The Backlist Reader Challenge 2017: Rules and Sign-up

December 1, 2016 Challenges 77



Got a Goodreads “to-read” list a mile long?

Have you been reading so many new books that you don’t have time to get to the older titles on your want-to-read list? That’s what happened to me, so I came up with The Backlist Reader Challenge.

The Backlist Reader Challenge (#BacklistReader) is a year-long challenge for all those older books that have been piling up on your TBR pile and list — not just the ones you own, but the ones you’ve been wanting to read for a while now.

The rules are pretty basic, and I’ve tried to keep participation simple. There will be at least one giveaway, with the winner chosen at random from the review links at the end of the year. I’ll probably throw the occasional Twitter party or Facebook check-in as well, but they won’t be required. All you really need to participate is a to-read list and a way to sign up and link your reviews.

The challenge runs from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. It ends at midnight in whatever timezone you’re in.

The review linky is on a page on the top menu bar, with a link from the sidebar as well. The review linky went “live” on January 1, 2017. It will stay open until January 3, 2017, to give you a couple of days to review any books you read on the last day of the challenge.


The Rules

The rules are pretty simple. Only (1) and (2) are mandatory.

(1) To count for the challenge, books have to be published before 2016 AND be on your TBR list or pile. In other words, you don’t have to own it. If it’s been on your list to read, and it’s older than 2016, it counts. Library books, books you picked up at a yard sale, books you borrowed from a friend, ebooks, print books, audiobooks — any book counts as long as it fits those two criteria.

(2) Create a goals or sign-up post on your blog or wherever you post your reviews. If you can, please include a link to this post! Then link your sign-up post where you see the “Add your link” button below. (Please link the actual goals/sign-up post, not your home page.)  You can set your own goal, and you can list the books you want to read, or leave it up to your mood at the time — as long as they’re on your TBR list. You can sign up through December 1, 2017; after that, the sign-up link will be closed.

(3) Review the books you read, and post the links on the review linky Actually, you can do the challenge without writing reviews, but the review links are your entries for the year-end giveaway (a $10 gift certificate.)  Reviews don’t have to be long, just a few sentences is fine. You can post them on Goodreads or LibraryThing if you don’t have a blog.

(4) On or after the end of the year, post a wrap-up post to let us know how you did! I’ll create a link-up post for the wrap-up posts, too. Again, this one isn’t absolutely necessary, but I hope you’ll do it anyway, just for the fun of looking back and seeing your accomplishment!


Social media: Please use #BacklistReader on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else hashtags are useful!


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77 Responses to “The Backlist Reader Challenge 2017: Rules and Sign-up”

  1. Berls

    Yes! Seriously, I can’t tell you how much this is me. I will plan on joining you. To confirm that I’m reading correctly, I can just pick a number of books I want to try and read that we’re published before 2016? It doesn’t have to be a specific list of books?
    Berls recently posted…Confessions from a Coffee Shop | DNF ReportMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Wonderful, Berls! Yes, you’ve understood it exactly. It’s very flexible. As long as it’s on your TBR list, wherever you keep that (Goodreads, a piece of paper, or whatever) and it was published before 2016, it’s good. But you don’t have to list specific titles in your sign-up post, though you certainly can if you want to. 🙂

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Great, Rita! You can post a list of books if you want, but you don’t have to, and you’re not committed to or limited to those books. You are limited to books that are older than 2016 and on your TBR list, wherever you keep it. I use my Goodreads “to read” and “someday” lists, for example. I have about 1500 books between the two lists, so as you can see, it speaks to my reading habits, too! 🙂

  2. Lark

    I really wasn’t planning on participating in any reading challenges in 2017, but I am SO tempted by this one. I just might end up signing up after all. Because I really do want to get the books that have been on my To Read list the longest read this year…and this would be a fun way to do it. 🙂
    Lark recently posted…A bookish treat…My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      You could always set a fairly modest goal for yourself, and increase it if you reach it. I’ve done that before, when I wasn’t sure how much time I could commit to a challenge. 🙂

  3. kimbacaffeinate

    Oh yes..I am in. I usually post my challenge goal post at the end of December, so I will come back and link. I have back series I am working on. When you say TBR this a list you want that is public? I just have a mental list of series I am in the middle of
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie MacomberMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Yay! As for the list, I didn’t specify that it had to be a public list. I was kind of assuming that people would have some sort of written list (or physical pile) somewhere, that they would work from. But you don’t have to make your list public, so I guess a list in your head works. 🙂

  4. Kaja

    I’ll definitely be participating in this – as soon as I put a post together! Thanks for hosting the challenge.
    Kaja recently posted…My NovemberMy Profile

