Saturday, 18 August 2012

Free giveaways, monthly contests and popularity addictions. Authors losing the plot long after they finish writing the plot.

I have been asked a few times by visitors of this blog why I don't use some sort of plugin or software on the "Monthly Contest" page, because the name of the individual featured there is revealed to everyone through the comments section. There are two reasons for this action:

a) Because this is an ad-free blog and I plan to keep it that way. Contest plugins and software are products which advertise their source while using them. The goal is to keep this space completely ad-free and any links or plugins that might redirect you somewhere, will only be to social networking sites like Facebook who offer free registrations and make their money through their traffic, not by selling products directly. 

and b) because frankly, since there is only one copy of The Unwords available every month, and since this blog is not making any revenue out of traffic or ads... then why would I need more than one entrant? 

Which brings me to the actual topic of this post. 

About a month or so, I made a copy of The Unwords available for a free giveaway on Goodreads and then I naturally started sending messages to my friends there to notify them about it. Then I suddenly realised something...I was actually conducting spam.

I mean, let's be honest here...the number of entries in any given giveaway, does not reflect the actual popularity of your book. Therefore the notion that "the more people enter to win my book the more popular and appreciated my book will get" is completely false. And I apologise to all my fellow writers who might be reading this, but truth is... nobody cares about our books before they read them. 

If you have one copy to give, the only person that might (key word here is "might") appreciate your book, is the person that will actually get the chance to read it. The rest will simply move along to the next "free" offer and your book's popularity and appreciation will remain unchanged or might get a +1...from the actual winner of the giveaway.

Your job, as an author, is not to make people care about your books before they read them... your job is to write good enough books that will actually make people care AFTER they read them. So if you have one copy to give and already a few people requesting it...just let it be. Don't bomb people with emails and notifications in an attempt to gather more requests. It shouldn't matter to you, the author, how many people request it. In the end...only one will matter. So the focus should be placed on actually writing a book that has something to offer to that one person. Because after the winner is announced and you've had, for example, a thousand requests... trust me on this one, at the end of the day...

...999 people simply won't give a shit.


  1. A question. As a writer, would you prefer to have a certain number of readers who truly appreciate your work or would you like to be among the bestselling ones? Not in a commercial way of course, like Paulo Coelho f. ex. or from-some-reason-Nobel-Prize-winner Doris Lessing, but rather as someone who has just published a book that cannot be compared to any modern genre...

  2. Eh-hem... Unless I don't win the book in your giveaway, 998 will not care. Why? I am guessing the person who receives the book will care (at least to some extent, I would he or she would care) and me - because I would have not been the lucky one to receive a copy of your book...

    1. Well, technically speaking...people who miss out on giveaways don't feel sad because they lost the specific book. They generally get sad because they lost. If I entered a contest in the hope of winning a free after shave, I would be sad if I lost of course... but it doesn't mean that I care about the after shave. Cause if I did care, I would've bought the thing afterwards. Some of my readers have "bought" The Unwords after missing out on the giveaways, and I thank them for their support, it's truly my honour. But these examples of people who care are only a few and too far in between. Out of the one thousand requests I've had on the last giveaway, only 3 actually cared enough to buy it afterwards. So the care/don't care ratio is roughly around 3 : 997 (sorry for taking so long to reply, I completely missed your post for some reason)