Wednesday, April 20, 2011

{Blogger Babble} The Dreaded Required Follow + Poll

On Twitter today a really great topic was raised and I had the opportunity to discuss it with a few fellow (and equally amazing) blogger buddies. It got me thinking, which of course quickly became a blog post. Sometimes it happens with out me even knowing it :D

The topic was:

Should you require entrants to follow your blog in order to be eligible for the prize

For most bloggers, this is a "to each their own" kind of thing and I would like to take this time to voice my stance on the topic. *pulls out soap box. dusts it off. climbs on*

I do require you to follow my blog in order to enter any give away I host, be it personally from me, given by an author that I am hosting on behalf of, or part of a "hop".

Other then one's name and personal information, the follow is the only thing I require. I will, from time to time offer you opportunity to gain extra entries by asking if you tweeted it or followed the author who is being mentioned, but I too find this annoying sometimes and so it's not very often this will happen.

I find this small gesture on the part of my readers fair in the grand scheme of things. Let me lay out exactly why:

I do not have a magic book portal in my house where, if I stand perpendicular to the sun on a Thursday after solstice, books will appear and stack up high, next to which also a pile of money will land. Nope-a-roonie. More than 80% of what I have given away has come out of my own pocket, or to be fair my husbands pocket because the stay-at-home-mom-book-blogger-writing-first-novel isn't a paying gig yet. I'm not, and neither is he, made of money. Nor are you I would bet. And the cost of the item itself is not all there is, there's packaging and shipping, and other costs to take into consideration.

Now lately, I have been utterly blessed (and I say this with the utmost sincerity) to have a few authors allow me the privilege to read and review their books, and in some cases have even offered me some swag and/or books for my awesome readers. Some of these authors have sought me out, some I have contacted in a professional manner and expressed my desire to read their novel. Usually, even if I am lucky enough to hear back from someone I sought out, there is still a lot of getting to know you type stuff to make sure that the blog and blogger is the right fit. This takes a lot of time, time I gladly spend, but with a family time is one of those things there is never enough of.

Me, My Shelf and I is not yet of the highest regarded stature that my more established sister (and brother) blogs are where publishers adore me, have framed photos of me on their desks and call me weekly to chit chat along with mailing me out books randomly that appear in that glorious contraption at the end of my drive way called the mail box. Each ARC I receive is done so after a lot of hard work on my end. Part of this hard work is net-working, and 99% of the time I am asked directly how many followers I have by the keeper of the book. It is how they gauge you, how they make sure you are a serious blogger.

While I started this blog because reading is my passion, I go to bat for my readers to bring them the newest, the best and most honest reviews possible along with some fun goodies along the way. In return I don't find it too much to ask that you support me in return by following.

I believe in my writing. I believe that you will get a great review, and giggle a little even if it is just at my poor punctuation. But I can't expect you to fall in love with the first post you read, I mean even I have off days and lame posts from time to time. I'm only human. So how can I get you to come back? Well, to be apart of your blog roll on Blogger by you clicking the golden FOLLOW button. (or for you to be following me on twitter, of course)

I will wage a years worth of books that if you stop in for a giveaway, skip over the content (you know you've done it!) and just fill out the form you will not likely be popping about the mall, sipping a half caf caramel latte with foam and suddenly have the epiphany that you need to check out my blog the second you get home because they way I worded "Mailing Address" on that giveaway form was life changing to you.

Basically in the end (bless your soul if you made it this far) I work hard for you, and I don't think it's too much to ask you to click a little button that will help bring you back in the future. And what does it cost you? Nothing. There are no e-mails, annoying solicitation phone calls, just my latest post popping up in your blog roll.

To each and everyone of my followers, THANK YOU for helping make my little piece of the web all the more wonderful. With out you to write for I have no reason to do this.

Weigh in below in the comments section - what do you think about the required follow? And let me know if your a blogger when you do :D

- Take a minute to take my poll -
it is anonymous so feel free to be honest!

