How I run a #Bookstagram Giveaway.

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Hello my lovelies. It’s been a little while since we talked.

Today, since I’ve just finished running one, I thought I’d talk about giveaways with you and share some details of  how I organize mine. I’m always receiving DM’s in Instagram asking me questions about this, so I figured I’d write a post that hopefully will help some of you if you’re thinking of hosting one and don’t know where to start.

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I have to say, I just LOVE running giveaways, and I am always on the lookout for fun bookish merchandise when I’m shopping . I pick up bits n’ bobs all the time, and squirrel them away ready for the next one.

I hosted my very first giveaway about six months after I started my Bookstagram account. I’d already been on Instagram for about five years with a personal account, so I knew my way around the site, but I was new to the whole Bookstagram corner. I hosted my first giveaway with the hope that the people who entered would find that they enjoyed my feed, and would stick around!

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When you first start your account, it’s difficult to get new followers right away, and running a small giveaway is a fun way to direct people to your feed and have them notice you. Not everyone who follows you will stay, but it’s a super way to start making new friends. Fellow readers  will follow for a chance to win, but will hopefully stay because they enjoy your feed and find they have common interests with you. My first giveaway only attracted about fifty entries, but it was exciting for me and I
made many new friends.

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So, my first and most important piece of advice for you if you are considering hosting a giveaway of your own is to  please only spend what you can afford. Please do not get yourself into debt by purchasing giveaway gifts that you will leave you broke. In fact you don’t even have to buy new. Many Bookstagrammer’s offer giveaways for books that they have recently read and want to pass on. This is a wonderful way to pay it forward!

 

If you are buying new, then I’d suggest that you try and buy things that are universally liked in the bookish world (hello Harry Potter) and/ or can be associated with your feed (if you want to get technical we can say ‘your personal brand’). My signature giveaway gifts started off as always including a book, a cup and a candle, to underline my instagram handle of @bookscupsandcandles . As time passed I started including extra goodies as I spotted them, and my giveaways have now grown to multiple choice ones as I try to find something for everyone. I love to make people happy!

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I’m blessed to life right next to the ‘happiest place on earth’ -Disney, and also Universal studio’s here in Orlando. I’m also very aware that many people may never be lucky enough to visit these places, so I try to add something special and unique to my choices so that the winner can have a piece of Disney or Authentic Harry Potter gifts, for example. Likewise, I know how popular Funko Pops are, as
I’m a constant collector myself. I try to include an exclusive funko pop in most of my choices, so that the winner can have something extra special and rare in their prize pack.

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I started offering multiple choices simply because I wanted to provide something special for everyone. It may be hard to believe but not everyone is a Harry Potter fan (only 99% of the bookstagram world is, lol). So I try to cover as many fandoms and age groups as I can.

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Similarly, in my giveaways you may wonder why I ask you to repost the particular picture of your prize choice, on your grid. The reason I do this is not to lock you into a particular choice- you can always change your mind if you win- I actually do this to gauge for myself which fandom and prize pack will be the most popular. I want to see what you want. It gives me a sense of direction for future giveaways, so I know what to look for, what you guys really want to see offered in a giveaway. Because I do this, I now know for sure that I can never run a giveaway without including something for the Harry Potter fans. I think I’d be lynched if I didn’t include him!

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So, you have your giveaway prize pack ready and you’re eager to begin it. WAIT! The first thing you need to do now is factor the shipping/ postage costs into your equation. First decide how much you can afford to pay for shipping. If your budget is around twenty dollars/pound etc, then keep it as a national giveaway. Shipping around the world is expensive. Before I start my giveaways I always make sure I have the shipping costs set aside. As a rule of thumb, when sending from the United States internationally, it costs between $70-$100 for a package if you’re sending books, mugs, candles. So always be sure you have the funds if you want to go international.

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The way I send my prizes out these days is so much different to when I first started. I send the book part of the prize pack separately now and use Amazon global shipping to purchase it, and they send direct. This way I avoid the huge costs that are incurred with a heavy weight in my parcel, and also customs costs . Similarly, I’ll often send the cup/mug part of my prize pack seperately too. I buy them from either Society6 or Redbubble and they ship internationally free!

