Requiring Following for Contests and Buying your Followers (which is different!)..

 Not so long ago Lori at Pure Imagination, Angela at Reading Angel and myself held a giveaway giving away a $100 Gift card to a bookstore of their choice.  We did not require the entrants to follow us.  As matter of fact the three of us rarely ever require anyone entering our contests to follow.  I do the occasional followers giveaway that are just for my followers, but that’s not often at all.  I prefer to have followers that want to follow my blog for the content and not just for extra entries to my contests.  I do love watching the numbers climb though, so I do have following my blog as an extra entry most of the time.
Lately I’ve noticed a lot of blogs that require people to follow them for every single giveaway they have, but many of those giveaways are sponsored by someone else.  So is it fair to require people to follow you when it’s not really you giving the item away?  Where all your doing is writing up a post?  Writing up a post is work, I definitely agree with that, but I think that if you have great content then people will follow you.  Is it necessary to require following?   Now I know we all have different opinions on this, and really I’m neutral ground here.  I don’t really like being required to follow to enter giveaways but I almost always (if not always) follow a blog if I’m entering their contest anyway.  I just don’t like being told I have to follow them.
I’ve also been noticing more giveaways that are FOR gaining followers.  You pay to have your name in a linky on a blog that’s giving money away.  You can pay to have different things, like for people to follow your blog or to follow you on twitter, etc.  Basically your money is contributing to the giveaway but you are literally BUYING your followers.  To be honest this is kind of leaving a bad taste in my mouth.  I can see how it’s great to have more exposure, but really most of those people aren’t looking at your content.  They are doing whatever is required to have an entry to win all this money.  Maybe a few will come back, but probably most are just there to win something.  Many will unfollow once it’s finished.  I’m curious about other people’s takes on this.  I say it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I love watching the followers grow too and even this is tempting to me, I just know it’s not my thing, I would feel guilty~ but I’m not going to judge you.  I want to know your opinion on this.

So, is it right to require people to follow your blog for contests?  I’m okay with it if YOUR sponsoring the giveaway, providing the item yourself and shipping yourself.  But if your only writing up the blog post, then maybe not require it ALL the time.

And is it okay to buy followers (GFC, Twitter, Facebook, etc).   I don’t think so for bloggers.  BUT if you have a business I do feel a bit different about that.  I think if your doing it for a business that’s advertising and that’s fine.  If you have a compelling argument about it being right for bloggers, please share!  Who knows, maybe I haven’t seen that aspect.

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Comments

  1. Ahhh, this is such a touchy subject with book bloggers. I don’t have any paid advertising on my blog and won’t accept any, so asking people to follow my blog is the only way I can get my subscriber numbers up. If you have ever asked a publisher for a book, then you know what I am talking about. Those followers help me get the giveaways and the books I want so much.

  2. I find it very interesting that you brought this subject to light. I like you agree that if a blogger is hosting the giveaway he or she might only want their followers to enter which i get because they want to reward loyal followers.

    But I also understand that, that also brings people just interested in free stuff, which i think is bound to happen due to so many giveaways on blog.

    I dont know what the right answer is but I find your post very interesting.

  3. I don’t understand what you mean by the paying thing, but I think it’s fine to require people to follow. Some people might just be popping in, filling out a form, and skipping away, hoping to win.
    When I first joined blogger, I followed a ton of blogs, whenever they had contests. I started putting together my blogroll because of contests, but now I follow because of content. Rarely do I unfollow anyone.

  4. Mary, I like the point you bring up. I don’t have paid advertising either. I have affiliate links but have only made $10 on it in ALL the time I’ve been blogging. I depend on followers and subscribers and whatnot as well.
    I guess I do still feel that good content will bring the followers and subscribers. Or just having it as an extra entry or two. But I understand your point at well.

    Riv,
    The buying followers is when a bunch of blogs get together (like hundreds!) and they giveaway like $1,000 and you can pay money for each link you want included and each link the people follow gets them an entry into the contest. There are a few different ways they do this kind of contest though.

  5. Melissa,
    I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. We all like different things and do things differently. It doesn’t mean I’m going to unfollow someone because they require you to follow to enter their contest. I just have what I feel and am curious if there are many others that feel this way or if most think it’s fine to require people to follow.