  5. Lindsay

    Awesome idea, Lark! I ended up reading a ton of new releases in 2016 and not nearly as many backlist books as I had planned. I was just thinking I’d *try* to focus more on older titles in 2017!
    Lindsay recently posted…Monday MusingsMy Profile

  6. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I’ve taken on the Mount TBR challenge this year and I think that might be all I can manage in terms of excavating my pile…but I might take on a modest level of this challenge to get to books that have been lingering for way too long. I shall follow everyone’s progress with interest in any case!
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted…Reading New England Wrap-upMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’m so glad you’re interested in participating in this challenge! Re linking up: I’ve checked the inLinkz widget, but I can’t see any reason why you are getting that message. I didn’t put any limit on the number of link-ups allowed. Maybe InLinkz limits the number of links you can have in the post you are linking to? I suppose you could try copying out the portion of your signup post that deals with this challenge and making a new post just with that, then link the new post and see if that works. If not, please try to copy the error message you’re getting, and I’ll contact InLinkz and see whether they can sort it out. (I’ll repeat this reply on your post, in case you don’t see this one.)

  7. Cameron

    Friend of mine recommended this challenge to me, so I thought I would sign up since I have a lot of titles that have been waiting on my TBR pile for years and this is just the right sort of challenge to help me get to some of them. Unfortunately I keep getting an error message when I try to link up. Here’s the direct link to my sign up announcement on my blog:

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Cameron, I’m sorry you’re having trouble linking up. Can you tell me what error message you are getting, so I can try to sort it out?

      • Cameron

        Sure can. Though I just tried it again so I could get the correct wording on the error message and the link went through this time. I was being told during my first attempts that I had “exceeded the number of links allowed for sign up” the first time I tried. I was using a shortened link to my challenge post at the time, but this time I tried the full link and I’m wondering if that had something to do with it?

        • Lark_Bookwyrm

          I’m glad you were able to get linked up! That might be the problem. I will try to ask InLinkz if they reject short-links.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’m sorry you had trouble with it! I’ll try to troubleshoot. I know at least one other person was able to post their link, so I think it’s working generally, but I’d like to figure out why you ran into difficulty with that specific link. I was able to add it with no problem, using the link you provided and your email address (supplied when you commented; don’t worry, no one else sees it.) So I’m not sure why you got an error message. Just curious — did you try linking the review on this page, or on the review linkup page (accessible from the top menu)?

      • Avid Series Reader

        >>Just curious — did you try linking the review on this page, or on the review linkup page (accessible from the top menu)?

        On the 7th, I tried to linkup on the review linkup page. Today when I click on the same link, it looks different – no error message about “linky not allowed”, the linky button is active. I will definitely use the review linkup page, whenever it works.

  8. Avid Series Reader

    Review linky not working again. I used the link on the top of the page. A page displays that says it’s the review page, but it does not have any reviews posted, and it has this error message:

    This InLinkz widget is not allowed in this website. You can still view the linkup here.

    When I try the “here” link, it takes me to the home page. Disappointing and frustrating. I wonder where and how others have linked reviews?

    My 2nd – 13th reviews:
    2. Goodbye, Ms. Chips
    3. Room with a Clue
    4. The Corpse on the Dike
    5. The Girl in the Spider’s Web
    6. Sins of the Fathers
    7. Aunt Dimity and the Duke
    8. The Last Hand
    9. Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed
    10. Blacklist
    11. Sugarplum Dead
    12. Crescent City Kill
    13. Garnethill

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Avid Reader, you’re doing great! I have no idea why you’re having so much trouble with the widget, though. I can see and use it just fine, and apparently others can also. I’m sorry it’s giving you a hard time! I’ll try again to contact them and see if I can get some answers.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Sorry about that, Laura! I’ve put a support ticket in with InLinkz about this. Hopefully they’ll figure out what’s going on, because you’re not the only person to mention this. Have you been using the full-length URL to link your reviews? A couple of people have said they couldn’t link using a shortened link, but when they tried again with the full URL, it worked. I pass that along FWIW. I’ll let everyone know when I’ve gotten an answer from InLinkz.

  9. Lark_Bookwyrm

    ATTENTION EVERYONE WHO HAS HAD TROUBLE WITH THE REVIEW LINKY: InLinkz has informed me that they don’t allow short-links, so when you link your reviews, please use the full URL. I have added a warning over on the review link page.

    If you have added links through the comments because the shortlink didn’t work, please try again using the full URL of the review. And if that doesn’t work, please let me know — with a screenshot, if possible, so I can pass it along to InLinkz.

    They are still working on figuring out why the review linky sometimes doesn’t show up on the page for one or two of you.
    Lark_Bookwyrm recently posted…TOUR: In Farleigh Field (Rhys Bowen)My Profile

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