Saturday, October 5, 2013

MINI-RANT: GIVEAWAY PRIZES


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.

16 comments:

Michelle Bledsoe said...

Yes I have had this experience and so has my daughter.I even contacted my host and was told that the item had been returned to her and she would resend it. She never did. Now, I don't enter contests by that person. I have been entering for a couple of years now and that is the only problem one so far. As for my daughter, she still has not gotten hers and it's been over a year. Oh well...

koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

catslady said...

I have had this happen many times over. I've been entering contests for a long time. If I find I like the author after reading their book I have mentioned their books everywhere and buy more of their books. I have authors I will no longer buy their books because of not following through and not getting back in touch, I have blogs and some large sites that the same thing has happened. I've found a few that have cheated in contests. Sometimes they send you something else and my guess is they kept it or gave it away. I've won print books to be replaced with ebooks. I could go on but you get the point.

Bobbie Bohn said...

As an avid reading and a blogger I must admit I am addicted to raffle-copter and all giveaways. I enter dozens on a daily basis. As you would think since I enter so many that I would win a few here and there and I most certainly do. I enter every one expecting that mailing anything takes time and to expect to have patience. Gift cards I'm happy to say 99% of times I've won I received them within a few days and the one time there was a technical issue with the Authors computer and the Author doubled the gift card to make it up to me. So as winner of said giveaways I've had a fantastic experience!
As a blogger and at times a sponsor of giveaways most giftcards and eBooks I usually send out within 24 hours and mail books with a week or sooner. If our giveaway is sponsored by an Author I follow through with that Author. Keeping in mind that Authors are asked by thousands of blogger for sponsored giveaways. It must be difficult to keep track of. I cant even image.

Danielle D said...

I have entered a number of giveaway, and I'm still waiting on the prizes almost a year later!!!! I've contacted the pages that have hosted the giveaways, and I've been told over and over again that it's going to be sent out, or that it's been sent out, and that there is nothing more that they can do.

When I send something out to a freind I make sure that there is a tracking number so both sides can see where the package is.

I have stopped following so many blogs due to issues of not getting rewards out on time, or at all.

Jyl22075 said...

I used to enter dozens of contests everyday. I won my fair share of prizes and usually had no trouble at all getting them, but I have had a few negative experiences. Once with an author and once with a publisher. They both eventually got my prizes after many weeks and me having to inquire about them sometimes more than once. I've also had a couple of incidents where I've one prizes from bloggers that have just never shown up. Now, I very rarely enter them because trying to deal with all that drama kind of takes the fun out of winning.

Juli Hall said...

Yes I've had troubles in the past from different bloggers and authors, to this day I'm waiting patiently for a signed set of paperbacks from a particular author that i won back in July. Oh well at least I didn't pay anything for it :(

duks castro said...

Yes I had this happened to me. I'm not a blogger, but I follow a lot of blogs and enter many giveaways. Haven't really won many, but that's a different topic. I won a giveaway in June, got the email and everything, sent my address, lol, as of today I haven't received anything. Last November I won my first giveaway. I was told the publisher would send them, and yup nothing...

I gave up hope in getting them. You're right they should say "I have some issues so it may take some time" the lack of courtesy does reflect bad on them. I steer clear of those blogs now.

Darlene said...

I won an ARC contest and received it within a week. Only other thing I ever won was an e-book and that was quickly sent. I enter a ton of contests but am not that lucky on winning.

jennzah said...

i find that LIBRARYTHING has been really lax in sending book copies out to me -- i've won two in the last four months and i've not recieved either! really uncool.

Maritza Robinson said...

I love giveaways and enter them daily. I do win once in awhile. Only a few times have I won something and never got them. Like once I was so excited to win, a box of 20 books. Never heard back from blogger. One book I won the blogger emailed me letting me know that she was sorry about sending the book out a little late because she had a family emergency. I emailed her back saying no problem and thanking her for letting me know. They should let you know if it is being sent out later. I sometimes don't like emailing them back because I don't want to bother them. I would be so upset if I won one of the bigger prizes and never get it.

Heidi Schuster said...

I haven't had any problems receiving books/gift cards that I've won but did have a problem a few years ago getting the Nextbook e-reader I had won. I had to contact the giveaway host numerous times before I finally got it (only 4 months later!).

Heidi Schuster said...

I haven't had any problems receiving books/gift cards I've won but did have a problem about 2 years ago receiving a Nextbook e-reader. After contacting the giveaway host numerous times I finally received it (4 months after the contest ended!).

kiwi_chick_2882 said...

I've had this happen to me several times, to this day i still haven't received some of what i've won, I've just given up.

It would also be so much better if promoters clearly wrote that giveaways are US only or not. Theres nothing worse for us internationals to start entering then finding out we're not allowed.

fredamans said...

2 instances for me, both with bloggers.

First I won a book from a blog, and the blogger said she would sent. Long story short, I never got that book from 3 years ago, and almost got lynched by the blogging mob when I posted about it.

Second I helped a blogger get started, from building her blog to a button, even gave her some PR. She decided of her own accord to send me a book of my choice. Cool right? Right. If it had ever showed up. And now she just ignores me like I don't exist.

Oh wait, I remember a third blogger. She hosted a giveaway for Cinder. I won in January 2011. Yup another one not ever gonna arrive. She says she couldn't afford the postage to send it. It's less than ten bucks... give me a break.

I hate useless and honor-less bloggers.

uncannybookcase said...

I didn't know there were so many problems. I enter in many giveaways everyday and I have won several of them.

Even living in Spain I have got without problems three paperbacks one week after winning.

Last week I got a 50$ GC a day before winning. I won too a 10$ GC, but the author told me I will have to wait a month to get it... no problem... I'm not in a hurry.

My real problem is with the ebooks I have won... 5 last week... so far I have only got 2 of them. Ebooks should be easier...

But I don't consider this a cause to unfollow blogs or quit buying books by dishonest authors. I don't know... I guess I didn't get my warrior gen XD

patty wright said...

I won a book once and gave them my address and waited a month and never got the book. I contacted them 2 more times and still never got the book.