I did not win the tablet. But I did receive an email after the contest closed:
"Congratulations! We are excited to inform you that you are the winner of an autographed box of Kleenex in the Caramel and Magnolias contest giveaway hosted by author Tess Thompson. Thank you so much for participating in the contest and helping to spread the word about Tess's exciting new romance release."Oh. Okay!
I double checked the website and found that yes, this was an official booby prize that was being offered, if not advertised. So I said yes, by all means send me the autographed box of Kleenex. Why not? This is a major award! I'd get the box labeled Fra-gee-lay and everything!
And only a few weeks later, I got the box. Or, well, wrapped parcel.
It was not labeled Fra-gee-lay.
Not at all labeled Fra-gee-lay. But it was autographed, I'll give them that.
Now, I am not blaming Tess Thompson for this. Every piece of correspondence I got indicated that she'd outsourced the contest to persons (whom I will not name) that were doing all the heavy lifting of picking a winner and sending out the prizes.
And I'm going to be polite to those persons, too, because along with the bent/spindled/mutilated box of Kleenex I got a polite letter apologizing for the delay in sending out the Kleenex, offering me a free electronic copy of one of Miss Thompson's books. So as far as I'm concerned I'm getting the real prize, fair and square, and a great little gag gift to go along with it.
But I do have four words for anyone looking to run an author's giveaway contest of their own.
Corrugated cardboard shipping containers.