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Finally, I then make up a cute prize box of the remaining items and send them off of their merry way to the lucky winner. In most cases the winner is thrilled to receive their prizes and are eager to share on a post of their own. I’ve only had one case where the winner didn’t seem to care. I’ll be honest, it broke my heart, They did not appear grateful at all and only  eventually reposted a half hearted response after I asked them to. I do hope that my winners repost  when they receive their gifts, because I want the other entrants to know that my giveaways are authentic. So many companies host giveaways and you never find out who won. I don’t trust those at all.

And besides, if you share a picture of your giveaway winnings, I’m going to repost it and that too will draw more people to your own feed. Win/win!

 

Drawing the giveaway is definitely my least favorite part of the process. I’m sure there are much quicker ways to do it, but I’m a creature of habit and I wait until the closing date and then I input the names into a word document. I start by going through the comments where people have tagged their friends. I ‘like’ the tag to show that I’ve seen it, and then I go onto their feed/grid to be sure that they are following me and that they have taken the time to repost the prize pack picture. When I see it, I ‘like’ it and we’re done. The entry is in and the picture can now be taken down.

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Now let’s be honest, nobody really wants to repost any of the giveaway pictures on their beautiful feeds. But its a small ask. You can easily edit them to fit your feed. The way to look at it is that the host of the giveaway has spent a long time searching for the perfect items, paid for them out of their own pocket (in my case anyway) and has to ship them too. My philosophy with this is that: If you care, you share! We are helping each other after all.

 

I hope this post has helped you if you are thinking about hosting your own giveaway. I’m by no means suggesting that my methods are perfect- far from it,  but I did want to highlight why I run them, how I choose what to offer, and how I count the entries.

 

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As I said earlier, I LOVE hosting giveaways, its fun, its exciting and I really believe that it brings the community together a little. I can’t tell you how often I smile when I see you all tagging each other and getting excited about it. And YES, when people take the time to thank me along with the tag, it always warms my heart. xxxx

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Welcome to my Soak Sunday Week 8

 

 

aqua bath grl 3Hi guys, I hope you’ve all had a super weekend, I did! My husband had to work both days but I got to go to the mall and treat myself to some pamper products and new clothes, and then we went out to eat together both days. Then this afternoon we did something that we promised each other we would do one day; and that was to go on a bike ride!

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He bought me a new retro style bike that I had fallen in love with and we coasted through our subdivision. I loved it! especially the feeling of the breeze through my hair. It was so relaxing. But I was more than ready for my bath tonight.

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This week’s #soaksunday is all about summer. Right now I’m reading through my contemporary novel shelves, and some of these covers are simply good enough to eat.

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I haven’t been very diligent about with posting my Sunday soaks recently and I apologise. I’ve had my family over from England and we’ve been spend the last three weeks seeing all the attractions and the beaches here in Florida, and when we arrived home I just was too exhausted to pull out the camera. I’d just soak and try to sty awake. But it’s back to business as usual now and I hope to be able to supply you with some bath eye candy to wrap up your weekend.

So today I chose Jay Asher’s book ‘What Light’. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

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Here is the synopsis:

“A beautiful story of love and forgiveness.”
—Stephen Chbosky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

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Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

 

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For the bath I chose a cocktail of these products:

Firstly I used Lush shower gel in Yummy Mummy I followed this with a strainer of crushed Lush Candy Mountain and Unicorn Manor’s Bath crumble. If only you could smell how delicious these scents were together, they were heavenly. I added a bath bomb from Hip Modern Soap, in ‘Carnival’ and then I was ready for a luxurious soak with a great new read.

 

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The candle I used is a new one from Amanda at Northavecandles which is so gorgeous. It’s ‘Cherry Trees & Apple Blossom and the title speaks for itself. I really love it! If you would like to save ten percent on your first order, just use the code: BCC10 at checkout. How cool is that?! Amanda is one of my favorite candle makers, along with Unicorn Manor, and I use their candles daily; so its a pleasure to showcase their products.

