Giving Stuff Away Is Hard Work

Two Big Boxes of Books for Big Book Giveaway 2010

I finally unpacked the three cartons of books that arrived from the printer’s last week, ripped out the packing material, counted the quantities to make sure they were all there, and combined them with my leftover stock into two big piles. Sent out three copies: two autographed for last week’s giveaways and one more for BookMooch. That last one I didn’t give away, technically, because you receive 11 books for every 10 you give away on BookMooch. And thereby I’ve given away a bunch of used books I wanted to get rid of and traded them for others I wanted to read. I imagine most BookMooch users are in my same situation and end up giving more than they mooch.

Anyhow, I’ve done giveaways before, but I never realized how much work they can be, at least not when done a whole bunch at a time, just as the Holiday Season is ramping up.

  1. First you have to find people who want to give away your book. You’d think everyone would love to give away free stuff. Okay, so almost everyone does love to give away free stuff. But you still have to find them, email them, offer them a book to give away.

  2. Then you have to follow up with them. Different bloggers have different ways when it comes to giving away books. Some do it all the time and have a well-established process they use to make sure they have all their ducks in a row; others have never done it before and need you to provide a checklist for them. Some bloggers want to do a straight giveaway; others want to run a contest. Either is fine with me, but even so, I have to say so, make sure everyone’s comfortable and everything’s all set.

  3. Interviews. Some bloggers want me to write a little something. One even asked me to do a blog interview. Don’t get me wrong; I love doing blog interviews. But I sat down to answer her insightful questions, and I immediately discovered something I didn’t believe existed: writer’s block. I think this software-development work is making me lose my touch. Following that, each member of the family, including the cat, took a turn at interrupting my train of thought. Ah, it’s just like old times.

  4. Unpacking the books. And then signing them. I look at that stack, and I think of the writer’s cramp I’m gonna have when I finally get through them all. And then packing them all up, addressing them, and them mailing them out. Fortunately, I’m all set to have books shipped from my home office. But I noticed the other day, the packing supplies are running low. I’ve always wondered how the UPS guy feels about delivering a large, heavy, cardboard box full of nothing but more cardboard boxes.

  5. Showing your appreciation. One blogger specifically asked me to send her a copy of my novel. Love that! But I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of a more general gift. Right now, I’m thinking, a small Amazon or B&N gift certificate. (I probably shouldn’t have said that. Most of the bloggers hosting these giveaways have no idea that I planned to give them anything. Now it won’t be a surprise. Oh well.)