  • Always!
  • More than half the time
  • Less than half the time
  • Never


  1. Ok so here I go :D when I host a giveaway I ask people to follow I don't force it on them. I understand that you want to make sure the people you're giving stuff to matter because they read your blog. I actually don't mind following if I like and or respect the person/blogger. The ones that annoy me are blogs that have a bajillion followers and still expect more people to follow and jump through hoops like grab my button, tweet it, fb, like me, like the author, and etc. I feel those bloggers have lost perspective about blogging is about they only do giveaways to increase followers to receive free books and swag. Does that make sense??? Lol ;)

  2. TOTALLY! And I have been one of those people, I believe only one time. But it is too much to ask for a million things...and when I go to enter I tend to skip those forms because it's too much time spent and I can't justify it.

  3. I can't either. It's absolutely stupid to expect people to jump through that many hoops to win something!

  4. Thanks for writing this! I never thought about it that way. I used to make it required, but not anymore. I can definitely see what you mean! I've always seen it like this: I don't want to get all of these followers just because I made it required for a giveaway.

    But I see it your way. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  5. @Lindsay, I'm not sure if that comment was for my post or for the amazing Two Chicks On Books - my blog was more on the side of why I do require it and that I believe in it.

    I commented that I do believe that asking 10 questions in the form and requiring massive amounts of things is not my cup of tea and I find it annoying when I am filling out forms. I do not however find it too much to ask that in support of a person giving you something that you click follow as the ONLY requirement.

  6. Well DANG! I was totally going to stand in the corner on solstice Thursday and sing The Farmer in the Dale and hope for a big pile of money to fall from the sky! ;)

    I agree with you chick... Since the books I giveaway are usually purchased by me, I figure I'm going to make following a requirement. Now I don't do the Twitter follow, FB follow, tweet this... And comment here- here- and over there and then stand on your head and eat a bug (dude I swear sometime that's I feel with some of the requirements of some contests!)

    I typed this all out on my iPhone so god only knows how many typos there are... But I had to weigh in! <3

  7. @Two Chicks, unless of course the contest is to see how many hoops you literally can jump through, of course...LOL.

  8. As a non-blogger, but blog-and-book reader, I'd like to say that I personally don't feel that requiring someone to follow your blog, in order to enter a contest, is unreasonable. I enjoy the networking and active promotion between the authors, and that leads me down a merry path from one new blog to the next great book, to another writer I've not yet heard of....and if I can win a book along the way, the chance to find a new blog isn't even a 'price to pay' IMO.

    I will read a new blog I'm directed toward for a contest, to see if I like the type of books reviewed, or viewpoints presented; if so, I'll return. If it's not my cup of tea, I might not be back to read until the next author interview or book review comes up that I want to read.

  9. If a contest has too many hoops I simply won't enter. I do totally understand the follow button, on the blog and on Twitter. As a blogger, I sometimes require a follow on the blog and will give opportunities for extra entries by tweeting, etc. Sometimes I don't...I guess it all depends on my mood.

    Great discussion!

  10. Great post. And I completely relate to what you are saying. I go through books like fire and post a new review every day. There is no way I could do that without ARCs... and the best way to get ARCs is by securing followers. Hopefully, there will be day that my follow count is not something I have to worry about, but I'm not there yet. In the meantime, I hope people entering my contests think that one click with GFC is worth it for a chance to win a book they want. (And who knows? If they stick around, they might find more stuff they like!)

  11. It was for your post. Sorry for being confusing. I can see why you would require the follow. I agree that it isn't too much to ask. I also agree that it's crazy to have to jump through so many hoops to enter.

  12. I poked a little fun at the requirements for some giveaways in my current giveaway. I completely understand why a blogger would want to require a follow or offer extra entries for tweeting/ following, etc. I did it when I first started and went from about 60 followers to almost 350 in one week. I have never had a post garner more views than that one. I allowed extra entires for a tweet on that one and it drove the views through the roof. I totally understand it and when I first started blogging or even before then I used to not mind doing all that extra stuff. Now I am less likely to do all of that because I have more books to read then I could in 3 months!

