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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 17th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 141 > Articles > Spotlight Savvy

Spotlight Savvy

by scarrift

SPOTLIGHT - So you want to be a Spotlight winner, eh? It’s not that easy you know. “Oh sure,” you may say, “It’s easy for you to say since you’ve been there.” Indeed I have been there and it’s no easy 1…2…3.

Some may say, “What’s the big deal? You just write up something (or draw up something) and send it in the mail. Wait a few weeks and then, presto, you have a nice big, shiny trophy in your cabinet. I don’t see what’s so hard?”

Think again. It’s not about just sending the entry in just like that. Proper planning is necessary to make sure your entry actually gets read and accepted. Now, I’m not going to give a lecture on how to write, or draw, the perfect Spotlight piece, henceforth known as ‘entry’. That’s what The Neopian Times and the wonderful Spotlight Neoboard are for. Okay, maybe the board isn’t so wonderful, but anyway …

First off, I’d like to point out that it isn’t always the entry’s quality that affects the entry’s chance of appearing. No, that only accounts to, say, 50 percent of the decision process. The remaining half goes to when you send your entry. Let’s say you’ve made an entry about your Lupe Neopet (okay, okay I couldn’t resist it) and worked hard all week just to write it up and another week to draw it out (I exaggerate, of course. Two weeks? Come on). Now you must decide when to send it. In the mentioned example, it’s more likely your entry will be picked when you send it in when a special day is coming up, which in this example is Lupe Day. Pets’ special days are a very good time to send in your entries about that specific pet so if your pet is yearning for that Pet Spotlight then ask him or her to wait. Patience is a good quality. Don’t forget that certain contests, the Beauty Contest being one, accept entries on certain days. Thus you should time your entries perfectly just as the current one ends and the new one begins. It takes practice but practice makes perfect.

Oh, and try to send in the entries at the beginning of a workday, say around 8 or 9:00 am NST. Latest entries go to the top of the staff’s Inbox so timing is crucial to ensure yours is the first one the staff will pick up. (Snowflake, please be in the office, please be in the office…)

So now you say, “Okay, I’ve sent in the entry on time, now what?”

Of course you wait. Just start checking your Neomail everyday for that lovely message from The Neopets Staff (Remember, no member of the Neopets Staff will ask for your password) saying that you have won.

Now the real problem begins. Your trial as a winner begins here and the first hurdle you have to jump is a word too dreadful to mention in normal font: SPAM

Otherwise known as fan mail.

Now I don’t want to sound like I’m not appreciative, I am, but sometimes there is such a thing as too much of a good thing (No say that 3 times very fast). Take for example the following scenario …

You wake up in the morning, refreshed and ready for another beautiful day in Neopia. And as habit would dictate you first go to your mailbox to check your daily mail (if any). You blearily open your mailbox and find one letter with nice gold writing. Opening it you see the letterhead and scream in exhilaration. You’ve just won and your trophy will be coming any day soon! Just as you stop jumping around a shadow darkens your doorstep (if any). It’s the Mailchia with a grim look on his face and a huge truck in tow.

“Sign this,” he says. “And you’ll get the rest of your mail.” Blankly you sign it and are immediately covered from head to toe in Neomails as the truck tips its contents onto you. “Have a nice day,” the Mailchia says, ignoring your shouts for help.

… The horror, the horror.

Indeed, winning isn’t everything; it’s what you do after you win that matters. Fan mail is inevitable and as a Spotlight winner you must handle them with respect and honour as befit a person of your stature.

There are basically two types of fan mail: Appreciation and Flamers, with others in between. And yes, no matter how nice your spotlight is, no matter how much you praise other, there are bound to be both. Nothing’s perfect and people are bound to pick up those tiny details. Take for example …

Lupe_lover1245 wrote: I love ur pic

Scarrift replied: I’m glad you did. Thanks.

Lupe_lover1245 replied: here I have to tell the truth it waz kinda bad

That basically was a flamer, i.e. a person who does not like your work and does not have the eloquence to put it in polite terms. Typical appreciation mail consists of the following …

Slientsinger2 wrote: congrats on winning pet spotlight! I really liked your drawing! So again Congrats!!

And then there are those sneakily slit in ads or other stuff in between …

Sambo83 wrote: On making pet spotlight. You really deserve it, that picture looks GREAT! Hey, I have a friend named scoobydooblake, why don't you meet her? She's pretty cool, and she's got the Fire Paw card up for grabs, you could try your luck to get it, she's very picky at the prices, though, it shouldn't be TOO hard to get it, and she has a link in her guild to where you can get TONS of avatars …

You get the general idea.

