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Book Blogging 101 - The Request

Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section or email me parajunkee at gmail dot com

Q. I want to do a giveaway, but I don't want to pay for it. How about you pay for it?

Am I jesting? Nope. I've gotten a few of these requests over my book blogging career, some nicely put, from people that I know, or, like the one I got recently, from someone I don't know, haven't been to their blog and don't recognize at all. They are probably a reader of mine *waves* but not a frequent commenter or I think I would remember. So, what did I do...well I rearrange my Book Blogging 101 posts and do this one. Drop some knowledge and all.

My first thought is: Stop standing there with your hand out, because no one, no author, fellow blogger, or publisher owes you anything - even if it is your blogoversary, birthday, 200 follower event - or just cause you feel like holding a giveaway.

*Takes a deep breath*

Second thought: I really don't have a problem with handing stuff out, helping out a fellow blogger, or chipping in for a cross blog event. I've given away button designs, even books for people to giveaway on another blog. I guess it is all about the INTENT *Citing Infinite Days* of the request, or the package the request is wrapped up in that threw me off.

Sometimes requests come out ALL wrong. If you are going to REQUEST something from another person, whether it is an author, another blogger or a publisher, don't you think you might want to read over what you wrote? Make sure it sounds intelligent, friendly, well put together. I mean these people are going to give you something... hopefully. How about a little professionalism. "OMG can you please hook me up with a giveaway? I'd be like so grateful," just doesn't sound very sophisticated.

Secondly, a mass email is a BIG NO NO. Yes, my latest request email was a mass email. If you are going to do something like this BCC is a nice feature, at least I can't tell that you can't even take the time to write me a personal email. It just shows, well, a disregard and lack of respect. You are asking a favor, a boon... consider the direction you are coming from. You are not asking your friend to borrow their car, or sleep on their sofa, you are asking a stranger to fork out money or goods on your behalf. Shouldn't that be wrapped in a considerate and well worded package?

So, stop ranting and get to the point, right?

Fine. A personal email is nice. Introduce yourself. Say hello. Discuss your intent. Ask for your favor. Say your sweet good-byes and leave a contact list on how to respond. Short, sweet, considerate, respectful.

Dear The Best Author Ever:

Hi, my name is Parajunkee. I've been a reader of your blog/books for awhile now, and I just have to say I'm a big fan. I'm planning a wonderful week of contests in celebration of my acceptance into the Blogger Hall of Fame (purely fictional event) and was wondering if you would like to participate in this week long extravaganza. This event would raise awareness of your book/blog and hopefully increase your sales/traffic because I have a very loyal following of readers.

You can view my blog here:

Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully Yours,
Parajunkee aka Rach

You attract more flies with honey, right? And a little respect goes a long way.

This mass, "gimme" email that I got last night, while I think is purely innocent, just rubbed me the wrong way and this blogger might get two or three people that are willing to help out and throw in a book or something. They might think it is personally alright. But, me personally I would be much more willing to donate if the email was directed to me personally and has some sense of graciousness within it. Heard. The rant is over. Didn't I do a BB101 how book blogger rants suck? LOL.
And next on the list...

Have ya'll seen this BS???

According to the Washington Post, to raise revenue, some states are requiring bloggers to pay a license fee for the privilege of blogging. 

PHILADELPHIA started it all. Philadelphia to raise money is now requiring blogs with any sort of business model to pay a "business privilege license."

What is a business model? Well the Washington Post doesn't state what kind of money has to be made from the blog...but it hinted that even if you made a few bucks of an advertisement (I'm thinking Google Adsense) you might have to pay this $300 fee.

There has been a bit of buzz in the political blogosphere regarding this particular change...but not everyone seems to be getting their story straight. It is just Philly - and it is just revenue generating blogs. But what next?? Do you think this is fair? Will it extend to other more innocuous revenue generators? Will a license be required for Etsy stores, eBay sales...etc? Are you in Philly?