    Since I am at the point where I don't want to do it myself, I have stopped requiring it for the most part. I agree though that it should be up to each person how to run their blog and giveaways. I don't really pay much attention to it. If it is a book I really would like I might be willing to tweet about it or whatever. I will admit to finding this as frustrating as I do understandable though.

  13. I completely agree w/you. For all the hard work bloggers do, the least they can ask is a "follow".

  14. I am with you! Following number is the measure of a blog for a lot of authors and publishers. It isn't too much to ask. If they don't want the chance to win, they don't have to follow. :D

  15. I don't think there is anything wrong with forcing a follow, especially in the beginning. I personally don't do it, just because I feel that I don't need any more followers. I know that sounded all hoity toity but I reached my goal of followers and anything more is lagniappe so I'm not worried about followers now. I have new goals now. Lol. I've pu t a lot of focus into twitter and other social networks so this is what I promote in giveaways.

    In essence this is a promo that you ar e doing on your blog. Like a store that has a buy one get one free or something similar they are using it to attract attention to themselves. This is what our giveaways are for. Take what you want in return for this giveaway. No apologies...your blog run it your way.

    I'm actually doing a book blogging 101 on this tomorrow with polls to see what people prefer, it might be interesting to see what people prefer.xoxo Parajunkee

  16. I'm a little confused about the statements you made in regards to the money you spend on book giveaways. For me, I host giveaways out of my own pocket because I want to. That has nothing to do with how many followers I have. I don't think it should, in my opinion. Host a giveaway because you WANT to. No one is telling you that you HAVE to.

    When I do host giveaways I do not require you to follow me. I do ask if you do, just out of curiosity. I find it a bit annoying when people propose a million hoops to jump through in order to enter the giveaway. I also find it annoying when people create twitter accounts just to tweet about giveaways -- yet no one follows that account! so whats the point? You aren't getting the word out to anyone.

    I understand that gaining followers in the beginning is important. You want people to come to your blog & see what you're all about. Especially if you're trying to establish a reputation towards authors and/or publishers. And yes, they do like to see blogs that have active participants among them. However, don't focus so much on how many followers you have. Focus more on the content. After all, that is what's more important in my opinion. Writing interesting reviews & provoking thoughtful discussions are way more note-worthy than having 1,000+ followers!

  17. I do understand the desire to want people to read your blog, because I think all bloggers have that, starting out. The reason I joined the blogging community in the first place is because I love reading other people's thoughts, perhaps having them read mine, and maybe get a decent discussion about a book we're passionate about. None of my everyday friends read the same books that I do, so the blogging community seemed like the perfect place to do this.

    I guess that's why I've never really understood the "I need followers" craze. For me, in almost 8 months of blogging, I've only had 4ish giveaways, I think. I've never required a follow, because not all readers have GFC and just because they didn't click the Follow button doesn't mean that they don't technically follow my blog. I, too, shell out money from my own pocket... but I don't think readers owe a follow. If anything, it's my way of thanking them for taking the time to read what I have to say. It's so rewarding when people follow on their own accord, because they liked what they saw or agreed with a review or discussion, instead of because I was giving something away.

    Every blogger is different, though. That's just my mentality on the issue :)

  18. This is great! Thanks everyone for weighing in! I love a good debate/discussion. Especially among so many wonderful people!

    @Ginger, just to be clear I put equal if not more focus on my time spent as well, so please don't think it's all about money :D But everything at some point, even a little has something to do with the $$. As for the Twitter accounts made for contests, I am not aware of these - I guess I don't know how anyone would if they have no followers? I use twitter to net work and get my name, and posts out there - all of them, not just the contests.

  19. I am a fellow blogger, although I have not got in so far as to host giveaways and such. I do follow and enter giveaways though and I don't think it's asking too much to require a follow with a giveaway because I have found that if you go ahead and follow, their posts on stuff other than giveaways are just as interesting if not more so.

