Bookish Chat : The Pressure of Giveaways

February 22, 2014 Bookish chat 36

A few times I have had giveaways on the blog where the authors had donated the books/prizes.  And while at first I though that was a great thing, I no longer do.  I’m hugely grateful to the authors who trusted me to do these giveaways but I realise now I’m just not big enough for this.

Just to clarify I don’t mean giveaways that are :

– My own giveaways, paid for by me (part of a blog hop or just ones to show appreciation for my followers)

– Part of blog tours and not specific to my blog

I’m fine with both of these.  But a giveaway that is unique to my blog and sponsored by an author is too much pressure.  Every single time I’ve run one of these, I’ve hit a blog slump afterwards. Logging on to see only a few entries causes me to break out in a cold sweat and I resort to pimping myself out on Twitter trying to get more entries.  I feel I’m letting the author down and I’m hit with the guilts.

And I think there are a few reasons I haven’t had much luck with these giveaways.  One is because I review across all the genres so if you follow for one particular genre, then you may not be interested in the genre of the giveaway.  Another is just numbers, I’m a small fish in a big pond.  And that’s ok but when it comes to giveaways, it matters.  And thirdly my follower list is geographically diverse so if there is a restriction on entry, then that causes problems too.  What it all adds up to though is low entries and one heavy hearted blogger who feels bad on behalf of the author.

And I’ve realised that I don’t need to put myself through this.  And the author is best served by approaching bigger blogs too.  I don’t regret doing these in the past but from now the only giveaways you will see are the 2 that I mentioned above.  I think this is just one of those blogging lessons I had to learn by doing and failing.

Bookish Chat : Do you feel this pressure?  How do you handle it? 

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36 Responses to “Bookish Chat : The Pressure of Giveaways”

  1. Danielle

    OMG yes this! So much THIS! I’ve done a couple of those giveaways in the past and it was seriously too much pressure. I freaked out watching the entries and just praying that people would enter so I wouldn’t feel like I failed the author. So not into them anymore. I rarely have giveaways anyway but they’ll more than likely only be the ones you mentioned doing too unless I become little miss popular which yeah…nope!
    Danielle recently posted…It’s my Blogoversary! Party!!

    • trish

      Jeez that was quick, I was still working on the post! Pressed publish too soon, another of my blogging fails :O So glad I’m not the only one. I have hit serious slumps from this so I’m waving bye bye to them. And I love the authors that asked me to do them but I just can’t handle that pressure.

    • trish

      Good to hear that it can be the same on the other side of the fence! I think unless a book is already very popular then a giveaway probably isn’t the best way to promote it.

    • trish

      It seems like a win win, the author gives you the book to giveaway. They get publicity and you get something to share with your followers but it just doesn’t work that way. If you were someone who didn’t care about low entries on the authors behalf then it wouldn’t matter but from the feedback here, most do feel the guilts.

  2. Amanda @ Go Book Yourself

    I’ve never been asked to do one and probably wouldn’t anyway, because of all the reasons you mention. So far all of my giveaways have been international, or gift cards that almost any country can use. If something stresses you out that much then it’s not worth it! I’d rather just randomly select a person and give them the book lol.
    Amanda @ Go Book Yourself recently posted…Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen

    • trish

      Nope when blogging is just a hobby then all things that cause unnecessary stress need to go. I was so honoured everytime I was asked to do one that I forgot about the pressure. But never again!

  3. Ana @ Read Me Away

    I totally get you there. I always feel guilty when I see that no one has entered a giveaway that the author sponsored. 🙁 Also why I don’t do these things anymore. I don’t want to let the author down. My blog is this teensy thing in this huge blogoverse, so the only giveaways I’ll be doing from now on are ones that I spent money for, hopefully.
    Ana @ Read Me Away recently posted…Review 15: The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater)

    • trish

      I feel happier doing the ones I sponsor myself. If they get low entries, it doesn’t bother me. Funny enough for those ones I have given away giftcards or a popular book and they got umpteen entries. I’ll be sticking to those on the rare occasion I want to do one in future.

  4. Angie F.

    I completely agree! I use to always do the extra giveaway for a book for a blog tour I was participating in, but they barely got any entries, so I just stuck with the tour-wide giveaways for awhile. Now I’m running one, since it’s a book I’m excited about, and again, barely any entries. It makes me sad more than anything, since the author is being so generous, but no one is interested. I also stopped asking authors if they’d like to have a giveaway to go along with my reviews, because of this. 🙁
    Angie F. recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #118

    • trish

      I know Angie. It is even harder when you loved the book which has been the case for the few I did. You want to share the love and help promote the author and it’s just sad when it all falls flat 🙁

  5. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I can relate – my blog is actually pretty big, but I still have occasional giveaways that just don’t get that many entries. I try not to stress about it, but it’s hard!

    Speaking of, I’d love it if you’d hop on over to my Blogoversary Giveaway. I have lots of authors that have given me books to give away and I don’t want to let ANY of them down!! 🙂
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…5 Star Review – Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

  6. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I totally understand. I have a good number of followers but not a ton of entries. I’m having this issue now, but I’m not going to sweat it because I usually only do blitz giveaways which are not mandatory so if I get no entries it’ll be like I didn’t hold a giveaway, lol. I do get what you’re saying though, I really hate not bringing in a ton of people on giveaways but I suppose there is really nothing we can do about it. You can lead the bookworm to a free book but you definitely can’t make them take it.
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Saturday Issue Review: Mass Effect: Foundation Volume 1

    • trish

      Love that last line Michelle! I think maybe the problem is that we all have such long book lists that we don’t bother entering a competition unless it’s for a book that is already on our radar.

