How are you doing with your Cannonball this year? Do you think you’ll meet your CBR13 goal? Or does the thought of clicking that publish button send chills down your spine? We’re getting towards the end of the first quarter of 2021, and 119 CBR13 Cannonballers* have posted a review and made it onto the Leaderboard.
Did you know, though, that’s only 50% of registered participants? So, it’s literally a toss of the coin whether or not any given Cannonballer has posted a review.
Honestly, even in a normal year, it’s a pretty daring thing to click that “Publish” button and put your thoughts out there for everyone to read. Most of us haven’t been required to write 250 words about one thing since our school days so it can be especially hard to get those thoughts down. But now we’ve got a layer of pandemic on top of everything and that makes things just that much more daunting: writing, reading, even just selecting a book that seems interesting is hard and maybe feels impossible. These days, CBR is probably the last thing on your minds. And that is OK. You might feel that you’ve failed, or are a bad Cannonballer, or that you aren’t really a Cannonballer at all. And that’s just not true. There’s no failing in Cannonball Read. You’re still a Cannonballer, even if you don’t post a single word this year. You signed up, you’re one of us. Period.
We’ve got some fun things going on this year that don’t require reviews: zoom check-in meetings, comment diversions, not to mention commenting. Dropping a note onto a fellow Cannonballer’s review is one of the best ways to help out around here, you all are so kind, thoughtful and hilarious.
As far as your reviews themselves, I’d like to help you get going if I can. So if you’re feeling unsure about clicking Publish, click Save Draft (or Update Draft) instead, and drop me a line. Either Emmalita or I will take a look at your post to see if we can offer any pointers. You don’t have to publish alone!
And if there’s one book that is keeping you from posting more reviews, then you have to consider review amnesty.
If there’s a book too bad, too boring, or too whatever, you don’t have to let it keep you from getting to the rest of your to-be-reviewed list. You might be a completist and feel the need to write something about every single book, but that is not required for CBR. If you’re one or 20 books behind, it’s completely acceptable to NOT write those reviews, and skip to what you’re reading now – or some book you start in May or whenever. That’s called “review amnesty,” and it is 100% ok.
Books You Didn’t Finish
Can you review a book you just could. not. finish? Yep, you sure can. I’ll quote our FAQ on that:
Be up front in the review that you haven’t finished it, and tell us why (make sure it’s 250+ words). For CBR we trust that you’re going to write a good faith review. And honestly, telling people why you ditched it, and warning them away, can sometimes make the best reviews.
Ultimately, there’s always review amnesty, so maybe skip this one and move on.
Other Ways to Participate and Help
We’ve got Cannon Book Clubs coming up in May and September, and you don’t have to write a review to participate (th0ugh we’d love it if you did). The first one is Young at Heart – Childhood Favorites. Just stop by the group blog May 21-22, and leave a comment. In fact, popping into the group blog to read some reviews at any time is another great way to help us. If you’re seeing ads on the site when you visit, you’ve helped out. And those folks who have posted would love to hear some encouragement too, so please drop them a line and show them some CBR love.
Advice from Experienced Cannonballers, Technical Stuff, and More
We’ve got some great advice from Cannonballers who have been through a few Reads, thanks to Emmalita. There are also our FAQs on a bunch of subjects, and here’s the original Getting Started page that you (hopefully) saw when you registered. If you forgot your password, click the “Log in” link at the top of the site under the search field, and then “forgot my password” to reset it. If you have any technical problems or issues with the site and how it works, please do not hesitate to contact me, either by replying to this email or the Contact Form. I really do want to know. You can also join up in the CBR Facebook group Cannonball Read Book Chat, and ask your questions in there.
I’m proud to say we’ve got a great community going as part of Cannonball Read, and we’d love to see it grow. We’re still focused on our mission to stick it to cancer, one book at a time in supporting the American Cancer Society, and our growing community helps so much. I hope you can join us.
Best wishes to you, and I hope you have plenty of books to read!
(*If you want to register for this year, or don’t see yourself on our participants page, please submit this registration request form so Mswas can get you signed up.)