Here is the link to the article. I want to know what you are thinking!


Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

Awesome post Rachy...

yeah, the gimme mass email is quite annoying and inappropriate.

I have asked for prizes for a giveaway, but I wrote an specific email for each author I was talking to and I did try to be as graceful as possible, while making it clear that if they didnt want to or should donate something, it was more than understandable.

I got a couple of those emails or even DMs on twitter like you mentioned it and it made me uncomfortable =(

as for the fee thing... OMG! That is absolutely ludicrous... Im shocked and scared that it will open a precedent =(

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Great post for blogger 101! I never even thought of asking to do this. And I am surprised sometimes when I see the requests out on twitter and such. But at the same time it is a great way to get many great authors known. But, I have to agree that it is needed to have a touch of grace in the email.

And that blogger BS. is wayyyy wrong. It is a shame! I don't want to say to much and offend anyone. So, that's that. :)

May said...

Really, people DO that? Just awful.
How can someone throw a "wanna host a giveaway on my blog for me" at another blogger?

I can understand if you ask an author for a copy and add that it would be nice if you had an extra to giveaway or a publisher... But just ask like that to another blogger? *shifty eyes*

And on the "fee" thing. Awful. First... 99% of bloggers don't really make a profit out of their blogs... A little, maybe, but even the ones that DO make a profit, most of the time it's under US$ 300. So what if they profit less than that? Well "your problem"? Governments are going insane, I tell you that.

Rex Robot Reviews said...

Wow. Business licenses on BLOGS? I mean, sure, maybe if I was and was a name brand that big companies wanted to advertise with. I already have to pay ridiculous business licensing fees for my gymnastics school! Thanks, Philly.

And this BB101 was great- I can't say I've received many emails like this for my blog... but I do at our family business all the time. Everyone wants something donated or a sponsor... I hate mass emails! I hate when they don't personally address us. And these are big money amounts, sometimes as much as $1000. Great post. I loved it.

Stacy~ said...

People never cease to amaze and irritate me LOL. Great post, very well-said. And I totally agree. I don't feel comfortable soliciting someone for freebies. I'll ask an author if they'd like to participate, but I usually offer to provide the book. Begging for swag like that is so tacky, to say the least.

Profit from my blog? $0.00. Just sayin'.

Man of la Books said...

I have no problem asking for freebies if I feel that there is a mutual relationship. Don't forget, it might be a freebie for you but it's also a great promotion for the author.

By the way, those "freebies" are part of the advertising budget.

Joy Tamsin David said...

I feel weird about asking authors to do a book giveaway on my blog. Lots of times when I have them on for interviews or something they will offer, but if they don't offer, I don't ask.

I can't imagine what I would ask a fellow book blogger for?! That sounds like a strange request.

Although, I did ask my blog design company to host a button giveaway on my website. Maybe that's why they contacted you? Because you also do blog design? That's a popular giveaway.

Patti (Book Addict) said...

Wow, I must be very naive - It never occurred to me to request free stuff for giveaways. I would think that would get old fast. I have approached authors and said "I'm giving away a copy of your book. Could I mail you the book with a SSAE and have you sign it and mail back to me?" I've only done it a few times but so far they've been very gracious.

As for that fee - I call BS!!!They're already paying tax on their income (I think)from the blog.

Jennifer (An Abundance of Books) said...

Great post! Your BB101 posts have been so helpful as I get ready for my first giveaway at the end of the month. I would never think of asking another blogger for items for my giveaway (I purchased mine).

As for the Philly thing, I bet they're trying to target those mommy blogs, which probably don't make enough to warrant a license.

Danielle said...

I don't live in Philly but I think that its ridiculous to charge for having a blog. A lot of us have our blog as a labor of love not a business. Maybe they should come up with a income limit. Such as anything over $500 per month they have to pay the fee.

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

wow great topic
Mass email to another blogger ...How rude and not very professional.

Philly so not cool and don't make a dime here either.

Missy said...

