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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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