A Challenge for 2017?

October 24, 2016 Challenges 28


A question for you all…

Early in 2016, I looked for a TBR list challenge that would work for me, and couldn’t find one. They were pretty much all TBR pile challenges; you had to read books you already owned. But I’ve got a ton of books I want to read, but don’t own. So I made up my own for 2016, The Backlist Reader Challenge,  or TBR Challenge for short. It was too late for any else to join in, but when I asked at the time, a few of you thought it would be interesting to do something like this in 2017, if you had more of a heads-up.

Now I’m asking again:

  1. If there were a year-long challenge that lets you read older books from your TBR list (not your pile; you don’t have to own them), would that be something you would want to join?
  2. I was thinking of saying a book has to be at least 1 year old to qualify, but that might be hard to keep track of as the year goes by – you (and I) would have to constantly check publication dates. So it might be better just to say that it has to be published before 2016. What do you think?
  3. Which do you like better for review links? A single page, accessible from the top menu? Or a monthly post? I’m leaning toward the single page, but I’m open to input either way.
  4. If there were one thing that would make a challenge like this more fun for you, what would it be?


And a few more questions for any of you who have run challenges:

  1. What’s the best free or super-low-cost link manager, and why? I’d like to be able to have thumbnails with the review links, if possible, but cost is a factor.
  2. Do you have any advice on what to do, how to do it, or what to avoid when setting up and running a challenge?


Thank you all in advance for helping me think about this. I know some of you are already thinking about what challenges you want to do next year. Hopefully I can get this up and running soon!


P.S. This isn’t the final logo, just one I whipped up based on this year’s. I’ll probably make some changes, maybe even start from scratch and put the bookwyrm in it.



28 Responses to “A Challenge for 2017?”

  1. Berls

    I definitely like the idea of this challenge! I would say before 2016 definitely is easier than saying a year old. As for a link manager – we use inlinkz for COYER and our other challenges. I forget how much it is, you pay yearly, but it’s not pricey. We don’t do pricey lol! And it has the photo option.

    As far as tips – finding ways for monthly (regular) conversation and engagement makes a challenge more successful, I think. It also makes it more work though. So having 1 link is easier, but people will probably forget about it halfway through the year, without you doing posts to keep it in their mind and to talk about it. That’s been our experience at least 🙂 good luck!
    Berls recently posted…What I’m Reading October 24, 2016My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Thank you for the input and the advice! I do like the way inlinkz displays the thumbnails. What I see on COYER and on Kimberley’s Sunday Post link-up is what I had in mind, so I’ll definitely look into them! I think you’re right about the monthly reminders and conversation, too. I’ll have to think about the best ways to do that, especially things I could set up in advance since sometimes I get slammed with work and can’t do a lot with the blog (like recently.)

  2. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I’m thinking to start out 2017 by trying to read through all the books that are sitting by my bed BEFORE I ACQUIRE A SINGLE NEW ONE. They’re mostly older than 2016 so this challenge would be good for me.

    As for linkups, I think having a single one would be best, but with reminders as Berls suggests.

    I’ve been using Mr Linky which is pretty bare-bones; there is an option for thumbnails at the “Platinum” level, but I don’t have that so can’t speak to how well it works. — InLinkz seems popular, looks like it would cost $36 for the level with thumbnails.

    I don’t know if you use Book Host (as I do), but I had a hiccup there when Ashley switched all the sites from http to https. My linkies weren’t working and I had to update the code and also contact Mr Linky for help. I think they are OK now — knock on wood.

  3. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    I would so sign up for that backlist challenge! I have tons of books that I have been meaning to read for years but haven’t. But I don’t own them, either.

    I like the single page format. I think that would be the easiest for everyone. Also, I like the idea of the book having to be published before 2016. That’s also easiest for everyone.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Audio Review: Tiger Magic by Jennifer AshleyMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      My want-to-read list is split about 1/4 books I own and 3/4 books I don’t… and it’s huge. So that’s a big reason why I came up with the idea to allow books I don’t own. I hope you will join in!

      You’re not alone in preferring the single-page format, and you and Berls agree on the before-2016 thing, which is what I’m leaning toward. I really appreciate the feedback; I’ve never done this before (hosted a challenge) and it’s really helpful to know what people like and don’t like!

  4. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I definitely love the idea of this as my TBR is sadly neglected in favor of newer shinier review books. I think for me personally I’d prefer a single page so I didn’t have keep up with what I had read over the month I could just link up as I went along. I agree with Quinn about the year. I don’t think pre-2016 would be difficult to keep track of. Look forward to seeing what you come up with!
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…The Graveyard Book – ReviewMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Oh, good! I’d love to have you join the challenge!

      Both those options seem to be in the majority. Which is good, because I think both of them are easier for me as well as for challenge participants. As a participant, I find a single page easier, especially if it’s a page on the top menu instead of a post that I have to keep finding. Of course, a sidebar link to a post would work just as well.

  5. Kathryn

    Great idea, I have been thinking about backlist books and for me I was thinking of picking out an author that is new to me and I want to read their backlist books so this could fit in with your challenge. I use inlinkz for my challenges that I host and one page would be great for reviews. Although if it got big then perhaps a couple would be better through the year. I also make sure to get the challenge posted on A Novel Challenge as that helps get the word out, and also Pinterest.
    Kathryn recently posted…It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 24th OctoberMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      That would definitely fit the challenge! You make a good point about adding pages if the link page gets too long. I notice COYER does that somehow; I’ll have to ask Michelle, Berls, and Stormi how they do it. I’m not familiar with A Novel Challenge, but I will go look for it — thanks for the tip! And Pinterest, yes, that’s a good idea too. Thank you for your input, and I hope you’ll join in!