  6. Like you said, I don’t mind people requiring you to follow their blogs for a contest as long as it’s theirs that they are paying for. But if you do a contest right when you start blogging to gain followers and ask for books from publishers, well, that just makes me sad. Great post and you really got me thinking on this subject:)
    -Danna

  7. Thank you Danna! I don’t want people getting mad over this or anything, and I know it’s a touchy subject, but most of the discussion I’ve seen about this was not with book bloggers but with bloggers who do sponsored giveaways for all kinds of products. I really want to know opinions!

  8. I do not think you should make following a requirement if it is not you giving the item away. If you are not paying for it or shipping then there is no reason for it.

    I am still new at blogging and I did do a giveaway and I did ask to follow blog to enter or my book club. I am trying to get my numbers up and I am paying for it. So why would I give someone who is not following or has no intentions of being part of my book club something for free. They do not have to follow me they just will not recieve a gift from me…

    That is just how I feel. And maybe once I am confident in my numbers I will not ask for followers. But being new and getting your name out there with so many other bloggers, I found this to be a good way..

  9. I agree with you that i don’t like when people Require following for a giveaway, I usually follow blogs any way, but i do understand why i would do it. the main way i discover blogs is because im already following them, but never really paid attention to them. Then a few days or even weeks later an interesting post pops up on my Reader, and im intrigued. If I didn’t follow all those blogs, i would loose some really cool blogs. Yet when people REQUIRE me to follow i dislike it, and probably wouldn’t read that blog as much…..

    So I guess i stand with you, on that, but see why some people would like it.

  10. I’ve only hosted two or three giveaways, and while I’ve offered an extra entry on at least one giveaway for followers, I’ve never made it a mandatory thing. It’s an interesting topic, much like the whole extra entries concept: How many ways must I follow a blog anyway? :)

  11. Rabid Fox,
    Maybe if there’s going to be a requirement should be to do something, but let it be their choice. Like if they want to subscribe or to follow by GFC, or follow on networked blogs, etc. Your right, sometimes entering takes FOREVER but it is how we get our numbers in other areas so I know I leave it as an option on giveaways sometimes. I built my email subscriptions by having it as an extra entry on giveaways I definitely don’t regret it! I have a lot of regulars that comment at my feed goes out.

    Awesomesauce,
    Yeah, it’s hard in the beginning because you really do need exposure. I understand that :)

  12. It depends, for me I have made following a requirement when I was doing giveaway hops because then there is only one chance for entry and it is less complicated than having a billion different ways to earn extra entries.

    for my other giveaways I have had ones I paid for where you didn’t have to be a follower and I will probably have publisher sponsored ones where you do have to be a follower. like Mary said, if you get more followers it makes it easier to get more giveaways- so it’s a bit of a double edged sword that way. I would like to have more giveaways for everyone but at the same time, at this moment it’s not like I’m having a billion giveaways so I’d rather the ones I do have go to my actual followers. granted, they could just unfollow afterwards but that is a possibility no matter what- even if you are giving extra entries some people will follow just to get those. So i think the only way to eliminate that is to have one entry only, no matter if you are a follower or not I guess.

    personally, I don’t judge somebody if they want you to be a follower to enter their giveaway- even if they aren’t paying for it, there is still a lot of time, effort and organization that goes into hosting them and soliciting more giveaways. I know if I want to have a giveaway it is only on books I have also spent time reading and reviewing which is also time and effort, and the people who are going to be reading those reviews are your followers… so yeah, it makes sense I think.

  13. I think one of the reasons (well, my reason actually) to make follower as requirement is because I don’t want the book I’m giving is fall into a hand of someone who never paid attention to my blog. At least even though he/she a new follower, there’s a good deal of chance she/he will pay attention to the content of my blog somewhere in the future.
    And just like Mary said, it’s easier to get more sponsor if we have more followers (and of course traffic).
    About the buying follower, I never heard of that before. Thanks for the information.

  14. I hope that it is one of my followers that wins the giveaway but I don’t require it. I generally don’t enter those giveaways that do require it either. Chances are if you are giving away something that interests me I’ll want to follow you for your content.

