Beat the Backlist – Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the questions we’ve been asked regarding this challenge. If you have a question and don’t see it here, you can ask using the widget on the right of your screen!

The Challenge

What books count for this challenge?
Any books with a publication date prior to 2017 (meaning all 2016 titles and earlier). You can read it in any format (ARC of final copy). For a full list of what counts, please refer to this page.

Can I count books read for this challenge for OTHER reading challenges?
Absolutely! This is just a way to get your TBR under control with a bunch of other people. 🙂

Does re-reading a book count?
It does, but remember, this challenge is to help you get books OFF your TBR list, not re-read something you’ve already read before, but it’s up to you and what you want to get out of this challenge.

Hogwarts Challenge: If you are re-reading a book, you cannot get points if you have already reviewed it. You CAN get points for pages read and any new reviews you write.

When do sign-ups close?
Sign-ups for the challenge will remain open for the entire year and if you sign up in the middle of 2017, you’re more than welcome to include any books or reviews that you read prior to signing up in your challenge goal (assuming they follow the guidelines).

Hogwarts Challenge: If you wish to join the Hogwarts House Cup mini challenge, you will NOT earn points for anything read or reviewed prior to signing up for the challenge. Only points earned after signing up count.

Do I HAVE to do the Hogwarts mini challenge?
Nope! It’s completely optional. Just a fun competition to motivate you during the year. You can find more information below.

Do I have to be participating in the mini challenge to participate in the monthly instagram challenges or twitter chats?
Absolutely not! Everyone is welcome to join in on ALL aspects of this reading challenge. The only difference is that if you’re doing the mini challenge, those extra events count for points toward your house. Otherwise, it’s just fun for everyone!

Hogwarts Mini Challenge

How are points for the Hogwarts challenge calculated?
Starting January 1st there will be a form available for participants to submit links to their reviews and/or Goodreads “review” (showing they’ve read the book). This form will stay open all month and at the end of each month the points will be tallied based on the system listed on the mini challenge page. Each month there will be a new House Cup winner based on that month’s points, but we’ll also be keeping a running total throughout the year to declare the TRUE winner of the Hogwarts House Cup in December.

Any points submitted before each month’s deadline will count toward the monthly house cup. Deadlines are the last Sunday of each month to align with the Twitter chats.


  • January 29th
  • February 26th
  • March 26th
  • April 23rd
  • May 28th
  • June 25th
  • July 23rd
  • August 27th
  • September 24th
  • October 29th
  • November 26th
  • December 31st


Can I count reviews for books I read in 2016 or earlier?
Yes, you can get points for reviewing any book published in 2016 earlier regardless of when you read the book. You cannot, however, get points for pages read before 2017.

I signed up for the mini challenge but don’t see my Challenge Name listed.
Both of us are very busy and can’t update everything instantly. We try to update the challenge names each day but can’t always manage that. If you don’t see yours listed after 3 days, please let us know.

How do I get points if I read a book but post a review later?
You can either submit the points form twice, when you finish the book and again when you review it, or once you’ve reviewed it. It’s your choice if you want to submit it once or twice.

Why is there a review word count minimum?
We realized that it isn’t fair to those writing 600-700 word reviews to get the same amount of points as those writing a single sentence. It’s hard to create a scale of who gets XXX points without checking every single review’s word count so we put a minimum on reviews.

HOWEVER, retail reviews can be any length because it doesn’t make a difference to the website. 

I read part of a book in 2016 but finished it in 2017. Can I count it?
Yes, you may count it, but only the amount that you read in 2017 (in terms of the page count).

Do books I DNF count?
Yes. If you decide you can’t finish a book, you can still count it for the pages you did read and any reviews you write that meet the word count minimum (250 words).

How do AUDIOBOOKS count for points?
Audiobooks work the same way as any other book in terms of getting 1 point per 10 pages read. For audiobooks, just use the hardcover page count value!