Before I post, the winner of last week’s give-away is: Grandmaville, you win! Send me a note at ricefz at gmail, and I’ll get this in the mail to you as soon as possible. Congratulations!
I was going to call this “Blog Give-Away Etiquette,” but that sounds snippy, plus I don’t know what blog give-away etiquette actually is. Are links required? Blog rolls? A random number generator to pick a winner? You can bet there’s someone out there who has written (*and posted*) a set of rules, but eh. Eh, is all I can say.
What I want to talk about today is the very most simple kinds of things having to do with give-aways. Claiming your prize if you win, for example. All summer and every Monday of the new school year, up until today, I’ve had a little Monday contest for a free book. And every week, people have entered. And every Sunday, I’ve picked a winner and posted their name in the post for the next give-away, which goes up the next day. And dang if anyone–any single winner–has claimed their book. Oh, wait: someone did right in the beginning. But that’s been a while. The posts say you have to check back the following Monday. They say you have to send me an email, and I give my email address.
Yet nobody does it. I have a stack of books here, books that should all now be in the hands of people who said they reallyreallyreally wanted these books, and yet here they are, gathering dust on my bookshelves. Waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to pick them up and read them. Because, of course, that’s what books want: to be read.
I’ve done a ton of give-aways, both here and on my own personal blog, and here are a few of the very most basic things people really need to consider when they enter a give-away:
~~Follow the instructions: if it says you have to provide your real name, do that. If it says you have to live in Virginia, don’t claim you do when you’re actually in San Francisco. There are reasons people have the rules they do. I always say I’ll ship only to the US. It’s not that I don’t like people who live somewhere else; it’s that I pay the shipping myself, and sending books overseas gets expensive. I wish that weren’t the way it is, but there you go.
~~If you’re supposed to check back on a certain day, do that. I’ve had people say they’ll just leave their email address when they enter, and here’s the problem with that: if you can’t even bother to check back to see if you won, doesn’t that seem as if you don’t really want whatever-it-is that’s being given away? Yes, it does. If people are giving away something, they like to believe it’s going to someone who wants it and will use/read/enjoy it, not someone who just randomly hits blogs and signs up for everything without even knowing what it is they’re saying they want: a new fishing pole, 20 packets of drink mix, a pair of crocheted doilies, a trip to “Old Sorehead Days” in Stanton, Texas. If you don’t really, really want it, skip this contest and give someone else a better chance of winning.
~~Say “thank you.” Apparently many people who enter blog give-aways think the host has ulterior motives for giving stuff away and they, the contest enterer, is doing them a big favor by showing up. This may be true a lot of times: it’s a marketing thing, or they’re trying to get a lot of comments, or they want you to buy/sign up for/like/favorite/whatever. But other times it’s someone like me, someone who has something they don’t want/need that they know someone else would enjoy, and they want to pass it on and are willing to take the time to set up the contest and pick a winner and then spend the money to get whatever-it-is to the person who won. Be nice. Don’t wait 24 hours and then send a note saying, “Where’s my stuff? What’s taking so long?” Don’t let it be you they talk about when they list the reasons not to even bother.
OK. Thanks for listening to my little rant. I’ve got new books here that I’d like to share, and I’m thinking I’m going to try again in the whole finding-new-homes-via-contest thing. As my mother would say, “We’ll see.”
Check out one of the books Ricë gave away over the summer, Doodle Draw Journal: An Art Journaling Workbook, edited by Kristy Conlin.
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