The Backlist Reader Challenge 2023: Rules & Sign-up

December 19, 2022 Challenges 19

Is your TBR pile taller than you are?

Are there hundreds of books on your Goodreads to-read shelf?

Then The Backlist Reader Challenge is for you!

If you’re like me, you’ve got a TBR list a mile long, and a lot of the books on it have been on there for years.

That’s why I started The Backlist Reader Challenge (#BacklistReader): to encourage myself to actually read those older books that have been piling up on my TBR pile/list for years.

“Backlist” is publisher-speak for an author’s older books — the ones that have been on sale for more than a year. For The Backlist Reader Challenge 2023, “older” means any books that were published before 2022 (in other words, in 2021 or earlier.)

The Backlist Reader Challenge 2023 runs from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023. It ends at midnight in whatever timezone you’re in. You can still post reviews, and link them, up until January 5, 2024, but only for books that you finished reading in 2023.

The Rules

Rule #1: To count for the challenge, books have to be published before 2022 AND already be on your TBR list or pile. 

You don’t have to own the book. If it was on your want-to-read list when you signed up for the challenge, and it came out in 2021 or earlier, it counts. You can count a book in any format, from any source — as long as it was on your TBR list before you signed up for the challenge.

What does”TBR list” or “to-read” list” mean, exactly? It means wherever you keep track of the books you want to read: Goodreads, a spreadsheet, a handwritten list in a notebook, a Word document, or any other digital or written list, as long as it’s actually recorded somewhere. A mental list doesn’t count.

If you have multiple TBR lists, that’s OK. I have both a “to-read” shelf and a “someday” shelf on Goodreads. I count both of them as TBR lists.

Do I have to list every unread book in a series on my TBR list, or can I just list the series?

Technically, you should list each book by title. So if there’s a series you want to start or continue in 2023, make sure you add all the books to your TBR list before you sign up for the challenge. (I’m not going to quibble if you miss one when you’re adding them. If most of the books in a series are on your list, it’s pretty clear that you plan to read the series.)

Do rereads count?

I love rereading familiar books. But... the goal of this challenge is to encourage yourself to read books you have never gotten around to, even if you wanted to. So here’s the compromise: you can only count a book you have read before IF (a) you haven’t read the book in the past 10 years, AND (b) you can’t remember much about it. In other words, it’s like reading a book you haven’t read before.

Rule #2: Create a goals or sign-up post on your blog

…or wherever you usually post your reviews or your thoughts about a book (Goodreads, LibraryThing, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) Please link back to this post! Then link your sign-up post below, where you see the “Add your link” button. (Please link your actual goals/sign-up post, not your home page or account.)  

Set your own goal — as many or as few books as you want. You can list the specific books you want to read this year, or leave it completely up to your mood. 

You can sign up any time, right up through December 1, 2023; after that, the sign-up link will be closed.

Rule #3 (optional): Review the books you read for the challenge*, and post your links on the review linky

You can find the 2023 review linky here. You can also get to it through the top menu bar. The linky will go live on January 1, 2023.

*You don’t have to write reviews to do the challenge, but your review links are your entries for the year-end giveaway. Reviews don’t have to be long; a few sentences is fine. If you don’t have a blog, you can post your reviews on Goodreads or LibraryThing or even on your Facebook or Instagram. Please link reviews to your review itself (not to your blog’s main page, your profile, or the book’s main Goodreads or LibraryThing page.) If you’re not sure how to find that link, email me and I’ll walk you through it.

Note: The review linky will not go live until January 5, 2023, because InLinkz restricts the linky to one year, and I need to give you time in January 2024 to post your last-minute reviews.

Rule #4: Before January 5, 2023, create and link a wrap-up post 

Let us know how you did! I’ll create a link-up post like this one for the wrap-up posts, so you can share your achievement with others who are participating!

Show your support for other participants

Please support other members of The Backlist Reader Challenge by reading and commenting on their reviews, found in the review linky. This isn’t a rule, and you don’t have to check out every review on the list, but please try to visit a few every time you post a review of your own. Your fellow readers will appreciate it!

What else you need to know

There will be at least one giveaway: a $15 Amazon gift certificate (US), or up to that amount in books from Book Depository (as long as they deliver to your country.)  The winner will be chosen from the review links at the end of the year, using a random number generator.

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

Go find those older titles you still haven’t gotten around to, and make 2023 the year you finally read them!

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Sign-Up Post Links

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19 Responses to “The Backlist Reader Challenge 2023: Rules & Sign-up”

  1. Joanie Mack

    I’ve gotten away from reading in the past year or so, and this will entice me to make a dent in the 100+ books on my e reader.

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