Pondathon: Tutorial – Questions You May Have and Our Answers

Pondathon: The Quiet Pond's story-driven readathon. Image: Two swords with vines wrapped around it frame the words 'Pondathon', with three little forest sprites sitting on top. One forest sprite has a leaf on its head, the middle has twigs for horns, and the right has a mushroom on its head.

Welcome to the Pondathon’s Tutorial!

What is the Pondathon?

Here, you will find a basic outline of how the Pondathon will work as well as some answers to any questions that you may have.

General Questions

What is the process of signing up and participating in the Pondathon?

  1. Sign-up for the Pondathon using this Google Form.
  2. Optional: Announce your intention to participate on social media using #Pondathon and make a TBR/sign-up post on your blog/booktube/bookstagram/Twitter. You can find a TBR/sign-up post template here.
  3. Create your Pondathon character and create a Character Card. Find resources for character creation here.
  4. January 24th 2020: the Pondathon readathon will begin – start reading!
  5. Each day or time you read, record your reading progress in the Pondathon Progress Tracker. This Google Form will be available on January 24th. (We recommend adding this page to your favourites.)
  6. Side-quests will be available every 5 days during the readathon. Complete the Google Forms at the end of each side quest to record your progress for the side-quest.
  7. March 6th 2020: the Pondathon will end.

Can I participate in this readathon with [another readathon]?
Yes, of course! Readers who are also participating in #StartOnYourShelfathon may find that joining Xiaolong or Gen’s team will work well with both readathons!

Can I read the same books for this readathon and [another readathon]?

Do I have to do a sign-up/TBR post?
Nope, but it would be great if you did, as this helps other people find the readathon! If you do not have the capacity to do a post, you can simply announce your intention to sign-up on social media (i.e., Twitter, Instagram).

Do I have to be a book blogger to participate?
No. All you need is an interest to participate in this readathon, sign up, and record your progress each time you read.

How do you define a ‘diverse’ book?
This readathon defines a ‘diverse’ book as a book that is written by an author with a marginalised identity – this can include being a person of colour and/or indigenous, disabled, LGBTQIA+ and/or gender diverse, or intersections of these identities – about characters with marginalised identities. Books by cis, heterosexual, able-bodied, white women will not be considered ‘diverse books’. In addition, books by a white author about a character with a marginalised identity are not considered ‘diverse books’.

I need help with XYZ! How can I contact you for help?
First, please make a genuine effort to find the answer to your question first before reaching out. If you are having technical issues with Pixlr, please use a search engine to find solutions or help. Alternatively, you can ask for help in the readathon’s Discord.

If you cannot find the answer to your question, you are more than welcome to contact CW. However, please note that the entirety of this readathon is run by CW (who works full time outside of book blogging), and The Quiet Pond‘s two co-bloggers, who both have busy schedules, so please understand if it may takes us awhile to help you.

Character Creation

Do I have to create a Pondathon character and have a character card to participate?
No, but we would love it if you created your own character for the readathon!

What applications can I use to create my character/character card?
You can use Pixlr, which is 100% free.

Can I draw my own Pondathon character for the readathon?
Yes! Just make sure that the Pond character is (1) an animal, and (2) your character is child-friendly (i.e., no NSFW/’not safe for work’ art).

I’m having a lot of trouble creating my Pondathon character. What do I do? 
Join our Discord and ask for help under the ‘apothecary help’ channel.

Can I use the Pondathon character that I have created as a profile picture?
Yes! If possible, credit with a simple link to my Twitter (@artfromafriend) on your bio would be appreciated. If that’s not possible, just please do not claim the art as your own.

Am I allowed to write a character backstory for my Pondathon character?
Of course! Please share it with me too – I love reading character backstories and I’d be incredibly honoured if you shared it. I’d love to reshare it on my own social media as well! Just please include a link to the readathon as a credit.


What teams can I join?
You can find information about the teams that you can join in this post: Pondathon: Prologue – We Need You and Your Magic; Choose a Team! [Readathon Team Information].

Are the teams competitive in any way?
No! Everyone in the Pond is working together. There is no competition whatsoever, so reading 1 book versus reading 10 books are equally valuable contributions in Xiaolong and the friends’ eyes!

I want to join the Pondathon readathon, but I don’t want to join a team. What do I do?
Joining a team is compulsory to participating in the Pondathon readathon. If in doubt, join Xiaolong’s team; all you need to do to gain points is to read books and record your progress.

