I want to talk about giveaways today, mostly because something just happened to me and I wanted to get the opinion of my fellow book bloggers and readers, particularly those of you who enter giveaways.
What happened is really no big deal, and I imagine it happens a lot. It’s happened to me more than once, in fact. What happened is that I was sent an email telling me that I had won a giveaway, to which I immediately responded with excitement and lots of exclamation points, and now two months later, I still haven’t received the book.
There are several reasons a book may take a while to get to you, and I know because I love to do giveaways here on Books, Bones & Buffy, and I’ve (sadly) been guilty of some of these reasons:
The book you’ve won is shipping directly from the publisher. The blogger can’t control whether or not the publisher is on top of things and ships the book in a timely manner. The best you can do as a blogger is to communicate with the publisher in a professional and friendly way if a giveaway winner doesn’t receive their book. This recently happened to me with one of my giveaways. A winner contacted me after more than a month had gone by, telling me that she hadn’t received her book. I immediately emailed her back and apologized, and told her I would look into it. We resolved the issue and she got her book, although it did take longer than I wanted it to.
If you run into this scenario, keep in mind a couple of things:
1. Publishers are very busy people. They may be running giveaways on multiple blogs. They might be running a Goodreads giveaway or a Library Thing giveaway. Or maybe the publisher is, let’s say, busy working on publishing books. Shipping giveaway prizes probably isn’t on the top of their “to do” list. In fact, that job probably falls to an intern.
2. Emails do get lost. This is frustrating, but it happens. My policy is to always respond to an email, even if it’s just to say “thanks I received your email.”
3. Packages get lost. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a publisher who will actually re-ship a lost package (thanks, Tor!) but I doubt all publishers will do this. Bloggers usually stipulate that they are not responsible for lost packages, so you’re just out of luck if you don’t get your prize. Be sure to check each giveaway policy before you enter.
The book you’ve won is being shipped or ordered by a blogger. Bloggers are busy people too! The best policy for giveaways if you’re a blogger is to ship your prizes as soon as you can. I myself have fallen victim to brain freeze! If I don’t do things immediately, I forget about them, and the emails that are there to remind me get pushed to the bottom of the pile. If this has happened to you, I think it’s ok to send a polite email to the blogger asking about the book. We all forget and we all get busy with our lives. I doubt bloggers would offer giveaways if they weren’t going to actually ship the prize. I’ll admit that if I have a giveaway where I’m purchasing the book from The Book Depository, for example, I might wait until payday to order the book. In general it’s best to be honest and let your winners know when to expect their book.
Here’s how my experience turned out. I had forgotten about the book I’d won, but seeing it reviewed by another blogger reminded me that I hadn’t received it yet. Since it had been two months, I decided to email the blogger. I’m glad I did, because she contacted the publisher, and they had not even shipped it yet. See what I mean about publishers being busy?? She thanked me for contacting her, and I expect I’ll receive my book in the mail soon.
As a blogger who hosts giveaways, I absolutely want to know if you didn’t get your book! I appreciate readers who check up on me, because sometimes things do slip through the cracks.
So here’s my question, and I’d love to know what you guys think: If you win a giveaway and you never receive the book, do you say something to the blogger? Do you let it go? And how long do you wait before you ask about it? I’d love hear what you think!