Tag Archives: giveaway

Cleaning Up A Sweepstakes Mess

The first point where I knew something had gone wrong was when I signed into my email and saw a note from the winner of my Short Frictions/Think Geek giveaway.

After a brief sweepstakes entry period, I’d Rafflecoptered for a winner and sent a $15 gift code to a reader who’d faithfully liked, shared, tweeted and retweeted a brief message about the book almost every day. Now, she wrote, she was having trouble redeeming the code. The Think Geek site was telling her it had already been used. Which it hadn’t, because she’d been saving it to shop for the holidays.

My heart sank. I logged into Think Geek and checked the code, and sent it to her again to confirm there hadn’t been a typo, but she was right – the balance on the code was showing up as zero. I really didn’t know what had happened, especially since another code I’d sent out the same day had been redeemed without a problem.

Finally, I decided to check in with the Think Geek team. I’m always hesitant to start talking to customer service. I find it incredibly stressful and frustrating, particularly after some of the experiences I’ve had with other companies this year, but without getting in touch with them there was no way to figure out what had happened.

It took two tries to get a customer service rep to respond on the Think Geek site. I’m not sure what happened the first time, but I spent several minutes typing in an explanation of what had happened and waiting for a response that never came. I logged out, logged back in, and tried again. This time, after five or so minutes, a rep came online and asked me to describe my problem. After confirming she could read and reply to my messages, I explained, and she started to investigate.

My hope was to confirm with Think Geek when the gift card balance had been used, in case there had been some kind of technical glitch; I wasn’t sure if they’d tell me the date and amount of whatever purchase tracked back to the giveaway gift code, but I figured the best idea was to get as much information as I could before I sent the sweepstakes winner an update.

After five or ten more minutes, the customer rep sent a message that far surpassed my expectations: she had added the credit back onto the gift code. I’m not sure if she found a glitch in the sale or if there was some kind of error, or if Think Geek just decided that such a small amount wasn’t worth haggling over (which I’d already decided was going to be my approach if it turned out they couldn’t reinstate the credit, because the giveaway winner had put a lot of effort into spreading word of Short Frictions on social media). But I was relieved that the matter was resolved so easily.

Once I had confirmation from the customer service team, I emailed the winner and let her know that everything should be up and running and she could make her purchases; I haven’t heard from her since, so am assuming everything went well.

From start to finish, resolving the situation took about half an hour, but I was shocked at how stressful I found it.  As self-published authors, being in charge of marketing and PR is a huge part of what we do – and when something goes wrong, there’s no PR rep to hide behind, no publishing house to help defray the cost of issues like lost prizes and credits. Plus, it’s our name out there on the line. This contest winner was extremely understanding and patient as I worked to resolve the gift code issue, but just as easily could have been someone far less inclined to give the benefit of the doubt.

I’m lucky enough, currently, to be in a position where I could have afforded to replace the prize if need be – but what if I wasn’t? What if the prize was something bigger, or Think Geek had turned replacing the credit into more of a production?

When you self-publish, you’re taking control and ownership of every aspect of sharing your work. The buck stops with you. Making sure you’re mentally and financially prepared (not to mention knowing you have enough time on your hands) to represent your work to the best of your ability is an important part of being a self-published author. And it’s not something to take on lightly.

Thankfully, in this case, the mess that had to be cleaned up wasn’t a big one. Hopefully (knock on wood) it never will be. If and when future issues arise, no matter what area of self-publishing they might be in, I’ll handle them as quickly and smoothly as possible, and hope for the best.

Cleaning up when something goes wrong is something every self-publishing author has to be prepared for, whether the hitch happens in writing, editing, publishing, art directing or publicity. Be prepared, keep your cool, and think your options through, and hopefully your next hitch won’t throw you for a loop.

 

 

Buy your own copy of Short Frictions on Amazon or Smashwords.

Congratulations to the Short Frictions Giveaway Winner!

2014-04-07 11For the last month or so, I’ve been running a giveaway for a gift code from ThinkGeek.com…and now it’s time to announce the winner!

Congratulations to Patricia Salyers!

It was cool to watch how every day, Patricia was on Twitter, tweeting the promotional tweet to get additional entries for the competition – and clearly the work paid off! I’ve contacted her privately to arrange for her to get her ThinkGeek code, and send a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who took the time to enter.

If you didn’t win, but still want something free (and who doesn’t want free stuff) then remember, I’m also looking for advance reviewers for Short Frictions, and am rewarding those who step up with both a free e-copy of the book in the format of their choice and a thank-you on the book’s acknowledgements page.

Having lots of reviews is one of those things that helps us indie writers sell books, so not only will you get free stuff if you sign up – you’ll also be doing me a solid.

Win a $15 Gift Code to ThinkGeek.com!

