*Side note* I freely admit that I used to enter a ton of giveaways before I started blogging myself -- and even some after I'd been blogging for awhile. But I usually try to enter giveaways just for books I really want these days. I ended up winning quite a few books in the beginning, some that I wasn't as stoked for as I should have been, and I'm still trying to find time to get to them. But these books never made it to my own giveaway shelf because I feel a sense of obligation to read them since I won them. Once I've read them, though, they're fair game.
Anyway, aside from the essentially fake Twitter giveaway accounts -- which, let's face it, completely defeat the purpose of those extra entries -- it also irks me when I see people obviously not following directions or not completing the entries but clicking submit as if they did. I only spot check entries, but I do check every single entry for someone who Rafflecopter selected as a winner, and if I see any falsified entries, that person is immediately disqualified, and I remove all entries attributed to them.
Giveaways are making me kind of pissy these days. I think that only about one in ten -- maybe less than that, I'm just guessing here -- of the giveaways I host here are sponsored. Meaning that I spend my own hard-earned cash to provide most of the books I offer up for giveaways, and on top of that, I have to pay shipping, too, if I'm not ordering from The Book Depository for someone. (And honestly, I dislike that option because I like knowing a book make it safe and sound to the winner.) Guys, I'm a little afraid to admit this -- and Heaven forbid if my husband should find out! -- but I spent over $400 on giveaway prizes and shipping last year alone. That is some serious cash, y'all.
survey to determine just how much of our own money we bloggers spend...still waiting on those results, Wendy! :P -- but there are worse out there. Like the giveaway bandits.
My dad's always been fond of saying that nothing in this life is free, and at the heart of the matter, that's pretty much true. In the case of giveaways, you have to complete a few tasks in order to earn your entries. I don't think that's asking too much. But I also don't think it's asking too much for people to actually be true followers, to stop by every once in awhile when there's not a giveaway going on and just say hi, comment on a review, or just say something besides "Thanks for the giveaway." As it is, I feel like I'm only blogging for other bloggers, though maybe that's a discussion for another day.
I'm aware that I could make one of my entries a mandatory task like "comment on any review", but even so, I'd still get stock comments, no matter if I dictated that the comment should be "meaningful" or not. Plus, that would just feel like I was bribing people to leave comments, which isn't what I want either. Ideally, I'd like this blog to be a place where we can have honest discussions about books and other bookish topics, where everyone has an opinion and feels free to chime in. And I do see that when I post a discussion, I tend to get more feedback, from bloggers and regular readers alike, which just makes me want to crank more of them out for you guys.
Essentially, I want all disingenuous contact in this space to stop. I've already decided to stop posting for most of the weekly memes. And I plan to post more and more discussions instead. But I think I'm also going to take it easy on the giveaways this year, too. I had already let them dwindle toward the end of 2013, but the shipping on my Clear Your Shelf Giveaway was $30 alone, and that's not taking into account how much the 22 books that were included in the mystery boxes were worth, so it doesn't look like I'm off to a very good start this year. Though I'm sure the winners might disagree. ;0)
So, this year, I'm only going to participate in giveaway hops that really interest me and give away only the books that really have me excited and chomping at the bit to share them, and I'm going to be very particular in my entry tasks in an attempt to keep people from gaming the system. Because I do this for my love of books and my incessant need to share them with everyone. I don't do it to get more followers, and though that is considered a perk, it's only true if they're real followers, the kind who like to interact and don't just delete your new post email as soon as it pops up in their inbox.
Well, I feel better having gotten that off my chest. But I still feel like this post could alternately be titled "Do I Look Like a Chump to You?" *big sigh*