One of our recent Curated Contest blogs included a link to a post about giveaways and scams. If you missed the link, you can find the post here. In a nutshell it comes down to this:
- Jo Author writes a book and offers free copies through a giveaway on Goodreads.
- Bo Scam Artist enters giveaway (along with many other readers) and wins book.
- Jo Author autographs her book and mails it to Bo Scam Artist.
- Bo Scam Artist immediately turns around and lists the book for sale on Amazon (in “like new” condition, of course).
- Bo Scam Artist sells book and pockets the money.
- Jo Author nets zero profit, and is out the cost of postage to Bo Scam Artist.
Pretty nasty, right?
When I first ran the scenario through my head I was outraged. Yet another scammer making money off an author. Seriously, what kind of ethics does someone have to do this? Authors give away books in the hope of netting readers who are interested in their work, will read the book, and leave a review. We’re not in the market of supplementing someone’s income with giveaways.
Then I took a moment to focus. I got off my high horse and stepped down from the pulpit.
- Bo Scam Artist may be unethical, but I opened the giveaway to anyone.
- Bo Scam Artist is making money off me—I’m out the profit on the book—but I hadn’t planned to make money on it anyway. I offered it in a giveaway.
- Whoever bought the book from Bo Scam Artist was clearly interested in reading the book, or they wouldn’t have paid $$$ for it. That’s a potential fan who might buy other books I’ve written which will net me a profit.
So, are Goodreads giveaways worth doing? It’s been reported that even the advance copies publishers are sending out to reviewers are being sold on Amazon. Ridiculous, right?
Let’s take it a step further: How many times have you offered an ebook as a giveaway on a blog tour or promotion? How many times have you won an ebook from a blog tour or promotion? How many of the books that you gave away have actually turned into reviews? How many books that you’ve won have you actually read?
I’ve won books I haven’t read and I’ve won books I’ve read and enjoyed. Lately, I’ve made it a habit to only comment on a blog (offering a free ebook) if I’m interested in reading the book. That’s sometimes hard because you might want to support the host blogger, but I hate for the guest to award a book that may never be read. That doesn’t seem fair to them.
Let’s face it, we all have preferences when it comes to reading, and while it’s nice to venture into a different genre now and again, there are some genres we’ll never read. I know I won’t. So what do you do?
I’ve given away plenty of books. We all have. We try to find readers wherever we can, but we need to be prepared when giveaways don’t turn out the way we planned. When we don’t get the review from the ebook giveaway or when our paperback winds up on Amazon and someone else is making a profit on our work. It’s a crap shoot. You may win, you may not. Is it worth the roll of the dice?
What would you do? Let’s talk giveaways, Goodreads, Amazon, and ebook wins. Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s get some discussion going.