Help! (Regarding RAK!)

So, I've decided to create this post because the lovely Beth from Living a Goddess Life posted a comment yesterday that got me thinking.
Beth: For August, is there any way to make it easier to sort through all those 300+ wishlists? It took me days to get through them all, and I eventually gave up, which feels unfair to some of those signing up. Hrmm...
I LOVE LOVE LOVE all the participation and RAK love from everyone. I hope we keep spreading the kindness and continue putting smiles on people's faces. I truly LOVE Random Acts of Kindness and am proud of everyone involved! Now, with that said, I would hate for anyone to feel overwhelmed but completely understand how that could happen. The list keeps getting bigger {WHICH IS WONDERFUL AND I COMPLETELY ENCOURAGE IT!} so I can see how it would be overwhelming to those that wish to look thoroughly through the wishlists to see which books they have available to give out, like me. I'm one of those that loves to check out everyone's wishlist! You never know, I may have something that #534 may want!

Previous requests I've had are:
  • To know if a person received a RAK last month {check!}
  • To know if a person has received a RAK this month {check!}
     Except each person has to email me and in turn I'd go in the Google doc, look for the person, and update it

    I added a second wishlist column because I noticed most people had two wish lists. I'm also constantly checking the doc to see who else has signed up so that I can change the color of each row to differentiate them. I'm also going in to check out the comments to make sure the birthday ones are in bold.

So in essence, I'm really trying to make this a smooth and happy experience but the overwhelming factor is still there.

What do I do? I'm truly stumped!

Thanks in advance :)


  1. There are a couple different ways you can do this. In google docs, you can make different 'sheets'. Click the plus sign. You can copy and delete from sheet one and sort however you would like. Say, but country or region or have those who haven't received a RAK on one and the rest on another. However you decide to do that, you can sort it by the column of your choice to group everyone together (like all the no's for having received a RAK yet). Does that help?

  2. I think you may want to make different sheets that each of 50-100 participants. That would make it less overwhelming. :)


  3. How about making sheets for specific genres such YA, UF, PNR? Not sure if that's possible but, it might help.

  4. I love the idea of having different sheets for different genre's and separate countries.

    Also I have noticed that some of the wishlists are set to 'private' and we can't see them. It would be a good idea to let those participating know to make their wishlists available for everyone to look at.

  5. Great idea about the sheets, but, won't people forget to flip through them? What if some people feel left out because they're not on the main sheet? Also, what if I do split the sheets up by 100 each, and there are 300 participants, will people want to flip to page 3 to see the rest?

    Also, how would you categorize/filter them?

    AND, if I do different sheets by genre, won't it make people nuts since they have different genres in their wish lists? I would hate to ask everyone to create 4 different wish lists by genre

    See why I need help? lol

  6. I agree with two of the ideas mentioned above: you can separate the lists by country but also by genre. So for the US there would be several US - Young Adult; US - Romance; US: Erotica, etc. and do the same for other countries such as Canada, UK, etc.

    It would also help people from the same country (and similar taste in genre) find each other easier and more chances of them sending R.A.K. to each other (less in shipping costs)

    Making the sheets less in numbers would also help as well :)

  7. There may be a way to automate it, I'll let you know if I can work something out

  8. I would say by blogs like A-M or somerhing like that. I think by genre's is good, but I have several genres that I would like books from, like YA, adult, Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy also, but I think since it's getting so big that you need more than 1 list.

    I also feel overwelmed b/c there are sooooo many blogs and I am really trying to look to see if there have something I can give out and it's so hard. you kind have to guess by the blog if they are YA b/c I have YA books I wanna give out. But I really have no idea how you would really sort them easier.

    I was thinking a mr. linky and it links to a wishlist on the blog with a post of RAK etc., but I like the idea of the document a bit. I dunno 8/

  9. Being able to sort by countr would be a great idea. Sorting by genres not so much, i know for myself i have a few different genres on my wish list but if people have lots on theirs then it means making more wishlists, and possibly more links to look through

  10. I never claimed to be a genius... ;)

    But how do I go back in and check that I've received a RAK now?? <3

  11. One thing that might help is to have everyone leave (in their 'comments' section) the top two or three genres on their wishlist.
    I know I only read YA and Adult Romance, so if I see someone looking for Mystery/Suspense books I can automatically skip over their list because I won't have what they want. If I see 'Romance' as someone's top genre, I know I'll be very likely to have a book they have on their list and will check out their wishlist.
    Right now I sort of do that by going through and looking at people's blog names for ones that include words such as love, romance, passion, etc.

  12. Maybe some sort of promotion could be done. For instance, the bloggers who already received RAKs could promote someone on their blog who hasn't? Or maybe, like a Twitter thing using the hashtag, each person can list one of their high-priority titles and people can browse through and see what they can do.

    Just off the top of my head. :)

  13. I personally think the sheet is great how it is. I tend to check over a period of a few days so it doesn't to overwhelming. :)

  14. Honestly, I'd keep all the information together, just have different pages for people to browse through with different filters (say by country, if they've received a rak yet, and maybe by blog title alphabetically). It would be easier on you guys just to copy and paste and then use the different filters.

  15. I think it's a great idea to have it sorted by genre. And if someone has more than one genre listed in their list you can put them under a "multiple" list. It does get tiring going through so many different wish lists to find someone that may want something that I actually have.

    Danielle @Ramblings From This Chick

  16. I would like them to be arranged by location as I can't afford to post overseas so only really look at people in UK. Maybe colour code them or have them on different sheets.

    This is the main thing for me. :D

  17. What if there was a spot you could indicate the genres you have on your wishlist (some people like more romance and others YA) that way people could search through for just those genres?!? I'm not good with google docs so not sure how that would work.