  15. I do contests in my blog, where I who purchase and ship the item or just do the sending and the article is provided by the publisher or author.

    I do ask that participants follow my blog, because it is a gift to those who really go and comment and engage in active blog content. I have seen many people just go and added to the contests and then fail to follow the blog once they did not win or even once they won and do not care back. This is sad, indeed, if I spent for them to get their prize and they do not show they care about the blog at all, then where is my gift of thanks to my followers?

    I also do that if people do not have a blogger account can participate if email subscribers, but the same thing, stop following the blog after the contest ends.

    I also do that if people do not have a blogger account can participate if email subscribers, but the same thing, stop following the blog after the contest ends.

    We return to the same, if I do a competition for non-followers, people still will not return once they have won something or did not win anything, not even to read the content of the blog, so at least I do take in mind when they comment and give them extra points because I know they deserve a chance to win something.

    However, the publishers ask for a minimum number of followers, to send books for review or contest, I live in Mexico and publishers here are very closed in that area. The firsts contests that I organized, they were all with my money, little by little I got books and pay only shipping to the winners…

    I understand your point of view, totally. But I’d rather spend on a shipping to a winner who helps my stats, that I have to spend for a person who may never again stand by my blog. And is that shipping costs are very high, the pocket does not always support.

    Take care

  16. I totally understand where you are coming from, but I think it’s completely fine to require people to follow. I love my readers and I like to reward them with prizes, so I feel like if I didn’t make it a requirement a lot of random people who don’t come to my blog like my followers do would win it.

    Also it helps spread the word about blogs and gets new followers. I’ve found a lot of my favorite blogs because they required me to follow.

    If people don’t end up liking a blog they followed for a contest, they can always unfollow.

  17. Totally agree with Lynossa who said.

    “At least even though he/she a new follower, there’s a good deal of chance she/he will pay attention to the content of my blog somewhere in the future.”

    I have seen new people come to my contest and suddenly there’s a comment from them on the blog :) That means they read what I took so long to write :)

  18. I was just thinking about this tonight while entering another great giveaway…all the hoops the blog made me jump through….the one that got be was my phone #. Why would any blog need my #? I found that odd and stepped away and will not be checking in on that blog in the future. If you as a blog want to really give something away, then give it for just the fact that you can make someones day. I once contacted a blog to give a book away that was unique and special and I wanted to share it with someone. I did this not because I had a blog or needed followers but because I wanted to read the excitement in the entries and It brought me great joy and I promptly mailed it out…..whats the point to give away something if the person who won has to wait 2 months to get it! (OK that was off topic) back on track….thank you for a blog entry that needed to be talked about….watch out blogs on how you present your giveaways because your books are not worth all the “stuff” followers have to go through just to enter.

  19. This is ironic this subject has come up, I was talking to a close friend of mine about it.

    I haven’t had a giveaway yet but I plan on it soon on either the Feb hop or March but I think I have decided not to make it a requirement but as an extra entry as well as FB page and twitter and see how it goes.

    I don’t have a problem either way but not sure about the buying of followers though.

  20. When I first started my blog the first few contests all required people to follow in order to win, then I decided that I didn’t really like that. Like you said, I wanted people to follow my blog for the content, not just to win something.

    Contests/giveaways are nice, but book blogs are supposed to be about the books, not what people can win. Now, I occasionally make following an extra entry, but I really don’t enjoy adding up entries, so most of my contests/giveaways are quick and dirty – a name and an email are all that’s required.

    I hate to admit it, but I don’t enjoy giving stuff away to people who don’t follow, but I’m too busy to verify entries and all that. I’m happy when followers and followers who comment win, but I can’t spend hours on contest entries.

    I rarely enter contests that require following, unless I am truly interested in the blog. If I’m not going to read it, I’m not going to enter. I’m not saying it’s wrong to require it, but blogs are less likely to gain loyal readers that way. But the whole buying your followers by giving money away is a HUGE no no in my book. It’s messed up to literally pay to gain followers. You want people to read your blog, to appreciate it, and come back. You don’t want to slap your name on some dollar signs just to up your numbers.

