Everything You Need to Know About BEAT THE BACKLIST 2019

POSTED ON November 28, 2018 BY Austine IN Beat the Backlist

Can y’all believe that it’s almost DECEMBER?! Where did the year go by? With the end of the year comes a lot of book wrap-ups, deciding what to read next year, lamenting over your sky-high TBR pile. We’ve been there. I bet there are plenty of you who are there right now.

If you’ve been around NovelKnight anytime in the last couple years, you may have heard of the reading challenge I host, Beat the Backlist. And it’s back for another year!

About Beat the Backlist

This reading challenge is dedicated to reading books off your TBR! There are only a few guidelines:

The books have to be published in the prior year or earlier, meaning that for the 2019 challenge, any book published in 2018 or earlier counts!

You have to start and finish the book during the challenge year to count it which basically means that any books you start in 2018 or any books you finish in 2020 wouldn’t count. Otherwise, as long as you start and finish the book in 2019, it’s good to go!

This is a year-long challenge and you can join at ANY time!

That’s it! YOU pick your TBR, YOU set your own goal. Read what you want when you want.

New Features + Blog Partners!

I am SO excited about this year because not only do I have new blog features planned and will be doing another year of photo challenges, but I’m also partnering with other blogs to bring even MORE fun stuff for all you readers out there!

Of Wonderland Book Club

Of Wonderland hosts a monthly book club with a theme that YOU get to vote on (so cool!) and have a Goodreads group set up for discussions. They’ll be joining in with the challenge and their themes are designed to be open enough to (wait for it) include backlist books! If you like buddy reading or need help deciding what to read next, make sure to join in!

Book Rewind Thursday

The lovely team at BookCrushin hosts a weekly feature, Book Rewind Thursday, that is dedicated to sharing reviews of backlist books on Thursdays. Plan on sharing reviews of the books you read? Join in on this weekly feature!


Do you have a platform?
(blog, instagram, YouTube, etc.)
Want to be a part of this challenge?

If you would like to host a backlist-focused feature on your platform as a part of the Beat the Backlist challenge, I would be more than happy to feature you here and on the official challenge page! I’d love to spread the backlist love as well as help my fellow book promoters out.

You don’t have to come up with a brand new feature. If you have something you do already that you want to pair up with the BTB challenge, that’s totally fine! I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to me via email or on one of my social media pages!


teams and mini challenge

Oh yes, the mini challenge. The thing that has both caused so much stress and so much joy in my life. It has been the one part of this challenge I get the most questions about but also the most encouragement to keep doing. Y’all love it and I love that you love it.

And. . . it’s back. . . again!

For those of you new to the challenge, each year there are 4 teams that you can be sorted into and you can earn points for reading books. These points don’t count toward anything but can be a fun motivator.

FIRST, the mini challenge is completely optional.
Signing up for the BTB Reading Challenge does NOT mean you have to participate in the mini challenge. 
In the past the lack of involvement from readers on one team or another has been a source of tension and aggravation. This year, you can opt out of all that and just read! It’s always been optional but now it also won’t affect those who do want to participate in the mini challenge.

SECOND, the only way to earn points is to read books.
You don’t get bonus points for reviewing or doing the photo challenge each week. It’s strictly about reading books. Doesn’t matter how big or small they are, if they’re a novel or novella or graphic novel (to name a few options, you’re not limited to these).

This has always been a source of problems with this challenge so I’m keeping it simple. You read a book? You get points for your house.

THIRD, the points are weighted based on how many people are on your team.
This means that just because a House has the most people doesn’t mean that it will be in the lead. Points are weighted to keep everything even between the Houses so it’s not about how many people participate, but how many books are read.


Did some of you catch it there? The teams?


That’s right! You can declare your Harry Potter love by joining your House team! There are team icons and everything (and there’s one for anyone who doesn’t want to pick a Hogwarts house or do the mini challenge)!

When you sign up for Beat the Backlist, you will have the option to join your Hogwarts house or participate as just a reader. You can download any of the above graphics on the challenge page!


The Short & Sweet

That was a lot and the challenge page is even more detailed so here are the basics:

  • Beat the Backlist is for reading backlist books (published 2018 and earlier). If you want to read more backlist books this coming year, sign up!
  • OPTIONAL Hogwarts mini challenge. Read books. Earn points for your house. WIN.
  • Lots of book community involvement. Join in with the partner blogs, share your own posts each week, and start spreading the backlist book love!



If you want to participate in the challenge, sign-ups are open NOW! To join:

  1. POST YOUR TBR somewhere online. This can be a blog post, Goodreads shelf, YouTube video, instagram post, Tweet, etc. Doesn’t matter the format and you’re not locked into those books. It’s just a starting point!
  2. FILL OUT THE SIGN-UP FORM linked here. You’ll need the link from your TBR post and a name or pseudonym. You can also list your platform name if you want (ex. I would list “NovelKnight” for mine in that field).
  3. WAIT UNTIL JANUARY to start reading (for the challenge). Don’t stop reading now, please, but remember only books read in 2019 count for this challenge specifically.


I’m looking forward to reading alongside all of you, and hope you’re as excited about the 2019 challenge as I am!

If you have any questions, you can drop them in the comments!


Never miss another book recommendation!

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30 responses to “Everything You Need to Know About BEAT THE BACKLIST 2019

  1. Sounds great. I’m guessing you mean ‘new’ backlist books? I’m a serial re-reader so maybe half my yearly reads are backlist (mainly because I’m reading again!) but I’m going to join and challenge to read at least 1 new-to-me backlist a month. I’d love to do something (blog post?) about completed series.

    • It doesn’t have to be new! Re-reads can certainly count. Granted, the point of the challenge is to read books on your to-read list so ideally that would be “new” backlist books but it’s completely up to you what you want to count for it!

      As for posts, you’re welcome to share on any platform you want. This challenge brings in bloggers, bookstagrammers, booktubers, readers, etc.

    • Yay!! I love new releases too and I’ll be reading plenty of those but it’s good to balance it with the released titles and give them a little extra love too!

  2. Nicole @ booksinked

    Maybe I’ll join! I failed at this year’s Beat the Backlist challenge. I don’t know if I should join the mini challenge though. I’m #Hufflepuff!

    • I failed too XD With the mini challenge, if you join you’re counted as a participant for your team which affects how the points are weighted so if you plan to read backlist books anyway, it can’t hurt? But if you don’t want the stress then don’t do it! It’s optional and there are so many other things to do with this challenge if you want to get more involved at your leisure

  3. I need this challenge! I haven’t participated in challenges other than Goodreads over the last two years because of grad school, but I graduate in a few weeks!!!! I will be working on my tbr post. Thanks!