Queer Your Year
I am beyond excited to announce a new community project: Queer Your Year 2023 is a yearlong reading challenge celebrating queer lit!
If you’ve interacted with me on the internet (or, let’s be honest, in real life) for more than five seconds, you probably know how much I love queer lit. I didn’t read a lot of queer books as a teenager and young adult. There were certainly less queer books back then, but I also didn’t know how to find the queer books that did exist. I didn’t know that I could simply choose not to read books about straight people if I didn’t feel like it.
Now I’m a queer adult and a Professional Book Person living in the Golden Age of Queer Lit. There. Are. So. Many. Queer. Books. There are more queer books than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime! It is a glorious thing, a thing to celebrate, and celebrating queer lit has always been what Books & Bakes is all about. In 2023, I’m turning the celebration up to eleven.
The Queer Your Year Challenge is just that—an invitation to queer your reading, to dig deep into queer lit. It’s for everyone—whether you’re queer or not; whether you’re a seasoned queer lit connoisseur or you’ve just read your first queer book; whether you want to shake up your reading life in 2023 or settle into what brings you joy.
It’s not about reading as many books as possible. There’s no finish line. It’s about discovering new queer books and authors, stretching outside of our comfort zones, making space for queer joy, and celebrating queer brilliance. There are a bunch of prompts, as well as fun monthly raffles for amazing prizes. I’ll be giving tons of recs throughout the year, and I hope you’ll join the conversation and get loud about your favorite queer books, too. I can’t wait to read with you!
How It Works
The challenge includes 48 prompts. You can view and download the game card here. Whenever you complete a prompt, write down the name of the book you read on your game card. You don’t have to do the prompts in order, and you don’t have to do all of them (or even half of them!) to participate. Even if you only complete one prompt, you’ll still have twelve chances to win a prize!
Here’s how the monthly raffles work:
In the last newsletter of each month, I’ll randomly select 6-8 numbers. It’s like bingo! If you’ve completed any of the prompts that correspond to those numbers, you’ll have till the end of the month to submit your game card.
Everyone who submits a game card will be entered into the monthly raffle for prizes. One number = one entry. If you’ve completed all six of the winning prompts for that month, you’ll get six raffle entries!
Your game card is yours for the whole year and entries are cumulative. So if you read a book for Prompt 25 in January, and 25 is a winning number in September, as long as you submit your game card in September, it counts!
Everyone who submits a game card will get a one-time prize pack of stickers, a bookmark, a postcard, and a handmade zine!
After you’ve won a prize pack, you can keep submitting your card each month (as long as you’ve completed at least one of the winning prompts) until you win the raffle—or the year ends.
At the end of the year, I’ll do one big raffle that anyone who has completed at least 12 prompts can enter.
It’s not complicated, I promise. It’s going to be awesome. We’re going to read so many queer books, and get so many amazing recommendations for our overflowing TBRs, and learn about so many brilliant queer authors and indie presses.
The Fine Print
All books must be queer! This includes books by LGBTQIA+ authors and/or books that focus on queer themes and characters.
All books must be read between January 1 and December 31, 2023.
Feel free to use a book for more one than one prompt!
In order to be entered into the monthly raffles and win prizes, you must be subscribed to Books & Bakes. (I’m grateful for every paid subscription, but you don’t need to pay to participate in Queer Your Year!)
To keep things fun for everyone, you’ll only be allowed to win one monthly prize.
Prize packs ship internationally, but, unfortunately, monthly prizes are only available within the U.S.
I’ve curated a selection of incredible prizes from LGBTQ+ and BIPOC-owned businesses, artists, and indie presses. I’ll reveal each month’s prize when I call the winning numbers for the prior month. Some of the amazing prizes you can look forward to include: queer book bundles from some of my favorite indie presses, a one-time book subscription box, queer-themed art prints, and various items (tea, candles, mugs) handmade by queer artists.
Most of these businesses and artists have donated prizes. I’m so grateful for their support of this project—there’s no way I could have funded such amazing prizes out of my own pocket! I encourage you to shop from these artists and buy books from these queer-owned and queer-inclusive indie presses when you can. I’ll be recommending their amazing stuff all year.
September: Mystery Queer Book Bundle
This month’s prize is a fun one—I’ve put together a Mystery Queer Book Bundle! You’ll get five queer books: a mix of ARCs, paperbacks, and hardcovers in a variety of genres: nonfiction, poetry, fiction, science fiction, and a speculative novel.
August: Infinity Scarf & Extras from Mama Hen
July: Queer Book Bundle from Arsenal Pulp Press
June: Cards & Stickers Bundle from Radical Emprints
May: The December Box from the American Fiction Series with Alexander Chee
April: Queer Book Bundle from The Feminist Press
March: TBR Cards!
February: Queer Book Bundle from Metonymy Press
January: The 2023 Fertile Futures Calendar by Molly Costello
The Queer Your Year Prize Pack
Every month, one lucky raffle winner will receive one of the above prizes. But everyone who submits a game card with a winning number will receive a prize pack full of bookish treats! Prize packs will include stickers, a bookmark, a homemade Queer Your Year zine, and a postcard of a queer and/or literary icon (like this one).
There are 48 prompts. The point isn’t to complete them all—the point is to read fabulous queer books, and discover some wonderful new-to-you genres and/or authors. I purposely came up with a list of prompts that is a mix of serious and silly, fun and challenging. I want this challenge to be what you need it to be: if you want to use it as permission to read a whole lot of queer fluff, there are prompts for that! If you want to challenge yourself to read queer books outside your comfort zone, there are prompts for that, too!
I’ll include recommendations for each prompt in every free newsletter, and I’ll link to those rec lists below. You can also check out the Queer Your Year list on Bookshop and the Queer Your Year Challenge on Storygraph.
4. Intersex author
5. A classic
7. Protagonist over 50
8. A Black history book
9. A mystery
12. A collection of letters or journals
16. An SFF book by an Indigenous author
18. Asexual author
22. A novel in verse
25. Fat author
27. A retelling
28. A romance with BIPOC leads
29. A book about drag
30. A middle grade book featuring a queer family
31. Caribbean author
33. Weird Queer!
34. A historical novel with a trans protagonist
35. A book set in space
36. An M/F romance novel
37. A work of genre fiction by a trans author
38. A book published in the decade you were born
40. African author
45. A book over 500 pages
46. A book by or about a celebrity or famous historical figure
Ready to Queer Your Year?
Download the 2023 Queer Your Year game card here.
Make sure you’re subscribed to Books & Bakes! I’ll announce each month’s winning numbers in the newsletter. You must be a subscriber to enter the monthly raffles and win prizes.
Submit your game card at the end of each month here.
For recommendations: Check out the Queer Your Year list on Bookshop, the Queer Your Year Challenge on Storygraph, the linked prompt list above, and the monthly Queer Your Year rec threads—these are full of suggestions from an amazing community of readers!
I also welcome your recommendations! If you’ve read a great book that fits a prompt, let me know via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), on Insta (@openbookopen), or drop a comment on one of the newsletters linked in the above prompts list.
If you’re on Instagram, post what you’re reading using the #QueerYourYear hashtag, and tag me (@openbookopen), so that I can share your posts.
Running this challenge is a lot of work. If you’re enjoying it and want to show your appreciation, the best way to thank me is to become a paying subscriber. You can also leave me a tip.