    Great discussion topic. It’s been interesting to read everyone’s opinions on the subject.

  21. I’m new to book blogging, and I did have becoming a follower an option entry in the one giveaway I have participated in so far, but I pretty much agree with what you said. I do tend to follow a blog when I enter a giveaway and if I don’t like a blog and it requires you to follow to enter, I simply don’t enter.

  22. Can I share a follower comment? I have a private blog and a private facebook page and not a public/review blog – just so you know where I’m coming from. One day I plan to, when the kids are older.

    I think requiring following a blog is okay via GFC, but there are a few blogs that I’ve entered giveaways for a blog hop that I really liked what they were giving away and they required you to follow or more, but I didn’t like their blog so I didn’t really want to follow them just for the prize or have to be an email subscriber (there’s been a few like this). So, this is a mixed feeling for me. It might be different for singles or those without families.

    I actually like it when a giveaway has just one entry (not even bonus entries) because then I feel, even if I am a loyal follower, everyone gets a chance. I’ve had some blogs I’ve followed for a long time, have filled out the bonus entries and never won a thing, which makes me wonder why I did all of that for. My biggest issues with blog hops are when there are a million entries per blog. Who has the time to check 100+ blogs if you have to fill out a million things to even have a chance to win and how do you have time to see if you actually like the blog? Normally this just makes me skip the blog content period.

    My other issue is being required to “friend,” and not “like” on facebook (I have found this quite a bit). I don’t want all my information given out, since I’m pretty private and cautious, especially considering the safety of my kids. I do have to say when there are sponsors giving away product from Etsy or other sources – I think it’s okay to ask that entrants follow the sponsor in one way (on one of the last blog hops I found some Etsy shops that I really liked and added them to my favorites so I could find them later).

    As far as giveaways not in a hop, I think you can ask for a mandatory follow in some way and a few extras, but even with blogs I really follow, it’s discouraging and very time consuming to have a lot of extra entries. I’ve also had a problem with GFC not showing that I follow a couple of times and I even double-checked to make sure (blogger has some bugs), so that brings up if that is always the best route to go.

    My other thought is when you’re new, why can’t you just explain that you need to gain followers, so it would be great if they’d follow in these three ways or so, but are required to only do one and then when you’ve become established you can just require one thing for you or for your sponsor? FYI – I’ve never unfollowed unless I didn’t like the blog, the giveaways were too time consuming, or the emails were too frequent. Time is really important to me.

    Okay, my last thing (sorry for this being so long) is I really like it when you guys use forms and not comments and forms that count all the entries ONCE. It is an absolute pain to fill out a form numerous times when you can fill it out once for the same number of entries and forms don’t ask you to verify and normally don’t take a ton of time to load versus comment sections with hundreds of comments. Also, if you do a form you can ask for the entrant’s address then so that you can send the prize right away and just let the winner know (less time for you waiting for a response and getting the info you need and less time for the winner). I normally really check all my email after a giveaway or blog hop has ended and then sometimes people are late emailing winners and so if I haven’t checked it then I don’t get the prize I won. This is one reason I love Kathy’s iamareadernotawriter’s blog, besides the fact that I LOVE her reviews.

    I follow quite a few of you, although I don’t always have time to comment I read your posts quite a bit and I LOVE books, so that’s why I follow most of you. Anyway, I hope my comments help give you a different perspective. :)

  23. I don’t see it as a turnoff to have to follow the blog. The point has been made a few times that someone can always unfollow if they want, and it’s those stats and followers that dictate if a publisher/author wants to provide books for a giveaway. It’s a personal decision for each blogger, however. It’s also provided a way for me to get to know all of the wonderful bloggers out there, and first and foremost, our readers!

  24. Great discussion!
    In the beginning we also required to be a Follower on the Blog but we don’t do that anymore. However, we do give a bonus for being a Follower – so you get an extra entry. Depending on the giveaway, that’s the only other extra entry. So that the people choose for themselves, but they certainly don’t have to.

    What I found most disgusting and made me unfollow the Blog immediately was when you get tons of extra entries if you bought something via the affiliates amazon link. I was so stunned, and this made me really mad to be honest. You got 1 Entry for a Follower and then 50 if you bought something.
    Gosh I’m still mad thinking about this, THIS I think is not right. I know that was not the topic but I had to get that put there..

