Discussion Post: Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now, or Do you still host giveaways on your blog or enter on other blogs?

Posted March 22, 2024 by Lisa Mandina in discussion post / 38 Comments

Okay, this is my 2nd discussion of the year. But it’s one I’ve been thinking about posting since last year.

I have always signed up for blog tours that have giveaways as part of them, especially with Xpresso Book Tours, as they almost always have giveaways. And for the longest time, even with going and commenting on other blogs I didn’t feel I got a lot of activity on my blog. I wanted to build that up so that I could get more publishers to work with me at first. So I jumped onto the boat of hosting lots of my own giveaways, as that would get more people following.

And I’ve found some great followers/friends through those giveaways, especially of people who don’t have their own blog, or at least not anymore, but are big readers and love talking about books. And I never want to lose those friends. I’ve also really liked using the blog giveaway to share my physical ARCs that otherwise just sit around and I have realized I don’t need to keep them all unless I really liked them or got them autographed when I met the author. Another great thing about giveaways is helping introduce readers to new authors, helping newer or non-traditionally published authors promote their books, etc.

On the side of entering giveaways, again, it started with me wanting to get more books to read for my blog reviews. Whether it was because I wasn’t getting them from publishers as much at first, other than what might show up at the bookstore I worked at, or because I found new authors/series that I loved. And, like a lot of other book lovers, collecting books is even a whole extra hobby alongside reading them, lol. I love seeing all the pretty books on my shelves. I also know I want to read sooooooooo many books, and don’t always get copies of them advanced, or as I’ve come to know my own reading/reviewing speed/capability, if I win the book, I don’t feel as bad with it sitting on my shelf until I can get to it instead of requesting an advanced copy.

So now let’s talk about the negatives I’ve noticed on both of these aspects of giveaways.

As I started doing my monthly or more giveaways I started noticing people who were coming and just commenting for that. And no matter that I asked for meaningful comments, they’d just comment the same thing every time. It could be copied and pasted. This sounds good. Thanks for sharing. Nothing specific to the book being given away. Nothing specific to my review, etc. I’m not saying my comments on giveaway posts were always perfect. But I always tried to answer whatever question the host asked and comment specifically about the book or the host’s thoughts on the book. When I noticed a particular giveaway entrant was always asking for more expensive items than the dollar limits I would put on my giveaway, I started keeping track of how many times they popped up as a winner. Then I felt bad about doing that.

On the negative side for me entering giveaways now, I feel like maybe I should leave the open for new bloggers like when I first started. (Are there still “new” bloggers? Or is this an outdated concept, other than on TikTok and Instagram?) I started thinking maybe it wasn’t fair for me to win giveaways if I was such an established blogger that publishers do send me books, now that I’m on several author teams. And I started feeling like I was being greedy if I entered too many. I still enter on occasion that it is a book I really want, and occasionally on Amazon gift card giveaways because then I can get a book I want.

And finally, am I just thinking too much? Worrying too much? I cut back on my monthly giveaways because of what I mentioned above. Plus my ARC pile got whittled down. But it’s back up again, so I did sign up to do the Spring Season of books Giveaway Hop.

Do you feel like giveaways really get more blog readers anymore? Or are they going to be the people who follow just for the giveaway, but then when they don’t win unfollow? I never did that. Once I started following a blog, the only reason I might eventually unfollow them is because they never interacted with me even when I came to comment on their blog regularly and left links for them to come. And even then, I know there are still blogs I love to interact with, and I know they have TONS of followers and can’t get to comment on all the people who comment on their blogs.

And as always, if the earworm wasn’t put in your head from my blog title, here is the video to enjoy!

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 0
Pin Share20


38 responses to “Discussion Post: Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now, or Do you still host giveaways on your blog or enter on other blogs?

  1. Look at you with a second discussion post already!

    I went through this cycle of questions for myself back several years ago. I’ve stopped hosting giveaways. If an author is running a multi-blog giveaway, I don’t mind having the rafflecopter (or whatever) on my site, but I don’t do one myself. I found that I actually started getting fewer folks entering contests when I had them. And the maintenance, follow through, etc. is not worth the effort. And I agree – so many people don’t answer the simple question asked. As for me – I rarely enter contests unless it’s something I know I’ll read. I do download freebies if offered, but when it comes to contests, I do the minimum (like comment), but I’m not on social media really, so I don’t share/follow for additional entries.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I’ve been thinking about this one since last year. But trying to figure out how to do it without offending anyone, lol. Of course I post it right after I do another giveaway. I am the same as you, usually I rarely enter contests. Although Instagram has been sucking me in lately!