2014-04-07 11Since Short Frictions, my upcoming short story collection, includes a number of science fiction stories, I thought it would be appropriate to offer a geeky gift code giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ThinkGeek.com is full of fun, nerdy collectibles. T-shirts, toys, robotic knick-knacks and more. Whatever your geeky obsession, from TV shows like Star TrekDoctor WhoGame of Thrones or Breaking Bad to tech-themed house or office gadgetry and beyond, ThinkGeek.com has loads of fun distractions.

From today through June 29th 2014, you can enter the contest by participating in this Rafflecopter giveaway.

Using the above Rafflecopter entry form, join my mailing list, then earn extra “credits” towards winning by sharing this giveaway on Facebook and Twitter – which you can do every day. If you’re already on the mailing list, go ahead and enter your address again – you’ll still only get one copy of each email, and that way your entry will still count towards the giveaway!

List members receive special previews and announcements of upcoming productions and publications, and as always, I promise not to share or sell your email address.

The giveaway results will be announced on June 30th – will you be the winner?

In addition to the giveaway, I’m also currently seeking beta readers/advance reviewers for SHORT FRICTIONS. If you’re interested in an advance copy, writing a review and being thanked in the digital copy’s acknowledgements, please click here to find out more!

Free Reads for Christmas!

Hey all!

I’m knee-deep in writing a science fiction play for a company in the UK, so this is going to be quick, but I hope you have a wonderful holiday and wanted to give you a couple of freebies to get you through the next week or two – particularly those of you with kids home from school and in need of entertainment.

If you’ve got kids, STUCK UP A TREE will be free on Amazon through December 29th.

If you like dystopian stories (and who doesn’t?) and haven’t read my play MOUSEWINGS, the next few days give you a chance for some free reading material, too.

I don’t often ask outright, but since it’s Christmas…if you think anyone in your network (including actors, drama teachers, directors…Steven Spielberg…) might enjoy either play, please pass on this blog or those links. And if, once you’re done, you feel like leaving a review? That’d be ace.

Again, both plays are free for Kindle (and associated devices/apps) through December 29th.

Merry Christmas & happy holidays!

xx

Rachel

 

PS – At time of writing, Mousewings and Stuck Up A Tree hold positions 3 and 4 on the Bestsellers list in Amazon’s free Playwriting categoy! (See below for a pic!)

free bestseller three and four mousewings

Hot Mess/Earth Day 2013 Giveaway – Join My Mailing List To Win!

In advance of Earth Day 2013, I’ve put together a prize package including a copy of the anthology I published last year, Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change. The book features work by me, RJ Astruc, Miranda Doerfler, Sare Liz Gordy and Eric Sipple.

In addition, the prize package will include two ADDITIONAL books about environmentalism, climate change and the planet: Global Warming Survival Handbook and Generation Green (images below) – and maybe some other goodies!

cover of global warming book LiveEarth generation-green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you enter? It’s easy: just subscribe to my mailing list by clicking here. (I will not share or sell your email address, and you can unsubscribe at  any time.)

If you’re already subscribed by the time this entry is posted, you’ll get *two* chances to win.

The winner will be drawn on Earth Day 2013 (April 22nd*), from among mailing list subscribers, and I’ll get in touch after that as far as sending your prize. 🙂

Don’t miss out – subscribe today!

 

*Date corrected.

Giveaway, you say? STUCK UP A TREE, for free!

 

The original cast of "Stuck Up A Tree," from top (clockwise): Ceri Mills, Andreas Vaehi, Cameron Mowat, Hazel Darwin-Edwards and Scott Hoatson.

The original cast of “Stuck Up A Tree,” from top (clockwise): Ceri Mill, Andreas Vaehi, Cameron Mowat, Hazel Darwin-Edwards and Scott Hoatson.

If you’re on my mailing list, you should have gotten an email yesterday around 5pm, giving you the heads-up ahead of time for my Spring Giveaway over on Amazon. If not:

From now until Thursday, my play STUCK UP A TREE, currently available exclusively on Amazon Kindle, is free to download.

If you’re going to be around kids over the spring holidays, reading this play aloud with them is a great way to spend time together without going nuts from over-the-top cartoons and video games.

Not convinced yet? Check out some of what’s been said about the play:

Then download and enjoy!

STUCK UP A TREE will be free until Thursday, April 4th, (2013, EST, Earth, Sol, The Milky Way, The Universe…) so if you and your kids want to spread the word, please send it on to anyone you think might get a kick out of a whimsical children’s play!

Related Posts:
Plays of Place: Edinburgh Fringe Plays

(Note: Next month, in honor of Earth Day, there will be a list-subscribers-only giveaway based around my short story anthology Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change (which is not a children’s book but has some great reviews over on Amazon), with awesome prizes for the winner – so be sure to subscribe now so as not to miss anything.)

7:06am: Photo caption now corrected.