I thought I was just special in getting the mass e-mail about paying for something for some other person's blog. =X I think my favorite one was saying that if I couldn't donate at least $50, then I should pretty much not bother e-mailing them back. I wasn't anyway, but it seemed ludicrous that you're asking for a *donation*, then you tell someone how much they have to give in order to donate.

The license ... it's crap. Doesn't everyone who makes an income online have to pay taxes? Don't you think the 30%+ that they have to pay in said taxes is enough?? My profit on my blog: $0.00 It's a hobby of mine to review books and promote authors/books. I love doing it, but I think I'd have to reconsider if I actually had to pay that much for my hobby.

Tanya said...

I'm left a little speechless that people actually do that?! I couldn't imagine giving away something that was never mine, or offered by another person, and feel comfortable with that. But, like you said, it completely depends on the way it's presented and asked, too. I would have NO problem helping out people I know, follow, or follow me regularly!

As for this new blogger fee... WTH?? I would like to know how they can justify this? I've stumbled across some blogs (not book blogs) that do probably make a lot of money with some of the products and affiliates that they have, but those blogs are far and few -- at least that I go searching for. If they are trying to target those blogs as 'profit making' blogs, then they need to differentiate between blogs that do make money as a 'job', and those that are for more entertainment purposes that only gain enough profit that ends up going back into their blogs anyways. This idea of Philly's is mind boggling to me! Like I said, if they are trying to generate the profit making blogs that are being used for a person's income.. I can see that. But, to slap a fee on all blogs...absolutely ridiculous! I'll be keeping my eyes on this one. I live in Jersey.. so it might be coming this way soon! Mheh.

Great post, Rachel! I always look forward to this feature!!

Anonymous said...

I got that crazy donate some money to my giveaway as well....or better yet...the company who offered me a 50 dollar gift card to review one of their products and nothing was under 100 dollars at the store......and shipping was over 30 dollars, hmmm no thanks. It seems lately Ive been getting a lot of put this on your blog, give me a book for my giveaway,market my book, read my book, buy my book because you have a blog and you owe it to me crap.....not a professional could you, what would you think.....WHATEVER...frankly Im sorry this sounds harsh but I dont owe any author or publisher anything, I mean Im grateful for authors and love recieving ARCs....but Im not a paid reviewer or a puppet who can whip out a review in your time frame and Im not doing this as a job just a hobby. This last couple of months have been spam and tasteless approaches of emails for me.

The Philly thing...does it suprise anyone at all that a State or the Gov't will see a way to jimmy themselves into getting more taxes from someone? Anywhere where money can be made on the common citizen you bet they will try....what about all the minors going to fine 13 yr olds!!!!!!!!!!!

whew...ok rant over......:)

Savannah said...

Great post. I'll admit that the giveaways I do, I buy extra books and pay for the mailing. Another great tip to give books away is buy them on sale. I usually have border bucks (Borders) or some coupon from Barnes and Noble and that helps out with the price a bit. I had one giveaway, where Borders had a buy 4 books get 1 free. I bought the 4 books I wanted and got one free which I used for a giveaway. It turned out great.

The business license thing? Wow. I really hope not, because if anything I make no money doing this. In fact, I spend way more money book blogging then anything else. I can't believe they would do this. Ridiculous.

Autumn said...

I've only done one giveaway so far and I got the book as a review book and I plan on paying for shipping myself. I've never asked any authors or other bloggers for anything for a giveaway. I feel like I'm too "new" at all this to be doing anything like that I guess, but when I request review copies I like to think I do it in a professional manner. I'm rarely rejected so I guess I do. ;)

In terms of the business license thing it's a very slippery slope. I can understand it from a standpoint of sites like perezhilton or huffingtonpost but where do you draw the line? How can you delineate between the moneymakers and hobbyists? And who would make that decision? What governmental agency would be in charge of that? Things like this is why limited government is typically better.

Sherri said...

