An Update on Giveaways

Rebecca EthingtonWhat's Ahead22 Comments

Or Why I May Never Do Another Giveaway Again…

And the thought breaks my heart.

Big Time.

I am going to try not to get ranty  – but as with all things that are close to my heart, as with all things that hurt. It may not be possible.

So I am going to put on ‘Happy’ By Pharrell Williams find a whole lot of minion gifs and plunge head in.

As you know I published on a bet – and the success of The Imdalind Series still blows my mind. I am so eternally grateful to each and everyone one of you who have picked up my book, who have read it, who have loved it, who have become a fan.

You mean the world to me. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Because I am so grateful for each of you, because your love for my works gives me a passion to give back, and to find anyway to say thanks.

Which means I do LOTS and LOTS of giveaway’s.

And I love them.

I think the final tally (done for taxes) was that I spent well over 8k in giveaways and shipping’s last year…. That’s a lot. And I regret none of them. I lovingly signed every book, every bookmark, packed each package and sent it off with a smile.

Which is why when I was getting ready for Soul of Flame’s release I planned A LOT of giveaways. A LOT.

Like enough to fill pages of gifts and addresses.

A LOT

But the story of why I am seriously reconsidering my giveaway begins before that.

WAY before that.

It begins a year ago, when my husband was roto-tilling our front yard and threw out his back so bad that his sciatic nerve got pinched between two vertebrae. The injury was so bad he couldn’t work, so bad he was laid off making my books the sole income for our family.

Leaving my husband out of work and well… depressed.

My husband is a numbers guy, he’s a stock broker by trade so he’s good at that stuff. So I asked him if he would help with giveaways. Which is where everything has gone down hill.

I don’t think I have been so behind on giveaways in my life. I don’t think I have been so stressed about something that should have been easy, that didn’t get done. You see, with an injury like his there are days he can’t get up. There are days that he simply can’t move, and days when we have to go to the hospital and rack of bills so high my head may explode.

But we won’t get into that…

Where were we? Oh yeah – giveaway’s!!

So I tallied up all the Soul of Flame winners, and I combined it with the giveaways that were a bit backlogged and I smiled and said ‘I can do this’ and got all excited to make sweatshirts and vinyl’s and send out gift cards and signed books. I was pumped, my husband was pumped.

And then my husband had a flare up.

And the money I had set aside to do all my giveaways was gone with one bright shiny hospital room.

I was overwhelmed. Distraught. So stressed that I just shut down.

I posted everywhere that I was behind that I was going to get caught up as quickly as I could, explained to everyone who messaged what was going on – and you know what – they were all very understanding. SOO nice infact, that I wanted to hug them and I started updating my lists to include little bonuses.

Well… everyone was nice except for one person.

One person who harassed my Blog Tour Manager even after I had emailed him several times. And one person who began posting rude terrible things on the wall of my facebook page.

Someone who NEVER messaged me in private – instead decided to go right to a public shaming instead of even ATTEMPTING to speak to me privately. I never received one email from him, not one private message – there is even a contact form on my website he could have used… but no… I guess public shaming is deemed appropriate now.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 8.53.39 AM

(I did respond to him as well, even very politely in this post explaining that I had emailed him, and asking him to email me)

And over something that he didn’t have any basis for.

Over a giveaway that I didn’t have to hold, a prize that I am not legally required to give him.

You see, here is the thing. I held a giveaway along side the book blast for Soul of Flame, a book blast to help the readers I may have lost touch with to know that the next book is available. I put a giveaway along side it because I LOVE giveaways I love the joy it brings to people, and I really do love to spread joy.

This man won and immediately emailed my tour manager asking when he would receive his prize. No thanks nothing.

Just gimme gimme.

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Really???

My tour manager forwarded his email to me, letting me know we had a winner. I put his info on my six page list and handed the list to my husband. Then all hell broke loose and my bank account for all the giveaways I had planned shrunk to nothing so that I could take of my husband.

That’s when I started making announcements. But because this man is not a reader, nor is he a fan, simply some man who jumps from giveaway to giveaway so he can get free stuff (Yes, you can tell this from his twitter page) he didn’t see my announcement – he didn’t care. And so he emailed my tour manager again. Once again – no thank you’s – just when am I getting my money.

Once again, I am not legally required to give away anything.

It was at this point I emailed him back and explained the situation. But never received an answer. I emailed again, a week later, and still nothing.