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My bathroom smelled so floral and sweet, like I was bathing in a candy store.

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I feel so much more relaxed after my soak and I think I’m going to go on more bike rides now, they’re so much more relaxing than runs but still a super way to keep toned. Maybe I’ll alternate! I hope you’ve enjoyed my eighth soak Sunday post, and I hope it inspire you to create your own. If you do please tag me @bookscupsandcandles won’t you.

Lot of love, Sally xxaqua-grl-turban

Alice in Wonderland themed Giveaway!

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Hi guys,

As promised, I’m just popping up this post for you so you can see what goodies are included in my Instagram  #bookscupsandcandles8k giveaway. I do love to host a giveaway, and I think I get just as excited as my participants do. I was thrilled to see that the winners of my last giveaway, which was Beauty and the Beast themed, were from  different countries. I sent prizes to Sunny colorado here in the U.S and then to Italy and to France. I’m just hoping the European ladies get theirs soon. I can’t wait to hear from them. Anyway, here are some pictures of this giveaway, I’ll include details at the end of the post on how to enter .

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My giveaways always include a book, a cup and a candle of course, but I have fun looking for cute items that fit the theme that I have chosen. so firstly the book. I am giving you a choice of either the Hardback edition with the black and red cover or the U.K paperback edition. Your choice!

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The hardback here is shown without its cover as my copy was from a subscription box. Yours will be new. Or you may prefer to choose the book on the right,the U.K paperback copy 

 

 

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I have also included a stunning Alice themed coloring book. It’s really lovely. The cup is a really sweet mug designed by Evie Bookish. I chose the black and white monochrome design with the script on it as I think it matches so beautifully with the checkered tablecloth and also the Heartless book cover when the jacket is removed.

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I’m also including a new funko Pop Alice. There is a fridge magnet ‘We’re all mad here’ and this adorable library style bookmark which has kindly been donated by Amanda from North Ave Candles.  Also, in honor of my #soaksunday bath posts, I have added a Unicorn rainbow bath bubble from Lush.And what about these darling little props. These are a Disney set (yours will be new in box) that make super cute photo props. They are glittery and sparkle so nicely.

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There are more in the set. Alice is included, but I think she’s gone visiting today. 😉

They’re really cute. I think Disney make these sets for just about every movie that they made. I’d love to collect more.

 

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I mustn’t forget the cushion cover/pillow case that I waited so long for. It is such a good size too. I’m very happy with mine. Yours is new in packet and is sealed. Again, I have chosen to keep to the monochrome colors.

 

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Cute right? There are also magnetic Alice themed bookmarks included, and I’ve added some pins/ badges to the haul. Finally I am so grateful to Amanda from North Ave candles. She has also donated March’s candle of the month ‘The March Hare’ It smells delicious!

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I really love Amanda’s candles, and she is the sweetest person you ever could meet. I remember placing my first order with Amanda and putting it to the back of my mind because I was so used to candle makers taking 3-6 weeks to deliver. I was totally stoked when my order arrived less than a week later! It was so refreshing! And I fell madly in love with her bookish themed candles immediately . They smell SO GOOD! You must try them.

 

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Well, I think that’s all the prizes listed. Now the details of how to enter. It closes 10th April – thats tomorrow night from this post going up. You will also get two extra entries if you like and comment on this post =)

To enter, just follow my link to the original Instagram post which I will list at the end.

You will need to:

  1. Like the original post
  2. Follow my feed @bookscupsandcandles
  3. Tag 3 friends who may be interested
  4. repost the original picture with the #bookscupsandcandles8k   (screenshot it and crop and repost

ALL STEPS MUST BE TAKEN or entry is void.

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I can’t express how important this is. On so many of my giveaways, a persons name comes up and I check their feed and they haven’t reposted or followed, so I move on and draw another name. It’s sad really. They would have won. I don’t think it’s a lot to ask. It helps me to grow my feed and at the end of the giveaway you can delete your picture!