  25. I can understand people who want someone to come back to their blog for something other than the giveaway. I’m the first to admit that I visit blogs sometimes just to check out the current giveaway. Having said that I don’t like it when following is required. I have visited blogs recently that said you don’t have to follow but please look around and if you like the content then follow and that alone got me to follow.
    Content matters a lot. If I don’t like the blog then yeah only reason I’m there is for the giveaway if I like the rest of the blog then yes I’ll follow and come back.
    Following as a requirement make sense of course if it’s a 100 follower giveaway or similar.
    Both sides have valid arguments.

  26. I’ve been blogging for a year now and I have to say, I’m still learning. I think we all are, no matter how long we’ve been around. First, I have to say I absolutely agree Ruth Tressa on the following:

    Okay, my last thing (sorry for this being so long) is I really like it when you guys use forms and not comments and forms that count all the entries ONCE. It is an absolute pain to fill out a form numerous times when you can fill it out once for the same number of entries and forms don’t ask you to verify and normally don’t take a ton of time to load versus comment sections with hundreds of comments.

    That drives me absolutely up the wall. Even just a year ago, that seemed like the norm so I just dealt with it, but it was time consuming and annoying. Then people started using forms more often and it was so much easier for everyone. I don’t know why people, even some big blogs, still do this. Forms are so easy.

    I have had only two contests and they were both for my followers. I bought the prizes and I shipped them. I think that’s totally okay. I’m doing something special for those people who already follow me to make their day…not some random person’s day.

    That bring said, if someone ever donated prizes for a giveaway or a publisher/author sent me books specifically for a giveaway and/or were taking care of shipping, I would only ask for a name and an email. If there were any ARCs or review copies that I received free of charge and didn’t enjoy, I would give those away without requiring someone follow, but I would give an extra entry for following since I’m still doing the shipping part.

    That being said, I wonder…we have our review policies on our blogs…should we have giveaway policies on our blogs just so people know where each individual blog stands on the issue and how they work?

  27. This is a great discussion! Requiring you to be a follower is definitely not for me. I think I have had one giveaway, when I first started, that following was required.
    I try not to do anything that I don’t like as a blog reader. I don’t like be required (honestly I don’t enter giveaways that require it, no matter how good the blog is, unless of course I’m already following). I also don’t like tons of confusing extra entries, so I usually avoid those too, and I don’t put them in my giveaways.
    I just stick to what I like as a person entering giveaways and I try to sit most of my I WANT FOLLOWERS feelings aside :) Because when it comes down to it, I really want people to follow because they like my blog, not because they want to win stuff!

  28. So funny because I just received an email offering me packages to pay to join in a money giveaway. Sorry I don’t need to spend $150 just to be advertised on someone else’s blog. My blog is simply for me to have fun and write reviews. I’ve done 1 giveaway (out of pocket) and required GFC following because at that time I had no followers and it was before I knew about blog hops etc.

  29. Such an interesting discussion, with so many interesting thoughts. The first giveaway I hosted (out of pocket, by the way) I required you to follow because it was a Follower giveaway. I also gave an extra entry for those who were old followers, because I wanted to say thanks. And a small secret: I was a little disappointed that the prize went to a new follower (but that didn’t last long, because now I follow her blog, and she often comments on mine – I look forward to hearing her thoughts on books). I found that if I required people to follow, they would just follow and possibly never come back. I would rather have commenters and people reading my blog than high numbers.

    Every other giveaway I’ve had from then on I haven’t required following, but my numbers have still increased each time. Maybe not by the hundred, but increased just the same. I’ve just found that I enjoy comments a whole lot more than numbers anyway.

    As a reader, I have to say that I get frustrated having to follow a blog to enter a giveaway. And often I just don’t enter it. At first, when I was just beginning reading book blogs, I entered everything and followed everyone. But now I follow so many, and I have over 1000+ posts I could read. To me, what’s the point of me following another blog that I’m not gunna read anyway? There are some that I love, and I read regularly. I’ve often follow a blog because I loved their stuff, and now I read them regularly as well. It’s something I’ve been thinking about, because I despise going to my reader to see that now I have a bunch of posts to read. And if I try to some of the blogs I don’t regularly read, then I miss out on my favorites. I only have so much time.

