Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down is a newish feature on my blog. If you are a loyal follower of my blog, you know that I put a big emphasis on interaction and discussion and my favorite posts are the ones with a lot of interaction. I also like a good healthy debate where opinions are shared and respected. You may also know that I like talking about random bookish things. Put all of that together and you get my inspiration for this new feature. Every other week I will give a topic to be discussed. You can give your vote on whether or not it is a thumbs up or a thumbs down for you and then explain why. The topics will cover anything related to reading, blogging, the book industry, etc. etc. Basically whatever is on my mind! This feature is NOT intended to be a place to bash anybody or start a nasty fight or controversy. It is a platform for a mature discussion and sharing of opinions
Last TU/TD we discussed ARC tours and this week is all about requiring a follow for a giveaway. Next time, going along with this week’s theme, we will be discussing extra entries on giveaways.
Giveaways and contests are such a great way to promote books, share them and also bring traffic to your blog. Some blogs have giveaways almost daily and some have them sporadically for things like hitting a certain amount of followers or for blogging for a year. Some giveaways are simple to enter and some make you practically jump through hoops to even enter. We’ll leave the extra entries talk for the next installment but what I want to talk about is when giveaways make you follow the blog to even be entered into the giveaway. So let’s talk: Have you done this before/do you currently? Why or why not. Do you enter giveaways that require you to follow? Do you think it skews how “successful” a blog actually is to a publisher? Is it the easy way out to gain followers and traffic? Etc. Etc. I want to discuss it all! And remember, before you post, this is meant to be a mature discussion and not a bash-fest. I won’t tolerate that.
My Humble Opinion: I’ve been blogging for 6 months now. For our first giveaway we ever did on my other blog (The Broke and the Bookish) we made it a requirement to follow. We were only 1 month into blogging and still trying to figure out the blogosphere and I had entered contests that did that. My other rationale was that it was for reaching 100 followers so it made sense. We didn’t actually get that many entries, which I’m kind of glad about, so I don’t feel so bad for making somebody follow us. Since then, we’ve only done 1 other giveaway and we didn’t require followers. I’ve only done a few on this blog and I’ve never required followers. Extra entries are a different story that I’ll talk about next time. At the end of the day, I think, it’s a personal preference. It’s your blog and you can do whatever you want. But my personal preference is not to do it. I believe in hard work and gaining readership by putting out quality reviews and discussions and interacting with your readers. I like doing giveaways but I can’t afford them and I don’t exactly have publishers knocking down my doors to give me free books. I’m happy with that though. I love the discussions that go one on both of my blogs and I’m sure loyal readers can attest to some good discussions. I’d rather have people be following my blog because they genuinely want to. Do I think it makes some blogs look “like a big deal” to publishers? Yes, but I also think publishers can see through some of it if they look hard enough. And really I think that follower count is kinda pointless now. It’s like follower inflation with all the crafty ways people are using to get fast followers..by giving free books and stuff. It’s like when kids in college would cheat and screw up the curve for the rest of us who didn’t take shortcuts and worked hard. And at the end of the day, I really don’t care too much. I love my readers and I will blog even if only 10 people remain with me. It all depends on your purpose for blogging and what is important to you. I sometimes do enter giveaways that require me to follow. Sometimes I stay because I actually like their content and sometimes I unfollow because I know, realistically looking at my overflowing Google Reader, that I’ll never read their blog again. Do I want people coming to my blog? Heck yes! If I have a giveaway I want them to keep coming back though..for more than just what I’m giving away. I’d like to think what I have on my blog is of value too!
What do you think? Rock that vote!