lady constantly saying, through hard times and rough situations, "The Lord will provide"... Until finally she gets really beaten down, never been more desperate, and she says "Lord, why haven't you provided?"... And this really frustrated voice rings down from the Heavens and says "So buy a lottery ticket already!!"

  21. In this economy, every little bit counts -- and SOME of those wins aren't so little, either! I don't enter anywhere NEAR as seriously as my husband, but it's a lot of fun, and gives me a break from "the mundane" AND occasionally gets us something nice for the kids -- so bring it on, I can always stand to learn something new!!

  22. I have seen the movie and have seen other news items about Evelyn Ryan. She was an inspiring worman. She was a great contester, I wish I could write as well as she and win some contests. I have entered a few but I just haven't been clever enough to be a winner of anything big.

  23. I am currently unemployed, so I don't have the money to buy a book like this, but could certainly use it.

  24. This certainly sounds like the kind of book I need. I have been skipping "comment" sweepstakes because my comments are so dull and boring. I am sure she can give me some tips on being original and interesting. Thanks for this giveaway!

  25. It sounds like she entered contests where you had to actually write something. I never know what to write so I could really use help!

  26. I would LOVE to win this book! I'd like to get some insight as to how to win the BIG ones!!

    Thanks for a generous giveaway!!

  27. I enter sweeps on a daily basis and any thing that you can do to give you even a slight edge is worth going for. thats why I need this book.

  28. I would appreciate reading this book.I enjoy entering contests,maybe it could give me some insight to win BIG.

  29. I would love to read this. I have recently began entering contests and that is what I told my husband, I can't win if I don't enter. Thank you for the awesome giveaway!

  30. I love sweeping. I have won Christmas gifts and items for myself that I love, but would never have treated myself to.

  31. I've been entering contests daily for about 3 years now, but have yet to win anything big. Maybe this book could give me some pointers on how to spend my time more efficiently.

  32. I have been entering contests for over 2 years now. I have won quite a lot but I would love to win more. Don't we all, I suppose. Well, I have always wanted to read this book. Hope I win.

  33. i'm addicted to entering contests. i need to actively stop myself from entering contests in which the prizes are irrelevant to me.

  34. I've been interested in contesting and sweepstaking since I was a kid. Once you win, you're hooked! Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.

  35. I have heard of this book before and I would love to read it. I think entering contests is so fun but I would love to win a bit more. It is still fun just to think and hope about winning for me though! Thanks for the chance!

  36. I have been entering sweeps for nearly five years now and would love to read this book to help me increase my chances of winning more.

  37. I've heard about this book, and it's been on my reading list for some time. Thanks for the giveaway!

  38. I always seem to win the crazy stuff- e.g. was hoping to win one of the low-level gift cards but instead got a basketball goal(backboard, pole, base, etc). Kinda big for an apartment. I'd love to get tips and inspiration from someone who's won alot.

  39. I don't enter contests instead of watching television, I do it while watching television. Double the pleasure, double the fun.

  40. I've both read the Defiance, Ohio, book and seen the movie - both very moving. I've also heard a LOT about Carolyn Wilman, The Contest Queen (and so I'd LOVE to win this book!). I think she benefits a lot from living in Canada, where contest earnings are not taxed!

  41. I would love to read this book. Obviously, I do enter contests, but I would love to see/read that someone could actually suppliment their income with contests.

    Thanks so much for this contest.

  42. I love entering contests. It has become my new addiction. I spend time on it every day and I keep all my prizes in Rubbermaid tubs. I love it

  43. Wow, this would be awesome! I enter sweeps as often as possible. But, like most everyone, my wins are very few. Some tips would be fantastic! I do love to win! And my favorite prizes are books!

  44. Sweeping is a great way to get some of the extras that we can't afford. It's like X-mas all year long. I would love to read this book for some tips. Thanks for the giveaway!

  45. I enter sweeps and giveaways all the time, but wins are few and far between. I sure could use some pointers on increasing my chances. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  46. i've been entering contests for 7 years! i've won lots of great stuff but never cash. i'd sure like some tips!

