Giveaway! Free! Those are words every reader loves to hear. We can enter a giveaway for a new book? Okay. A gift card? Even better. A Kindle? Holy smokes, yes! The idea that someone is willing to give something to me for merely sharing a Tweet or a Facebook post is awesome. I mean, who doesn’t like free stuff, right?
When I started getting involved in the book blogging world, I entered giveaways all the time. At the time, the draw was the free books. I met a lot of new authors that way. Usually once I read the free book, I would then go on and buy another book by the author. Gift card giveaways started becoming popular, too. Those were great to win and I won my fair share. But, over the years, I have stopped entering giveaways. I didn’t stop promoting authors – I just had a different outlook on those the more involved in the book world I became.
Today we are seeing giveaways pop up everywhere and for trivial things. Readers are now offered giveaways for cover reveals, spotlights, reviews, signing up for a newsletter, being on a street team, and many other things. I was shocked when I started seeing giveaways for bloggers to post information on their blog. What happened to doing all these things because we liked an author’s work and wanted to share it with others? Why do we feel we need a giveaway just for posting something on our Facebook wall that took us a minute or two to construct? Why do we get greedy to the point of fighting with our fellow readers to have a better chance of winning at Facebook parties with tons of prizes? It isn’t just the giveaways either; many readers expect authors to give out all their books for free.
Many established authors may be able to afford the cost for giveaways and they like to give back to their readers. The more they give, the more attention they get and of course, the bigger their readership. However, the up and coming or new authors can’t always do that. They have to win their audience the hard way. And if they can’t keep up, they don’t get the same exposure even if their work is just as good, and sometimes better. Achieving visibility has turned into a battle of the giveaways. One author is giving away a book, but another author is giving away a Kindle. As readers, when we have to choose what to do with our time, we probably will go help the one giving away a Kindle, even if we have never heard of them.
Another problem sprouting from it is that street teams are not acting like street teams. Readers usually signs up for street teams because they like the authors, want to help them out, or feel they can have a more personal connection with them. It’s a volunteer position. A street team’s goal should be to promote the he** out of that author or authors without the ties to direct compensation. But some street team members expect to receive giveaways or prizes for promoting, even though they signed up to volunteer their time to promote!
So, when does it end? When does the battle of the giveaways end? When will readers buy books again instead of expecting them for free? When will street teams act as street teams to promote authors and not just when a giveaway is dangled in front of their face?
The number one way to support an author is to buy their book. If you like an author, buy their book. Tell your friends about it. Share your favorite quotes or parts (legally) on social media. This simple gesture will probably get more people to go look up the author than a canned tweet or Facebook post about a giveaway the author is hosting. Let’s help out the authors we love and do these things without expecting something in return. Our help in this manner, in turn, will allow them to write more books to entertain us.
What is your opinion on giveaways?