The Role of the Broker

Over at Fanlit, we frequently do giveaways. Most review sites do this. Often we work with publishers to give away new books, which the publishers like because it juices up the buzz about the book.

This means working with publicists and winners.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, the Giveaways of books from publishers go very smoothly. Basically, I send an email with the winner’s contact info or address to the publicist, and we’re done.

Right now I am dealing with someone who didn’t get a book from the publisher. In this situation, the publisher approached us, and we did a 20-book giveaway. Two winners have contacted me to say they haven’t gotten theirs, and the books were supposedly mailed the first week of April, 2016.

It isn’t going very well. The first person contacted me three weeks ago. I let the publicist know, and confirmed the address I’ve given him was correct. I asked him to check. Four work days later I got a response that “those books have all gone out.”

I followed up. Have any come back? Can I get the tracking number? No response.

Fortunately, I had a second copy of the book in question at home, and I ended up sending that to the winner.

Now, this week, I have a second person contacting me and I am going through the same drill. UPDATE: Now I have a third and still no response from the publicist.

I’m frustrated, and part of the reason I’m frustrated is because I’m not sure what I can do to fix this.

I know what I shouldn’t do; I should not buy the winner a book with my own money. That’s what I want to do. This problem is not of my making, nor is it my responsibility. Also, this isn’t about Marion, this is about FanLit, and while I can probably afford to buy a copy (or copies, as it’s turning out) of this particular book, it wouldn’t be fair to set that kind of a precedent for the site.

And the publisher offered a book and they damn well should provide the winner his book.

As a “broker,” I don’t really have any leverage over the publisher. That’s the other problem.

Anyway, it’s an interesting dilemma.

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