  47. Sweeping has changed over the years with more and more people entering I use to win but the last couple of years have been rather slow I would love to get some new tips to be able the great stuff that I can not afford to buy

    [email protected]

  48. After I became disabled I have tried to supplement my income by filling out contest and sweeps all day everyday. I have looked and asked for tips that may help but haven't gotten many answers. I would be so thankful to win your book! Thank you for holding this giveaway! Good luck to everyone!

  49. I've won 25 free burritos from chipotle like 4 times, but I wouldn't mind winning something that won't cause me to gain weight! I've LOVE to get this book so I can utilize my English degree!

  50. I've been entering giveaways like crazy lately. I figure if it's something I decide I can't use, I can always use it as a gift. With a large family, there's always someone to buy a birthday gift for! This one, though, I'd keep for myself! ;)

  51. I've entered contests on and off over the years, won some fun stuff for my kids and one unbelievable trip to the Grammys!

  52. i loved the book the prize winner of defiance ohio. the movie was good too. turns out one of the teachers down the hall actually knew her. Pretty amazing

    i'd love to read a Copy of You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter by Carolyn Wilman

  53. I recently enjoyed watching "The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio". Wilman's book sound like a good one for a contest entrant to read!

  54. I've entered sweeps for a long time but never heard of Evelyn Ryan. It would be very intersting to read how she was so successful. Good for her for using her creativity that way.

  55. I just started about a year ago. Any hints or ideas to help win more would be great. This looks like a good resource.

  56. I've been a "sweeper" for a few years now.And have won some really cool things,including my very first trip win this last August. I also have read the Prize Winner book & find it very inspirational that she was so creative in keeping her family floating.

  57. I would love to get some good sweeping pointers and also some inspiration to keep on sweeping. Thanks for the giveaway.

  58. I am always looking for ways to increase my sweepstakes wins. I'm at about $20,000 after 4 years of entering and really enjoy this hobby! I have heard about this book and would enjoy reading it. Thanks so much for the chance to win it!

  59. I've recently retired and started to enter contests and sweeps. I would love to have the inside scoop.

  60. I think that the economy is hurting this hobby. Fewer prizes, less expensive prizes, and more people entering contest.

  61. I started entering contest about 3 years ago when I was home sick recovering. I'm working now but still come home and enter contest. I would like to read her book.

  62. I'd like to read this book and see if it has some helpful hints. I always enter contests when I come across them, and have won a few things from radio stations and such. I read and enjoyed the Prize Winner book - I like to write so I liked hearing about how her writing won her prizes.

  63. I'd love more helpful hints. I also loved the movie so much I brought a spare copy "just in case". Just got back from the first good win of the year, a trip to Burlington Vt. for a weekend. Lots of fun.

  64. I love entering contests and I loved the movie; Julianne Moore was wonderful in it. I would really like to read this book, any tips I could learn would be great. Thank you so much!

  65. Evelyn Ryan is truly inspiring considering how she won all of those contests to help support her family..I have to see the movie with Julianne Moore and read the book. I hear they are both very very good!
    Carolyn's store is worth a look at if anyone gets a chance to. She has all sorts of luck attracting products like oils,crystals,etc.
    I want this book so bad..I am a winner!

  66. This looks like an interesting book. I've won a few contest and would love to hear what her tips are. Especially interested in avoiding those scams.

  67. doing sweeps can be so much fun..you never know what is going to show up at your door. I'D LOVE TO WIN THIS.

  68. My wife is an author and she is trying to win some awards, like the Giller to supplement her portfolio. She is almost done her first book and there is a lot of interest in it. I hope she makes a career of it.

  69. I love contesting and I think this would be a great book to check out! Thanks for posting - what a great contest!

  70. I'm a sweepstakes nut, so I would love to read this to see if I could get anymore tips from the author. Thanks!

  71. i've been laid off for 4 months and wasn't able to receive unemployment compensation. for me, that meant $0 coming in. last week i won $110.00 in my paypal account just by entering a contest. that money helped go towards paying my rent! i could definitely use this book to help make some income while i'm out of work!

