ARCs, Planning and Press Kits

A few months back I recorded a show for a huge toy brand and I’ve been eager to share the details with everyone. I had so much fun recording for them, they were kind, encouraging and have written such an awesome series. I’m praying it’ll be picked up for a second season.

As for novel updates, there are currently 20 ARCs left for reviewers to check out. I’ve reached out to several bloggers, booktubers and bookstagramers who review the genre, mainly those whose content I enjoy. I’ve actually been compiling a list of potential reviewers since 2019, but unfortunately there were some people on that list who are no longer active on their accounts or who aren’t currently accepting ARCs. Still, I did find that the list was very helpful and I would encourage other authors to create one in advance so that you’re more organized when the time comes.

One thing that I’ve found is that your schedule becomes very busy, very quickly as your book is goes from the final editing stages to release. There is so much planning involved, decisions to finalize, events to organize…and I’m glad that I was given the advice from my publisher and editor to think about these things long in advance.

Another thing that I recommend, is to create a media/press kit. It was a lot easier than I anticipated. Truthfully it seemed intimidating at first but once I understood exactly what companies and reviewers were looking for it all came together smoothly. Press kits are like a business card for your book (or content) and they allow for information about the author, publisher and the book to be compiled into one, nearly organized space for others to glance over when deciding whether they would like to…say, participate in an event with the author, such as a signing or do an interview on a podcast.

Having this type of preparation has allowed me to concentrate on the present, focus on upcoming events, have time to update my blog and other social media accounts and to work on my other projects once I complete what’s on the daily agenda.

It is something that I would highly recommend doing whether you’re traditionally publishing or going the indie route. Being organized early on, will allow you to enjoy the process and your release without added stress. It’ll give you a place to pull from when certain events or subjects arise. You may not go with your initial plan or idea, but it’ll give you time to really look it over and so that you have an easier time making those big decisions before the launch of your book.

You can learn more about Vermin on Goodreads.

Helpful Writing Exercises

Over the years I’ve picked up different tips and tricks to help make drafting my novels a bit easier. When I first started writing novels, I would draw out what my character’s looked like, along with say their bedrooms or parts of their house but for some reason I stopped as I got older. Personally, I think it was because of how much time I had. As a thirteen-year-old I had more time to work on my stories and was completing a novel every one to three months…which I’m still astonished by because it took me seven years to complete my last one. Can you imagine doing NANOWRIMO every month?

Having a visual was fantastic. I of course still draw all my character’s, but I stopped drawing where they lived which at first, I didn’t think was such a huge deal but now I’m realizing not having those visuals can become extremely frustrating. Sometimes while drafting you might forget the colour of a particular character’s bedroom, and perhaps this colour is significant throughout the story. Let’s imagine that this bedroom will ultimately become this character’s tomb, so recalling the colour, the smells and the overall atmosphere of the room should be brought up multiple times throughout the text. If you however have no clear idea of that or even say you step away from writing for a week and jump back into the story, you might miss something. Like I mentioned earlier, you could forget that this character’s bedroom has an apricot colour and that it smells of a certain perfume, let’s say a deep floral. A few chapter’s later, if you aren’t careful this entire image could change. It’s as bad as when you’re watching a movie and the main character is dragging their right leg because they’re injured but then in the following scene they’re hobbling along with their left. Being consistent with these types of details is equally as important as remembering the colour and texture of your main character’s hair.

Something that I decided to do was do description exercises, where I would write up what each character’s home looked like, taking the time to describe the individual rooms and overall property. Not just the important ones, but all of them, as if I were taking a tour. I found that in doing this I was less likely to forget the characteristics of a room. Instead it allowed me to give stronger descriptions later on. Personally, I wish I had been doing this all along.

Another thing that I tried was creating my character’s homes on The Sims, which again works well but only if you can constantly go back to look at it. It did however help me realize some issues with how I chose to layout certain houses. For example, the top floor having what seemed like an endless number of bedrooms and the main not having enough space to compensate that. Little peculiarities like that. If you have access to the game (or something similar) I would recommend it, as you get a great visual. This may not help with everything, but it can definitely be a good starting point. You might want to build your character’s world within the game before trying to describe it.

One other thing that I want to recommend, since we’re on the topic of descriptions is to include character’s when doing these types of exercises. This is to avoid using the same words over and over to talk about a character’s hair. Let’s pretend they have thick curls. Are you going to say “Philip ran a hand through his thick curls” every time you want to reference his hair? Are the curls tidy or messy? What colour do they have? Does the colour change depending on the lighting? Something else that’s important to a character is how they choose to dress themselves. Does this character take great pride in how they look, or could they care less? This is not to say that you spend pages upon pages telling us about what Nadya wore to school that morning, but you should have some idea of how your character likes to dress and if the clothing is significant to a scene keep track of it. It’s important that Cinderella is wearing glass slippers, is it not? Dorothy’s she’s are also significant to her story. We aren’t to forget that these shoes have magical properties!

Perhaps you want to assign your character a particular style? This is something I did as a kid, especially when my younger sister was playing games like Style Savvy. It was incredibly helpful. I had some character’s who preferred to dress in comfortable layers and others that preferred goth and alternative fashions. It may not seem as significant as a character’s overall voice and personality, but what they wear can help contribute to that. Do we not cultivate clothing to add to our collection (well, some of us do) or decorate our personal spaces with things that reflect who we are?

I personally wouldn’t have soccer trophies in my bedroom if I didn’t play soccer growing up.

Something that you could do as a warm-up is to describe a room in your house (even a desk if you wanted to try something small scale). For instance, by mentioning the soccer trophies in my room, the reader might then infer that I have an interest in sports. If I add that the trophies are dusty, that would indicate that I haven’t played sports in some time or that I don’t take pride in it. If I go on to add that the trophies were all participation trophies that would give off another hint about what type of person I am.

By doing these exercises with your own characters and settings you’ll have an easier time catching inconsistencies down the line (or avoid them altogether).

Happy writing!