Battle of the Giveaways

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?

15 thoughts on “Battle of the Giveaways

  1. I believe the best way to support the authors we enjoy reading is with reviews. I review the books I read. Giveaways are great. I’ve gotten to know a lot of different authors that way.

    • Hi Jean – Thanks for stopping by. I agree on the reviews! Reviews help sell the book to other readers. I have also gotten to know many authors based on giveaways of their books. Giveaways of an authors’ book has been my favorite giveaway!

  2. I promote authors because I love their books. I do it whether or not there are any freebies. However, I cannot afford many books each month so I do sign up for a free book by them when able. Yes, I do feel it is going overboard. There are so many giveaways and parties that I can’t keep up. I belong to a lot of street teams and I joined because I really want to support them all. Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard to keep up and I may have to cut back. That will be really hard. However, I will keep supporting everyone, just maybe not as a street team member.

    • Hi Sandy and thanks for stopping by! I have had to cut back on street teams because I can’t keep up on promotion, so I have left several and am focusing on a smaller amount. I do still read, review and promote other authors when I can, especially those without street teams, but the pressure to keep up is less. And now I can fulfill my commitment to those street teams I am a part of.

  3. Very interesting blog. I do think the giveaways can be relentless…and then become noise to be ignored. I don’t enjoy the grand prize ones much, because thousands will enter and only one gets some prize that I really, really want. It’s like being shown something you can’t have! But I love the low-key give-aways, where an author gives away her book. Maybe a few dozen enter, or maybe up to a hundred, but the prize is simple and still something I want, yet not totally out of reach. When I didn’t win an interesting book during a Facebook event, it was so easy to hop over to Amazon and buy it myself for a few dollars. I didn’t have to suffer through prize envy! 🙂

    • Hi Caro! Thanks for commenting. The grand prize giveaways were the first ones I stopped bothering with. And, yes to the book giveaways. I did the same thing – if I didn’t win I would just go buy the book!

    • Thank you, Angi! I believe that line wholeheartedly. If authors can’t afford to pay the bills, then they will have to find another job and won’t be able to write as much or at all. Sad day for us readers!

  4. I love the book giveaways and have discovered many, too many, wonderfull authors through the free books I have won, but I have become concerned over the cost for these people I admire. I met both Caro and Angi through giveaways and bought other books after I read my “win”. But I think it is sad when authors feel that have to give away hundreds of books to get on book lists or tons of prizes to keep street team members happy (not to mention the cost of shipping!). I love my authors and shout about them because their books are worth shouting about.

  5. I do love a giveaway. Do I enter all that are out ther NO, If it’s a book I really want to read I may take that chance. If I don’t win, and that’s 99% of the time I purchase. I’ve been given ARC’s to read I feel that’s a privilege I do post a review to Goodreads and make sure it gets to the Eretailers on release day. My book wishes vs my book budget often butt heads but I usually purchase the book even after receiving an ARC

    • Thanks, Delene for you stopping by! I have a lot more books on my wish list so I understand the book wishes vs budget. Hard choices!

  6. As an author I’ve been told that giveaways are vital as a way to get your name out there, but I wonder how many of the giveaway participants are contest junkies. And I swear I see a jump in pirate alert notices within a few days after one. *sigh* I also don’t think that readers realize a lot of authors have contracts limiting how many we can giveaway. (mine vary between 10 and 40) Once I reach that limit, though I can buy them from one of my publishers in any format at a reduced price, I cannot buy them in Kindle format for another, so I end up paying full price for a lot of the copies. So those “giveaways” can end up costing me a lot of money in comparison to what I actually make per book, so much that I’m going to have to seriously rethink my marketing strategy for my upcoming releases.

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