Then he posts on my wall.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 8.53.28 AM

Well, if you know how busy I am, you know I only get around to checking all that stuff once a week. And by the time I got it he didn’t seem to care for my reasoning, he only wanted the money. I explained to him I had emailed him, he said he didn’t get it.

I sent him another email – nothing.

Then this morning he posts again.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 8.53.50 AM

(NOTE: It has actually been LESS THAN A MONTH)

And I am heart broken. Heart broken that someone could be so rude, so inappropriate, so demanding.

I point out the posts to my tour manager, we look over all the emails and I realize that I had his email address wrong – that somewhere in the mix it got one letter off and I had probably been emailing some other poor shmuck.

Now, before we go on. Let me acknowledge that I know I should have sent out his gift card right away, and I would have if I had the money. I am in no way saying that I am guiltless here. Not in the least. I just have a husbands whose medical needs trump giveaways sometimes.

But that doesn’t make what he is doing okay either.

There has been a terrible rash of bullying in the author world lately, specifically the indie community, people who seem to think that because they are hidden behind a computer screen and a fake avatar that they can do and say anything they want. And while I wouldn’t call this particular instance of online crabbery bullying – it is certainly disappointing.

And heart breaking.

And so inappropriate I don’t know where to begin.

If you have a problem with my books, with me, with how I take care of my family, and run my business that’s fine. Not everyone can be the same and can do things the same way. If we did the world would suck and be boring. But I don’t come into your house, on your page and yell about how I think entering every giveaway without reading the books is a scam. Don’t do it to me.

Don’t come into my house, crap on the carpet and leave it there.

Clean up your messes. Because I do.

This man does not deserve the card he won. There – I said it. He doesn’t deserve it because he has been harassing me and my tour manager. He doesn’t deserve it because he doesn’t seem to understand what is and what is not appropriate.

But I’m not an ass – and I am bigger than the feces he has smeared on me.

So he is going to get his gift card.

And then he is banned not only from my giveaways but from all the other giveaways I have a hand in – which is a lot.

I will not put up with harassment, I will not put up with someone dragging my name through the mud with no just cause.

I will not put up with it.

Winning is an honor not a right – and to not even say thank you??

What is the world coming to that we can’t say thank you??

 

I hold giveaways because I love my fans and I want to say thank you to those who have read my books and supported me.

But not like this.

 

Starting today – I am changing the way things work.

 

I get paid this week. And I am sending out every giveaway that I am backlogged in – I am showering my readers in gifts and love and sunshine sprinkles. And then I am going head in and showering you all more. Because you deserve it.. and you know what I like to do when I am in a rut –

Spread the happy.

22 Comments on “An Update on Giveaways”

  1. miki

    I’m so sorry this has happened to you. His behaviour is completly unforgivable. Yes if an author decide to hold a giveaway we hope and want he or she will keep her part of the bargain but life can happen, things can be delayed and you explained it when you shouldn’t have to justify yourself….
    He could have waited he didn’t need to act that way

    i’m really sorry for your husband’s health trouble and really hope he will get better for goods as i hope you will overcome this situation.

    We appreciate your books and giveaways were a great gift but it’s not an obligation either so don’t add stress on yourself, all your fans would understand

  2. Heather

    That is terrible I’m sorry to hear that your being harassed like that! And might I say what a jerk he is!! Life is unpredictable and stuff happens that we can’t foresee and plan for.

  3. Kristen

    I am sorry that you had to endure the rudeness of someone and hope that your husband gets better. I am sure you already know this from all of the other people who were understanding but I as a reader and most other true readers appreciate all of the giveaways that authors do so thank you. As far as I know, I am not one of the winners and I don’t think I entered any but I felt I had to write this.

  4. Barbara

    I am SO glad that he will never get any more gifts from you. I hope you and your husband can find something to ease his pain. I can only guess how painful it is and I really feel for him. I am lucky and have had only minor back problems (in comparison).

  5. Bao

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. I guess he mustn’t have a family or he would understand that family always comes before any thing else. I can’t believe that he would expect you to forget able your husband just because of one prize. I agree with you, he doesn’t deserve the gift card.

    Don’t stress to much because your true fans will always understand that family will always come first and if they are true fans they will be patient.

  6. Angie Noell

    i love you stories…
    and i think it is real nice of you to do give-aways.
    I would never ask for my price, just knowing i won something is already nice and getting something from it is real nice.
    The way this man treats you is shocking and he cleary never learned the word RESPECT and what the meaning is of the word.

