You Just Won a Giveaway! Now What?

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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.

UPS truck
Don’t we all love to see this stop in front of our house?

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!

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Posted October 4, 2013 by Tammy in Giveaways, Let's Talk About... / 52 Comments

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52 responses to “You Just Won a Giveaway! Now What?

  1. Phyllis Lamken

    I feel very awkward about contacting the blogger. A prize is an unexpected gift. I really don’t want to bother anyone. I would let it go. Even when I was supposed to get a coach bag from the publisher, which never arrived

  2. Heather Raglin

    I won a book on another blog several months ago and hadn’t received the book after a few weeks, so I contacted the blogger. She apologized and said it was coming from the publisher. It still hasn’t shown up. At this point, I don’t even remember what book it was and I doubt I’ll ever get it. But if it does show up, it’ll be a happy surprise. Since I didn’t pay for it, I figure I don’t really have much room to complain. Better luck next time.

  3. Lanaa

    Last year, I won a book. I basically had the same reaction as you, sending the blogger a very happy reply with my address etc. I was eagerly waiting for the book to come, after two months I still had not received it. I then sent an email to the blogger. Never got a reply back from her. I sent it again, because like you said, maybe the email got lost. Again, no response. I left it at that and moved on :).

  4. Dorothy Teel

    I have had a few items that I won, I keep my items in a win folder and a win received file, so when the won item comes in I write the blogger and let them know then move to win received folder. I have had a couple of items never shipped or never received, and I have had some bloggers be excellent in following up with their supplier and getting the items delivered to me. I do realize that things do get lost at times, I have lost them, I have lost one or two items cause the sender did not receive my email – now when I confirm that I am here I also leave a comment on the web site and in email ask the blogger to let me know that they got my email so I don’t miss out.

    Yes, it is frustrating, but things happen and I have dealt with some excellent bloggers who are very professional and willing to help. Oh yes, I tell the blogger, because they are counting on good reviews on the product and the blogger should not be the one punished for items that are not delivered..

  5. First i must said i do appreciate that you answer to the email^^ usually it’s done but something ( i’m thinking about a specific case) never asnwer us so we never know if our message has been received.
    now when i answer the email telling me i’ve won something i try to politely ask if then can tell me when it’s posted or sent so i don’t worry, yes they can be busy and not sent it immediately of course but knowing when it’s posted give us a little idea of when to expect it. It’s even more important with prize shipped from TBD because you have a limited time to ask about a book that is lost or stolen etc

    Recently i did contact a blogger because i got several win on her blog and still no news at all, and in the past she answered me etc so it’s more the silence that worry me

    now i guess that usually wait 1month before contacting teh person responsible

    But sadly there are also blogger who don’t keep promises and never sent your prize too it’s a minority i’m sure, a really small one but that exist too and it’s bad reputation to the rest of us

    oh and i always send a message to confirm when i received my proze because i don’t want the sender to worr

    • I love it when my winners email me to tell me their book came. I think it’s a nice courtesy for anyone! (Like writing a thank you note!)

  6. Tiffany Drew

    If I don’t receive a book within 6 weeks, I always contact the blogger. Most of the time they are incredibly helpful and I’ve had a few go way out of their way to make sure I get my book (they were AWESOME). But sometimes they just don’t answer or they don’t get a response from the publishers and in that case I just let it go and go about getting the book a different way.It doesn’t hurt to check in and as a blogger myself, I would want to know if a winner didn’t get their prize so I can make sure they eventually do.

    • I agree, sometimes the reason you haven’t received a prize is completely different from what’s going on in your head! I always think the worst, then it turns out to be something simple.

  7. I always contact the blogger with whether or not I received the book. If I get it, I email to let them know it arrived and thank them again. If a month or more goes by and I don’t receive it, I’ll email mentioning that it never arrived. The responses are usually just like you say, it was supposed to be shipped by the publisher and they’ll email asking about it. If I still don’t receive it after that, I usually don’t bother them again. I feel like I’m being irritating if I sent an email a month after that saying it still hasn’t arrived.