  72. I would love this. She has a great radio show with guests who talk about entering sweeps/contest and related topics.

  73. I would consider myself a contest queen although i haven't won much. i did win our family $1000.00 once. i guess my biggest concern is which contests are legit and how do I make sure I am protecting our information when entering.
    I also would rather enter things that I actually want to keep the clutter down in our home. this looks like a good read.

  74. I love entering contest..and love the title of the book! Have won so many things that i wouldnt have if i kept the attitude that many ppl have.."Why enter..I am not going to win, I know..coz i never win!!"

  75. I'd love to have this book because I enter many contests, but have only won one!!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  76. I love to enter contests. If nothing else, you get to daydream about the prize until you find out someone else won!

  77. I've been entering contests for years, and won a few great things and a lot of good things. Sweeping and reading are my two favorite things, so this would be perfect for me -- a book about sweeping!

  78. Contesting is my life as my girls are grown and I have an empty nest except for my two small grand children that come over on weekends. I would be lost without sweeping I have done it for 15 years now and have won some really nice things and 3 trips. Had to give one away because of taking my sister for chemo treaments but family comes first
    Sweeping is my way of getting away from this world and into a dream land where anyting goes and you can win things. when I leave for work I always can't wait to get back knowing the UPS man has left me a package so exciting and a lot of time it is on my steps and I get over joyed till I get that box open. I really need a new car and would love to win one. Thanks I have been wanting to read this book thanks for a chance to win.

  79. Evelyn Ryan was my idol. Now Carolyn Wilman is carrying the torch. I want to win. Please accept my entry. Thank you.

  80. I'd like to read this but I believe the pickings are slimmer now, Internet sweeps are garnering entries from many more people than those that used to mail in entries.

  81. This would probably be my favorite book!!!!!!! Being in it to win it is soooo true and the advice of another will make me discover. Now that Rhymes!!!!!! lol

  82. I have the book about Evelyn Ryan on my bookshelf right now. I win quite a few book contests, but I would love to read the advice in the book about entering contests. Thanks for the contest!

  83. I love to enter contests but I've only gotten a couple of small wins - I would love to learn from her book & make my contest entering more profitable.

  84. I love entering contests! It's interesting to see what companies are giving away and what you have to do to enter the contests. I enter as many as my busy schedule permits, but, like you said, it beats watching the boob tube! Thanks for this giveaway. I could use some new ideas on entering.

  85. I enjoy entering contests but have found I am not winning much if anything lately. I would like to read this to get some tips to increase my chance of winning.

  86. The title of that book says it all! I never enter contests because "I won't win anyway." Nice attitude, eh? Well, your blog has inspired me to start entering contests because maybe eventually I will actually win something. Like, perhaps this book, hehe.

    Great blog, btw!

  87. This would be such an interesting read. I have heard about people like this, and have always wondered what their secret was. It's nice of her to share!

  88. I love the name of this book!! I think it would be a great and interesting book to read! Thanks for the giveaway!

  89. I can't believe the name of this book!! I have been saying "You can't win if you don't enter" for the past 5 years I've been entering contests online!!! I'm serious! When I refer online friends to contests online, I even write in the email "You can't win if you don't enter!" lol! What a fantastic prize!! Thank you for the contest!

  90. Entering contests is a hobby of mine, I've had a little success, but would love to know secrets of really doing well at it!

  91. I have been a contester for over 20 years and would love to read this book. Maybe this would spark my down time when I am in a dry period. One must be persistent to win!

  92. Entering sweepstakes is a hobby of mine. It is so much fun to receive a package in the mail! I would love to read this book, for tips on how to win!
    smchester at gmail dot com

  93. Looks like a very interesting book. Would love to read it - I have always wanted to know how to go about choosing which contests are better to enter and easier to win. Thanks for having the giveaway!

  94. The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio is one of my favorite movies. I also have the book. I'm surprised the movie didn't do better in theaters because it is so good. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be on the edge of your seat during the shopping spree. I would love to read this book, too.

