Monday, March 4

Book Blogger Confessions: Glorious Giveaways Or Are They


Giveaways. As a blogger, how do you feel about extra entries, required entries etc? Do you have a system to choose/announce winners and keep prizes organized? What method works best for you when hosting a giveaway? (Rafflecopter/Google Doc's or other)

What do you do about people who enter your giveaways but don't follow instructions exactly?

Have you ever had problems hosting a giveaway sponsored by an author or publisher who is supposed to send the prize to the winner and doesn't? How have you handled these issues?

As a prize winner - what do you do if your prize never arrives? Do you contact the blogger or just let it go?
I am laughing inside. This has been on my mind of late. Or at least a portion of the question.
When I started blogging I was always so miffed that I had to be a follower of someone's blog to enter their giveaway. It just felt so wrong. As if they couldn't get a follower based on their charismatic personality and frank opinions. Like they had to buy my loyalty. Then as the days turned into months and then years of blogging I began to see a whole different side to this giveaway thing. I for one do not want to keep a book that isn't something I want to read again and again. (If I ever find the time. But hey, it could happen in a semi-unrealistic future.) So I end up with this pile of books I don't want. This pile causes me turmoil. It is unnecessary stuff and also a lapse of judgement. Obviously I didn't make a perfect purchase with each book in the pile. So now do I donate it to the library for their semi-annual sale or give them away on the blog. One costs me nothing extra and the other makes my readers happy. And that is the stark truth of it. Of the number of followers on the side most came once and will never be back. Only a very small fraction return with some sort of regular rhythm. But that number means a lot in the book world. You are judged by it. Well at least you are if you want to participate in any of the book tours or arc procurement. The book blog community is just as exclusive as any other. So giveaways tend to keep the numbers up. But all that tangent aside I just can't make someone follow me to get an entry into my giveaway. Sure if I am giving something I like the idea of getting something in return. But that is fairly normal. One of my favorite blogs only asks that you answer one question in the comment section. She doesn't bother with rafflecopter. She isn't worried about contacting you if you won. That is your responsibility. You want it bad enough come and check. I absolutely love answering her questions. I have never won but then I rarely check back. I am too busy. So I don't run my giveaways that way. I tried to make it based off a comment but that was a nightmare. People wouldn't understand I wanted them to comment or they would comment in the wrong place. Or they would leave an email address in the comments. It was frustrating. And no matter how many times I tried to re-word my entry request it felt like I was speaking a different language than almost everyone else. I really wish it would work out. It was so awesome to read everyone's answers. Brightened my day. For those who didn't get it right I had no choice but to disqualify their entry. I mean it is my giveaway so if I choose to be selective that is my right. So since I couldn't get her way to work and I didn't want it to be based off of being my follower. (Some part of me still wants desperately to believe someone would want to stick around without a bribe.) I decided a free entry followed by extra unnecessary entries. That way you got a bonus if you happened to meet the extra stuff. No pressure. This way I can tell myself they want to follow. Positive thinking.
Initially I used google forms but it just wasn't easy. Rafflecopter was a few clicks and people could easily how many entries they were up against as well as how long until it ends. But rafflecopter does fail in other ways. Especially when it comes to commenting. Seems more often than not they don't comment but claim the entry anyway. I used to cull through the entries for any deceit. Delete all those who obviously weren't following the rules. But I couldn't keep it up. My time is precious and I would rather be reading than watching for dishonesty. I figure I will check the winners but that is all.
To my knowledge I haven't had any problems with a publisher or author not sending out the prize they agreed on. It might have happened but no one has emailed me about it. Truthfully though, I have probably only had a few giveaways that weren't my own books so I don't have that much experience in this area.
I have had several prizes never make it to me. Of late I had a sizable number of them never showing up. In the past when they didn't come I just said oh well and moved on. I figured that just because I won doesn't really entitle me to anything. It was a giveaway. I didn't buy it and since they are forking out all the money over it I can't really complain. But as I said lately most of my wins weren't showing up. In fact I have been having a lot of problems with my mail not showing up. The mail system isn't what it used to be. So I was concerned more because there might be a very real problem in the mail system. I really needed to know and have details if I was going to make a complaint. So I set out to ask if the prizes had been sent. I wasn't trying to get them to send another or feel bad. I just wanted to know. If there is a problem I need it looked into so I don't end up losing something really valuable or expensive in a future purchase. Surprisingly most of the bloggers I contacted were really nice. I was so impressed that I decided I wanted to be a bit more like them. There really isn't enough kindness these days. I never did get enough information to figure out if my local mail system needs an overhaul. Perhaps crappy mail service is just one more thing I will have to get used to.

Anyway, thanks for the topic.


  1. This was such a great and well thought out post. I'm so sorry you lost some prizes. I feel that it *does* entitle you to whatever prize you won.

    Before Rafflecopter I did a lot of my contests that way too...I loved playing games with the people participating. I haven't done that in a while b/c Rafflecopter is so much easier. I get very aggravated when people don't follow instructions either. It's clear that they didn't read, they just entered and clicked. Ah well.

    1. I think I get most irritated because I think they are missing out on the fun. But then in my own little corner of the book blogging universe I think all my kooky ideas are fun. *shakes head at oneself*

      I suppose I did put time into entering the contests and following the blogs hosting the giveaway. So in some ways I did do something for the prize. And I did win it fair and square. At the very least it should entitle that the prize does get sent out. The blogger shouldn't be held to blame for the post office slipping up. But I suppose replacing lost packages is the equivalent of gentlemanly behavior. Living up to a higher standard where if you give your word you are honor bound to make sure it is fulfilled. Gives me some food for thought. Thank you for the comment.

  2. I used to require follows for my giveaways when I first started but then I hated doing it myself so I stopped. I actually get more followers that way and they seem more inclined to stick around once the giveaway is over. The most you can hope for is that someone new likes what they see and sticks around.

    I add comments as extra entries for Rafflecopter and it's been working pretty well. I ask a question in the form and try to make it silly or thoughtful and most people go along with it. But it took a while to get people used to it.

    1. I used to require them at first as well. But then back then I was obsessed with numbers and thought that if I didn't have a massive following than I was wasting my time. While I am not quite as deluded anymore I wish I could say that I was completely unaffected by my number of followers. I am getting there very slowly. I never really thought to notice if I got more followers if they were doing it willingly or against their will. I just know I don't feel like a tyrant.

      I think that might be the key. Sticking to a practice long enough that people understand what to expect. Especially since they are loyal followers that are more than happy to comment. :)

  3. I haven’t done many Giveaways as of yet; although I do love giveaways and enter some myself I find them pretty good. I use the Rafflecopter option for my giveaways just because it’s easier and faster for me to post and randomly select a winner. I understand that it can get crazy sometimes with people entering. I should really try Having extra entries are great, more chances at winning that prize you want, although for me I don’t require them. Some of the extra Entries stuff like Twitter I don’t use so it’s not optional for me to have as an extra. I also don’t require Fellow Bloggers to follow me, I think it’s their choice if they want to or not. So far I think how the giveaways are going is great. As for prize never showing up, it only happened once and it was nothing really that bothered me. I just have a harder time getting a response back from the winner.

    1. When I used to use Google Docs I had a really hard time dealing with all those extra entries. It took forever for me to make sure no one was loosing out on their opportunity. Rafflecopter just made it all so much easier. I guess now I just roll with the cons of Rafflecopter.

      Blogging definitely was simpler before I added facebook and twitter into the mix. I think I like contests far better than simple giveaways. But it takes a lot more time to put together a contest than just post a giveaway. And time is ever my foe. Never enough to do everything I want. Thanks for the comment.