    But I liked the point of someone who talked about how if someone follows you eventually they might come around to your blog again. Maybe that’s true. I hadn’t thought about that. I don’t tend to unfollow blogs but like I said, I don’t read all of them. So I’m not sure what I think about that. But I just know that as a blogger, I would rather have 10 followers that read my blog regularly than 1000 that never participated in discussions and commented on reviews. Part of the book blogging world I love so much is that it is a continuous conversation. I write reviews and I can’t to hear others thoughts on the books.

    The other thought that I had was on extra entries. I kinda hate extra entries when they are super complicated. One or two is fine, like not requiring followers but giving an extra entry. But those that have like eight, I don’t feel more compelled to make an extra effort. Besides, if I like a contest, I’ll probably tweet about it anyway. I do about book reviews and posts I like. I just feel like many complicated extra entries takes away the purpose of a blog hop giveaway.

  30. So many great opinions! I agree that I like the google forms best for entering contests and I use to use them on my contests but my netbook doesn’t show enough of the form for me to be able to add entries, etc. Which means I’d have to pull out my old laptop and that thing gets me so mad I’d end up just throwing it across the room. I may start using the google form again and it’ll just take me days to add the entries because my computer won’t scroll sometimes. We’ll see, I guess.

    I get that the international people that host contests don’t have the resources that us US bloggers do. Not only do they not get as many books (though it depends on the country) for review but they aren’t getting to give them away for authors and publishers either. I still stand by my thoughts that if you have content people want to read they’ll follow you. But I understand the different sides of the story as well. We all have different opinions on this, and we’ll all just have to kind of let things go.

    Oh, and I don’t like to give things away to people who don’t follow my blog, but almost every single person who enters my contests is a follower. And I’ve never had to give anything away to a non-follower.

    I also hate having to jump through hoops for a contest. To be honest I prefer the quick form you fill out and no extra entries, BUT I know that doesn’t help your contest as it doesn’t help mine. You needed people to spread the word. So I do the extra entries for the big contests, and then for the author or publisher sponsored single books all I require is your email (or contact info of some sort).
    I also have the extra entries for my SW Sky giveaways. She’s giving something away every month and all she’s asking for is pageviews and maybe a few new followers. I think I’m going to change the contests with her to be extra entries for only her things (following her, etc) because I don’t really like all the millions of entries and many only do the required one.

  31. I host a lot of giveaways. Up until the beginning of this year I required people to follow to enter any of them. I was new to blogging and hadn’t really thought things through.

    Now I only require people to follow if they are my books and I’m shipping them out. I spend a lot of money shipping out prizes. Over $100 just this month and the month isn’t over yet. I don’t feel bad about asking for a follow if I’m forking out so much money. However I no longer require people to follow if the publisher or author is shipping out the book.

    I’ve also tried to get away from lots of extra entries. When I host a giveaway for an author or publisher I allow them to choose up to 3 optional extra entries – anything they choose. So there is a maximum of 4 entries per person. I did run a couple giveaways that had 5 optional extra entries but have really scaled it back.

    I won’t enter a giveaway that has a huge list of extra entries – +5 for tweeting, +20 for joining swagbucks, +50 for something else I don’t want to do – it’s so not worth my time and I really don’t have a chance anyway.

    Thanks for all the great comments! I’ve only been blogging for 7 months and hadn’t even given thought to much of what has been discussed. Time to reevaluate how I’m doing things :)

  32. Yeah, I think it’s good to have these discussions sometimes because it’s good to get everyone’s opinions. We don’t always think of everything.

    I kind of forgot about that whole thing of if your a follower you get +5 but you have to comment 5 times just for the ONE thing! I HATE that! When I have extra entries I limit them, AND it’s only one or two points each time. Lately it’s just been one, but if I do a google form then I might give more. I’ve been finding keeping things simple is really the best. It’s easier for me to add things up and it’s easier for people to enter.

