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Let's talk about international giveaways - a handful of tips for bloggers!

You might have heard all this before, but I just wanted to give a tiny little bit of advice to those of you who just started blogging and organising giveaways.

As a blogger and a book reader outside US/Canada I feel the pain of all these wonderful giveaways that pass us by every bloody day *grinning* So from my side I'm trying my best not only to keep my giveaways open worldwide, but keep them pretty painless.

So here is a couple of tips I want to share with you, guys.

1. Rafflecopter.

For the love of all that is holy, have all the important information about the accessibility of the giveaway available outside the rafflecopter. There are only 2 things that really must be mentioned (the rest is up to you):
a) which countries the giveaway is open to
b) when does it end.
That's it.

The reason I'm saying this, is because Rafflecopter is not visible through Google Reader which most of us use, so we have to click through to your blog, log in to Rafflecopter and then see if there are Terms and Conditions available. Sometimes there is no mention who giveaway is open to, then I personally don't risk entering it.

Sometimes Rafflecopter also refuses to cooperate when you're trying to embed its html to your blog. All you need to do then is open Internet Explorer and do it through that browser, It works for me every time for an html related problems on Firefox.

2. The problem that is TBD aka The Book Depository

You would be amazed how many countries are not on TBD's list. There is a great alternative to The Book Depository out there which ships for free absolutely everywhere, -  Fishpond.com.*

90% of winners of your giveaways will be from US, maybe 1% will be from a country not on TBD list. In that case the book from Fishpond will cost you the same price as book on Amazon, maybe cheaper if it's on offer. If you want to ship it somewhere obscure they might even charge you *gasp* a dollar. That's what happened to me when I had to send a book somewhere in South America, but the service is excellent. You can pay with a card or Paypal and they've got a tracking system and estimated delivery dates - perfect.

I actually bought some absolute bargains from this website (under £3-4) and all I'm saying - keep your giveaways open to everyone with a valid mailing address, don't limit it to TBD. The chances that you will have to use Fishpond are very slim but it's nice to include everyone, who otherwise is often cut off from the giveaways on most blogs. I know how it feels not to be able to get the books you want and I don't want anyone else to feel excluded if I can help it.

* - I haven't been compensated in any way for recommending Fishpond services to you.

3. Ebook vs Paperback.
 If territorial rights don't prohibit it, ask the author/publisher who provides the book to give away an ebook as an alternative in case your winner is international. Heck, if you want to give away the book, and you yourself live in US you can always gift it as a kindle ebook to anyone with Amazon account anywhere* in the world. No postage, no hassle, instant gratification.

* - Hannah pointed out, that if big publishers didn't include your country in territorial rights of the book, you won't be able to receive it. There seem to be no problem with small publishers and indies. Thanks, Hannah!

4. Gift Cards.
Gift Cards don't have to be limited to US/CAN as well. Any country with Amazon will work. All you need to do is log in to Amazon in that particular country and buy the card from there for your winner. Then they can use it. I've done it before and it works. *wink* You can also use Fishpond again for gift vouchers. As far as I know they don't have limitations that Amazon has.

5. Social Media
This is my personal thing, so feel free to ignore it. I don't use Twitter and I'm ashamed of my little... disability. I tried, and I just... can't. So when someone is limiting the option of spreading the word about their giveaway to only Twitter I'm upset - there are gazillions of ways to spread the word: your blog, Facebook and all sorts of weird and wonderful social media platforms that seem to be multiplying overnight. So sometimes it pays off to maybe add one more option to your giveaway, n'est-pas? Again it's entirely personal, and feel free to ignore me.

Here it is. I can't think of anything else. Maybe you can share your tips for the giveaways as well?
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