  8. Jessica N.

    I personally have contacted bloggers when a month and a half to two months goes by (there are still some that I was suppose to receive months ago that I have not gotten). However, when I did, all but one of the bloggers seemed really annoyed by the message. I strive to be polite when dealing with people I don’t know, so it’s not like I was rude. Usually I just let them know there have been thefts of bigger packages in the area (not at my house, but still best to be wary) so I like to know when a package gets sent out and when the estimated arrival is. I can keep an eye out there and prevent something from happening.

    Maybe they were just having a bad day. Maybe they were busy and did not mean it as rude as they had sounded to me (miscommunication). However, because of this I am really wary about sending a message to most bloggers.

    I like to tell them when I’ve received the item, because I feel it is proper and right to just be like “I’ve received it, thank you for spending YOUR hard earned money on me when you don’t even know me. You’re awesome!” Or something like that. However, it’s hard to thank them for an item I never received and I hate to think that they did spend their money and it wind up with someone other than me. I would think they would like to know that the item was lost or stolen (not sure if that’s true, but I know if I hosted something I would like to know. A lot of authors lately are having a problem with people stealing their books, and if it starts happening a lot with bloggers, I figure that if they know they can offer ways to prevent this. Like sign to receive or something).

    But because of my personal experiences, I will just message after a month or two and then if I still do not get anything, I will just drop it. I know lives are busy and other things are more important, and its not really any big loss to not receive something I could not afford in the first place. I am still grateful for the chance of course.

    SO YEAH, there’s my…long post. WHERE DID THIS EVEN COME FROM!?

  9. Being the book addict that I am and also unemployed right now I enter quite a few book giveaways. I too keep a “books won” folder and “books received” folder. Not that I win that many it just helps me know dates and such and keep track of everything. I have no problem after a month or two very politely following up on a giveaway that has not been received. Most bloggers are great about it.

  10. I give 6-8 weeks for the prize to arrive because I know that sometimes it goes out from the publiher with mass mailings and it can take a bit! After 6-8 weeks and still no prize, I’ll contact the person I won it from and ask. I always contact the person I won it from to let them know it arrived or tag it in a tweet/fb post. 🙂

    I will only contact twice though, as I don’t want to be THAT person! If that person says that they’ll contact the publisher and I hear nothing for two weeks, I’ll follow up one more time but then let it go. I’ve won some things that never arrived, including things like 99cents book of choice from amazon!

  11. Marjorie R.

    This is really a great post today. The beginning of September I won an amazon gift card for $10., I never received it so I politely asked if perhaps it was overlooked and as of today nothing has happened. I am disappointed, but what can you do. I guess just forget it.

    • What I find funny about Amazon cards is that you don’t even have to mail them! Just send it to the winner’s email address. What could be easier?

      • Marjorie R.

        Agree, it was a new blogger who had the giveaway and maybe she just wanted to get new subscribers.

  12. This is a perfectly fitting post today, for me. I just sent off a couple of prizes this morning finally…I felt so terrible. I left one woman waiting for almost two months, like yourself.

    I simply forgot. Like you, I tend to forget about things unless I do it right away. I still hate making people wait though! I usually try and make up for it in some way…this particular case I went ahead and pre-ordered the next book in the series for her 🙂

    Other times I just run out of money before having the chance to send off the prize, so it winds up getting pushed back until the next payday. Lately, I’ve just been trying to stick to doing sponsored giveaways, or participating in giveaway events instead.

    Great post!

  13. Melinda Dartmann

    I won a giveaway in April and never received the products and remembered when I seen the email setting in my inbox in June. I then sent another email to the blogger to let her know that I was still waiting and she explained to me that the person who she was getting the products from had been pregnant and went into premature labor and that she would get with her as soon as the lady got home from the hospital. I said that was fine and I understood. Well to say the least I let it go for awhile longer and emailed the blogger again and again I received the answer that she would talk to her again, that she was really busy. I’m sorry, I sat from April until August for my giveaway prize still nothing. After that I wrote it off. But I will never enter another giveaway on that bloggers page again. I later heard from another person that, that certain blogger had done that to other people and that they only held the giveaways to get more followers. That’s sad and it’s just plain wrong. Don’t dupe people into something like that.

