Kmerline's 'Shepherding' Tips

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NOTE: My method is similar to Gesine's, but has some minor nuances: book coordinator's choice!

See also: Tips for Book Coordinators


  • Follow readers individually from the date they sign up.
  • Use the magic window "sort by reader view", notes column, which does not display publicly.
  • Write in the date the reader signs up, and a follow up date. The interval depends on the project's state of progress. I start with 2 months for a new project with a far future completion date. If the project becomes fully subscribed and 50% complete, I use 1 month. This is a judgment call.
  • Check "reader's view" periodically for the follow up dates. If the file has been received, note the reader as CURRENT with a new follow up date, or ALL SECTIONS COMPLETED, as appropriate.
  • If the file has not been received by the follow up date, send the reader a 1st pm, note that you have done so, and set a new follow up date, with a shorter interval. (I also post publicly in the project thread that I have pm'ed them.)
  • If the reader replies turning the section in, delete him/her from the project.
  • If the reader replies and is still interested, note the reply in "sort by reader" and set a new follow up date according to their stated intentions. (I also post their intentions in the public comments column in "sort by section".)
  • Repeat the pm'ing process as often as needed. After 2 or 3 unanswered pm's, send a final pm stating that the sections are reassigned, and then reassign them.


  • Be polite but firm.
  • The deadlines we set for projects are a matter of judgment, and may be extended for slow sign up projects. But, especially when projects are fully subscribed, do not hesitate to refer to the deadline as a fact in your correspondence with tardy readers.
  • Refer to "clean up months" (March madness, Jumpin' July, member-vember) in your correspondence. Take advantage of "clean up months"!
  • Use judgment. IMHO, productive volunteers of long standing deserve special consideration.
  • Posting publicly when you pm someone, and what their completion intentions are, sends a signal to other readers that you are monitoring progress. It also reassures readers who have completed their sections that the project continues on its way to completion, and their contributions have been worth while.


  • The individual approach takes more time, but:
  • It may accelerate completion of the project by transferring the sheparding effort from after to before the project completion date.
  • It allows giving extra consideration to readers within the projected project completion time.
  • It increases the contact with new readers and provides an opportunity for their encouratement.