Essential reading for compers
Does your bookshelf have a comping section? Mine does – and I’m always looking out for more books to add, whether it’s brand new books or vintage eBay purchases!
I read a lot of books about comping while I was writing SuperLucky Secrets (some good, some bad!) As well as UK publications, I read books from Australia, Canada and the USA to get an idea of how the hobby works worldwide, and downloaded lots of ebooks to my Kindle. Sadly, I was surprised how many authors don’t actually seem to be compers themselves!
With comping being a hobby that’s always evolving, the content of practical guides on how to win competitions can soon become irrelevant (the days of 12 word tiebreaker comps are long gone!) – but there are other types of books that will motivate you and keep you enthused too.
If you’re looking to add to your own comping library, here are a selection of my own favourite inspirational books, starting with a couple of new releases! There’s always my own SuperLucky Secrets book too (last updated in 2019), which you can order here. Please note that links to Amazon are my affiliate links!
Overcoming the Odds
Written by Rebecca from The Beesley Buzz, this inspiring book tells the story of how she won £50,000 of prizes in three years, mainly through some lovely creative competition wins. All profits from Rebecca’s book go to JAR to fund research into Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Check out my interview with Rebecca here.
Buy Overcoming the Odds – How I won £50,000 of prizes in three years on Amazon
When Losers Don’t Quit
Neill Johnstone might not be one of the world’s biggest winners – but his enthusiasm for comping is infectious! When Losers Don’t Quit is full of Neill’s brilliant comping stories in a fun A-Z format and it will definitely put a smile on your face! Read my interview with Neill here.
Buy When losers don’t quit – reflections of a part-time winner on Amazon
The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio
Written by her daughter Terry, this is the true story of Evelyn Ryan, who helped support her husband and ten children by winning jingle-writing and tiebreaker contests. It’s a brilliant read – and you can also watch the movie on Netflix!
Buy The Prizewinner of Defiance on Amazon (only secondhand copies available at the moment!)
The Luck Factor
The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman outlines four principles of being lucky, accompanied by research and plenty of statistics and stories. The idea is that we make our own luck, and with a change of attitude we can all become lucky people – and I look at these principles in detail, considering how we can apply them as compers, in my post How to be lucky. This is a great book if you’re intrigued by the science of luck and the difference between lucky and unlucky people.
Buy The Luck Factor on Amazon
One of my SuperLucky readers kindly sent Rhonda Byrne’s bestseller to me as a gift! If you believe in the Law of Attraction, it’s a really inspirational read full of ways to attract those amazing prizes into your life. I must admit, I found some of the book a little bit over-the-top, but generally it’s about staying positive and believing you can be successful – which is exactly what you need to do to be a winner…
Buy The Secret on Amazon
How to Win Cash, Cars, Trips & More
Carolyn Wilman – the ‘Contest Queen‘ – is a bit like a Canadian version of me, and her original comping book (or, more accurately, sweepstaking book) You can’t win if you don’t enter was published way back in 2006! This updated version is full of tips and tricks on winning, and although aimed at an American audience (where our hobby is very different!) it’s still a good read.
Buy How to Win Cash, Cars Trips & More on Amazon
The Name It and Claim It Game
Updated for 2020 by Carolyn Wilman, The Name it and Claim It Game is a hugely popular book by legendary American comper Helene Hadsell. Originally published in 1971, it’s full of her prize-winning stories and suggestions on developing a positive attitude. Helene’s SPEC technique (Select It – Project It -Expect It – Collect It) is still used by many successful compers, and this is a great book to read as a motivational boost if you’re in a comping dry spell.
You can tell by the name this is an American book! Written by Jonathan Wyke-Warzecha in 2013, there’s lots of practical advice for winning (relevant to both the US and UK), and even tips for running contests. In addition, there are lots of interviews with other compers and prize photos – it’s fun if you want to experience comping from the other side of the world!
Buy Sweepstakes Millionaire on Amazon
More recommended reads
For those of you interested in gameshows, How to win TV Quiz Shows by original Egghead CJ de Mool is an entertaining read, and The Cynical Winner, written by successful American winner Mike Kelly contains some great tips for radio contests.
Other nostalgic older books I enjoyed (which are no longer in print) are Congratulations! You Have won… by Frank Tate, and The right way to win Competitions by Howard Kendal.
What are YOUR favourite comping books – do you have any recommendations for me?