    • Wow, I think this is probably the exception to the rule. At least I hope this isn’t a common practice! Most of the book bloggers I know are sincere and honest and hold giveaways because they want to share the books they love.

  14. Kathryn Mcneal

    What I do when I win a giveaway, I put that winning email in a folder and if I haven’t heard anything usually in a month to 6 weeks I either email the blogger or the sponser. I did that with some hair products that I won and found out that the guy who was in charge had quit so they had forgetten about it. But after I had done that, they honored the giveaway and sent me my products.

  15. I let it go…
    I won a book and I had not received it yet, several months after the giveaway. The Author eventually emailed me, saying she was currently in Australia and I know that sometimes overseas, mail takes longer to ship to USA. It has been like a year and I don’t think I’ll ever get the book, but it was a giveaway and I did not pay for the book, so NO BIGGIE…

  16. I have emailed the blogger about books and other prizes that I have won. Most of the bloggers have emailed me back and said they would send a email to their sponsor and see what they could find out. Most of the time I get my prize after email them but not always. I have emailed bloggers when I didn’t get what I won and never heard back from them. For the most part I’ve had a very good luck with contest that I’ve entered.

  17. I have entered many giveaways of all kind not just book giveaway and 9 out of ten time no problem getting my winnings .but one out of ten time will have a problem and if you ask about the blog will check on it and that fixes it 50% of the time but there still the time that you bug them over and over and you still don’t get it after awhile I just give up on those.because I will not even here back from the blog on those ones or thay will say that there getting around to it and thay don’t mean it.

  18. I probably would just let it go, and not bother the blogger because in many cases, the blogger has nothing to do with the logistics of delivering the prize.

    However, if it is book I really wanted, I might as the blogger to help me get in touch with whoever is handling the giveaway, so I can pursue what happened. If the blogger takes the initiative to get involved and help me resolve the issue, If a blogger wants to get involved, then, wow, I’m impressed, even though I don’t expect the person to do this.

    • Jessica N.

      I THOUGHT SO TOO! Was really confused since I have my blog posts go to one email and my giveaway wins to another. Otherwise I lose them in the giveaway posts and feel really bad. Not to mention, my giveaway wins go directly to my phone so I can answer them anywhere / anytime. So I was really lost for a moment.

  19. katetaan

    When I win a give away I always flag it in my email so that I’ll remember to be on the look out for it as I use my work address as my mailing and so its easy to reply when the book does arrive. If I haven’t seen anything in a months time I will send off a quick email just to say I haven’t seen the book yet. I only do the one query, after that it seems like harassment for a gift. Sometimes I see the book, sometimes not. The only time I have been really let down was when a blogger never replied to my initial reply to the “you won” email or my query when nothing arrived.

  20. sarah c.

    This is a hot topic for me because this has happened to me a lot..mostly from books sent from publishers (some print books some ebooks).. i have contacted some of the bloggers some respond others not.. I remember a book that i have won last december (i think it had something to do with a new release book) and it never came–i was upset because it was a book that i was literally dying to read and was so excited and nothing-i waited and waited and nothing. i deleted the email so i have no way of knowing where it had came from..
    I actually never considered writing back to the blogger to say i received a book- i hate to bother people but i think i will start that way they know..

  21. Tammy

    I have to say it’s usually with eBooks not physical copies that I’m more likely never to see, not sure why. If I haven’t received the book after two months I might just send an email. Also, I think it’s important once you receive a book to let the sender know. Receiving the giveaway is always nice but there’s never a guarantee. I applaud the publishing houses & bloggers who manage to send out the prize in the first week or two because that’s not the norm.

  22. I let the blogger know, but only after about two months. And I try to be super polite, but bloggers I’ve contacted aren’t always the nicest when I mention it hasn’t been received. I never expect a replacement or anything, but I do like to just let them know that “hey, that never came”.

