Giveaways are more complicated than I thought

So. You’re a self-published author and you’re thinking about doing this promo thing called a giveaway and you think it’s easy and shiny and … it’s not. It’s really not. Not if you’re thinking about doing an international giveaway.

If you’re thinking about restricting your giveaway to the US, then you’re in good shape, but things start to get twitchy once you start crossing borders.

That said, be wary of not stepping on FB’s toes lest you get your page revoked. That link is really worth reading, btw, because the policy changes will affect many aspects of giveaways that people are used to seeing. Google + also probably has similar policies in place.

In Canada, for example, it’s illegal to do a giveaway where the winner is determined by chance because then it’s called a lottery. In order for it to be a legal contest, you need the contestants to demonstrate a skill, one that is capable of weeding out at least some of the contestants. Apparently a four part math question is sufficient, but it’s still necessary.

In Quebec, things get a little hairier. You’d need to register your giveaway, submit your advertisements 30 days before the giveaway starts, pay a fee of up to 10% of the prize, etc etc etc. No wonder so many sweepstakes are void in Quebec.

In the UK, you have similar problems with Canada.

Australia has similar laws too. Fancy that, considering that Canada and they were both under the same queen at a certain point…

En Zed seems to have less stringent rules, which is interesting and in keeping with the whole more laid-back vibe I get from them.

…I think I’ll just stop there instead of looking up all the different rules for all the various English speaking countries. There’s 58 sovereign states in that list, just FYI, guys.

But Katje, what are the chances of getting caught and prosecuted for giving away a bunch of my own books, even if it is a felony in some countries?

Well, to be honest, I would say it’s pretty low. So low as to make the fact that I spent the last couple of hours researching this rather than writing kind of ludicrous.

However, I personally have a fondness for knowing when I might be breaking the laws and forewarned is forearmed.

With all that in mind, this affects how I will structure the giveaways I had in mind. It also affects whether or not I end up enrolling Phoenix Chosen in KDP select for the set-up-to-be-free days or not.

Lots of food for thought…