  95. one of the best things i've ever done in my life is start sweeping as a hobby...i love to hear tips, thanks for the giveaway:)

  96. I enter a lot and would like to know some good tips from an expert. So here's my entry - I'm in it now.

  97. I've been entering for a few years now. I have had about 4-5 pretty good wins. I would love to learn some tips and win more!

  98. I love entering contests! I didn't realize there was actually a book with tips. I'd love to check it out. :)

  99. I've been entering contests for four years and I am addicted. I have won lots of prizes,but I am still waiting for the big one---new car,tons of cash etc.

  100. Entering contests gives me hope....like little mini lottery tickets without the having to buy the ticket. Plus when I do win it's always like christmas, never quite sure whats in the package, but so excited to open it and find out. But I'd love find ways to increase my winnings.

  101. I would really like to read this! I love entering contest, I really like to enter the blog giveaways. I have found so many cool etsy shops, and corners of the internet I never knew exsisted before! I would love to win a trip or something big like that! Thanks for the giveaway!

  102. I had a month off and took the opportunity to spend 24/7 with a computer and free time .Well I manage to date to have won 21 contests!! Mind you no big trips or anything(yet).Just small things like books and DVDs,gift cards,free product,t-shirts etc etc.But do you know what it has really helped to boast my spirits in an otherwise bad time in my life.
    Couponing do right is another way to get that literal "Cheap" thrill.
    The best thing about the contesting is that it has shown me great sites like this!!!!

  103. Entering writing contests versus "sheer luck" contests takes talent. I'd love to read more about how someone that has been entering and winning those types of contests for decades!

  104. I would really love to read this book. I have been recently introduced to giveaways and contesting and would love some more advice! Thanks for always hosting such great, high quality giveaways! I won some Robeez Booties from you a few months back and I have to say that they are my absolute favorite shoes for my son to wear! THanks again!

  105. I have read her Canadian version and now that I have moved to the USA and now that the American version has come out, I would love to win it. Carolyn is really a great postive sweeping individual. From her newsletter to her blog to her radio show - all full of great advice and helpful hints that I enjoy.

  106. This is so cool to come across a book like this. I love entering contest. Not only do I get a chance to win some really cool stuff but It is a great hobby for me too!

  107. I used to live in Quebec until a year ago. One of the first things I did when I moved to Ontario is start entering contests! I'm absolutely addicted... and it's really helped me financially.

  108. I can't see myself entering contests full time, but I do love to do a little on the side. I've won some pretty great stuff, and would love a few extra tips.

  109. I love entering contests. I'd like to win this book maybe it would help me win a little more. Thanks for the chance.

  110. What a great book! I'm sorta new to entering contests/sweeps but its so much fun and I'm really enjoying trying new products and learning about items I wouldn't of heard about before.

  111. I just recently started entering contests and it's an incredibly fun and rewarding hobby; I'd love to read this book.

  112. I love entering sweeps and have been doing it for 4 years. I have won some awesome things and you do have to be "in it to win it." I would love to read this book and see what she is sharing with others. Blessings!

  113. I have been a "sweeper" for over 4 years now. I have won many prizes. The best prize an over $12000.00 trip to Vegas. I would love to read this book to see what I can improve on.

  114. the title of her book is so appropriate for life,not just for contests for you can't win anything if you don't enter

  115. I've won several contests. 2 trips to New York, Jewelry, books. Once I won $500 cash. I'd love to read this book. I think I saw the movie about this woman. Thanks.

  116. i'd love to win this!! i need guidance and time management badly:) thanks for the great chance to win!!

  117. The Contest Queen surely has a lot to teach me and I'm more than willing to learn.

    Thank you for your own contest.

  118. I was wondering if anyone actually wins these contests but after reading this story and some of the posts here I am becoming a believer and would like to join this fun hobby and possibly give my family some extra things and fun !

