I've been working on some special holiday treats for my readers over the past few days - free books, contests, and more. For instance, I've got a giveaway on Friday, when I'll be a guest at Chrissy Szarek's blog. I'm hoping to be able to get my newsletter done by Saturday, with a brand new installment of Cat Toy plus a page of seasonal goodies. And it's high time I did another contest for my private email list. I promised them one every month, but last month it just slipped between the cracks.
As I contemplate all this, I start to wonder - am I trying to bribe my readers? These days, it's hard to get anyone to visit your blog unless you're offering some sort of reward. I have to admit that except for authors who are personal friends, I don't usually host blog tours unless the author has a decent prize.(That doesn't count for my regular guests. They're not required to do a giveaway. But I do encourage them to offer something, because it does result in more page views and more comments.)
When I scan the digests I get from my lists - The Romance Studio, Lovers of Romance and so on - I realize that everyone is giving stuff away. $50 gift certificates. $100 gift certificates. Kindles and Nooks! Jeez! How can I compete? I don't want to spend more than I make in royalties trying to lure people to my blogs, but some months, I actually come close. Are readers really that mercenary, anyway? Will the authors with the deepest pockets be the ones who draw the most eyeballs?
So - if you happen to take the time to read this, even though I'm not giving away a thing today - I'd love you to leave a comment. How much of a difference do prizes and giveaways make to you? And if you are influenced, what sort of prizes are most likely to make you leave a comment?
Thanks for reading - those of you who aren't off entering other authors' contests!