    Another thing I wanted to say is I always read the whole post before I enter any giveaway because I believe it's only fair. You take the time to write the post and host it (whether it's out of your own pocket or not) the reader should at least take a little extra time to read what the blogger has said.

  20. Thank you for this post (and for the blessing). I've talked about this before on my blog as well. I have to say I agree. I'm not a fan of all the extra hoops to enter a giveaway. I've hosted a few like that and it turned out to be a nightmare for me just to count up all the extras, so I have simplify my giveaways. It is an ongoing learning experience. But I really do not think it's inappropriate to require following if you are personally sponsoring the giveaway.

  21. I think is fair for the blogs to ask to follow them, I follow even when the say you don't have to, becauses I think if they are giving away something if fair I follow them, What I don't like is when they ask you to follow in every social network or page the have an account.

    And If a follow I read the content of the blog

  22. An interesting and controversial post, personally I don't mind following, especially if it is a blog that I am already interested in. I HATE all the extra points for comments here, there and everywhere, usually with these I don't bother.

    I've been reading and following your blog for a while and I do enjoy your writing and take on the books you review.

    All the best.

    Jules x

  23. As I see it if I have good content people will come. I don't feel the need to force them to do anything. My contests come out of my pocket too but I want my readers to win because I loved the book and I want to share it. I refuse to enter contests with a you must follow rule and I generally don't read blogs who have that as a policy.

  24. I am not a fan of required follows in giveaways, although I'm not insulted by it. I have a follow as a plus option on my giveaways. I think it's polite to follow a blog if you're going to enter a giveaway and am always happier if a winner is a blogger that I recognize, but I'm not going to require it.

    I've also noticed that I don't get that many followers from giveaways. Most people who see the giveaway are people who already come to my blog. I don't think a required follow is going to get you very far anyway on the follower train.

  25. I can't say I have ever entered a giveaway, but I think it would be very reasonable to be a follower to enter, it's your giveaway and so you can ask whatever terms and conditions you see fit.

  26. Blogger ate my comment.

    So here's the gist of it retyped, I really think content is king. If you write strong posts, people will come. In this day and age, it's simple to get to 1000 followers if you giveaway things people want. I mean, yeah no duh people are going to enter and follow for a kindle, but that has no bearing on how strong someone is as a blogger. I also think the follower number is becoming arbitrary. I see blogs I have never heard of all the time reaching over 1000 followers, mainly because of contests. Do they sustain the traffic? I doubt it. I mean, it's pretty sad when I go to look at someone's Sitemeter and they get less than 100 hits per day, but have over 1000 followers.

    ALSO, I think that you don't need ARCs to sustain a reading habit. Most of us bloggers did not start out getting galleys. We started out by reviewing books we owned and library books. The library is a fabulous resource and one great use of taxes, I highly suggest using it. Furthermore, I'm not sure how much of a bearing followers have on receiving review copies. You see, people like me, Bookalicious, Forever Young Adult, and The Book Smugglers don't have follower boxes on our blogs, yet we get review copies all the time. I'm pretty sure it's because of content, as well as sustained number of unique hits even when we aren't doing contests.

  27. For those have not seen it, I posted something new about this:

    Thanks again everyone for all your amazing comments! It led me to write the new post!

  28. I feel like if you host a giveaway, you are doing it for your readers. People have taken the time to read your posts and follow you and as a way to say thanks, you do a giveaway. People that stop by randomly are just looking for free books, which there is nothing wrong with that- especially if it gains new readership- but those books cost money and if you had to choose between giving it to some random person or a follower, of course you want to give it to a loyal follower. It's like having a wedding and tossing the bouquet. You're glad those girls are there and one of them is going to get a special treat.

    That being said, I don't require a follow. Why? I'm too lazy to check if they are. I ask if they are out of curiosity but I don't want to have to look through to check and make sure. This is also why I don't do extra entries. I don't want to add them all up. If I see a giveaway asking me to do a million things, sometimes I just give up. Although if there is a Twitter button to just tweet the post, I do that cause it's easy.


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