Rules: Obviously I’m not affiliated with Instagram or any of its sister companies.

  1. Must be a public account
  2. must repost, follow, like, hashtag etc
  3. no giveaway accounts

Not many rules as you can see. Finally follow this link for the post: Bookscupsandcandles

I’ll be drawing the winner on the 17th April. One week from closing date.

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The next giveaway is Harry Potter themed and will start shortly after to celebrate my 9K. However, I’m heading fast towards 10K now so there will be yet another giveaway when I reach that milestone. That will be huge because 10K is such an achievement for me.

Thank you guys so much for following me. I love books and reading so much, I really love this community and all the friends I have made along the way.

GOOD LUCK GUYS!

lots of love, Sally xxx

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Huge Bookish Birthday Giveaway!

Hi again guys, and welcome back to my blog.

Today I wanted to share some details about a huge exciting new giveaway that I’m hosting over on my Instagram page. You can find me there under the name @bookscupsandcandles.

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I’m celebrating two things: Firstly, that I’ve reached 5K followers on my Bookstagram account, and Secondly, to celebrate the birth of this blog =)

This is the biggest giveaway that I’ve ever hosted so I’m extra excited. On previous giveaways I’ve asked you what themes you would be interested in, and I discovered that the most popular choices were either, Harry Potter, (no surprises there) and Disney.

They were fun giveaways for sure, but I figured that as popular as these themes were, I couldn’t guarantee to please everyone. Then I thought some more and I figured, ‘Why don’t I set choices for my fellow book lovers’? So this idea was born. Here’s the details.

I’ve set up three different theme choices for you. You get to decide which of the three themes suits your style best. The first is Harry Potter themed.I call this #Pack 1

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The first item is a hardback copy of J.K.Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. The very first in the Harry Potter series. I have added to this, a Brand new Funko Pop Hogwarts train. The one you see here is mine, but yours will be brand spanking new in the box. Now maybe you already have this one, in which case you can choose a different carriage from this set. You can have Ron’s carriage or Hermione’s! In addition to these lovelies are an amazing Fred & George bookmark and also a ‘Potterhead’ badge / button from the talented ladies at @boookmarky. Find their store here Also note the cute Hermione pen, and the Lord Voldermort key ring. I love this tiny bookmark from @janestinythings that you can pick up from her store Finally, exclusive to this set is an i Pad 2 skin, with my favorite HP quote on it. This is by by Nesstle66

Now I love a bit of sparkle in my pictures, so included in all three choices of packs, there are copper battery- operated fairy lights that can be bent and wound and draped and wrapped around all your gorgeous books.

Also in each choice of pack is this delightful bookish mug by @lucyintheskycreations. Her art is so amazing, I sigh at the beauty of everything she designs. find store here

Last item that is included in all three packs is this candle from @novellyyours candle store

 

So now we move on to Pack #2 The Witchy pack.

 

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This is my personal favorite! Well, fall is almost here and with it ,Halloween, so I just HAD to do something for this season, right?

The first item is a fabulous hardcover book ‘The Silver Witch’ by Paula Brackston. I only recently discovered this amazing author and I am in love with her writing style. I ended up marathoning most of her books. I’ve added a different mug here. This one is by @eviebookish  Find it here But you still have the option of the mug from Pack #1 if you prefer.  I have added a gorgeous leather grimoire (spell book) or note-book if you don’t want to make your own spells – handmade in India by artisans.

Note also the adorable witches broom prop! Perfect for your Halloween photos. Right at the back there is a cloth bag full of herbs and flowers that I purchased from @ethereal_tarot  at her amazing store Hopefully they’ll bring love and peace into your home. Last item is this Blu-ray edition of Hocus Pocus. I just need the winner to let me know what region your country takes, i.e., PAL or NTSC.

Finally we move on to Pack #3 The Girly pack!

