Monday, July 17, 2017

Tips and Tricks - What about reading sprints?

This week's tips and tricks are a slight departure from what we normally talk about.

Reading sprints

We get asked about those A LOT.

Officially, Bout of Books doesn't host any reading sprints, BUT participants are more than welcome to put together an impromptu sprint using the #boutofbooks hashtag.

How do you do this?

Throw out a quick tweet on the #boutofbooks hashtag asking if anyone is interested in a sprint. Don't get any responses? Don't despair! Sometimes people see the tweets after the fact, but still end up joining in. Set a time you'll check back in and sit down and read. When time's up, come back and let everyone know how you did.

(Incidentally, for the writers out there, this is a good way to do writing sprints as well.)

Doing multiple sprints in a row -- for example, three fifteen minute sprints with a few minutes downtime between each -- gives other Bout of Books-ers a chance to see the tweets, clear their schedule, and join in.

Obviously, there are other ways sprints can be done. If you have a tried and true strategy that's worked for you, let us know!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tips and Tricks - Using the hashtag vs using the handle

Today's topic is one that's near and dear to our hearts...

Twitter hashtag vs handle

Let's start by taking a look at what each of them do.

The #boutofbooks hashtag

Essentially, the hashtag acts as a search function. ANYONE can follow the hashtag and see any tweet tagged under it without following the individual person tweeting. Considering how many people participate in Bout of Books, this means you don't have to waste time following several hundred people just so you know what's going on.

Seriously, which would you rather do: Take an hour or two to hunt down everyone's handle so you can follow them all or just tap into that magical hashtag and see what's what in the Bout of Books world?

I'd rather spend that hour or two reading, so I'm going to go with the hashtag option.

The @boutofbooks handle

The handle directly connects you with us. As in, me and Amanda. Us. The people behind the read-a-thon.

We do enjoy interacting with everyone, but...we strongly encourage using the hashtag vs the handle for several reasons.

Reason 1:

If you start your tweets with @boutofbooks, only your followers who already follow @boutofbooks will see them. Adding #boutofbooks instead lets all your followers PLUS anyone following the hashtag see it.

You know, it's the old "You tell one friend and your friend tells one friend and then your neighbor tells one friend and suddenly everybody's talking about #boutofbooks!"

(What? I'm 100% certain that's how the saying goes!)

This is one of the key ways we get the word out about Bout of Books. Without people hashtagging and talking about the read-a-thon, we wouldn't have any participants. And if we have no participants, what's the point?

Reason 2:

If you use the @boutofbooks handle in your tweets, our notifications start to look like we're throwing a no-parents-home-for-the-weekend house party. Which sounds fun, in theory, but quickly becomes overwhelming.

Especially when we're trying to sort through them to see if we have any questions that need to be answered.

So take pity on your hosts and hashtag, hashtag, hashtag. Save the @-ing for chats or if you have any burning questions you need answered.

Hey, guys. You might have heard this before but... YOU GOT THIS!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tips and Tricks - How to direct link

Hoo-boy! Today's post is all about how to grab a direct link so you can do your thing without any muss or fuss.

What's a direct link?

A direct link is a link that goes directly to a page or tweet, NOT your homepage. In other words, when we click this link -- Dates for Bout of Books 20 -- we want it to pull up the tweet about when Bout of Books 20 will take place. We DON'T want to end up on Bout of Books twitter homepage and have to search for the tweet.

Easy, right?

How do I find the url so I can provide a direct link?

There are several different ways to get the information you need. Pick the one that's easiest for you and go to town.

Option 1:

First off, find the status you'd like to link. I'm going to use the Bout of Books tweet I mentioned above as an example.

Next, click on the date for that tweet (or status update).

This will take you to a post that is JUST the tweet you want to link.

Highlight the url in the address bar.

Right click and copy the highlighted text. This is the link you will be adding to the linky. When someone clicks on that link, it will take them directly to the tweet we want them to see.

See? Easy.

Option 2:

As with everything in life, there is more than one way to get the desired result.

This time, we're going to click on the little arrow to the right of the date:

A pop-up screen will appear. Click "Copy link to Tweet":

If the internet gods smile upon you, you'll get a pop-up that looks something like this:

Right click on the blue highlighted area and choose "copy." The url is now happily waiting for you to paste it somewhere. (Hopefully the url section in the linky!)

Option 3:

And finally, you can also get the direct link if you right click on the date and choose "copy link address" (or some variation of that depending on the browser you're using). Like option 2, the url is now waiting for you to paste it into a lucky linky box!