    And to something I haven’t addressed in people’s comments~ leaving your address in the forms. I don’t mind leaving my address for the book blogs but if someone gives away other things I think I would worry they would sell it. I guess if I know their blog well maybe it wouldn’t be an issue. I haven’t asked for it because I thought people wouldn’t like to leave their address for a stranger, but I guess if I leave it as an option (only when I use a google form, of course) they can decide whether to leave it or not.
    It’s so great to hear all these different things! I love it!

    Oh, and Kathy, I did the math and I spend around $100 a month on giveaways too. Much of it is shipping. But I’ve been doing a lot of international giveaways. It all adds up! And Please, do NOT tell my hubby!

  33. I finally switched to using my Amazon.com credit card instead of my Disney rewards card. Soon I can use amazon rewards to help with giveaways. This has been my worst month as far as out of pocket because I also awarded over $100 in gift cards/books from the book depository. $10 here and $15 there sure adds up fast 8)

  34. I wholeheartedly agree with you about buying followers through giveaways or other means. I like to think that even though I have so few followers they were hard earned and more likely to come back and see what I have been up to. If I continue to be me I hope that there are people out there who will respect that. I must admit that those giveaways that only are meant to bring followers leave me with a poor taste for the particular blog. Admittedly I do like entering contests on blogs I already follow. I feel like I know these people a bit since I check in on their posts and like to participate in their stuff.

  35. Know what? I posted something similar to this a few months ago and after reading everyone chimes & then conducting another giveaway here is what I’ve opted to do:
    1- If I’m giving away a book that I do not have to pay for or chip myself I do the form & collect emails but do not require followers
    2- If I’m giving away a book from my own library then I don’t collect emails but only announce the winner on my blog. that way if they’re not a ‘reader’ they may miss it. I spent more than $80 last month on shipping costs alone. I’d prefer my money go to people who actually are ‘friends’.
    3- I always offer extra entries — I want more followers but I don’t want people to follow me just to get stuff! — but don’t require anyone to follow. (It’s too hard to check anyway!)
    – as for the extras all i do is copy & paste the name at the bottom again (but I never do more than 2 – post & tweet)
    4- While I absolutely am an affiliate for several sites (mostly bookstores) I’ve never actually made much money though I’ve gotten some great discounts, gift-certificates, and prizes, oh, and getting ‘free’ books is a major plus.
    Oh, & I’m with Kathy — please, DO NOT tell hubby that I spend more than I make!

    Good luck!

  36. As far as affiliate links I do post links/graphics to the books on amazon but it’s not a money making venture, I just post them because I like them. I used to link the books to goodreads but goodreads changed their page layout and I can’t grab the book image as easily now so it’s just as easy to link to amazon. I think my amazon account has a total of about 50 cents in it. Perhaps after a year or two I’ll have the required $10 for a gift card and I’ll just use it for a giveaway ;)

  37. I have been thinking quite a bit about your blog post. I have 104 followers. Of them only one comments regulary. I don’t know how many people actually read what I have to say. I have felt discouraged and compared myself to other successfull bloggers. I don’t write long reviews. I am a bottom line person. I realize that the most creative way to gain followers is to host contest. I pay for everything myself and want to only give things to people that subscribe to my post. I agree with you that if someone else is hosting the giveaway you shouldn’t make people follow you. I hate the jump through hoops contest and never participate in the +20 for doing this or that. I will post to the sidebar and for the really good contest I will make a contest blog post. (once I have several contest to blog about) I dont’ really do all this for me. Some of the contest I don’t even enter, I just put them on the blog for the readers that stop by. Sadly, the most traffic I get is when I do the contest post.

    I stumbled onto one of those 1000 dollar give aways this week and when I read about it, I felt dirty! No I didn’t enter.

    BOTTOM LINE: I like to participate in the book contest. I learn about new blogs, opinions of books (because usually people only give away books they really like) and I meet new people. I like following the little known blogs that are like me. I know they blog for the same reason I do. For themselves. It makes me happy to blog and if I can make someone else happy along the way – it makes my hard work seem a little sweeter. Thank you for posting about this topic I hope that people will be reminded of the reasons they started blogging to begin with.
    kjovus at gmail dot com

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