  7. Angie

    I don’t do giveaways on my blog. I think I have done maybe like 2 or 3. I agree though… one time it was for a Stephen King book of all things and I only had 187 entries. While that seems like a lot the publisher game me that book and I didn’t feel like it was very much. One time though I was in a giveaway hop and that made a big difference in the number of entries. Honestly.. I don’t want to “buy” my followers either. I want people to come by my blog because it’s fun and they have a good time there. Not just because they might get a free book.
    Angie recently posted…Symptoms of Instalove

    • trish

      Yep the blog giveaway hops seem to work so much better. And I totally get your point of not buying followers and from what I see, tonnes of people will enter giveaways for giftcards/popular books and then you never see them again. Giveaways are tricky is you ask me!

  8. anna@herding cats & burning soup

    Aw I can understand that. It can be a lot of pressure no doubt. And you just need to do what fits best for your personal blog and personality too I think. I do some giveaways on the blog but over the last year have cut way back on them. I still do them but not nearly as often. Mine was more I got tired of drive-by commenters who didn’t bother to even read the posts just left cut and paste entries. Silly to let it bother you but it got to me so I had to change up the way I was doing them. Little different issue with them but I get ya and how it can make ya feel.
    anna@herding cats & burning soup recently posted…Tasty Delights! Cinnamon Sugar Twists

    • trish

      I did notice you had a very different format for giveaways Ana. Nice way of cutting the cheaters out :O LOL And like you say, we all have decide what works for us personally and then mould our blog to that. Not the other way around.

      • anna@herding cats & burning soup

        Yep I think that goes with a lot of blogging things. You have to do what fits you and your blog and not try to do what everyone else is doing or what’s working for them because it just might not suit you. I know so many who get frustrated with blogging and I was there this past summer too and had to do a step back and really look at what I was doing. I stopped doing most tours and focused more on posts I wanted to do in my own time frame and things I enjoy and it worked way better for me than trying to do tours all the time. Was nice to actually sit back and regroup. I’ve been having so much more fun with it sense then.
        anna@herding cats & burning soup recently posted…Trouble in Texas (Deep in the Heart of Texas #4) by Katie Lane

  9. Tabitha e Pabkins

    I know exactly what you mean about the pressure. I have felt bad in the past as well. I haven’t done any hops the past two months but those definitely feel like way less pressure. That is a smart decision on your part to cut that extra stress out of your blogging life if it bothers you.
    Tabitha e Pabkins recently posted…Review: Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell

    • trish

      Thanks Tabitha, I think it’s a blogging lesson I just had to learn. As happy as I was to help promote the author with a book I loved, if it caused me stress then it just wasn’t worth it. And I agree hops work a lot better.

  10. tonyalee

    Ya know, I honestly thought I was the only one that felt this way. There was one giveaway that only had like 25 entries and I couldn’t understand if it was because no one wanted to the book or because like you said, small fish big pond. There are only a handful that I will do now, because it is a lot of pressure.

    Even some of my other giveaways get small entries; like my sharing the love monthly giveaway.

    I think the format is a major game changer to. Some people prefer physical copies, or shipping doesn’t go to their Country.

    Great post, hon!
    tonyalee recently posted…Blog Tour~ Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick (Guest Post + Giveaway)

  11. Amanda

    Wow, I am hosting an author-sponsored giveaway right now and I am feeling EXACTLY this way. I’m starting to wonder if I’m not doing enough or am I going to look like an idiot now because I can’t generate interest in a giveaway… etc. I think you’re right – I’m probably done with author-sponsored giveaways also. Great post, feeling a little better after having my thoughts/feelings validated haha.

  12. CeCe

    The way I see it is this… I have never gone to a blog that I wouldn’t normally visit because of a giveaway. I don’t know about you, but personally, giveaways don’t motivate me. I am not much of a gambler and while I have entered a million giveaways I have only ever won 2 (I think?), those odds don’t interest me enough to go out of my way for them. I would rather focus on writing good content and not worry about tracking giveaways. My blogoversary is coming up and I have been wondering if I should do one in celebration and I am not sure. I think I would almost rather reward my top commenters by just giving them an amazon giftcard instead of having it be a competition. That way I will reward loyalty instead of chance. Another fantastic discussion post! Thanks for getting me thinking this deary Monday afternoon : )
    CeCe recently posted…Series Review – Inside Out by Lisa Renee Jones

  13. Cayce

    “I’m a small fish in a big pond.” THIS. And “author is best served by approaching bigger blogs” THIS. And yes, I don’t like the pressure either. And let’s be honest, giveaways (esp. sponsored ones) are more “work” than it’s worth.
    Cayce recently posted…[LGBT MONTH] Sign Ups

  14. Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA

    I am dealing with this now. I have never hosted a giveaway on my own before, only as part of a blog tour. An author sent me an ARC and said she would like to give away a book through my blog so I agreed. I had no delusions of people flocking to my blog just to enter the giveaway. I knew that wouldn’t happen, but I’m hoping people will enter when they stop by for other posts. The review/giveaway post only went up today, so it’s way too early to start to panic, but I’m worried that I won’t get any entrants. How embarrassing — for both of us!
    Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA recently posted…Review + Giveaway: Blindness by Ginger Scott

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