I haven't yet built up the courage to ask for things from authors etc since my blog is so new and I'm more focused on building it and being consistent with my posts.

Wow, to the business license thing. I also hope this is doesn't happen. If I had to spend 300 to blog, I would have to stop. I haven't made any profit from my blog.

Again, another great article!!

J.A. Saare said...

I've contacted people to ask if they'd review my books and/or have me by their blogs, but if there is a giveaway of any kind, I pay for it. I can't believe the nerve of some people.

And taxes for blogging?? That's insane.

Tea and Tomes said...

I've wanted to run a giveaway on my blog for months now. But I'm unemployed and broke, and can't pay for shipping, and thus I haven't run anything yet. Simple as that. I wouldn't come right out and ask an author to pay for it either. If, in discussion, they wanted to do a giveaway through my blog, I'd say sure, but the charge would have to be on them because I can't afford it, and they're fine with that, then that's golden. But asking somebody else to foot the bill is just rude and arrogant.

I figure that whoever arranges the giveaway should pay for it. Much like when I ask my friends out to dinner, I don't expect them to pay for my meal. It's just good manners.

Blogging fees? Are you freaking kidding? It's not the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, but it's pretty high up there. I can see paying a business license fee if you're going to be running a business, but making a few bucks off AdSense does not a business make.

Now, if the blogger makes a hefty amount of money on a regular basis from blogging, then sure, I can see perhaps imposing some sort of business fee then. Maybe. It depends on the circumstance. If they're running an actual business using that blog, then sure. If they're just running a personal interest or hobby blog and happen to have some ads in the sidebar, then no, I don't believe that should be charged.

I've been using AdSense for over a year. I have yet to make that first $100 cheque from the revenue. If someone came up to me and demanded I pay them $300 for the privilege of continuing to write about the books I enjoy, I think I'd tell them where they can stick it!

Girl on a Mission said...

Oh wow! I can't imagine asking another blogger to donate books for MY giveaway. I have donated to others but I'd never have the guts to do it myself. If I want to do a giveaway it's because I actually have the book to give away! If it's a collaborative giveaway then that's different.

Taxes? I swear states find anything that's remotely free and enjoyable to profit off of smh.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful! When I write an email to an author or publisher I read and reread what I wrote at least 3 times. When I go back and read an email that I wrote and find a grammatical error I feel like such an idiot for not noticing it. Thank you spell check!

Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

Stephany said...

Wow. Someone actually sent you an email asking you to basically pay for their books, shipping costs, ect. for THEY could do a contest through their blog? That just seems so wrong! I could understand maybe doing a joint thing where you do stuff on your blog, they do stuff on theirs, and you split the costs, but that's a bit ridiculous to ask for your money when they don't even know you! I have been thinking a lot lately how I want to do a contest sometime, but know that it requires money that I just can't afford to spend at the moment, so I know enough to wait until the time is right!!

As for the blogging free in Philly. REALLY!? That's just insane! To me, it's just another way for the Government to get peoples money. You're right, it sounds like they're talking about the Google Adsense and/or any other ads they get paid for to put on their blog. I just think it's ridiculous. Especially a $300 fee! I hope they don't extend this "law" out to other areas! Even though I don't have any ads on my blog (yet), I would have to consider to stop blogging if I had to pay $300.

Also, I was stopping by to just mention that I appreciate you stopping by and acknowledging the award I gave you. I know that sometimes they do get overwhelming, and I don't think you're being cocky, concieded, or big headed or anything by saying that! Lol. It was my first award, and I had to extend it to 15 other people. It took me a few hours to do it, so that's why I wanted to tell others that it wasn't a requirement to pass it on. =)

Anyways! I really do enjoy reading your blog!

April (BooksandWine) said...

Wow, I cannot imagine asking someone to pay for and host a contest on my blog. I've been at this for over a year and have yet to ask my blogger buddies for a giveaway handout. I feel like once you start reviewing on a consistent basis and prove your worth, publicists will offer to host giveaways.

