With the Grand Master Reading Challenge coming to a massively successful close we’ve been racking our brains trying to come up with something great for 2013 and we think we’ve done just that. Introducing the 2013 Worlds Without End Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge! The challenge is to read 12 women authors you haven’t read before (including one completely random author pick) in 12 months and to write 12 reviews. We’ll be using BookTrackr again to help you keep up with your books and so you can follow along with the other challenge participants.
So, why Women of Genre Fiction? Well, we considered many themes like 12 books from 12 different sub-genres or 12 Hugo winners or 12 books from the Guardian list, etc., but in the end they all felt a bit limiting. Don’t get me wrong, any of those would be great for an individual but those challenges would lead to a lot of reviews for the same books. That can get to be a little monotonous for the other participants and visitors to the site. We saw just a touch of this with the GMRC where we ended up with multiple reviews for some of the more famous of the Grand Master books.
We decided to go with something built around authors again but with a much wider author pool to pick from. We also wanted to define a subset of all authors that would give us a compelling theme to attract more participants to the challenge. That’s where the women authors idea comes in. The history of women in genre fiction is already a compelling conversation and has been for years and doing a challenge like this would give us an opportunity to engage the subject directly.
Take a look at our All Women Authors page. On it you’ll find a photo gallery of all women currently in our database. If you’re a WWEnder you’ll recognize the color coding that shows you exactly how many of these authors you’ve read. If your list is like mine at all you might be a bit shocked, and even a little embarrassed, about how few you can count as read. For the record, and I am embarrassed to admit this, I’ve read a paltry 11 of the 330. On my Authors I’ve Read list that’s 11 women out of 121 total authors – in over 30 years of reading! I knew it was a low number but I would have guessed a couple dozen had you asked me before I saw those gallery views and I’m sure I’m not the only one in for a bit of a surprise on that front. Just completing the WoGF will double my count in a year! What will it do for yours?
Now that you know the why, here are some particulars:
12 women you’ve not read before. Why? Because we want to move the conversation beyond Ursula K. Le Guin, C. J. Cherryh and Lois McMaster Bujold and if you’ve found yourself on this site you’ve probably already read these giants anyway. Try somebody new and get some new names into the conversation about great women authors you’ve read.
1 randomly selected author. Why? Well, why not? It’s easy to play it safe and go with the names you recognize. Take a chance outside your comfort zone. Experiment with somebody you would never have picked up on your own. Go to the All Women Authors page, close your eyes, scroll the page and take a poke at your screen. Where your finger lands – that’s your next author to read! Or, have a friend pick one for you and you pick one for them. Or, poll your blog visitors and leave it up to them which author you’ll read. I’m sure you can come up with a fun way to make your random pick. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can read more random authors than just the one.
12 reviews. Why? Because your reviews will influence other WWEnd visitors to try the books you like for their own challenge and far beyond. Your review could be that bit of encouragement another reader needs to branch out and try a new author. The GMRC has produced over 220 reviews. That many WoGF reviews would be a great promotion for women authors!
Monthly prizes for the best reviews. Why? Because that’s our way of saying thanks for the effort and it helps encourage everyone to write the best reviews they can. This year the prizes are $25, $15 and $10 Amazon gift cards! Pretty schweet, huh? If you write a review every month you’ll have 36 chances to win a prize throughout the year. Where else are you gonna get odds like that? Of course we’d like to see you use your prize to buy more books and write more reviews for WWEnd so there’s something in it for us too
So that’s the challenge. We hope to see all our GMRC participants take up the WoGF and help us make it better than last year, which is a high mark indeed! If you like the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge please help us spread the word on your blogs, on Facebook and Twitter and to anyone who’ll listen. More details can be found on the challenge page and in the forum. As always we want to hear from you. What do you think? Are you up for it? Have you read many women authors yourself? Who are you going to put on your challenge list?