Help! I can’t decide which team to choose. What team should I join?
I’m pleased to hear that more than one team interests you! Here are some options:

  • Think about what you would like to get out of this readathon! Do you want to have fun? Then choose the team that sounds like the most fun! Do you want a bit of a challenge? Then choose a team that will provide a challenge. Or do you just want to take part and don’t want to be stressed out? Join the team that will be the least stressful.
  • Ask your friend to join in the fun and decide on a team together.
  • Use this Easy Decision Maker app.

I signed up a few days ago but I have changed my mind about the team that I want to join! What do I do?
To avoid confusion on our part, please choose your team carefully and avoid changing teams. However, if you feel like you have made the wrong decision, you can change your team anytime before January 24th (when the Pondathon starts) and between February 9th to February 14th (days before Part II of the Pondathon begins).

Progress Tracking

How do I keep track of all my reading progress?
We encourage all readathon participants to submit their progress using the Pondathon Progress Tracker, which can be found here (once the Pondathon officially begins on January 24th). All points submitted via the Progress Tracker form will count towards a grand total of points submitted by all readathon participants.

I forgot to send my reading progress yesterday! What do I do?
Don’t worry! Just submit the form as normal, but change the date so that it is for yesterday (or the day you forgot to submit progress on). Alternatively, you can send in all your progress for all the days you missed in one day. Either is fine with us.

How will all the points be calculated?
All the points that you submit via the Progress Tracker will be converted into data on a spreadsheet. Every so often, or at the end of each side quest (see below), I’ll run some formulae that will allow me to calculate how many points each person has submitted, the total number of points sent in by everyone, etc.

If I am not in Team Xiaolong, do I still have to submit my progress every day, even if I haven’t finished a book?
If you are in Team Gen, Team Varian, or Team Cuddle, points can only be obtained for finishing books. Therefore, you do not need to submit your progress every day.

Do I submit my progress for my current day or the day according to NZT?
Both are fine.

I’m having problems completing the Progress Tracker Form. What do I do?
If the form is not submitting properly, please ensure that when submitting the number of pages read that you only include numbers, i.e., submit just ‘401’, instead of ‘401 pages’.

If that and other attempts to resolve the issue do not work, simply email CW at thequietpond@gmail.com with the subject title ‘[Your Pondathon Name] – [Progress Tracker OR Side Quest Progress]’ and the subject line with all the information that the form asks for. Once your data has been recorded, we’ll reply with a short message acknowledging your progress.

Side Quests

What are ‘side quests’?
Side quests are addition challenges for the readathon and are ways to collect more points. Be sure to check The Quiet Pond frequently for new side quests that you can complete.

Are completing side quests compulsory in this readathon?
Side quests are just that: side quests. You do not have to complete any side quests to be an active participant in this readathon. Side quests are for those who want enjoy the higher level of engagement and challenge in readathons.

How do I ‘complete’ a side quest?
At the end of each ‘side quest’ post, complete the Google Form at the bottom of the post to save your progress. You are more than welcome to submit the form multiple times.

What is a ‘quest reward item’?
‘Quest reward items’ are achieved through completion of side quests. There are eight side quests available, and thus eight available ‘quest reward items’ (all awarded quest award items will go at the bottom of your character card). If you complete an objective that rewards you with a ‘quest reward item’, you will be emailed on either the next day or the following day with your quest reward item that you can add to your Character Card.

How many times can I complete a side quest?
If the quest objective has [repeatable], then you can complete it as many times as you want during the side quest’s duration. If the quest objective does NOT have [repeatable], the objective can only be completed once.

I have completed a side quest. Do I submit my reading progress for the day using the side quest Google Form or the Progress Tracker Form?
If you have read books and completed objectives for the side quest, you are allowed to submit your reading process twice: (1) once using the side-quest form and (2) again using the Pondathon Progress Tracker form. Side-quests are additional points that are added on top of the points you collect for your team.

The quest has expired, but the form to submit my side quest progress is still open. Do any of the points I submit after the deadline count?
CW will be managing all the Progress Tracker Forms by herself, so there may be times where she may be a little late in closing the form — let’s just say that the shadowy enemies kept her distracted!

To make it easy for everyone: All points submitted after the deadline while the form is open will count. After the form is closed, the side quest will no longer be accepting any points – no exceptions.

All side quests will close at 9:00PM NZT. In each side quest page, you can click on the [?] next to the deadline to see what time that will be for you.

Some of the side quests involve having a friend to complete an objective, but I don’t have/know anyone I can read with. What can I do?
There are several things that you can do:

  • Join our Pondathon discord! There will be plenty of people who will be looking for a buddy reader as well.
  • Use the #Pondathon hashtag on social media to look for fellow participants who may be looking for a buddy reader – or do not mind including you in a group!

