Motivation logo

The Reading Game

An invitation sent to my Facebook friends to play an Online Reading Game to support me as a VOCAL creator.

By John Oliver SmithPublished 2 years ago 7 min read

Dear Friends,

Greetings. I hope all of you are well. I apologize for not having kept in contact with some of you over the past few years. I know it has been a while in some cases. Just to update you on things that have happened in my life over the last few months / years – I am now back from my 8-year teaching gig in China. My wife, Patti and I have been living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for the last two years. The last time we traveled any further than our home town was in January and February of 2020 when we went to Ecuador and Peru. Since the onslaught of Covid, we have stayed pretty much put, at home. Patti has been doing some writing and has put together a band and continues to work passionately at her music. She usually rehearses once a week for a few hours. The cold weather and the recent Omicron Wave of Covid has slowed that down as well.

My main pre-occupation since the summer months, has been with keeping track of NHL hockey and NFL football, and with writing. In the last ten months, I have written about 85 stories of, on average, 1500 words. I have joined an online publishing group called VOCAL and my stories have been submitted to that publisher as I complete them. The exposure I get through the publisher allows my stories to be read. As far as promoting my stories, I am basically in charge of that by posting links to individual stories and to my VOCAL Profile in general. The publisher also makes available, opportunities to enter contests from time to time, with fairly big cash prizes. It has been enjoyable to write and to publish, but it has been a lot of hard work just to even get my foot in the door.

With all of this in mind, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and do a little shameless self-promotion. Some may call it ‘begging’ but I like to think of it as creativity and entrepreneurial leg-work. Regardless of how it is named, I have invented a game to assist me in getting my writing seen more often, and by a wider range of readers. You are receiving this information because I have selected each of you, for a variety of reasons, to take part in the game.

The Game

First, let me explain how the game works. Each of my Facebook friends/invitees who decide that they would like to play the game, will be assigned to one of my stories. They will be issued a link to that particular story. Each time they, or individuals from their network, read the story, I will be credited by VOCAL for one read. Each read will put an extra 0.6 cents in my bank account. Ten reads will make me 6 cents richer and 1 million reads will net me a cool $6 000. It all sounds pretty amazing if one says it fast. However, I have found that getting a million people to read a story is not the easiest job in the world. And, believe me, getting one person to read a story a million times is pretty much impossible. Anyway, once each of my selected friends gets their specific story-link, they (or other household members) can then read the story as often as they like and help me make 6 cents every 10 times it is read. The easiest method for everyone however, would be to share the link on THEIR OWN FACEBOOK PAGE so that a more diverse group participates in all of the reading. The more people that read through the entire story, the more ‘reads’ it will get and the more money I will make. Friends would not have to limit themselves to Facebook either. Some may be able to share the link on Instagram and/or Twitter, for example. The object is to get as many reads as possible for the story each selected friend is assigned.


The game will actually begin at the stroke of midnight, on Tuesday, February 15. And, it will close at 11:59 pm on Thursday, March 31. I will record and keep track of the number of ‘reads’ for each of the stories on both of those dates and times. The story which incurs the greatest growth during that period will be deemed the best and, the sponsor for that story will be crowned the WINNER of the contest. The sponsors will receive regular notices from me to let them know how the game is progressing and who is in the lead.


At this point, I have no idea what may be possible in a 44-day period, so it is difficult to put an exact cash value on the gain in readership. I will go out on a limb, however, and offer a cash prize of 50% of the VOCAL credit earned, to the top three sponsors in the contest. If, for example, one chooses to enter the contest and that person is assigned my story – “Being Willie Mays” – and that story, through that person’s efforts, reaps 10 000 ‘reads’ during the contest period, he/she would receive half of $60, or $30. I will also be including additional prizes such as sports jerseys and/or sports caps and/or vintage record albums for the top 5 sponsors in the contest. The Grand Prize, for the number one sponsor will, on top of everything else, also include a holiday weekend at Chez John Oliver Smith in Saskatoon.

Added Features of the Game

Invitations to be part of the game have been extended to Facebook friends who have, over the past year, shown the most interest and support in my writing. Strangely enough, these are also people who have the best senses of humor and most competitive spirits. Some of them are family, some are former students, some are former colleagues and some are presently working as teachers, beauticians, musicians, students, etc. The potential sponsors also come from lots of places around the world. Some live in China or Japan, some live in America or the UK or Sri Lanka or Argentina or South Africa or Mexico or India. Others live in Canada and help represent just about every province. I have extended the invitations to as diverse a group as possible, so as to increase the interest in the game through this added international element

By Brett Zeck on Unsplash

What’s Involved for the Players

Step 1 – Potential participants will receive an invitation to join in the game.

Step 2 – Invitees will need to submit an intension to play, by Thursday February 10 (12:00 am CST). Note that, I will understand if one wishes not to play and I will not bother you with any further notices regarding the game. I will also remove you from my friend list on Facebook!!! (LOL)

Step 3 – Once the final list of players has been tallied, each player on the list will be assigned to a story. I will attempt, as best I can, to match each player to a story that may be of special interest to or have some connection to, the sponsor.

Step 4 – I will message everyone with a complete final list of players and their matched stories, so that each of you may peruse the list and know fully the names and locations of your competition for the game. You may know some of the players or all of them or none of them, but as the game proceeds and you see their daily or weekly rankings, you will come to know them well and you will scheme and, no doubt plot in efforts to surpass their efforts and game totals.

Step 5 – No player may begin the game before the specified starting time and date. For example, no one may share the story link or create an early post thus yielding an unfair advantage before the start of the game. Time will also be required by me, to remove all story links and shared pages presently on Facebook and Instagram before the game begins.

Step 6 – On the start date of the game (or whenever the selected players have time after that), participants may post or share or present the link to the story to their Facebook or Instagram or Twitter friends, with provided instructions (all that players will need to do, is COPY & PASTE).

Step 7 – The work for the players will be done at this point, unless their competitive spirit gets the better of them, contributing to the urge to further promote the assigned story in efforts to secure a win. Weekly (sometimes daily) details of the results will be forwarded to players throughout the duration of the game, as they are received from VOCAL. When updates occur, the message will look something like: DOGS I KNEW SOMEWHERE, 23 total reads, Joe Schlobotka, Bangkok, Thailand.

One final bit of information to help in deciding whether to take part in the game – is the time / effort commitment necessary on the player’s part. The BASIC amount of time needed to play (for the entire 44 days of the contest), would probably be less than 15 minutes. All one would need to do is create a Facebook (or other) post where he/she shares a link to the story they are sponsoring, and PASTE the instructions for readers. At that point, they can simply sit back and let things happen.

So there it is – please let me know via a quick note on Facebook Messenger if you decide to take part. No message is needed if you decide NOT to play. Thank you for your time and your continued support of my writing. I really appreciate it.

self help

About the Creator

John Oliver Smith

Baby, son, brother, child, student, collector, farmer, photographer, player, uncle, coach, husband, student, writer, teacher, father, science guy, fan, coach, grandfather, comedian, traveler, chef, story-teller, driver, regular guy!!

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For FreePledge Your Support

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    John Oliver SmithWritten by John Oliver Smith

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.