Good question, nameless Romanian fan. The short answer is: it’s not because I hate you.
I frequently get this question from readers around the world who are cranky and hurt that they are not eligible to win prizes when I run contests and giveaway, as there will usually be a caveat that the giveaway is open to US residents only. And guys, I feel your pain. It hurts me too, especially if it makes you feel insulted or alienated or blown off.
So know this: the whole shipping decision is based purely on logistics, and nothing more. It does not stem from some wild loathing of international readers. I love international readers. Every time I get a piece of fan mail from across the pond (or from Canada, via mail goose), it warms my worldly heart. I even stage a little ceremony wherein I put the mail on a pedestal and raise that country’s flag in the background while humming its national anthem.
….It’s possible I’m confusing my sad free time with the Olympics. But I’m going somewhere with this, so let us proceed.
I would love to be able to ship giveaway prizes to Canada and Brazil and the moon, but monetarily speaking, I can’t. It’s damn expensive to ship internationally. You may think that authors write their books from atop a pile of money, but I can assure you that that is not the case (which is a good thing, because coins are slippery and I have an unreliable sense of balance). A small amount of my writerly income is set aside for promotional efforts, and since it has to be budgeted and used wisely, the result is that there’s not always enough left over for exorbitant shipping costs.
However! You’ll notice that in the above sentences I have used words like “not always” and “usually”. This is because I sometimes do ship internationally, like in the giveaway I ran last month. So I basically aim for a mix. 75% of the time I ship only US, so that I don’t go broke, and the other 25% I ship everywhere, so that no one gets left out completely. Does that sound fair? Are we cool now?
Good. Let me hum your national anthem whilst we embrace.