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WINNER of the Mockingjay District 13 Giveaway

Mockingjay_BLOGTOUR_5District 5 may not fare well in the Hunger games but we had an awesome prize to give away. The folks behind the blog tour conjured up an embroidered, one of a kind, messenger bag for one lucky winner. For our contest, you needed to only proclaim your allegiance for one of the possible matchups for Katniss instead of dying during a sensationalized broadcasting of a post apocalyptic Lord of the Flies. The winner, based on an integer generation by, is Anna Swenson.


Gale, indeed.

There was some concern about how we pick a winner so I’ll let you in on the process. WordPress, the software that runs this blog, is based on a database program. I logged into the backend of the site and downloaded all of the comments related to the giveaway post into a CSV file. There were over 1100 of them:

Once the list is downloaded, I open the document in Excel and I do a sort by IP addresses so I can get rid of any posts by myself or Jia or any of the DA crew. I also look to see if there is any, ah, overeager commenters because we have so many people who want just one prize. This culled my list down to 1087 commenters.

Dup IPs

I then sort the commenters by date so that CSV file matches up with the comments on the site. The first commenter was JMC and the last was Leigh:

Once I have my comments properly sorted, I go to and get the computer program to generate a random number between 1 and 1087.

Random winner

That’s how we pick the winners of our giveaways here at Dear Author, District 5. Go Team Gale!

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Melissa
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 09:07:34

    Grats to Anna :) Thanks for posting how the winner was picked!!

  2. Angela James
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 09:16:18

    I’m impressed with the Excel spreadsheet. I didn’t know you could do that via WordPress. I’m going to do that from now on! I do use, though, but I use the Integers site:

  3. blodeuedd
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 09:21:08

    Wow! I count by hand and it sucks

  4. Jane
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 09:21:56

    @Angela James You have to access your mysql-admin center which, if you have a self hosted site, you should be able to do. Look for your POST ID and then go to wp_comments and search for all comments with the POST ID. Download the results in a csv file.

  5. Jia
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 09:23:28

    Congrats, Anna! :D

    Wow, only 8 comments from me? I really restrained myself this time.

  6. Jane
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 09:25:02

    @blodeuedd It’s particularly handy for multi person giveaways because I’ll put a check (x) beside the name of each winner in a new column and then filter by the “x”. I copy the emails and paste them into a BCC part of the email and then send out a blast email asking for the snail mail or whatever information I need. I can use the spreadsheet to track who has provided a response and who has not. It works pretty slick.

  7. EGS
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 10:06:07

    Fancy. I think I’d probably just have closed my eyes, scrolled up and down, and pointed, but spreadsheets work too. :)

  8. Angie
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 10:40:10



  9. Courtney Milan
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 10:46:03

    You know, someone should really write a WordPress plugin to do that. It’s an automatable process.

  10. Janine
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 11:32:55


    Congratulations to Anna! Has she contacted you yet?

    And wow, 1100+ comments! People either love The Hunger Games trilogy or must have really wanted that messenger bag. I wonder what the other prizes in the blog tour were.

    Any clue who came out the winner in the shipper war? Gale or Peeta?

  11. Jia
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 12:25:12

    @Janine: Thus far, they have been:

    District 1: 1 autographed box set of the trilogy
    District 2: 1 embroidered fleece throw blanket
    District 3: 50 glow-in-the-dark Mockingjay emblem stickers
    District 4: 1 Mockingjay hooded sweatshirt
    District 6: 50 Mockingjay arrow stickers
    District 7: 25 stainless steel water bottles
    District 8: 50 Mockingjay glow-in-the-dark buttons

    As for Gale vs. Peeta, it’s not based on an official count or anything but I suspect Peeta won.

  12. Tweets that mention WINNER of the Mockingjay District 13 Giveaway | Dear Author --
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 12:53:54

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jane L, dearauthor. dearauthor said: We announce the winner of our 1115 comment Mockingjay Giveaway & explain how we pick winners at Dear Author […]

  13. Janine
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 13:37:06

    Thanks Jia. It seems we had one of the cooler prizes. I’d take messenger bag or the sweatshirt over the stickers, that’s for sure.

  14. Wednesday Midday Links: Kristan Higgins’ All I Ever Wanted Digital Edition Makes Bestseller List | Dear Author
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 13:53:55

    […] I explain how we pick the winners for our giveaways in the Mockingjay announcement. […]

  15. Jane
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 14:01:01

    @Jia I think Peeta was the overwhelming favorite but now I am growing more convinced that Katniss will end up with no one – that it will be an ambiguous ending.

    I thought the fleece throw blanket was very nice. Would have liked that last night.

  16. Kaitlyn in Bookland
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 14:52:32

    Wow, congrats to the winner! I would have loved that messenger bag :)

  17. Suzan
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 19:17:01

    Wow. That’s an awesome process. Totally snagging that. <3 your genius, Jane.

  18. Anna Swenson
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 19:42:02

    Oh my freaking gosh!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe I won!!!! WOW!!!!

  19. Bella
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 00:12:05

    ugh math, lol
    j/k that was cool; I count by hand too :(
    is there a way to do this with blogger?

  20. Janine
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 03:15:30

    @Anna Swenson: Jane was just saying on Twitter earlier this evening that she hadn’t heard from you and might have to pick another winner, so if you haven’t emailed her your address yet, now would be a good time to do it!

  21. Jane
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 06:16:41

    @Janine We’ve already connected (which was also mentioned on Twitter).

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