Help

Answers to your frequently asked questions:

Q: What’s #boutofbooks?
A: Bout of Books (which you’ll see people posting about on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #boutofbooks) is a weeklong readathon run three times per year where all we do is encourage you to read. We keep it low pressure, with a focus on having fun. If you want to learn more, check out our About page or Getting Started page.

Q: I'm new and not sure how to get signed up. Help!
A: First: do we have a sign-up post running? If not, we’re not in the readathon cycle yet. If yes, head over to the sign-up post for simple instructions (you'll also see them below). If you’re on a computer, you’ll find a button in the sidebar for the sign-up post. If you’re on a mobile device, go back to the home page and scroll until you find the post titled “Bout of Books [#] SIGN UP!”

We try to make it obvious. Likewise, we’ve tried to simplify the sign-up process over the years. Here’s our three-step process:
  1. Declare your intention to join us and link back to us. Post wherever you plan to publicly share your readathon updates. (We don’t care if that’s your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or another social network we’re not cool enough to be on yet.) Posting about the readathon helps us spread the word, so be sure to include boutofbooks.blogspot.com.
  2. Add your link to our sign-up post. Link directly to your “I’m joining #boutofbooks!” update.
  3. READ. That's it.
Q: What are your reading challenges?
A:  Just to read. Yes, really! You’ll find many great readathons with a specific reading challenge (series, library books, etc) but that isn’t Bout of Books. Think of us more like a weeklong online party where readers can get together, talk about books, and do what we do best: read.

That said, we do host daily challenges here and on Instagram. Those challenges are more about taking a reading break and networking with your fellow readers. If you want to do the challenges, great! If you don’t like the challenges, also great! Participate in the readathon however you prefer.

Q: Do you have reading sprints?
A: Not officially through our @boutofbooks Twitter account. Your cohosts don’t have time to host reading sprints as well as manage other readathon and life duties, which is why we’ve recruited Bout of Books experts (aka long-time participants who volunteer their time) to host them for us.

In addition to us Tweeting who those experts are, you’ll find a list of them on our Getting Started page. Follow them for updates or ask them if they’ve got a schedule they can share.

Q: Do audiobooks count? Do graphic novels count? Do [insert a story format here] count?
A: Yes, yes, and yes. Seriously, read however you want. Track your progress by books read, pages read, minutes listened, cereal boxes read, whatever. If you’re reading and having fun, that’s all that matters.

Q: When is the next Bout of Books?
A: Bout of Books runs on a schedule of three per year:
  • January: first full week
  • May: second full week
  • August: third full week
Specific dates for the next Bout of Books, as well as the three after that, are located on the About page. (Our schedule page is for the current readathon’s daily challenges, in case you were wondering.)

Amanda also tries to keep the @boutofbooks Twitter and Instagram profiles up-to-date with the next readathon dates. While it may be easier for you to ask us directly for upcoming dates, it’s more work for us. We don’t always remember the dates either, so we have to check anyway. Save us time by checking out any of the options listed above first. We give you permission to give us a hard time if we don’t have everything up-to-date.

***The following questions aren’t frequently asked but include information we think you should know.


Q: Why no Grand Prize?
A: Return #boutofbooks-ers (that’s how we refer to our readers) will notice that there’s no Grand Prize this time around. While we keep some aspects of Bout of Books the same, we also experiment and evolve. In this case, we’ve seen less interest in claiming the prizes so we’re eliminating them. Don’t like it? Like it? We welcome your feedback. See our Contact page for your preferred method of communicating.

Q: How do the daily link ups work?
A: Each day is for the previous day's progress.  So, it works like this:
  • Monday: sign-up post (a re-post of the sign-up linky)
  • Tuesday: progress for Monday
  • Wednesday: progress for Tuesday
  • Thursday: progress for Wednesday
  • Friday: progress for Thursday
  • Saturday: progress for Friday
  • Sunday: progress for Saturday
  • Monday: wrap up for the entire readathon (can include 7 days worth of progress or just a general update on how you did overall)
Q: How can I stay informed about what’s happening with the readathon?
A: We suggest a few options; use whichever one or combination works for you:
  • Subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed, either through email or your preferred RSS reader
  • Follow our Twitter (@boutofbooks) for updates, especially during the readathon
  • Follow our Instagram (@boutofbooks) for updates during and in between readathons
  • Set a calendar reminder to sign up: we open the sign-up window two weeks before the official start of the readathon
Q. How do I know what’s happening when?
A: After years of practice, Amanda and Kelly have found this works:
  • 4 weeks before official start: call for challenge ideas
  • 3 weeks before official start: call for experts
  • 2 weeks before official start: sign-up begins
  • 1 week before official start: current readathon’s challenges posted
  • During entire readathon: daily information posted here on our blog, Twitter, and Instagram
  • In between readathons: on Instagram, we run a countdown to the next Bout of Books as well as showcase Kelly’s beautiful book photos
Q: Who’s behind the Bout of Books accounts?
A: That would be Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. If you’re talking with @boutofbooks on Twitter or Instagram, you’re usually talking with Amanda. Kelly handles our Facebook group. Especially in between readathons, we might forget to check our social media accounts. If you’re waiting on a question to be answered, please be patient with us!

Q: What's the difference between @boutofbooks and #boutofbooks?
A: @boutofbooks is the Twitter account Amanda and Kelly use to share important updates and interact with readers. It’s also our Instagram account username. #boutofbooks is our official hashtag, and it's what all the participants use to connect with each other and share their reading updates. If you need to talk to Amanda or Kelly, use @boutofbooks. If you want to connect with other participants or keep people updated about your progress, use #boutofbooks.

You'll often see us reminding everyone to use #boutofbooks instead of @boutofbooks. This is so actual questions don't get lost in the shuffle of general updates.

Q: I’m failing!
A: Okay, so this isn’t a question. But we see it A LOT during the readathon, sometimes even on the first day! When we say we’re low pressure, we mean it. Many readers put pressure on themselves to meet certain goals and get down when they don’t. You’ll often see us advocating for a more forgiving approach.

Life sometimes gets in the way of reading. (Amanda frequently reads nothing the first few days of the readathon, for example.) And that’s okay! If something more important pulls you away from reading, we won’t be hurt or offended if you don’t read. In fact, we’ll probably encourage you to focus on those more important things pulling you away.

Likewise, everybody has their own reading pace. Some people read book after book (*ahem* Kelly) while others are lucky if they squeeze in 15 minutes the entire readathon (Amanda). Try not to compare your progress to everyone’s else. Focus on you and what makes sense for what’s going on in your world.

If you’re familiar with the previous content of this page, you’ll notice that the information about goals has been removed. That’s intentional. If you want to set goals for yourself, great. But we don’t want you to focus on setting and meeting goals. We want you to focus on your love of reading and on connecting with fellow readers.

Q: My question wasn't answered here. Where else can I go for help?
A: Check our Contact page for a list of ways to get in touch.