No matter which option you choose, you now have the url to provide a direct link to anyone who needs it.

For blog posts, tumblr posts, etc, you can click on the title of the post in lieu of clicking on the date and get the same results.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Tips and Tricks - How to make sure you're eligible for the Grand Prize


Over the next couple weeks, Amanda and I (I being Kelly, in case you didn't know) will be working on posting a few tips and tricks to help make your next Bout of Books absolutely fabulous.

Sounds great, Kelly, you say to yourself, but what does that MEAN?

Well, my darling Bout of Books-ers, it means we're going to touch on a few issues we've seen arise over the course of this read-a-thon. Unfortunately, a few of the issues have led to people being disqualified from winning the grand prize (among other things).

Frankly, that sucks.

So we're here to get the word out.

Are you ready?

The first subject we're going to touch on for our Tips and Tricks feature is what "Actively Participating" means and how you can make sure you're doing what you need to do.

What do we consider an active participant?

Simply put, you have to be properly signed up (aka, have a direct link in our sign-up linky) AND have at least two updates directly linked in our daily link-ups.

That's it.


Sign up and participate on at least two different days. NOT HARD, RIGHT? Yet, invariably, we run into issues with this almost every read-a-thon.

Okay, that's great, but I missed a day on updates!

GUYS, that's fine! We're a seven day read-a-thon. You only have to update two of the seven days to be considered an active participant. TWO. Out of SEVEN.


But I'm not interested in doing the challenges, why update?

The daily challenges are completely separate from the updates themselves. You can choose to include your challenge response in your update, but it's not required.

Heck, between hosting Bout of Books and reading, I don't always have the chance to get the challenges done either. But I do update every day. For me, it's a way to track what I accomplished (or didn't accomplish) and plan out what I'm going to do the next day.

Updates don't even have to be all that complex. A simple tweet saying "Today I read XX" or "Today I did XX" is enough. Grab the direct link, toss it in the daily linky and you're GOLDEN!

Remember what I said before? YOU GOT THIS!

Are updates required to participate in Bout of Books? 

No. Absolutely not. If you prefer to read, chat, and read some more without the hassle of updating, that's fine. But we have to put down some guidelines to we can administer the giveaway fairly. So there's that little "actively participating" rule.

And, in case you're wondering, yes, we do run into people who sign up and never do anything beyond that. Again, THAT'S FINE if that's the way you choose to do your Bout of Books thing. We want you to be comfortable doing it your way.

But if you want to be eligible for the Bout of Books Grand Prize, you need to sign up properly and update at least twice.

One last time... YOU GOT THIS!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bout of Books 19 Grand Prize

Bout of Books 19 has ended but the fun doesn't stop until the Grand Prize Winner is announced!

And the Winner is...
Rachelle @ Fortified by Books
Rachelle's winning entry came from tweeting a message.
Congratulations, RACHELLE!
Keep your eye on your inbox, you'll be receiving an email from Bout of Books soon!

We'd like to thank everybody who signed up and participated in the read-a-thon. We're always striving to make this event the best it can be and we couldn't do that without your enthusiastic participation.

For those that are interested in helping out for the next Bout of Books, we post a call for help roughly a month prior to the start of the read-a-thon - which will be around July 24th for Bout of Books 20. Keep an eye on this blog for that announcement.

Once again, thank you to everyone who helped make Bout of Books 19 a success! We appreciate that you love books and how vocal you are about sharing it!

-Kelly and Amanda

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bout of Books 19 Wrap Up

You have survived Bout of Books 19!

In this post, we invite you to link up to your overall progress for Bout of Books. You don't have to create a wrap-up post--it can be an update post with day 7's progress.

Whatever works for you, works for us.

Here are important informational nuggets you probably want to know:

Bout of Books 20 will be from August 21st to August 27th.

The Grand Prize winner will be announced TOMORROW.

Following this blog is the BEST way to stay up to date on EVERYTHING.

Since we can't reach out to everyone personally to remind them about upcoming events (though wouldn't that be awesome?), we do our best to keep this blog updated with the most current information. That means you're responsible for following us if you want to receive the latest news.

Thank you for making this event fabulous!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bout of Books 19 Day 7

The end is in sight.
Keep reading!

Here is the schedule of events for today:

TZC = Time Zone Conversion

10:30am CT (TZC) Morning Announcements with @boutofbooks
7:30pm CT (TZC) Evening Announcements with @boutofbooks


No challenge -- squeeze in a few extra minutes of reading!