  2. I have all the same thoughts and questions. I don’t do as many giveaways as I used to do but I still do some. I don’t even always get many entries beyond the I enter all giveaways people who don’t really interact. I set some stricter rules for the really good giveaways like the grand prizes for the Read-along. I don’t know the answer. I read blogs daily but I don’t always comment if I don’t have anything to say.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I’ve cut back this year too. But my ARC pile was starting to get big again, so I needed to do something and signed up to do the Spring giveaway hop.

  3. Giveaways seems much less common now than they used to be (or at least I don’t see as many). I used to do a giveaway on my blog anniversary each year but I’ve forgotten the anniversary completely the last couple years. Ha. I don’t tend to enter giveaways because I truly have more than I could ever read already, between my Kindle, my own shelves, and the library.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted: Review: The Trail of Lost Hearts | Tracey Garvis Graves
    • Lisa Mandina

      I still will probably do one on my blogaversary, I have to keep a note in my blog planner to remember when it is, lol.

  4. I haven’t done many giveaways on my blog. Just a couple of Kindle book giveaways for specific books. The only other blog I can think of that I regularly see doing giveaways is The Candid Cover. They still do a bunch. Otherwise, bloggers seem to do them for something special like a blogiversary or birthday or something.

    It’s cool that you get people doing them, even if they only show up for those posts to comment. I don’t think it’s bad you’re tracking who is winning, what they are asking for and their comments. I wonder if you could put a giveaway disqualifier claim that says something about the comment needing to be unique to the giveaway book and that prizes must be within giveaway dollar allotment, or they are automatically disqualified? I think that’s fair.

    I wouldn’t feel bad if you’re winning them despite having a lot of ins with publishers. I think it’s cool and you’re great at sharing reviews of those books. I don’t get many physical ARCs anymore, but if I do and they’re not something I will read again or my daughter (YA books) won’t read, then I either pass them on to friends or lately I have been leaving them in a little free library by my local community center and food bank. I feel like they will find a good home then.

  5. When I first started blogging I hosted a lot of my own giveaways through hops, but now 10-years later I’ve cut back on the hops I participate in. I still do host personal giveaways and those offered through book tours, but it’s not as many as when I first started blogging. I had some of the same thoughts as you.

  6. I’ve definitely had a lot of similar thoughts about giveaways. As I run a blog tour company too I’ve also seen the results of running those type of giveaways. I definitely think there are people who just enter the giveaways for the giveaways even if they don’t care about the book on tour or the actual blog, but I also still believe giveaways can be a great way to bring people to blogs they don’t know or hear about books they might not have heard about yet. I don’t think you can fully have the good without the bad.

    I don’t run a lot of my own giveaways, I ran two late last year (one of which you won) and I set the prize for ecopies of those books only so only people interested in those books would hopefully enter and only comment as an entry option. They didn’t get a lot of entries though, but I did feel those who entered were actually interested and that was nice, but I also felt like they didn’t really pull in new readers to my blog as I didn’t really promote it as much.

    I also worry about entering giveaways sometimes and whether there are others who want the prize more badly than I do, so I try to only enter if I really want a book or if it’s for a gift card or audiobook credit or something.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, I really only enter if I really want the book. Occasionally I’ll enter Amazon GC giveaways too because there are books I want to buy, lol.

  7. I’ve definitely cut back on my giveaways. Mostly because I wasn’t getting any entries. I guess the majority of bloggers I use to follow and who followed me back have “retired.” Which is fine. I get it when we need to take a step back, even if we never come back to it. It can be overwhelming. I feel like my blog never really took off like others did somehow despite how much I tried doing promo, join blog tours and what not. I will say that Covid really crapped on the publishing contacts I did have and now I’m just kind of floating there.

    But yeah, when my last few Halloween giveaways only ever had a handful of entries I got really let down as that was always the giveaway I went all out on! I think the downfall from that came when the person who used to host a big link up of contests must have stopped as one year I didn’t get my email to sign up again and had to go rogue and just create my own! But since there wasn’t a link up of “advertising” not many people found me. At one point, I would even give away a book when I attended an author signing to help share the love of said author! But even those entries became less and less. I was basically scrambling to find a winner who did one thing right!

    When it comes to entering contests myself these days, I do enter when there’s something I want to win! Gift cards to buy more books are always nice! It’s been rare that someone gives away something else. I always try to leave a meaningful comment too! Even if it’s a book I was just thinking about reading, I’ll say exactly that in my comment, that the book sparked something of an interest and I would love to give it a try! Thanks for the giveaway! Or if it was something I desperately wanted, I would preach my love for said book/author and again, thanks for the giveaway! Especially when the giveaways weren’t sponsored by a publisher or author, I always, always thanked the blogger who likely was funding the giveaway themselves!

