Hellooooo, bookworms! This is a first for us, an open forum for you to ask questions or delve into the details of how and why we do things the way we do at the Dewey Readathon!
Every season, when the Readathon has wrapped up, we read ALL of the closing surveys. This is a chance for you to reflect, ponder, and generally mull over the highs and lows of the Readathon. Because we take your feedback seriously, we wanted to answer some FAQs here as well as offering you the opportunity to ask any additional questions you may have!
Question 1: Where were the cheerleaders? I barely saw those folks!
Answer 1: They were there! We’ve had overwhelming growth here at the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. We shot up from about 400 readers per event to 1,000! While we’ve seen lots of growth in our READERS, our CHEERLEADER volunteers have not grown at the same rate.
During the October 2014 Readathon we had 79 cheerleaders (a record high!) for nearly 1,000 readers. That’s spreading the team a little thin, so in short, we do the best we can with the volunteers we have! We couldn’t ask anything more.
If you’re excited about visiting with your fellow Readathon participants, we suggest popping into the Goodreads group or onto Twitter using the #readathon hashtag to get the most immersive experience on the day! If you’re looking for an easy way to follow the hashtag, try Twubs.com!
Q2: Why don’t the Readers signing up a couple of days before the Readathon get cheerleaders?
A2: Because it takes Heather a few days to sort everyone into teams behind the scenes and build the teams from the hundreds of readers who sign up.
Q3: How do I get involved if I’m not a blogger?
A3: When this event started it was tailor-made for bloggers, but we realize the community has grown outward into many different platforms.
- As we mentioned a little earlier, try our Goodreads group (over 500 members) or the #readathon hashtag on Twitter to feel the community in the most concentrated way on Readathon day!
- We also cheer on Tumblr, YouTube, and Instagram though Tumblr is persnickety sometimes.
- Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and chat up a stranger. The Readathon is a great way to meet other bibliophiles!
Q4: Why are the mini-challenge links broken sometimes at 24HourReadathon.com?
A4: We do the best we can to pre-schedule a lot of stuff behind the scenes. This cuts down on hair-pulling the day of the Readathon. Mini-challenge hosts send us their permalinks for scheduling, but if the link changes when the challenge goes live, or if they copy/paste wrong, the links may not work. Our hourly co-hosts check the links, but sometimes it may take a few minutes to correct a broken one. Thanks for being patient with us!
Q5: Why so many prizes and not an equal number of prize winners?
A5: This is a complicated one, but here we go! We usually have somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 prizes, and those are provided by generous individuals as well as publishers. We list all of our prizes on the Prizes Page so our hourly “door prize” winners can pick what they want (first-come, first served), and some of our Mini-Challenge winners pick from that pool as well.
Because we draw our winners randomly every hour, we never know which country they’re going to come from, and we have limited resources for shipping internationally. We try to strike a balance between awarding prizes to as many participants from all over the world as we can AND staying within our means. Three Readathons ago, when we first took over, Andi spent over $200 shipping books when we’d overextended ourselves. We learned our lesson!
How can you help?
- Donate a prize from BookDepository.com! They ship all over the world for free, and this opens up more prize options for our international friends.
- Become an angel! This is a person who receives a book from a publisher and forwards to an international winner.
- Become a Prize Wrangler! Volunteer to help solicit prizes from US and international publishers. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it! We usually only have two or three people working toward this goal because it’s an underserved area of the Readathon.
Q6: I want to start a Readathon! Can you tell me how to do it?
A6: In short, no! Not because we’re stingy secret-keepers, but because we’ve been doing this for three years, continually working on the process with help from a great group of people, and the thought of explaining it to someone is completely overwhelming. I don’t think anyone–besides Heather and Andi–knows everything that happens behind the scenes.
From beginning to end, the Readathon is kind of a year-long process! We might only have events in April and October, but we usually start planning two to three months before an event, and we don’t wrap up an event until a month or two after the fact. String that all together and it’s a longgg endeavor with a LOT of people involved!
Ballpark, we have nearly 100 volunteers!
Now it’s your turn! What questions do you have? Great ideas? We’re happy to hear ’em!