I’m going to try and not go into a lengthy rant about a little something called common courtesy, but I feel that it needs to be said as a reminder to those who organize giveaways. My experiences (and the below example) have mostly stemmed from giveaways sponsored by authors, but this is aimed at publishers, tour hosts, and bloggers as well.
What inspired this rant? Well, today I heard about a fellow book reviewer who entered a giveaway a few months ago in which the author offered signed copies of her book as prizes to those willing to make flyers and post the flyers everywhere they can, advertising her book. Said reviewer took on the costs of creating and distributing these promo flyers advertising that author’s book, and spent hours doing her part promoting the book online. Subsequently, thanks to all the time and effort she put into this project, she was chosen as a winner to receive signed copies of this author’s books. But to this hour she hasn’t yet received her prize and the author has ignored all her attempts at contacting her.
My own bad experience once was when I entered a giveaway sponsored by an author and I won the first prize which was a Kindle Paper White. The author contacted me about my prize, but took a month to send me the Amazon gift certificate I needed to purchase the Kindle. Every once a week I contacted her she had a different story. More recently I entered a blog tour giveaway where I won a $50 Amazon gift certificate, and the tour host never bothered to contact me about my prize. I saw on one of their posts that I’ve won the Amazon gift card prize, but nowhere in the post was it mentioned that I had to contact them, or was there an email address where I could enquire about my prize. I waited five days for the tour host to contact me, and when they failed to do so, I contacted them. Thereafter I only had to wait two more days for my prize.
This brings me to my point and closer to the end of my rant. People, if you host a giveaway and you know you won’t be able to send out the prize right away after the giveaway has ended, then please state this in your post. Add a little sentence at the top or bottom of your post stating that prizes will be mailed out / gifted at the end of that month, or a week after the rafflecopter has ended, or on a specific date. I don’t include a time limit for prizes on giveaways sponsored by me, because I send out the prize right after I’ve contacted the winner and received her response. If you set-up a giveaway, I assume you’ve worked the costs involved into your budget beforehand. But life happens and sometimes we have to use that money for something else and the prize costs have to come out of the next paycheck. That’s all good and well. All I ask is that you be upfront with your followers about it and give them the option of deciding whether they want to enter a giveaway where they might have to wait a few days/weeks/months for their prize(s).
I think the most important thing organizers of giveaways forget is that they’re making a commitment to those who enter the giveaway. If your followers and those new to your blog / books take the time to do all the things on the rafflecopter you’d like them to do, then you have the same obligation towards the winner(s) to notify them (via email) that they’ve won, and then getting their prizes to them promptly (unless specified as above). I can assure you I won’t be reading that author’s books who took a month to send me my prize, because she wasn’t upfront with me and therefore I have a bad impression of her. Same goes with the tour host who never bothered to contact me about my prize. I’ll probably never enter their giveaways again. So, if you don’t want to lose followers / readers, be considerate. You wouldn’t like having to wait for your prize if you won anything from me, would you?
OK, so this was not really a mini-rant as I had intended, but I hope I got my point across. Has anyone else ever had trouble getting their prize(s) from an author/publisher/tour host/blogger? Share your experiences in the comments (but please keep in mind that – as tempting as it may be - it shouldn’t be a name-and-shame). I’d love to hear from you.