    But yeah, I almost feel like blog contests are another thing of the past. I wanted to host my annual blogoversary contest, but since the holidays hit me pretty hard financially I thought I’d postpone it, but then I remembered how low my entries were last year and decided not to do it. I think last year was the last year for my giveaways. I did do my annual Halloween one mainly to get rid of all the cute little Halloween goodies I had stock piled up. I was pretty much running low on everything but mini erasers, so it worked out fine! Lol.

    But yeah, I kind of gave up on hosting giveaways these days. I feel like blogging is slowly not becoming a thing anymore? I don’t do TikTok so I don’t know how people are promoting books on there. I assume with video reviews, but I honestly don’t even have the patience for those on Instagram as I feel like they take way too long to get through. I’ve always preferred reading the review because I can get through those faster and have time to read more without killing the battery on my phone! Lol. But I guess that’s the changing of times and publishers are looking to promote books that way. Honestly with bookstagram I feel like people just take pictures of the books they receive and just say you should really read this because the publisher gave it to me for free! There are times when I am like BUT WHAT IS IT ABOUT?! I was curious about said title but they legit say NOTHING about the book. No short and sweet review with directions to read a full review elsewhere. Just HERE’S A PRETTY BOOK I GOT, READ IT! I definitely stopped following some of those people. They used to be bloggers I followed as well, but since they shut their blog down to do Bookstagram instead I followed them there for a time…until they stopped actually reviewing books and just thanking publishers for free stuff. Then Instagram’s whole algorithm makes it impossible to reach people. I have no idea what’s going on with them now too as posts are getting all mixed up again and it drives me crazy. Even when I click the “sort by who I follow” tab when I am done scrolling, my gut reaction is to hit home, which takes me back to “popular” posts. And now they are throwing in posts by people I don’t follow and I can’t stand it because two posts later will be someone I actually follow!

    Okay, sorry for the mini rant after answering your actual question! Lol! Once I get going on a topic I don’t tend to stop! I was writing a blog post last night just talking about post writing processes and ended up with a mile long discussion that included that but also reminiscing about all the different posts I used to write when I started blogging! Lol.

    Great discussion topic too! Clearly it got me going! Lol!

    • Lisa Mandina

      LOL! I’ve been thinking on this topic for almost a year now! When I had people who asked for a book that was more expensive than the amount I had listed in the giveaway, and they did it every time they won! It was so frustrating. And I’m with you, I don’t have time to watch TikTok video reviews. I do post on TikTok, but it’s just about what book I’m reading and that I’m enjoying it. I don’t do reviews, because those are too long, and I don’t want to be on video. I was one of those people on Instagram though who just posted pics of the books when I received them, didn’t do a review. Just wanted to show off the pretty books. I don’t really do that anymore either, lol. I agree that it seems blogging like we do is going away. But I will keep doing it. Even if no one reads it, it is my way of journaling about what I’ve read and that makes me happy!

  8. I don’t do giveaways any more. I used to do one a month and give away one of the books I reviewed that month, but it started to get expensive so I stopped. Also, just like you said, there was always a group of what I called “giveaway junkies” who only showed up for giveaways, and I got tired of that aspect. The only giveaways I enter now are the Goodreads giveaways, usually for books from publishers I don’t already work with.

    Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted: Future Fiction #271 – Cover Reveals & Newly Discovered SFF Books
    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, it’s just so expensive to give away things. I like to do my ARCs to US winners because then it is only shipping costs. So I might continue to do those and quit with the others. I keep getting sucked into Instagram giveaways because they’re so easy to enter when I’m scrolling usually, lol.

  9. Suzie B

    Truthfully, you need to do what is best for you! I enjoy reading book blogs for new book inspiration, and the giveaways are always a bonus (books are expensive, a small win to go towards buying them is always appreciated, as my budget doesn’t really allow for a lot of extras), but I can understand it could be something that gets discouraging when you are on the other end.

    Im often more of a lurker than a commenter – but honestly do enjoy reading reviews and take a lot from them!

    • Lisa Mandina

      And like I said, I have made some great fellow reader friends through my giveaways, it’s just occasionally I have a few whose names are chosen by the Rafflecopter over and over and they make it hard to want to do giveaways at times.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, sometimes making the time to go to the post office to mail things takes a lot of time. And you’re so busy now with your official author career taking off! 🙂

  10. Sam@WLABB

    I think I stopped doing giveaways in like 2020 , it was about the same time that I stopped doing blog tours. I found a lot of people would follow and then unfollow. If the goal was to get more followers, it wasn’t really doing its job. I gave up on them.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I know I bumped up giveaways I think during the pandemic because I was trying to interact more maybe? But yeah, that follow/unfollow thing or no real comments was what is taking me out of the whole wanting to continue doing them.