  6. Lark

    I’ve got a ton of books on my “backlist” that I’ve been trying to find time to read, so I relate. And I do love the idea of this challenge. And normally, I’d sign up without any hesitation, but I’m thinking I might take a break from reading challenges next year. But good luck!! It’s a great idea. 🙂
    Lark recently posted…Going Gothic…My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Well, it would be fun to have you join, but I totally understand! I pulled back on challenges this year (and have done almost nothing on one of the few year-long ones I entered.) I will probably just do this one and one or two others next year, plus a few shorter ones that I always have fun with. Last year, I joined about six, plus the short-term ones, and it was just too much.

  7. Got My Book

    I am planning to give challenges another try in 2017 (I tried some in 2016, but didn’t track well and ended up dropping them) and this type of challenge is one I’m planning to do. So, I’m in. I don’t have any requests or advice, sorry.

  8. Kaja

    I would be interested in participating in such a challenge. I decided to drop all topic- or genre-related challenges for 2017 because I’m such a mood reader that it’s hard to fulfill them and that makes me feel guilty. So yeah, this sounds perfect.

    I think you could also have people leave their links to their reviews in comments to each month’s post – and then you add them to the post? I’ve never done a link-up, so I have no idea if they are expensive or not, sorry.

    I also quite like the challenge graphic! 🙂 No need to change it.

    And I’d love some categories for the challenge – you know, if you’re aiming for 5 books read, you’re a beginner, if you’re doing 25, you’re an expert, that sort of thing. I like challenging myself and I’m more likely to actually stick to it if I have a numerical goal to reach.

    Good luck with this! 🙂
    Kaja recently posted…To Love and to Cherish by Lauren LayneMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Oh, yes, that’s a good idea about the categories. And I’m glad you like the graphic. I think I rather like it, too, especially the background. I might change the fonts, though. Maybe. Also, I know what you mean about topic- and genre-related challenges. The only one of those I did this year was for cozy mysteries, because I know I always read a number of them (and I’ve been doing that challenge the longest. It’s hard to give it up.)

      Anyway, I should be posting a sign-up post in November sometime, so keep an eye out for it! I’d love to have you join in!

  9. Toady

    I love the idea of this challenge. Backlist books are something that I am always striving to fit into my reading schedule. I think that published before 2016 is a good way of setting a limit. I think we all have plenty of books on our TBR that qualify. I prefer the one page link setup myself, but would participate either way.
    As for the technical end, I can not be of assistance since I have never hosted a challenge myself.
    Best of luck getting this up and going. I look forward to playing along.
    Toady recently posted…B.B. Toady Weekly No. 2My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Great! Both the “before 2016” option and the one-page link seem to be getting the most love, which is good because I would prefer those myself. I will definitely be hosting this challenges, so check back periodically in November for the sign-up post!

  10. Rita @ View From My Books

    I definitely would do this, and this is the story of my life, lol. So many bloggers concentrate on the shiny new title (and I don’t blame them, because those who get most or all of their reading stack from an author or publisher need to read the new ones); anyone who visits a Barnes and Noble sees that they don’t carry and promote the older titles by authors- it’s the newest or perhaps some of the series only if it’s famous such as LOTR, Wheel of Time, or Hunger Games, etc. etc. The lesser best-selling books, forget it, unless you visit their online site.

    I like to visit my libraries, buy used paperbacks at my 3(!) fairly nearby used book shops- 2 from libraries and 1 private, to borrow from my son or SIL, or just download my own books, preferably on sale, and don’t borrow more than perhaps a dozen books a year from NG, but I’m even shying away from that from here on out, after this batch.

    A long way of saying yes, I’ll join. I’m not blogging atm but I think I will come back by year’s end or sooner. I just need to decide the direction of my blog to move on…
    Rita @ View From My Books recently posted…Blogging Break…My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Yay! I’d love to have you join the challenge. And even if you decide not to get back into blogging, you can post short reviews to Goodreads and link those. 🙂 I’ll be posting a proper sign-up in November.

  11. Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic

    This sounds like a good challenge, Lark. I think it would be fun and I like the idea of not having to own the book to count it. I haven’t hosted a challenge so I can’t help with that!

    I never manage to post monthly with how I’m doing on challenges. I always create pages to keep track of my challenges and then list each challenge that works for my review at the end of the review. The pages are at the top of my blog–“2016 Reading Challenges.” I don’t have a problem keeping track, but this year I’m way behind on posting my reviews. The last couple months have been a challenge for me getting things posted.

    By backlist do you mean it would have to be an author we’ve already read and liked?
    Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic recently posted…Sunday Post: October 30My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’d love to have you join the challenge!

      I try to keep track of my challenges on a page, too, using UBB. But like you, I’m way behind on posting (and writing) reviews right now, so I sympathize with you on that particular difficulty.

      As I understand the term, an author’s backlist is their older books (as opposed the most recent ones); for a publisher, it refers the older books available from that publisher. So I’m using it in that general sense: not the most recent books, but the older books on your TBR list. The idea is to get to the books on your want-to-read list that have been sitting there for a while. So if a book is on your TBR list and was published before 2016, it would count even if you haven’t read the author before. For instance, I’ve been intending to read Louise Penny for a while, and the first Inspector Gamache book is on my Goodreads want-to-read list (and has been for over 2 years, I think.) I could read that book for The Backlist Reader (TBR) Challenge, and it would definitely count, because a) it was on my to-read list and b) it was published before 2016.