Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Challenge of a Challenge

I have a couple of idea for reading challenges that I want to host. I'm still pondering the details, but my ideas involve using my Must Read lists, maybe in some comparative manner. I wouldn't duplicate existing challenges. But there are so many questions I have! I am challenge challenged. Please help! I would greatly appreciate any information you can share or resources you can direct me to regarding at least the following: 1) Is it acceptable or advisable to start a challenge mid-year? Most challenges start in January -- will it work to launch a new challenge in May? Would it be better to limit the number of books? Like maybe five or even three? Or do I have to wait until next year? 2) How do I make a button for my challenge? Everyone has such cute buttons and I am stumped. I'm talking basics -- like how to add text to a picture. I could do it as a Word document (Word is my only computer "tool" so I can do just about anything with it), but I don't think that will work as a blog button. Are there any on-line instructions available? 3) Assuming I can figure out how to make the button, how do I make the button into a link? I don't want someone to click on the button and have it simply open as a picture. I like the kind of buttons that people participating in the challenge can add to their own blogs. 4) The big question: What if I host a challenge and nobody comes? To avoid ignominy, could I then sign up imaginary participants? What about my cat and immediate family members? 5) With that in mind, what are the best ways to let people know about my challenge? Like I said, I'd appreciate any guidance. I don't want to be a challenge dunce!


  1. I can only help with numbers one and five. :-)

    1) You can start a challenge anytime. Most of them start at the beginning of the year, but there are others that pop up all the time. It's your challenge. You can make any rules you want! :-)

    5) Even if I don't join the challenge, I'd be happy to post about it on my blog. And I wouldn't worry about no one showing up for it. We're addicted to these things. ;-)

    I'm sure there is someone out there who can help you with the button issue.


  2. I can answer # 4. Yes, you can definitely sign up imaginary members. But then you have to create blogs for them, and update their blogs, and soon they take on lives of their own, and you don't know which ones are the made-up blogs and which one is really you.

    Or so I assume.

  3. Beth wrote a great post on creating buttons here:


    A great place to advertise your challenge is on the yahoo challenge group here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANovelChallenge/

    It's great to join the group, and find out about all the challenges which are currently happening. That way you can avoid duplicating things.

    Good luck with hosting your challenge - I'm sure lots of people will sign up.

  4. 1. When January rolled around there were so many challenges, I couldn't stop. I am still joining challenges throughout the year but I really think about it first because I already have so many to complete. Unless the challenge will go for a full year, I would limit the books to a smaller number. If it is year long, then more.

    2. I love the buttons too but I don't know how to make them. Sorry.

    3. Same as above.

    4. I will sign up for any challenge you host, so there is one. And if you sign up your cat, I'll sign up my dog:)

    5. Go to
    They will help get the word out. It is where I go to find out about new challenges.
    They also have a yahoo group where you could sound out your idea for the challenge and see if there is any interest. And I would post about it on my blog. I don't have a lot of traffic but I would still love to help get the word out.

    Good luck.

  5. I would be very interested to see what challenge you come up with. As for your questions, I'm sure you'll do just fine, but here's my two cents:

    1. I kind of like having a new challenge to sign up for in the middle of the year. I'll sign up any time if the challenge is good.

    2. I make my buttons in Photoshop. I'm not sure what the alternatives are.

    3. Once you have your button, you highlight like you would text and just add a link like it's text.

    4. If you host it, they will come.

    5. One way is to search for reviews of books that would fit into your challenge and leave a comment for the reviewer about your challenge.

    Like I said, I anxiously await your challenge. Good luck!

  6. I don't know much about starting challenges, but I'm an EXPERT at joining them!

  7. Thanks so much for your assistance and encouragement! I've used it all to come up with my challenge.

    Based on Yahoo and Blogger's Novel Challenge lists, I came up with a unique challenge.

    I used the instructions in the link from FarmLane to make my button, and think, from what Jessica said, that I can figure out how to make it a link.

    Now I just have to get it up and give it a try! Oh, and make all the shadow blogs for my cat, sister, mother, and Psmith's dog . . .

  8. I don't know the first thing about buttons, but count me in as a participant -- as long as the challenge is restricted to fiction. I don't think it matters what time of year you start it, either. And enlist your followers to help spread the word on their blogs. J.G. and I will be happy to help.

  9. I'm new at blogging and challenges too so these are just my two cents

    1) I started a challenge that overlapped two years; I wonder if there would have been more interest had I waited until the new year. I personally don't think I'd join a challenge mid year but I'm starting to think I won't join another challenge again (with a few exceptions) only because it's changing my reading to be too "panicky."

    2) Make sure the image you take is either in the public domain or is available under CCC. (i.e., don't use someone's flickr photo that says "don't use.") Then tweak it using photoshop or another text/photo editor. MS Paint? Save it as a .gif or .jpg.

    3) add < a href="[mylink]" > to the html of the button. But everyone has to add the html to their own site.

    4)Don't worry about people who come. If no one comes you have a challenge for yourself. That's my philosophy at least....

    5) I second the novelchallenges.blogspot.com site for letting people know. It lists so many challenges you can also search to see if anyone is doing one like yours already.

  10. Totally amateur advice (enthusiastic but possibly worthless) from me:

    1. Start whenever, but allow overlaps with other lists, so people can easily take on another challenge.

    2. Sorry, clueless here. I use pikasa to add words to photos.

    3. You can use Layout - Add a Gadget - Picture to make a linked picture on your sidebar. So once you get the picture and the link made, you can put them together to become a button?

    4. C.S. and I'll sign up, I promise, and we'll post about it. So that means at least 6 people will know! :-)

    5. Get your blogger friends to post about it. Comment on other book blogs with the link? Recruit others to pass the word on other book blogs, too.

    Love your "dunce" photo, BTW! And can't wait to hear your challenge idea!

  11. Yeah! I think I am almost ready. And I confess that I am giddy -- like hosting my first party or something!

    I just have to figure out how to make my button into a link, and make that link easy for people to copy on their blogs. Then I'll be ready to unveil my project and invite guests to my party!

    Drat this job thing! I have a deposition all day today. Hopefully I can fuss with my challenge at our lunch break.

  12. OK -- here it is.

    Please let me know if something is goofed up or doesn't work. I'm nervous.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...