 

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The book in this pack is an adorable notebook which says: ‘I am simply a book drunkard’ Cute right? This pack included the highly sought after @kyliecosmetics Birthday lip kit in ‘Leo’. I figured this was a cool addition to the pack since it’s the Birthday of my blog, and my giveaway ends on my actual birthday  =)

This set was almost $40 alone and they’re selling on e bay now for HUGE money, so if it isn’t quite your shade, you can sell it on and BUY MORE BOOKS!!!  I have added a smaller book journal. This is so cute, you can just journal all the books you have read and there are some great prompts in it.

Tinker bell always manages to sneak into my giveaways somehow. Here is a cute Tinkerbell pen for that book journal. Finally just the cutest, sparkly blue change purse for if you ever manage to have change from all those books that you are buying!

oh I almost forgot about the Bookish book bag! This is also from @eviebookish. Perfect for book hauls and library hauls alike!

I do hope you love everything. I have tried my very best to offer a good selection of choices for everybody.

Kindly follow me on Instagram for all the rules and instructions etc. Please comment below  and remember to leave  your Instagram name too, for an extra FIVE entries into my giveaway.

It ends at midnight (Florida time) on October 9th.

Let me know what you guys think.

Have an amazing day,

Love Sally xxxx

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Books, Cups & Candles!

 

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“Hello! Welcome! Please, come on in.”

I open the door wide and beckon you into my home with a smile. I’m really looking forward to this visit.

“ It’s so lovely to meet you. I would be thrilled if you would stay a while; I’d love us to get to know each other better. Can I offer you a drink perhaps? Or a snack…?”

While this is how I would love to welcome you into my home, it’s rather different with a blog isn’t it? It takes a little more creativity to make that connection between us, but I’m confident that it can be done, and I promise I’m going to do my absolute best to ensure that you find what you are looking for on these pages.

I want you to enjoy your visit to my page just as much as if we were sat chatting with me over tea, either at my home or yours, or in some cozy café.

As difficult as that sounds to pull off, my hope is that you want to linger, to browse, and to have to force yourself to leave, dragging your feet reluctantly, as you back out of the door.

But I’ll need your help if we are going to accomplish this. This means I need your comments, and e-mails. Tell me what you like. Tell me what you want to see more of. Tell me what doesn’t fire up your enthusiasm. This is all for you. Please feel free to make suggestions to me of what I can do to grip your interest and to make you come back for more!

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. First things first: “Hi, I’m Sally and I am a book addict.”

While that sounds a little like a welcome to some addiction counseling meeting, I really feel it is the most fitting description of me. You see, reading comes as naturally to me as breathing, and I cannot last a single day without feasting on words. I figure you must feel a little that way too, since you’re here. How wonderful: a meeting of minds.

So let me tell you a little about what I hope to offer you here…

When I read, I read everything. By this I mean there is no genre safe from my prying eyes. Whether it be fantasy, adventure, true crime, contemporary, classics, or even a touch of romance, I’m game to devour them all. Greedy? …Perhaps, but not so greedy that I don’t want to share my favorite reads with you!

And Let me tell you, I love to feed my brain. I love to learn, so expect non-fiction too, and plenty of it.

Here’s a little more about me: Firstly, the name of my blog. You see I am not only a total book nerd; I am a serious collector of candles. I have thirty-five Yankee candles in my bedroom, and one in every other room in my house. In addition, I have many other brands of candles that I also love, (read this to mean that I’ve lost count) and use daily. Every morning it is part of my routine to light a candle, just as naturally as I open the curtains to let in the light. I read by candlelight where possible, and I find it so relaxing.

Similarly, Tea is my favorite drink; I am always on the look out for new and delicious blends to try, so I also love a pretty cup or ten to interchange daily.

I think I’m an addictive collector at heart. I guess there may have been a danger of me becoming a client on one of the ‘Hoarders’ TV shows if my other obsession wasn’t interior design. I get such a kick out of making over my little nest; that I’m always looking for new ideas to share.

Well, I think that’s all you need to know about what to expect here in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know. Now you’ve got to know me better, I hope you’ll come back soon. I have great plans for you!

Enjoy!

P.S. You can also find me on Instagram. @bookscupsandcandles

Sally xxx