  18. (I only skimmed the comments, so forgive me if this has already been suggested...) Instead of different sheets for different genres, could there be a place for each participant to list the genres on their wishlist... Like in the notes section possibly? I know it wouldn't make the list any shorter, but it would be easier to browse than trying to guess the genres from the blog name.

  19. I think creating multiple sheets and breaking it down into multiple genres is just going to make a lot more work for you. If there were a way to enable auto sort, for people viewing to sort by different columns according to their preferences, that might be helpful.

    What we don't want is for you guys to spend hours and hours organizing this thing, that will zap the fun right out of it!

    I usually check a few times a month to see if new people have signed up and I start by looking for people who haven't received a RAK in the previous month. That's my system. It seems most of the people commenting here also have their own system. I think things are all good as they are.

  20. It would be really nice if we could just list our top 5 on our wishlist right on the sheet. I know some people have 20+ on their wishlists, but sometimes going through people's wishlists is what takes up so much time! I personally have 12 on mine, but have just a few that I REALLY want. I am not sure if there is an easy way to show what books are on our wishlist right on the sheet, but that would skip the opening a new window for each one! :)

  21. First of all, I like how you now use different colors for each line - it helps a lot when going through all the entries. Personally I like to use the viewing option "list" to sort by country etc. as this is pretty helpful.

    A great idea for next month might be adding birthdays (or just the birth month) in one column! This can be easily overlooked if only mentioned in the comments at the end.

  22. This is my 1st month participating in RAK, and I am excited about it!

    My concern that I posted about last month has been addressed (which was, is there a way to know when someone has already been chosen to receive a RAK). I have noticed on other blogs in the wrap-up that some people receive 5 books and others give but don't receive. It would be nice if everyone could ensure to pick someone that hasn't been chosen yet.

    I agree with another person who said that people may forget to flip to different sheets. I think it should stay all on one sheet. I personally won't be scrolling through everyone's list. I plan to just use to pick a number for me and I'll go to that participant's list and choose something. Easy peasy!

    I see comments over and over again about high cost of shipping, and I think it bears repeating that The Book Depository does not charge for shipping and there is no minimum threshold for "free" shipping. You can pick just one book and ship it for free!! I made my wishlist on The Book Depository, since I am in Canada, and I know charges an arm and leg to ship from US to Canada.

    I think sorting by different genres would be too onerous a task. And people quite likely will have more than one genre on their wishlist.

    The most important thing is to let Vanessa & Isalys know when someone has been chosen to receive a RAK so that the list can be updated.

  23. I think it's perfect as it is! I like knowing when someone has received a RAK, so that's been nice having that on there. And it might be nice if people could list their top genre's somewhere. But really, I think just flipping through and randomly finding someone works fine. When I had one specific book to RAK I actually asked on twitter who had it on their WL and it was easy as can be!
    Also, remember you can't please everyone. If it ends up being too much work for you, or it starts to stress you out, it's not fun anymore. Don't let that happen!

  24. I agree that different sheets would make it all kinda crazy (I've been with you girls since the beginning, I LOVE RAK so much <3).

    I think maybe just a column for people to list their main genres would be helpful.

    I'm like Candace though, if I'm using a specific book, I tend to go on twitter and ask if anyone is interested in that is participating in normally works as RAK ppl are great and retweet like crazy :)

  25. I'm seriously loving all the comments! I'm taking notes and will try to figure out a way to make "almost everyone" happy.

    So far I really like the idea of maybe having a 'Top 5 books' Column, and possibly adding a genre column. I do't think I'll be adding different sheets b/c I've received a lot of messages with people saying they really wouldn't flip through them...

    I also fear that if we have too many columns that it may be overkill so I'll try to keep it simple yet functional.

    Ahhh sooo many things to consider, what's a girl to do?

    Thanks for all the support and lovely ideas!!


    ♥ Vanessa

  26. RAK is an amazing idea, don't ever stop! It's perfect the way it is but if you wanted to make some updates, I wouldn't mind at all.

    I think if we all had to email you once sending out RAK donations, that'd be a lot of work for just one person. Maybe you could have another spreadsheet where the donators list what they've given out and then you could somehow show who has and hasn't received books instead of relying on the blogger to be completely honest.

    I usually just tend to find the participants from my own country and have a look through a couple of the lists then buy the books through TBD but I can understand those with secondhand books wanting a quicker way to search, I'm not sure how this could be done though.


  27. The column w/ a top 5 list of wanted books is an awesome idea! It would be a lot easier to just search for titles on the doc itself.

    Regarding the problem where some people get multiple books & some get none... maybe instead of waiting for the recipient to email you stating that they received a RAK, maybe after a person that sends out a RAK should email you stating that they sent out a RAK for "this person, row#".

  28. It might be nice to encourage people to put their addresses in their wishlist so that there's no back and forth to get the address if you're just ordering from Amazon or something.

  29. What about splitting it by genre? Break up the YA and Adult wishlists?

    I have a lot of my own YA books I can donate, but it's daunting to figure out who wants YA books, let alone the specific ones I have. Maybe dividing it in half would help?

  30. I think (as it has been mentioned above) that seperating those who have received RAKs and those who haven't would be a great start. Also, as you have added a column for bdays, you can add a column where we can add the genres we like, 3 the max or something like that.

  31. Why not use a linky list and make it where they have to link to their wishlist? You could make it mandatory to leave the email address on the linky? Also maybe put those with birthdays first?


  32. Link up here so that I can visit everyone's RAK -

  33. Honestly, I just go through the list, pick someone who hasn't received anything last month, and look at their list. I might do this for 6-7 people I don't know and a few people I do know. I haven't had any problems. I do like the idea of letting us know if you have received a RAK and knowing the country could help (but I think you can just add another column for that--just so we know.) Honestly, I think it's fine the way it is.


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