  119. I love to win contests! They take a lot of time, to enter sometimes though!

    I would like to check out the techniques and strategies in this book

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  120. I love entering contests and sweepstakes! That's what my blog is all about because I love it so much...I win something every couple of weeks, and I agree, it's a great way to get things I cannot afford! My little girl has some expensive shoes! :) thanks

  121. Oh man could I use this. I never enter b/c I never think I will win. I'd love to learn how to take some pressure off of my husband by winning contests.

  122. I've won some pretty great things in the past. From two car seats to cameras to flip video cameras and more. I kinda like it, I must say! And now that I'm reviewing items for two different places and my own blog I'm getting a lot of goodies that way too. I'd sure love to learn more though.


  123. I have won some small prizes, but any hints about winning the fabulous vacation to Hawaii, a new car, or anything bigger would be much appreciated.

  124. I won an awesome trip to Hawaii (to attend a surfing competition), my TV, a digital camera and lots of other stuff.

  125. I would love to read this book. I have been entering contests for many years and would love more inspiration. Thanks for the contest!

  126. Contests are a great and entertaining hobby. I could use a few tips. As for watching T.V., I multitask and enter contests on my laptop while watching T.V.

  127. Contesting is such a great hobby. I would love to pick up some new tips for winning... thanks for the great giveaway!

  128. I'm addicted to entering online sweepstakes! I loved the book "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" and would love to win this book as well! Thanks for the giveaway!

  129. As another commenter said, I've been entering contests now for over a year and not a win yet. Just recently I thought perhaps I'd better stop doing it at all, because even when the chances have been good, no luck. But I'm holding out that maybe when i do finally win something, it'll be something I'm really excited about. THanks for the chance, again!

  130. I love entering contests! It's so much fun when you win, but I do worry about the ones that are scams. I would love to read this book and become more informed.

  131. I have been entering contests for over 45 years now. I'm sure I could improve on my outcome and this book appears to be quite helpful.

  132. My kids think I am "pretty lucky" but they don't realize the amount of WORK that is involved with trying to win contests. I have won a few but mostly smaller stuff. I really enjoy the thrill associated with entering and winning and would love to know what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong... maybe I could win my family a few NICE things that they want and/or need.
    Thanks for this contest!!!!

  133. This sounds like a great book. My sister enters contest and she has won many things. This book would be a great read for someone who is starting out entering sweepstakes.

  134. I love winning contests! They take so much time, though! I would love to see her techniques and strategies for making it worth her while! Great giveaway! Thanks!

  135. I enjoy entering contests, but often it's hard to remember to check back on the right day to see if I've won (even when I'm already on the same blog reading a current post). I should probably start keeping a list... And I often prefer merit-based contests over random give-aways, since I feel like the outcome is at least somewhat more under my control.

  136. My husband likes to tease me about my entering contests, surveys and the like, but I think it's sort of fun. I've never won anything big, but it's a fun little hobby.

  137. The title of this book is perfect. I won a basket of beauty products last year, and my mother-in-law started complaining about how she "never wins anything." I said, "Really?" "How often do you enter contests?" "Oh, I've never entered a contest", she replied. I told her, "That might be part of your problem." Duh

  138. I am an avid contest/sweeps hobbyist. In my spare time I enter sweeps on a daily basis. This helps me create a closet full of Christmas gifts each year, and supplements my income by sales on EBAY.

  139. I love entering contests. I think it is fun and a bonus is receiving a free gift. Especially if it is something I wouldn't normally splurge on. I would love to get some more good tips from this book!

  140. I've been entering contests for a while now and it's so fun to win something every once in awhile. This would be fun.

  141. I have had this book on my wish list for a few months now. With the economy the way it is an me without a job every little bit helps.

  142. certainly could use some good tips. have been entering sweeps and blog giveaways, some wins but could always use more. thanks for the giveaway.

  143. WOW that's a great story, but i am not good at writing LOL
    I would love to read her book. I'm sure any sweeper would, good luck everyone!!!!

  144. I just started "contesting", is that a word?? Would love to have some guidance and would likely have to read this book in one sitting!!

  145. I've been entering contests for a while (and winning a few), but sure would love some tips on increasing my chances of winning!

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