I completed the side quest but have not received my quest reward item. What do I do?
Please check @artfromafriend or @thequietpond to see whether quest reward items have been emailed out – it may simply be the case that the side quest rewards haven’t been emailed yet. However, if they have been issued out and you haven’t received yours, please contact CW to double-check.

Do These Count?

Do ebooks/graphic novels/manga/poetry count in the Pondathon?

Can I read books that I have already read before? Do re-reads count for points in this readathon?

If I start a book before the Pondathon starts (January 24th), will completing them be worth any points?

Do different age groups count as different genres?

Do books I am beta-reading count in the Pondathon?
Yes, but only for participants in Team Xiaolong.

Specific Team Questions

If I’m in Xiaolong’s team and I listen to audiobooks, is it 15 minutes of my listening time or 15 minutes of the book’s total time?
Total time. If you listen to books on 2x speed, then 7.5 minutes of actual reading time is equivalent to 15 minutes of the total reading time of the book.

If I’m in Xiaolong’s team and I am reading ebooks, how do I calculate my progress?
Most ebooks will show what percent (%) you are when reading. Look up the book’s number of pages on Goodreads, take the number of pages and multiply it by your current percentage. This will give you the number of pages you have read.

For example, if I read my book and I was at 12% through the book and the book has 400 pages, I will multiply 400*12% or 400*0.12 = 48 pages, which means that I have read 48 pages.

If I am midway through the book, if I started at 47% of a 400-paged book and read up to 74%, I would first multiply 400*47% = 188, and multiply 400*74% = 296. I’d then subtract 296 – 188 = I read 108 pages.

Alternatively, you can use this spreadsheet.

If I’m in Cuddle’s team, can I have more than one buddy-read companion?
Of course! If you are in Cuddle’s team, you can buddy-read with anyone and with as many people as you like, as long as they have signed up for the Pondathon.

If I’m in Sprout’s team, can my feature of a diverse book be in the form of tweets?
Yes, but it must be more than 3 tweets. One Twitter thread for a diverse book = 1 feature = 6 points. If you are trying to achieve the team bonus (feature and recommend at least four diverse books in one feature), then you can do one book per tweet but you must include information or content about why you love it and would recommend it to others. 

For example, saying ‘Read Jade City by Fonda Lee!’ would not qualify as a ‘feature’ and will not gain you any points. In contrast, providing specific details as to why people would love the book is preferable (‘the plot is great!’ = bad vs. ‘Asian-inspired, has martial arts, and inspired by family crime dramas’ = good).

At the end of the day, features for Sprout’s posts should (1) show effort, (2) have accurate information, and (3) reflect that some thought has been put into it.

If I’m in Varian’s team, does the genre chain reset after the third book/the chain is completed?

If I’m in Varian’s team, do subgenres count as a ‘different’ genre?
Yes, but they should be distinct from one another.

Have a question? Feel free to leave any unanswered questions in the comments below and we will add it to the F.A.Q.!

20 thoughts on “Pondathon: Tutorial – Questions You May Have and Our Answers

  1. Alternatively, you can send in all your progress for all the days you missed in one day. <- Oh thank you. Sometimes I just don't have the time to go behind the computer just for these things. But I do keep track on paper with a scribble.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey CW! Thank you for making such a nice FAQ! I always end up having so many Qs that it’s nice to have a place to refer back to. 🙂

    When you say:

    If I’m in Varian’s team, do subgenres count as a ‘different’ genre?
    Yes, but they should be distinct from one another.

    Does that mean, for example, reading a contemporary fantasy and a high fantasy next to each other would be acceptable?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for making this FAQ! I have a question about the points I get in Team Varian. In the post about choosing a team it’s explained that we gain 35 points each time we finish a book and 20 extra points after reading three books of different genres. Yet, on the team banner on Google Drive the numbers are different: 25 point each time we finish a book and 15 extra points. Which points are the rights ones?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi! In this post, it says that “books by a white author about a character with a marginalised identity are not considered ‘diverse books’.” But before that, it also lists other facors that can contribute to an author’s marginalised identity, so if an author is white but also disabled and/or LGBTQ+, it’s fine, right? Is the point that the marginalised identity they’re writing about should be fairly close to their own in order for the book to be considered diverse?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi! I love the PondAThon! Do you have to be in a certain team to do that side quest? Or can I do a side quest for another Team? For example, if I’m in Varian can I do a Cuddle side quest?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay, so when it talks about eBooks, does that apply to audio books too? So I just divide the amount of minutes read by how many minutes the book in and that’s how I get my pages? For example 51 minutes of a 332 minute long book would be 15 pages, right?


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