As for the blogging fee, I think that is a little ridiculous.

ParaJunkee said...

@Everyone - thanks for the support. I knew I wasn't that sensitive. LOL

But, I wanted to clear up. It is ok to request things, people to donate, books from authors...etc. Just do so politely. LOL

UPDATE: The blogger in question did apologize for the email and is feeling rather chagrined about the whole situation. I just wanted to say I was never mad, just thought because it rubbed me the wrong way, was a great topic for BB101. Mwah! Thanks for all the responses!

Candace said...

I've never had anyone ask me to donate, I've always offered before hand I guess. I have requested from authors for events though and was careful to ask individually and personally. It was for the read a thon and we had a HUGE response. I think this is a great subject though and thanks for bringing it up!
As for charging bloggers, that's ludicrous! I haven't made a penny even with my affiliate links so I can't imagine anyone makes much off of it.

Melissa said...

I'd have to say about the taxes thing... I would think you'd have to show that you don't make enough to have a business license, then why get taxed. You can add up all my ads and even my Etsy store and I don't make enough to even hold a license (I haven't made anything from the ads... lol). However, in the way my state has tried to tackle that issue... *sigh* I can see this happening in the worse possible way. Hopefully it won't come to that.


I would never ask another blogger for a giveaway unless we were doing one together. Your example letter was nicely worded, but you'd have to be somebody that visited me weekly and we chatted in the week for me to give you something. Certainly not a mass mailing. I hope that person is reading your blog. They've got chutzpah!

As far as the 300$ fee. Do they want us to stop blogging? I would hope the booksellers and authors would go to bat for us on this. We do a lot for them and their books are sometimes sold because of us, some of us more than others of us. But we talk the books up and publicize. The publishers should go to bat for us too. We do a lot of free publicity for them. I'd be out of the blogging business. Government- fix the economy and stay off the internet!


Booksnob said...

I have a question for a future post. I want to know how to add new pages (OK, I can do that but I can't get anything on them and I feel like an idiot.) Help!

MaryRedingWrites said...

Yes, starting out in the Blogosphere can be a bit confusing at times: There are unspoken rules of reviewing, contests, ARCs and etiquette, but bloggers must be on a whole new level of confused if they think they deserve free handouts from other bloggers. Wow.

Stephanie said...

We're still kind of new so I haven't had the guts to ask for donations yet. If I were asked, I don't think I would mind so long as I knew of the person.

I can see where the law would come into effect for people who make a lot of money using their blogs strictly to sell items. With that being said, if this goes through and becomes law, let's all hope and pray that there are clear cut guidelines and not all blogs fall into the same mold. *wishful thinking*

The Book Vixen said...

That fee for blogging is ridiculous! But it doesn't surprise me. Cities and States will do anything to make money. Kinda makes me glad I don't do the adsense thing...

bibliophile brouhaha said...

Wow. I'm a new blogger, but from what I see, most of us do this for the fun of it (and I am having a real good time learning about the ins and outs). I don't foresee making any sort of revenue that would warrant making me pay such a fee. Exactly what do they think we really make off of doing this?

-Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

Anonymous said...

thankyou, that was really great to read, I wrote to a couple of my favourite authors, who'd id sent emails to saying how much i loved their book (which is true. I can't imagine writing something rude, almost saying they owe me, I honestly don't know how people can do that.. I hope I've never accidently insulted an author by asking about something, gosh, that would be horrible, they are doing us a favour by writing books that we can get lost in.

Wow. Im a bit speechless now.

Now a follower,
Your site is really helpful (im a newbie blogger) and really helped me, thankyou :)

Jess :)

inga said...

Since the blog I am writing is so new, I haven't hosted any giveaways myself. But I will be participating for thefirst time on the coming bigger giveaways during Easter. It means, I will have chance to make somebody happy.
So far I have contacted only one writer whose books I adore. I was polite and asking for an invterview. at the moment I'm crossing my fingers to see, how she will reply :)

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