On contests and publishing and such

From Nora: I want to address the disappointment from countries not included in the contests and giveaways offered by St. Martin’s Press.

First, I understand that disappointment. The announcements are presented on my FB page–which is international so everybody hears about them. Those who can’t participate feel excluded. However, St. Martin’s Press is my US publisher. They don’t publish me in Europe or Asia or any other country/continent. The rules and regulations in individual countries are, well, individual. They’re often complicated and restrictive. My US publisher offers these contests to US readers.

Canada is sometimes included–but then there’s Montreal, which has really odd rules and regulations on contests that make it weird and complicated to deal with.

I know my publisher in the UK has held contests and give-aways in the past–for the UK. The US and countries outside the UK were not included. The same goes for other publishers in other countries.

It is not, absolutely not, a matter of me–or SMP–not valuing or appreciating readers world wide. It’s a matter of those rules, regulation and logistics.

I can’t control this. I can’t change this. I know more about foreign restrictions on contests that I’d like to at this point. I don’t understand them, at all, but I know about them. The fact remains, I write the books. That’s it. That’s all. I don’t publish them, schedule them–in the US or anywhere else. I can’t control the fact that some of my books either aren’t published in your particular country, or are released way, way after they are in the US. Obviously, I’d love to have all of my books published everywhere across the globe, and in a timely fashion. But I can’t make that happen.

The best thing to do, regarding contests and giveaways when you’re outside the US is to contact my publisher in your country. Ask them, let them know you’d participate if they’d hold a contest. I’m assuming the publisher in your country has a FB page or a website. If not, there should be contact information in the book.

All I can do is write the books. Laura works hard to let readers know about the books, when they’re coming–but she’s in the US, too. It’s hard for her to know when one of my books is due to be released in all the other countries in all the world.

SMP is my US publisher, and they’re doing a lot of fun and creative and generous things for readers. Hopefully, you can convince whoever publishes me in your country to do something fun for you.


A note from Laura:  We all understand — from Nora to the publishers to me — that every reader has a choice about the way in which they read a book.  Some prefer libraries.  Some love to listen to a book to alleviate a commute or a workout.  Some prefer the portability of an e-book and the ease of having an entire library in a device.  Some like to hold a book but need paperbacks.  Some want the hot-off-the-press hardcover.

No choice is wrong but publishers can’t accommodate all readers in all ways.  The hardcover is the biggest push for a publisher and as a thank you to readers who make the choice to read them, to pay a premium price, they’ve added some extras.  Extras that don’t work on an e-reader or in a paperback.  I realize that disappoints readers who don’t live here in the US or who read other editions.  And while I sympathize, it’s not going to change.

BTW, you love hardcovers and borrow from the library, ask your librarian to make a copy of the back of the cover before they do the library binding.  As someone has said: if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.




29 thoughts on “On contests and publishing and such”

  1. You give us such joy and enjoyment, I am sorry you had to explain this and defend your world. Thank you for what you do. Susie

  2. I’ve seen people have US friends buy books and mail them to avoid the additional wait time as well. Not much to be done about the contests though.

  3. Just a question, I don’t understand, Laura, about having the library make a copy of the inside of the book? The whole book? Don’t library systems have to buy books too, for lending?

    1. Laura was talking about making copies of the crossword puzzles found inside the leaflet of the book. Not everyone is able to get it via e-book. Hope that clears up your confusion.

    2. It’s the cover in the new In Death book that has a puzzle that gets covered up by the binding libraries put on the book to give them stability.

  4. Nora, I hadn’t even thought of the disappointed fans in other countries when I was so disappointed my name wasn’t chosen for the Inn at Boonsboro!
    I’m so glad you took time to let everyone know about rules and regulations that govern giveaways. Thank you for writing! Thanks to your entire team for everything they do, too!

  5. We get it, some publishers dont deliver on the day, but so far yours has through Amazon and we always get the ebook at the same time. Some publishers dont and I think it is the authors that miss out on the revenue generated by the selling of your work. If they dont publish in other countries, which yours do, then they are missing out. Thank you for keeping us informed, we love all your books and wait eagerly for the next book to appear. Thank you again Nora.

  6. “I’m assuming the publisher in your country has a FB page or a website. If not, there should be contact information in the book.”

    And if there isn’t information in the book; ask at your library. We do business with publishers all the time; we have the access points!