  23. Denise Z

    I generally do nothing. I have won many and never received the prize, but on the other side of the coin I have received some months later and what a wonderful surprise. Most blogs state they are not responsible if you don’t receive the gift so I have never bothered 🙂

  24. Oh dear, I’m surprised that it seems common not to receive winnings. I’ve won a few, not received a few, so I know how disappointing it is too. I also host giveaways on my blog and I’ve always strived to be transparent with my readers from the get-go — in fact it’s all written down that publishers/authors are responsible for mailing winnings to them. The only thing I can do as a blogger is to follow up … but beyond that, just cross my fingers and hope the books get to the winners …

  25. I love hearing back from giveaway winners when they receive their book, and definitely want to know if they haven’t received their book in a timely manner. I worry especially if it’s a publisher prize that I can’t track myself. Great discussion topic!

  26. I once sent a book to the wrong address and felt horrible when the winner contacted me saying they hadn’t received it. So I ordered a new one and double checked everything to make sure there were no mistakes. Then sent some swag for the book to the winner to make up for it.

    But, I was once contacted by someone who was offering a RAK, this was someone I had actually sent one to a months before, so I figured they were just returning the favour. Then no book ever showed up, but I never contacted them about it since it was a RAK anyways and maybe they just changed their mind after.

    I do like hearing back when the book is received though, just so I know 😛

  27. Pabkins

    I would definitely email and ask the blogger if it had been a month or more. It happened to me quite a few times that I would never receive the book both from publishers and from bloggers self sponsored stuff. Ultimately, I didn’t really care unless it was something I was really excited about. Honestly, last night I realized that I had 5 giveaways I had to pick winners for. It’s true sometimes you just forget. But I always see them as soon as I go to create a widget for a new giveaway. Plus I’m also one of those folks that don’t tend to order and send the books I self sponsor until payday. The books I ship out from my stash take even longer because well I HATE going to the post office, so I avoid it until I have at least 2 things to ship.

    For those new to blogging – the publisher sponsored giveaways are an excellent way to get contacts because some of them send an insert with the book with that publicists contact!

  28. Pabkins

    Ok now I’m back after having read all the comments. Being that most of us also sponsor giveaways on our blogs from pubs & ourselves in addition to entering giveaways I think we’re all pretty understanding in that hey – the receiving the prize is always chancey. Hopefully 90% of the time you’ll get your prize eventually – the other % well that is just too bad and really sucks – if you really want it then buy it. That’s how I look at it. Because ultimately you have to remember that old phrase nothing is really free. With these book giveaways – hell I do consider them something that actually is free…because I would be hopping around reading other blogs anyway.

    I’m glad everyone in the comments seems to be understanding of the fact that when they don’t receive the book it isn’t something that the blogger can always do something about.

  29. I’m feeling a little guilty. There’s a few giveaways that I’ve had in September before my dad passed away that I haven’t selected a winner for. Would it be wrong just merge the giveaways and just give it to one person? I’ve been torn over this. I really don’t want to mess with multiple packages or make a half dozen trips to the post office, since it is not close to me at all.

    It’s signed stuff by authors, so every time I see it in my room, I feel so guilty for not have sent it out already.

    • Oh I’m so sorry about your dad Lizzy. Maybe you could pick the winners and have a friend do all the wrapping and mailing for you? Sometimes real life gets in the way of blogging and real life has to come first.

  30. How long should I wait before I contact the bloggers. I found out I was a winner for one on May 18 and another on May 20th. I have been waiting for the book to come, but they haven’t yet. Should I wait a couple more weeks?

    • I think you can send a friendly email asking to let you know when they mail your book out. Sometimes life gets busy and bloggers forget about their giveaways. But if I get behind schedule, I always appreciate a reminder:-)

  31. Patricia

    I do not consider a Giveaway Prize a “gift”. Whenever I enter a giveaway, I follow these companies and bloggers on multiple social media sites and share their name all over the Internet. In exchange, I am included in a random drawing for a prize. It’s a contract – I give them publicity, they give me the opportunity to win, the prize is the consideration. When I win and don’t get the prize in timely manner, I feel like these companies and bloggers are not holding up their end of the bargain. I will write the blogger – some respond and take care of it and some don’t even respond. At that point, I will go back and unfollow them and encourage my followers to do the same. Hopefully, the drop in numbers will get their attention.

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