    I am sorry that your husband has this problem with his back and i hope he will recover from it.
    And yes of course you use your money on his healt.
    Nothing is more important then your family ( and their healt) and you.
    We fans understand and will never leave you for it.

    You didn’t even need to share this personal information with us, everybody knows RL can kick you in the butt and we wait till you are back with another amazing story.

    keep your chinn up high and a smile on your face.
    Be happy ;-)

  7. Milinh

    I am very very sorry you are going through all of this. I am even more sorry about your husband’s back. No one should be bullied. ESPECIALLY those who give to be generous. Is there anything we as fans can do to help? Yes, we will continue to buy and read your books, but anything else? I will pray for you and your family. Please let us know if we can help in some way.

  8. Jordan

    Rebecca, we love you. There’s always that terrible person who will try to bring you down and the blogging community and readers as a whole is full of wonderful kind people. It’s people like this who ruin things for everyone. This is also why there’s been a huge rush in anti-bullying on blogging because people are getting harassed. It sucks that wonderful authors (like yourself) and bloggers who work hard and put in the effort to do nice things for their fans are underappreciated and threatened by some when they do nothing but try to show gratitude to their fans. It’s disgusting. Most people I’ve met have been understanding, if you have a problem and can’t do something, usually people will send you blessings. It’s the vindictive greedy people who just have so many negative feelings that troll and hurt. Recently, I was scheduled to participate in an event and the event had to be cancelled because some rude person went on and marked everything as spam. On top of that there was some harassment. It’s ridiculous that trolling is something that people can get away with, even if it is freedom of speech it’s hurtful and detrimental to people and a form of bullying. I totally appreciate all of your giveaways, you’re one of the nicest, down to earth and funny authors I’ve met and it pains me that someone treated you so badly. Authors and bloggers and their readers all form a community that becomes like a family and no one is happy when some idiot messes with one of our own. I understand, I feel like this post was needed, and hugs. :)

  9. Kaylee

    Dear Rebecca,
    You my dearest indie author are an incredible woman. I have been a fan since I picked up Kiss of Fire…. I and excuse my language for a moment but I F’n Love you. I have seen the comments over the last year the people have said to you and it pissed me off so bad I made my own comment on my own group about how people should support our Indie Authors. Supporting them is like Supporting a loved one. You have been through soooo much when it comes to being bullied, your family problems (God Bless Them) and now this???? Screw that guy. He’s not worth your breath. I will say that I am glad that not only were you a woman of grace but you’re also protecting other Indies! Do you know how much that touches your fans??? Do you know how much we love you???
    A Friggin Lot!!!!!! You are an amazing Author. I love your writings, work, characters and most of all…. You!
    You takes everything anyone throws at you and keep your head held high. I wish you nothing but success and I am sending prayers and Angels your way. I hope your husband is free of the pain one day ;) And do us a favor and THANK HIM because without him supporting you we wouldnt have you!
    KEEP ON KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES!!!!

    YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!

    Love,
    Kaylee

  10. Mikky

    I hope your husband gets better soon!

    I’m very disappointed to hear that a guy like that won your giveaway! That money should go to a fan who has read, reviewed and cherished all your books. Giveaways are for fans and not jacka**’s who think you have an obligation to something even after you’ve explained why it may take a while. & Even after that he’s still bad mouthing you and spreading rumors…Maybe the end of the world it near?

    I can say that when you could you sent out all the prizes you gave away. I was one of the winners in your FB Likes (IDK the number) Giveaway (I loved the signed book BTW Thank you!). I received my prize in a timely matter and I understood (heck, still understand) the weight on your shoulders and the problems you are/were going through! Your fans have your back! Don’t get discouraged! The world has a few of those guys to go around, but it has even more good people in it then you might imagine C:

  11. Louise

    I am so sorry to hear that someone could be so cruel. He must go through life bullying people. Hang in there because your true fans understand. We all have times in our lives that things happen. Maybe he will be in the same position some day and someone will hound him. I hope he is banned from all giveaways.

    Between my husband, my mom, my brother and my son there is always something going on and some days it is impossible to get things done but I do what I can. Sometimes family has to come first and people should understand that. Your loyal fans will understand and wait for you to get caught up. Hang in there and remember we love you and your books.

  12. Valerie

    I’m so sorry that you have to deal with jerks like that! And even more sorry your husband is going through such a hard time!

