Revising contest policy

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I’ve got a friend…her name is Lime.  No, not really.  But that’s what I’ll tell people.  She’s got this saying she uses on twitter sometimes, and it’s so cute…that makes me sad…on the inside.

So I have this thing…and it makes me sad on the inside.  See my sad little bear, even?

I do these contests.

And I have a very clear disclaimer that makes it very clear that if you wanna win, you have to check back on the blog.

Now I give people about a week or two, because I’m usually pretty vague when I’ll end these…along the lines of…

  • it will run for a few days
  • it runs thru the end of the month
  • it will end sometime next week

So I’m not a hard nose it, saying somebody has to claim the prize within XX amount of hours.  I do make it clear that people do need to contact me to claim the prize.

Why?  I mean… why can’t I email them?

That’s easy.  I used to do that.  But there were some winners I would try to contact for weeks.  There was one prize, I ended up trying to track down the winners for almost a year.  Sometimes I’d email people every other day for 2-3 weeks.

Finally, it dawned on me.

If I enter a contest and really want the prize?  I’m going to at least check back.

So that decided me.  If people really want the prizes they are entering for on my blog, in my newsletter, etc, they can check back.

I don’t give a super-tight deadline.  It’s usually a week or so, and I’m fairly lenient.

And if the prize isn’t claimed, I usually draw another winner.

But this is also getting time consuming.

So I’m revising my rules. With the exception of prizes offered by guest bloggers, from here on out, if the prizes aren’t claimed by the original winners within a set period of time, instead of drawing a new set of names, I now reserve the right to end that contest without awarding the prize and just hold the prize for a future contest.

This gets tedious, people.  I realize it might not sound like much, but it’s not just a three minute thing-although even if it was, if you have fifty 3 minute things to do piled on top of everything else you’re expected to…well, that’s a lot of minutes, and I often have a lot of things dumped on me that are ‘only going to take a few minutes.

I don’t have an assistant who helps me with any of this.  Well, there is the bratlet, but she’s still not ready to take on any online chores yet-that’s a few years off.  Which means all these little details are still things I have to work in on top of writing and everything else that goes with writing for a living and too many of these things add up and take time away from writing.

So I decided I’m either going to have to cut back on contests (or stop with them) or revise how I do them.  I figured you all would prefer I change how I do them.

Basically, if there’s a contest here that you wanna win… CHECK BACK.  That’s been my policy for a good long while-it’s in the disclaimer and I always remind people to read the disclaimer

15 Replies to “Revising contest policy”

  1. Good for you Shiloh, you’re right if we want the prize we’ll check. Give a set amount of time, then draw again or keep for another time, your choice.

  2. Totally understand. Cause it’s not like you have deadlines with books, chores to do at home, children or a husband. Of course you should wait on us.

    Glad you’re cutting back. I would hate for you to get burned out. Mostly for selfish reasons you understand. How would I get my fix if you can’t write?

  3. I totally understand! For me, I love my Google Reader. I use it. As long as an author/blogger does the winner in a new post, I am going to see who won. Beth Kery was having the same problem and I actually put together a quick “How to use Google Reader” blog post for her.
    You are definitely being totally fair!

  4. I completely agree with you. It’s the main reason why I quit doing so many giveaways. It became time consuming and work, instead of fun for everyone.

  5. Makes sense. It must be a pain to keep having to draw names later on (though another suggestion would be to draw like 5 names and keep the ones who didn’t immediately win in reserve if the original people don’t show up).

    I use Google Reader to read blogs too. XD It’s annoying checking each and every blog I want to read every day (which may or may not have updated), and GR makes it so much easier. 😀

  6. It’s an idea, but it’s not really one that helps as much with the time-consumption, Jamie. It still requires another post, which is part of the time-consuming part. I’m eliminating as much of the time-consuming things as I can. If this doesn’t help, I’m going to start cutting back on the contests, but I figure this will do it. The people who really want to win will be getting the prizes, as they’ll be the ones checking back and I don’t have to keep doing up posts and figuring out where to schedule them in, as well.

  7. Ah, gotcha. Yeah, I don’t understand people who don’t read the rules and know that they’re supposed to check back–their loss, in any case. But probably majorly annoying for you.

  8. Lime’s right…it’s sad. I always wonder when I see that I prize has to be regifted why the original winner didn’t care enough to check back. I completely agree with your decision. I have a blog that often has guest blogger giveaways and am amazed by how many I have to redraw for. You’re right it’s time consuming and annoying. Just offering a prize to begin with is generous…going to the lengths you have in the past is going beyond what you should have to do.

    And hey if you need an online assist, sign me up 🙂

  9. Being a mean person–and having run a share of giveaways for Novel Thoughts and for Ann Aguirre on different venues–I keep a list of people who don’t claim prizes.

    Any names/email addys there are automatically disqualified from any subsequent giveaways I’m involved with. If a person can’t be bothered to read the rules, I have no obligation to consider them in the future–harsh, but that’s life.

  10. I totally support that. Once you’ve chosen a winner most people don’t check back for a redraw name anyway. Only your regulars keep coming back. I get mostly annoyed with people who just comment their name & email & just say I want to win. Most of the time they don’t even have the courtesy to answer the question that is asked.

  11. Totally understandable. You’re right. If they want to win, they need to come back and check. Especially considering you don’t have to give anything away.

    I always try to get back in time and check. Thankfully, if I’ve entered I’ve been able to catch it in the few days after it’s been posted.

    Sucks to miss out, but yeah, you should pay attention to the rules.

  12. Makes complete sense, Shiloh! (Good thinking, Lime! 😉 Give that girl a prize!)

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