Monday Musings About Giveaway Hops

September 9, 2013 Monday Musings 20

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Other than participating in BlogFest last year, the Books to Movies Giveaway Hop I participated in last week was the first giveaway hop I’ve done. I generally avoid these hops for two reasons. First, I don’t currently make any money from blogging so I enjoy it being a hobby I can mostly do for free. I occasionally buy a book I can’t get at the library or as an egalley. I certainly plan on doing giveaways at follower count mile markers because seriously – you guys are awesome. But I don’t want to be paying for giveaways all the time. In this case, the chance to do a signed giveaway was too exciting to pass up 🙂 The second reason I don’t do many giveaways is a question I think many bloggers struggle with and which I’m pondering today. Do we really want followers who are only there for the giveaways?

The simple answer to that question is no. I don’t want followers who are only following for giveaways and will never even read my non-giveaway posts. It’s nice that they boost my stats, but I just don’t get the same joy from that as I do from the idea of people reading my posts or best of all, reading and taking the time to comment. The question this leads to is harder. How do you hold a giveaway without encouraging disinterested followers? Here are a few possible solutions with some pros and cons:

  1. Requiring people follow your blog – Personally I only do this when I’m doing a follower mile marker giveaway, because in those cases, I’m specifically holding the giveaway as a thank you to my followers. I feel like making following a requirement could encourage people to follow even though the don’t want to. However, I know many other bloggers believe that requiring a follow will weed out people who will take any freebie entries they can get.
  2. Arbitrarily pick a winner – Again, this is just me, but I like to pick a winner completely at random. I feel that doing otherwise after promising people a certain number of entries for doing certain things is unfair. The other point of view is that some people create twitter accounts strictly to enter giveaways and may not read their twitter feed, so their follow shouldn’t count. While I completely understand the temptation to delete these entries to ensure the book goes to someone appreciative, I think doing so unfairly penalizes people who don’t use twitter but who will truly treasure the book.
  3. Don’t advertise – If you don’t do a giveaway hop or ask people to retweet, only your followers will know about the giveaway, right? Probably true, but then you’re passing up the chance of gaining any active followers from the giveaway too. I think that’s too big of a loss.

The reason this whole post occurred to me is because a greater percentage of my new follows during the giveaway were from private e-mail addresses compared to my previous follows. It’s possible this is completely coincidental, but it did cross my mind that unlike twitter accounts, there’s not even any way to check if these accounts are used for anything but giveaways. As my list above shows, I’m not currently doing a whole lot to discourage this behavior. I do weight entries so that blog followers have the highest chance of winning (I really do think you guys are awesome!) and I don’t have giveaways all that often, but that’s it. I’m sure the winner in the past giveaway is truly excited about the book, I know there’s a chance I got some great new followers who only discovered my blog because of the giveaway, and so I’m happy. I would, however, be thrilled to get your input on a tricky topic.

Is there anything you do to discourage people following only for giveaways? Do you think it’s necessary?

20 Responses to “Monday Musings About Giveaway Hops”

  1. Tanya Patrice

    I generally don’t do giveaways for the same reason. I do it if I’m passionate about a book that is not available widely, but I have zero interest in getting followers who are just there for the giveaways.

    • DoingDewey

      I’m hoping that just doing giveaways infrequently is enough that it won’t be worth too many people’s time to follow just for that reason 🙂 I love your idea of giving away books that are less widely available. It seems like a great way to promote the authors you love.

  2. Tara

    You bring up some good points here. I have been guilty of following people I don’t really want to follow for a giveaway. Some of the bigger blogs are just have big ploys to boost the blog’s follows. I’ve also seen Rafflecopters that are just huge lists of self-published authors that should be followed. I just can’t follow that many people that I don’t really care about.

    • DoingDewey

      You are so right! I should have mentioned in my post that I too have been on the other side of this and used to enter giveaway hops by following blogs, even ones I wasn’t the most excited about. But as someone who actually wants to follow blogs and who isn’t going to actively try to trick people by making a throw-away account, it’s impossible to follow blogs you don’t care about while keeping up with the ones you do. So no more giveaway hop entries for me 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      I think that’s probably what I’ll do too 🙂 Being a blog with few giveaways seems like a decent way to avoid getting to many giveaway-only followers and lets me only do giveaways I’m really excited about.

  3. laurelrainsnow

    I have done only a few giveaways lately, and those have been for bookshelf clearing. I used to do them at blogoversaries, but I have too many blogs (eleven) to keep that up! lol

    I don’t know the answers…..but it’s good to ask the questions. Here’s MY MUSING MONDAYS POST

  4. Caitlin @ The Siren's Tale

    I definitely agree with you about giveaways. When I hosted one on my blog, I asked readers to tell me a good book they read lately. They could earn additional points by tweeting, facebooking, etc. But I don’t understand the idea of “you must follow to enter”. Why bother? They’re not loyal readers… they will simply unfollow the blog when the giveaway is complete. And I can’t blame them… giveaways should be carefree and fun, not another way to fill up your inbox with notifications from blogs!