Anyway, the real problem comes from replying the Neomails. As a person whom everyone (well almost everyone) looks up to, you should be courteous and proud, taking an extra dose of humble pie when necessary. Take the flamer for example. A suitable reply would be to ask for his opinion of what’s wrong and how it can be improved. Many may undoubtedly add more wood to the flames but some may even offer advice and such so the best thing to do would be to ask nicely first before you spout out profanities. If they do give advice, thank them. If they don’t, well, there is that ‘Block’ button at the top of the screen.

Ah yes, replying Neomails can be such as hassle but if you can cope with it then by all means go right ahead. Still, there is the hundred Neomail limit. What do you do when your fan mail keeps coming in? Make a folder! This nice feature makes organizing mail a breeze and also helps keep your Inbox in check. Simply make a folder, name it ‘Fan Mail’ or something you’re familiar with, and move all your old fan mail into it then, presto, clean Inbox, all ready for the next shipment of fan mail. Regular Neopian writers should also implement such tactics.

I’m not saying fan mail is bad. Sure fan mail can be a pain in the noggin to organize, reply, delete, etc. but I sure is nice to see people actually writing about your hard work. Besides that warm, tingly feeling you get when you get praise you may also get some items that your fans send in. Take for example …

Hannahzhouze wrote: Hi, I wanted to say congrats on the pet spotlight! I loved your story …

… Anyway, I sent you something that might help make Wurymmar more powerful, he deserves it! Enjoy!

Remember to say thanks when you receive anything. Oh and thanks again for those codestones hannahzhouze, I really appreciate them.

Oh, and don’t forget your other Neofriends, you know, the ones that have been your friend before you became a Spotlight winner. They should always be given top priority when it comes to Neomail. And remember, bragging too only gives you a big, unsightly head.

The next things that may hit you are Neofriend requests and Battledome challenges: the latter annoying and the former reasonable. Now that you’re in the spotlight, so to speak, you may notice that an increasing amount of people suddenly want to be your friend. “So what,” you may say, “Aren’t more friends better?” Indeed it is but the problem is keeping in touch with them all. Sure maybe a dozen or so is fine but the dilemma stems from the fact that there are over 100,000 users out there and there is a high chance many would want to be your friend. Let’s say 10,000 people read your entry and a measly one percent of them decide to be your Neofriend. That’s about 100 Neofriend requests and it’s going to take all day to sort it out. My advice is that, when the numbers of Neofriend requests become too demanding, you enable the option to block Neofriend requests. Simply go to ‘Help’, then ‘User Prefs’, then ‘Site Preferences’ and tick the appropriate option. Still, this should only be used as a last resort since I’m sure there are many out there who genuinely want to get to know you. And then there are those who only want your name on their lists to brag about …

As for Battledome challenges, I shall refer to _cherryblossom_40’s advice on faerie quests. She mentioned that ‘you cannot do every quest that the Faeries give you. It is quite unhealthy’ and the same goes to Battledome challenges. From personal experience, winning a spotlight is like pasting a large ‘HIT ME’ sign with a bull’s eye on your chest. People seem to want to challenge you to fights everywhere you go, even into space! Sure fighting sounds nice but can you stand the hassle of setting up those two-player battles. _cherryblossom_40 had the right idea about the unhealthy part. I mean, no matter how highly trained your pet is eventually he or she is going to drop from exhaustion due to excessive battling. As _cherryblossom_40 would advise, be selective of whose challenge you accept, it’s totally up to you as long as you don’t overdo it. Moderation never killed anyone. And when you get fed up you can always block Battledome challenges.

And most importantly enjoy yourself! Give yourself a treat to celebrate and don’t forget your friends and Neopets. Partying alone is so dull. Oh and don’t worry about all the stiff joints and aching backs and numb fingers. By the end of the day you’ll be dead tired but something good always awaits those who work for it. And the mailchia is sure to deliver it to you by days end. Nothing is sweeter than a brand new trophy and a place in Spotlight history. By the end of the week the hubbub will die down, but you’ll always have that trophy to remind you of your brief moment in the Spotlight.

Take my advice to heart and I declare thee Spotlight savvy! So what are you waiting for? Go send those entries and, who knows, your entry could be the next Spotlight winner.

Author’s Note: Thanks to all those who wrote on Lupe Day! I may not be able to reply all mails but I certainly try. Thanks everybody! And yes, I have disabled all the blocking options so you can freely Neomail me if you wish.

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