    You’re right… you don’t owe him anything, but I applaud you for being the bigger person.

    I don’t mind if you don’t do giveaways again… you books are gift enough :) Keep smiling and keep writing, because you’re amazing at it!!!!

  13. Rebecca

    I know everyone has been telling you how sorry they are for the circumstances. And what a horrible human that guy is. It is all true, but I want to say a BIG THANK YOU for providing us with such an amazing series to just escape into. Once I started the Imdalind I could not put them down. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into creating this amazing worl for us to become a part of.

  14. Jessica

    Wow. That man is a horrible person! I am so sorry. Not only for the stress this man has inflicted, but also for the emotional and physical stress you’ve endured in family life. Prayers for you guys. We are totally behind you and I will anxiously, but patiently wait on pins and needles for your next thrilling work.

  15. Samantha

    Don’t give money!!! Every time I have entered a giveaway from an author was when it was a SIGNED BOOK. I love love LOVE my authors; they are like my personal dolls that I get out and hold and smile too and generally just tell everyone that I meet that I have special little angels that make my life happy with their brilliant work. So when an author has a giveaway, I enter so I can have a physical signed copy that I can proudly show-off. Books are magic and those who write them are the source of awesomeness. I understand giveaways give you the opportunity to reach those who might not otherwise know you, but if your inclination is to reward your faithful, doting, loving fan base, just set up an account we can donate to in order to purchase a signed book directly from you (or your manager). We love you, Rebecca. Take care of your family and this family will take care of you.

  16. Laura

    I genuinely sympathize with your situation. I wish your husband a full recovery. My dad has had 6 back surgeries over the years and I am all too familiar with their debilitating nature. I wish that people weren’t so cruel, but karma will get him. Don’t let it get you down. The people who truly love your work would never say such hurtful things to you. Thank you for writng such captivating stories that they take people away from their pain, and whether or not you continue doing giveaways will not effect those who appreciate your amazing books. God bless and keep being awesome!!!!

  17. Carrie Barringer

    OMG!!!!!! What a loser. He shouldn’t even get the card. I would wait to give it to him when you send your message to the right e-mail add, and see if he gets enough humility to at least apologize. That is terrible to do to someone that is as honest and up front as you are. Just keep doing what you are doing, and being you!! Your true fans will know and wont judge!!!! Thank you for all you do and I hope your husband is on the road to recovery. Sending good pixy dust and strength your way!!!!

  18. Kathy

    Rebecca,
    Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I had no idea, and did not see any posts regarding the delay for the giveaways. I did win a shirt from the Soul of Flame giveaway (#2 or #4 I think) but honestly had not given much thought to the time for receiving it (I assume that it needs to be made). I figured I’d get it sooner or later. No biggie. I understand that you are an independent author and do all of the promo and writing and publishing yourself. There’s no big publishing company charging higher prices for books just to pay for someone else to do all of what you do yourself. I was just happy to have had a great deal of fun doing the giveaways, and reading how excited everyone was to get their hands on your awesome book. I really have enjoyed all of the books and am really looking forward to reading Dawn of Ash but also dread that it will be over. I think I could read about Joclyn and Ilyan forever. I hope that even though this guy has “smeared his feces” all over, that you can get it cleaned, aired out and him banished so that this will no longer stress you. I send get well wishes to your husband. Also, if it eases your burden, PLEASE, save the money that you would spend on my shirt and pay some of those medical bills. (And a can of Glade to banish the stink this guy left behind) I will still buy your books and stalk your pages waiting for the next one. Thank you for the hours of entertainment and joy you give me with your talented writing, it’s more valuable to me than a $50 amazon card or shirt.

  19. maddie

    That is not right. You don’t even have to do giveaways it is a kind choice you make. Especially not one to be harassed over. Don’t let him get you down. It may not feel good to be torn down or dragged around but it is what come out of the lesson that makes you stronger. Good luck with your books, they are all amazing!

  20. Amber

    That is just horrible! I completely understand the horror of hospital bills. My family hasn’t had the best of luck over the years. Me included. I can’t believe how some people act. Just know that you do have all these fans out there who care more about just reading your stories then any giveaway! I really hope things start looking up for your husband and you!

  21. Ashley Brake

    Some people should be ashamed of them selves… How dare they advantage of your kindness.

  22. Ashley Brake

    Some people should be ashamed of them selves… How dare they take advantage of your kindness.

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