  7. Am just very grateful for Nora’s writing and appreciate your both taking the time to explain the contest thing.

  8. Love ur books, they have taken me many places and shared many feelings with your characters. Keep on writing, we all wait with anticipation for your next story and our next journey.
    Much love,
    Amy Seagle

  9. I thought the fact you took time to address the questions and complaints from your non-US readers very understanding. I have sent your books, as well as other authors, as well as CD’s and DVD’ s to friends living in other countries, because their release date was months after the US.
    My friend who lived in Aruba at the time and was a radio DJ, became a bit of a sensation by having the music months before the other 2 radio stations. He even read clips from various books on his late hour show, books by popular authors like you, that hadn’t been released yet in Aruba. He interviewed my daughter on air, one of the times we visited (she was a teenager then) about what were current music, clothes, dance trends in US. She became a monthly contributor, calling him live while on air. He usually had received the “goody box” and could play the songs and read snippets of the books. Needless to say, he got an offer of more money, producer cred, etc., with a station that was played throughout the Caribbean. I started charging him for the monthly phone calls (many years prior to unlimited cell calling) and for the goody boxes. Eventually his station took over getting him materual early.
    Until that time I had no idea about the difference in release dates and how frustrated people in other countries were over the delays. However, like you said.. local laws and policies were to blame, not you! From now on, your response should be: I write the books! Nothing else!

  10. Thank you for taking the time to explain this frustrating situation of dealing with other country publishers and the rules they are bound to.
    Readers should also understand that the reverse is also true. I have recently found a series by an author who lives in Ireland. After one of her books is published the readers in the US have to wait a year before the book is released here. When it comes to a series this can be somewhat painful ?
    Facebook is a wonderful tool of communication, and in the world of book releases it means that some of us have to wait longer than others as we watch the happy reactions of those who get the book before we do. The wait drives you crazy especially with books that are a part of series, but it also makes reading the book when you get it all that much better.

  11. Thanks for the details. For me, I have entered contests on behalf of international friends from time to time, just because, friendship. Looking forward to more writing from you.

    As always, be well (waves, hello to Laura!)

  12. Thanks for that! I read your books faithfully (usually in paperback, not always as I sometimes just can’t wait) just for the enjoyment and not for the publisher’s contests! Keep up the good work! A Canadian fan!

  13. I just love your books Ms. Roberts. I buy them as soon as I can. Thank you for your wonderful stories that transport me elsewhere for awhile.

  14. I’m sorry that Nora had to take the time to explain all that- even tho I understand why she had to do it. Even Nora doesn’t have a magic wand, to zip thru all countries rules and regulations. I’m a hot-off-the press hardcover reader, & I get antsy when my book takes a week to get here , past the release date, from Amazon. So it’s easy to imagine the frustration of international readers. I never realized it before- it’s just another reason to appreciate the fact they we live in the United States.

  15. As I was one of ‘the bad girls’ who complained I now feel awful?. But I didn’t do it in a vindictive manner. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest if a book is published in the U.K. later than in the U.S. Yes it can be annoying with the In Death books when you check inside the cover & there’s no puzzle ??because I’d like to have done it. The thing that got to me THAT day was that there was yet another competition which we in the U.K. & other countries were not able to enter. Nora has very kindly taken time out of her very busy schedule to address the question & offer a solution for which I thank her. I will certainly try this avenue & see where it gets me. It would NEVER stop me reading Nora/JD. I enjoy them to much. Long may she reign ❤️

  16. Nora and Laura, thanks for the information . I’m sorry and I admit I was one of those bothersome people asking if there was a different way to get the puzzles as I haven’t been able to read books for awhile( vision problems) but I can make the text very large on my Nook-Thank God… so I don’t have to give up reading all the “in death series”! which is almost like holding my own hardback book. I love the series and Nora you are truly a great writer. Thanks very much!

  17. I think we are all just so grateful to HAVE a Nora/JD to enjoy. Whenever we can get our hands on it! Sometimes waiting for the next to come is delicious. Off topic: my husband once asked me who were the 2 people I’d most like to meet: my answer was Nora and Tom Petty. Looks like I’ve missed one chance, going to step up the effort to get to a book signing SOON. Godspeed Tom.

  18. Have been reading your books for years I live in Ireland and there are very few competitions available for your books here but that has and never will stop me buying them as I buy it for your brilliant stories they are more important unless it was a chance to meet you ???

  19. I just wish people would get a life. If all someone wants is to win prizes then sorry, life is what it is.

  20. The BEST prize for me is a new Nora Roberts or a new J D Robb book.

  21. Laura, I tried to make a copy of the puzzle from the cover for my own use from my own copy. However…the book cover is larger than even the 8.5 by 17 paper so ended up having to cut and paste so I don’t think my library would be likely able to do that even if given copyright permission to do so

  22. I live in Canada, and I run giveaways myself, so I totally understand how difficult it can be to run an international giveaway, and for me, there are shipping costs to think about as well.


    It would be nice if people who run giveaways or contests stated right up front who is or isn’t eligible. I can’t tell you how many times I went to a website to check out a giveaway, and spent a lot of time reading about the wonderful prizes, going through several web pages, only to be disappointed by small print at the very end saying that I don’t qualify. 🙁

    1. Laura puts the for US only right in the text, often at the beginning of the announcement. It’s always explained. We can’t control what other web sites, FB pages and people do, but we really try to give all the information.

  23. Quick question – will the ANSWERS to the puzzles be posted here (or anywhere)? I’m not on Facebook or the emailing list for SMP. Thanks!

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