Hello and happy New Year
We’re excited here at IHS, because we’re ushering in a new year and a bigger and better I Heart SapphFic Reading Challenge for 2023! That means more categories and books. Not everyone is familiar with our reading challenge, so strap-in for the details and please note, some aspects have changed since last year’s challenge.
Here we go!
What exactly is the 2023 IHS Reading Challenge?
The short answer is it’s a fun event to get people to read more sapphic books!
The challenge runs from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023. You can join at any point during the 365-day span just by picking up a book and starting to read.
To promote the widest variety of women-loving-women stories, the IHS team has selected 100 categories, ranging from age-gap romance to sci-fi, and everything in between. (A full list of the categories can be found at the bottom of this page.)
IHS will feature two categories each week (50 weeks in total) and will share a list of book suggestions on our website. Some of them will even be on sale! You are in no way obligated to read only the books we showcase. As long as a book fits a category, that works! (See below for complete rules).
Why should I get involved?
Because reading is fun!
Not a good enough reason? We also have prizes!
Tell me more about these prizes…
We thought that might get your attention.
Each month, we’ll award one reader a $25 Amazon gift card. To enter, look for our Wednesday What Are You Reading posts on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and Mastodon. We can also accept email entries. (See below for additional details.)
End of Year Prizes
Throughout the year, we ask you to keep track of all the books you read for the challenge. This can be a handwritten list, a Word doc, a spreadsheet, or whatever you prefer. We’ve also put together this PDF with all the categories if that’s helpful. Click here to download.
At the end of the year, we will ask you to report your achievement on a simple form to be entered into the giveaway. (To make it easier on everyone, you will only need to submit your list of books if you win.)
Depending on how many books and categories were completed, you will qualify for one of five different levels for the end-of-the-year prize drawing.
- Garnet Level— $50 Amazon gift card
- Topaz Level— $75 Amazon gift card
- Sapphire Level —$100 Amazon gift card
- Amethyst Level— $150 Amazon gift card
- Emerald Level— $250 Amazon gift card
Remember, you will be entered in only ONE end-of-the-year drawing, based on the highest level you achieved.
But what are the levels?
We’re so glad you asked!
There are five levels with increasing difficulty:
Garnet Level: Read at least 15 books from 15 different categories.
Topaz Level: Read at least 25 books from 25 different categories.
Sapphire Level: Read at least 50 books from 50 different categories.
Amethyst Level: Read at least 100 books from 100 different categories.
*Emerald Level: Read at least 200 books from 100 different categories.
As you achieve each level, you can download the corresponding badge by right-clicking on the image above. Feel free to display your badge on social media, websites, and/or blogs to tell others about your achievement!
Remember how we said you only get entered once for the end-of-the-year drawing? There’s one exception to that. For all you super readers out there, and we know there are a few, for each additional 200 books you read after reaching Emerald level, you will get an additional entry for the $250 Amazon Gift Card grand prize drawing.
*You don’t have to read two books in every category to reach Emerald. As long as you read at least one book in each of the 100 categories and all 200 books fit into any of the 100 reading challenge categories, you’re fine!
How do I get started?
That’s easy. Download the category list, pick up a book, and read. There is no need to register before you start.
Can I chat with other participants?
Yes! The next best thing to reading is talking about what you’re reading. IHS has a Facebook group where we would love to hear about your reading progress. We also have a Goodreads group for those who prefer that platform.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?
- The IHS Reading Challenge runs January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023. (New categories will be shared weekly from January 9 through December 18, but you have all calendar year to read.)
- A book must fit one of the 100 categories that have been chosen for this year’s challenge and will only be counted once, even if it fits several categories. If it’s an age gap, grumpy sunshine romance with a touch of suspense, choose one category, and then find different books to check off the others.
- A book must be started and finished during the calendar year to count.
- The format can be ebook, Kindle Vella, print, or audio.
- Size doesn’t matter. Graphic novels, Kindle Vella episodes, short stories, novellas, novelettes, fanfic, and anthologies count the same as novels for fulfilling a category.
- Rereading a favorite book counts as long as you read it in full during the 2023 calendar year.
- Different books in a multi-book series can be counted toward different categories, but remember, each individual title can only be counted once.
- If you initially put a book down for age-gap that can also count as ice queen but then read another age-gap, you can move the first to ice queen. Again, we want to stress, a book only counts once, but it can be moved around as needed before you turn in your final sheet at the end of the year.
- Each book must have one character with a woman who loves/is attracted to a woman, though it is not necessary for the book to have a romance or romantic subplot. This includes those who identify as lesbian, queer, bisexual, pansexual, and homoromantic asexual women. This also includes nonbinary, trans, and intersex individuals who identify as sapphic in some manner. We welcome the very broadest interpretation of this definition as long as it keeps to the spirit of the challenge.
- The level you reach for is up to you and can be changed throughout the year. For example, if you start off aiming for Garnet but blast by it, you’re more than welcome to keep aiming higher. Or, if you aim for Emerald but don’t hit it, no one will judge you. The goal is to read for pleasure, not drive yourself crazy. Whichever level you have reached by December 31, 2023 is the one you will get credit for when it comes time to enter the final drawing.
- Even though we’ll be showcasing two categories per week, that doesn’t mean you have to read according to the category schedule or choose only from books we suggest. Read what you want and when you want. Just keep track of it and keep us updated on our socials or by email if you want to have a shot at the monthly prizes.
More on how to enter the monthly giveaways:
Each Wednesday, look for our What Are You Reading post on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and Mastodon. Tell us the title of the book you’re reading and what category it’s in. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a book from that week’s categories as long as it fits one of the 100 categories for the year.
You can enter ONCE PER WEEK, every week of the month. This is a change from last year when speed readers could enter multiple times per week. We found we were unable to keep up with so many entries and needed to simplify for the sake of sanity. We appreciate your understanding.
If you’re not a fast reader, and it takes you more than a week to read a book, that’s fine, too. As long as you reply to the new post the following week (or weeks) to say you are still reading that book, we will count it as a new entry toward the monthly drawing.
If you don’t use social media, no problem. You’re more than welcome to email us your info. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, put “Monthly IHS Reading Challenge Giveaway” in the subject line, and tell us the name of the book and the category. Just like the social media peeps, you can enter once per week. All entries for the drawing will need to be received by midnight Eastern Standard Time on the last day of the month to qualify. Entries received after that will roll over to the next month’s drawing.
You cannot enter on social media and via email to double your chances. Let’s keep this fair, peeps! We’ll assign a number to every entry we receive, and then we’ll use a random number selector to choose the winner.
End of Year Submissions for the Grand Prizes
We’ve created a PDF which you can download here. Don’t like PDFs or have your own tracking system? That’s okay. As long as you have a way of keeping track that you will be able to share with us if you win, you can do it however you’d like.
All entries must be submitted by January 7, 2024. You can check back here closer to the end of the year for a link to the entry form, which we will also make available on social media and in our weekly newsletters in December.
Okay, we just tossed a bunch of information your way, so we recommend grabbing a drink (TB prefers hot tea, perhaps with a shot of Baileys), curling up under a cozy blanket, and starting to read a book!
Happy New Year!
Miranda & TB