  11. I often wonder about this too, Lisa. I run giveaways but the entries are way lower than they used to be. Still, I like to pass on the arcs to other readers if I can. I’ve been running my giveaways longer than I used to. Like a month instead of 2 weeks and just listing one a month. But it costs money to mail them even if it’s through media mail. I also want to find the nearest little free library so I can drop off books in there too.

    I only enter giveaways if I really want the book. I don’t feel bad even if I do have connections with publishers. I’m a reader too. I’m excited when I pull a fellow blogger’s name from the rafflecopter because I know the book will go to someone who love books. Also, if you have someone that keeps asking for more than you state in your giveaway, I’d make sure you state in your rules that the giveaway is only for the stated amount or lower. Nothing higher. Then if they ask, refer them to your rules.

    Rachel @Waves of Fiction recently posted: Review: Leave No Trace by A.J. Landau
    • Lisa Mandina

      I try to put that it has the limit, but yeah, maybe a specific rule would help! Thanks for the idea!

  12. Megan S.

    Hi Lisa. I love your blog, but I’m a bit of a lurker lol as it tends to give me anxiety to post comments. I love entering your giveaways as as a student I don’t really have the money to buy books for myself! Especially as someone who lives internationally and books are always so expensive for me! I do often find it difficult when I enter giveaways though as often every single book is more than the limit due to my location, so I’m sorry if if I’m the person who asked for books above the limit, I am ALWAYS happy to pay for anything over a giveaway limit as I understand you are giving out of the generosity of your heart and it’s only because books are more expensive for INT readers and I struggle to find anything under the limit for my country. 🙂 Maybe gift cards are easier, then international folks can always pay part of the way more easily? Anyway, I feel bad and wanted to apologise if that person is me and I hope you’ll still accept my entries in contests! I appreciate you!

    • Lisa Mandina

      That’s why I pretty much just do gift cards now instead of actual books for international winners. As long as they can get Amazon gift cards. I had a few people who did this same thing.

  13. I do FAR fewer than I used to! I used to do one a month, now I *sometimes* join in the seasonal one. Like you, I found that there were the same handful who followed and unfollowed (though I will say, if they did not do whatever the thing they claimed they did was, they’re DQed for me- “nice post” was not what I asked, and if you can’t be bothered to read a sentence, you probably won’t read this book I am paying to send you!) and it is just a lot of money and work. Though sometimes I can’t seem to let go, and I keep doing it anyway, so we’ll see how long before I give up entirely!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Conageddon 4: We’re Back, Bitches!
  14. I agree with you. I don’t really think giveaways do a lot for follower count, tbh. I mostly have them now because I want to get rid of the books I have to make room for more books 😆 I do find that if I join a giveaway hop, those have a little more traction, but it’s rare that I come across one of those these days.

  15. Nancy

    It’s fun to enter giveaways for books but the required comments get tedious after a while. How much can you say & how many questions can you ask the author on month’s long tours? Why not limit entries or let them get another daily entry without requiring another comment? JeanBookNerd would ask interesting general questions. There are a lot of books & giveaways are perfect in getting extra books out there. Gift cards, although easier, gets the attention of everyone. Many sites, especially now, are filled with ads & hard to navigate, so giveaways is the only reason to visit.

  16. Even if it’s a book I really want to read, I don’t participate in giveaways anymore. I don’t know if there are “new” book bloggers (my gut says, not really), but between trying to downsize and not wanting to feed the capitalist machine that encourages collecting over reading, I choose not to join. I will, however, leave a comment on the blog if the post is meaningful to me or the book sounds like something I’d enjoy.

    For a long time (when I had my original blog, way back) it felt like the “book blogger community” was exactly what you describe- a bunch of people not contributing to a discussion at all, just wanting free things. And then I questioned my own participation in that (am I any better, hosting giveaways just to get more followers?). So now, if I ever do giveaways again (which would be pointless, as I only have 3 followers and only 1 reader who comments regularly) it’ll be to downsize my stash…and who wants a used book giveaway?

    Sorry for the ramble. I think they served a purpose once, but I definitely feel like that purpose got a bit corrupted, and they’re not really useful anymore. Unless it’s for one-of-a-kind things, I suppose.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I’ve gotten sucked in to entering some Instagram giveaways if I don’t have to follow a bunch of extra people and it’s a book I really want, but yeah, giveaways are not what they once were!

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.