A New Challenge for 2019


In 2019 we're on hiatus from producing book club and book boxes (except The Little Box of Calm) until June, but does that mean we're also on hiatus from loudly shouting our love for all things indie books? It does not!


During 2018 we sort of ran an indie challenge, but while admirable its goals may have been a little... idealistic, so we've changed things around a little (a lot) for 2019. This challenge will be all about the reading!

As with so many reading challenges, we've created our own bingo card and there are tasks to be completed and rewards to be won - for those who want of course. If you're not into all the bells and whistles, then our challenge to you is this: read some books published by independent publishers. If you need inspiration our twitter list can be found here. If you do, however, like bells and whistles, then read on as we have many for you!

The basic rules of the challenge are thus:

  • You must sign up with a blog or vlog linking back to this post - then add it to the link up here.

  • Use #indiechallenge on social media.

  • There's a grand prize to be won at the end of all this, which we'll be announcing later in the year. Add the books you've read into our spreadsheet & everyone who does will be entered into a draw to win the prize. If you review them please also post links there so that we can share them too.

  • Books read for this challenge must be published by independent publishers or self-published. Books published by any of the 'Big 5' (HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Simon & Shuster, Macmillan, Hachette + imprints) don't count.


The Bingo Card is very simple - just pick a line and make a TBR that fits all of the criteria. You can use the same book for multiple squares, and if you're feeling adventurous you can go for the whole board! Each month here on the blog we'll be focusing on a couple of the squares and sharing our recommendations of great titles. We'll also be posting each month about new indie books coming out that month and sharing all of our thoughts about the books we're reading here and on our Youtube channel so there will be lots of brilliant indie content coming.

So basically, read some independently published books, tell us (and each other) about them, and as always, spread the indie love! Don't forget to add your sign up posts to the link up!

(Read on for clarification on the definitions of the bingo squares)

Bingo Card Definitions

Est. 2018 - an indie publisher established in 2018. Can include those who published their first title in 2018, as well as those who were actually set up in 2018. Including but not limited to Peninsula Press, 3 of Cups Press, and Knights Of.

Genre Fiction - fiction that falls into genres other than 'general fiction' or 'literary fiction', e.g horror, fantasy, science fiction, romance, crime, thriller etc.

Rec'd by a friend - a book that's been recommended to you by a friend.

Book from a series - a book that's part of a series...

A Women's Press- published by a press that publishes only or primarily books by women, such as Linen Press, Honno Press or Persephone Books.

An Author from Another Country - a book by an author from a country that is not your own.

A crowdfunded book - lots of small publishers use crowdfunding websites to publish their books. We'll do a post on them later in the year, but good places to start are with 3 of Cups Press and Dead Ink Books.

A new to you press- a small press/independent publisher you hadn't heard of before this challenge and/or have never read anything from before.

A debut - either an author's first book, or a publisher's first!

A poetry collection - exactly what it says.

Kids or YA - a book that falls into the category of children's or young adult fiction, or has a child or young adult protagonist.

Translated Book - a book translated from its original language.

Free Square - anything you like as long as its indie!

Biography - this can be any kind of non-fiction account of a life, so biography, autobiography, diaries, letters etc.

A book from your TBR - a book you already own

Marginalised People - a book that features characters or contributions from people that you don't often hear from in literature e.g BAME, working class, disabled, or basically anyone that isn't a straight cisgendered white person.

A press over 20 years old - The really old ones include such publishers as Faber & Faber, Canongate, Bloomsbury and others.

An Award Winner - a book from an indie press that's won a literary award. These can be the big awards, like the Man Booker & Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction, or smaller prizes such as the Wainwright Prize, the Desmond Elliot Prize and the Walter Scott Prize etc.

Out of your Comfort Zone - pick a book from a genre you wouldn't usually read.

Book that defies genre - indie publishers are great at publishing books that fall outside of conventional definitions of genres. We'll be posting about this square in January, so look out for our suggestions!

Non-fiction & An Anthology - exactly what they sound like

Book from a micro press - a micro press is defined as a one-person publishing venture, usually publishing chapbooks and/or very small print runs of one or two titles a year. Often run as a hobby.

LGBTQIA - either a book about characters from the LGBT+ community, or an author who is from this community.

Favourite - either a re-read of a favourite indie book, or a new indie book from a favourite author.

Happy reading!


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