    • DoingDewey

      It’s true! Giveaways should really just be fun and having a bunch of blogs you don’t want cluttering your feed/inbox/reader is just annoying. I’ve considered requiring that people be followers prior to the giveaway, especially for follower milestone giveaways intended to thank my followers, but so far have decided against it for fear of alienating people who would actually like to follow my blog.

  5. bookmammal

    I’m pretty new to blogging, so I haven’t had to think about giveaways yet–but in general I’m not so concerned with boosting my stats–I’d rather have fewer visitors and followers who are truly interested in what I share on my blog and who comment–rather than have high stats but lesser quality of interaction.

    • DoingDewey

      I agree completely 🙂 My favorite readers are those who take the time to comment and having people follow just for the sake of giveaways isn’t likely to increase the number of readers doing that.

  6. Aylee (@AyleeArgh)

    You’re right, this is a tricky topic. Ultimately, no, I do not want people who are only following me because of a giveaway they wanted to win. I try to look at it more as a thank you to my old followers who have stuck with me. Every Thanksgiving, I hold a Follower Appreciation Giveaway, in which ONLY old followers – people who are already following my blog – can enter, and offer no extra entries or anything.

    • DoingDewey

      Exactly! I also imagine them as a way to thank my followers. Perhaps allowing only people who followed before the giveaway really is the best way to go. It’s not like it stops people from following and they can always enter the next giveaway 🙂

  7. Christina @ Christina Reads YA

    I’ve never participated in a giveaway hop either. I’m like you – I can’t always have giveaways because blogging is a hobby, and I need to save money. Doing it at mile marks or when I want to pass on a book is fine. But to pass on news of a cover reveal? Meh.

    I’ve had quite a few followers who are only there for giveaways. I think it’s nearly impossible to avoid them… but also I suppose I just hope that if they start to follow you, they might read some other posts of yours and realize that you have good content. There are so many book blogs out there that sometimes it’s hard to spread publicity – which I think giveaways do really well. I agree that comments are the best, that they give more joy than getting A LOT A LOT of stats, but sometimes it feels like you need one evil to get to the other, if that makes sense. Maybe someone will come across your blog via those giveaway marks and then end up being a huge commenter.

    “The other point of view is that some people create twitter accounts strictly to enter giveaways and may not read their twitter feed, so their follow shouldn’t count.” <– When I choose entries, I don't choose people who have created specific accounts for giveaways. I've stated that in my policy now. It's easy to tell when they are – some people actually have that in their bios (Find me at X and X instead; this is only for contests). And I think that goes quite against the spirit of the giveaway. I definitely agree with you.

    I think the don't advertise part isn't quite practical though because I follow a bunch of blogs but I find it very hard to keep up with them all. So there's a very good chance that I wouldn't see you having a giveaway if you did and didn't do some advertising of it.

    I'm with Aylee! I include a free entry option. I give extra entries if they want to follow the blog, but the free entry says they don't have to.

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks for your thoughts Christina! This really is a tough topic and it’s nice to hear what other people think about it 🙂 I’m starting to consider being more strict in my next giveaway and either doing as you do and not counting contest only twitter accounts or perhaps doing as Aylee suggested and only letting people who followed before the contest enter.

  8. Charleen

    I’ve never done a giveaway.

    One blogger I follow had a “secret” giveaway where everyone who commented on her blog that week was entered and at the end of the week she was like, “Surprise, so-and-so wins!” I do really like that idea, because it shows appreciation to the readers you do have… but at the same time, it feels unfair if some readers usually comment all the time but just didn’t that week for whatever reason… not to mention, I feel like the publicity from a giveaway would be nice to potentially gain real followers, but then there’s no guarantee the prize wouldn’t be “wasted” on someone who was only in it for that.

    My six-month blogiversary is coming up and I’d been thinking about doing a giveaway for that, but I’m just still too up in the air about how I want to approach it. Maybe for my 1-year.

    • DoingDewey

      I don’t think I like the idea of a secret giveaway either. Like you, it seems unfair to me that some people might miss out on the giveaway just because they were too busy to comment in a given week. Congratulations on your upcoming blogiversary!

  1. Bookish Recap: September 8th – 14th | A Bookish Heart

    […] Tanya @ Girl XOXO has created a master list of book blogging memes. – Katie @ Doing Dewey discusses giveaway hops. – Ashley @ Nose Graze asks how much is too much when it comes to blog tours, guest posts, promos, […]

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