Stim Toy Review: Artist’s Collection Knock Off Tangle Jr.

Image Description: a picture of a Tangle JR all coiled up on a flat wooden surface. The Tangle JR has a hexagon pattern all over it, and the hexagons are coloured in a rainbow spectrum on one side (red-orange-yellow-blue-green and then a small selection of grey hexagons).

Image Description: a picture of a Tangle JR all coiled up on a flat wooden surface. This picture details the reverse side of the Tangle JR, which is mostly light-grey and dark-grey coloured hexagons, with a few red and orange coloured hexagons in the top-right corner of the Tangle JR.

Image Description: a picture of a Tangle JR uncoiled so it forms a circle on a flat wooden surface, there is a spectrum of rainbow-coloured hexagons visible.

Image Description: a picture of a Tangle JR uncoiled so it forms a circle on a flat wooden surface (the reverse side of the previous picture), there is a spectrum of rainbow-coloured hexagons visible, but the colours appear to be muted or faded.

Item: Artist’s Collection Knock Off Tangle JR – Rainbow Honeycomb Print

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: 2 X US $1.19 each (Shipping Fees: US $1.18) = US $3.56 or AU $4.66 (at time of conversion)

Date of Purchase: 21/07/2017

Date of Delivery: 08/08/2017

Store: eBay

Store Location: Singapore

While, on the surface, this Tangle Jr. is aesthetically pleasing (I do like the rainbow-spectrum of hexagons), I was hoping to get the Galactic Print Tangle Jr. instead (it’s so pretty). I know this will sound petty, but I truly dislike the random selection option, even if the Tangle Jr. is considerably cheaper than normal.

With regards to the colour design, I have noticed that on the reverse side of the Tangle Jr., the design print has faded significantly, it almost resembles a white ring and I can use this white ring to match up the individual pieces of the Tangle Jr. I know it’s a small flaw, and it should be expected with the knock-off variety of Tangle Jr., but it irritates me.

The links of the Tangle Jr. are stiffer than normal, especially in comparison to my Tangle Jr. Classic, however, while I don’t mind stiffer links, but this might be something of consideration for others. The packaging was pretty minimal (Banggood-style) but everything arrived in one piece.

All in all, if you need a Tangle Jr. that is aesthetically pleasing and cheap in price, this is a good starting point

Stim Accessories: Gloves

Image Description: a photo of a headless-torso with arms, presumably a person, wearing a red and black checkered long-sleeve shirt, with charcoal-grey vest and brass coloured buttons. The primary focus of the photo is of the hands, the heavily tattooed hands and fingers are displayed with unique style ring on every finger and the thumbs of each hand hooked into the pockets on either side of the vest. Around both wrists are chrome-coloured bracelets, the left wrist has a thick-chain-link style bracelet, and the right wrist has a thick chrome-coloured band with a black intricate pattern engraved into the band.

There are some items that, while being undeniably stimulating, do not come under the category of Stim Toys. Items like, Mermaid Sequin cushions, gloves, hats, and certain types of fluffy blankets can all be great for stimming, but it’s not practical to carry around a large cushion like this:
Image Description: a large square cushion from KMart with Mermaid Sequins, the sequins display one side white and the other side silver when you brush them in a different direction. The current picture displays a smiley face with silver patches of silver sequins with the white sequins acting as a contrast.

Personally, I’ve only just recently recognised my need for pressure stimming, which explains I enjoy wearing a hoard of telephone-cord hair-ties around my wrists or a snug/form-fitting t-shirt or tight camisole with a large jumper/hoodie over the top. It has also explained my adolescent obsession with finger-less gloves, something I have begun to revisit with the added bonus of colour co-ordination.

Image Description: a pair of elbow-length finger-less gloves in grey, attached to a piece of cardboard shaped like an arm.

I bought this pair, and an identical pair of gloves like these in black (pictures below), for work. I bought them from Daiso on Flinders Street for AU $2.80 each. Pictures of the black gloves with my telephone-cord hair-ties and other accessories are below:

Image Description: a pale skinned hand wearing a black finger-less glove. Around the wrist section of the glove are two red opaque telephone-cord hair-ties and pony-bead bracelet comprising four rows of multi-coloured pony-beads.

Image Description: a pale skinned hand wearing a black finger-less glove. Around the wrist section of the glove are three transparent telephone-cord hair-ties, the first one is transparent yellow, transparent orange, and transparent pink. Below the transparent telephone-cord hair-ties, is a blue-pink-purple Smiggle snap-bracelet with rubber spikes.

I was in Big W at Watergardens Shopping Centre and was looking at the party supply section, which is this enormous wall of hanging items for hosting a party (just in case that wasn’t obvious). All the items are divided into colour coordinated sections, like say you’re doing a birthday party for someone and their favourite colour is green, BAM! All the green stuff is in the one section. I noticed in the party supply section, they had fish-net finger-less gloves for AU $4.50. I bought a pink and blue pair, but there were more colours available, the pictures are below:

Image Description: a plastic-bag with a pink cardboard tag up the top of the plastic bag, with

Image Description: Image Description: a pale skinned hand wearing a blue fish-net style glove. Around the wrist section of the glove are two light-blue opaque telephone-cord hair-ties and pony-bead bracelet comprising four rows of multi-coloured pony-beads.

Image Description: a pale skinned hand wearing a blue fish-net style glove. Around the wrist section of the glove are three transparent telephone-cord hair-ties, the first one is transparent yellow, transparent orange, and transparent pink. Below the transparent telephone-cord hair-ties, is a blue-pink-purple Smiggle snap-bracelet with rubber spikes.

Now, I’ve had these gloves for ages, and while it may not be obvious in the picture, they’re elbow-length lace gloves (picture below). Out of all the gloves I have, these are the ones I enjoy wearing the most, despite the fact that they are mostly impractical for doing anything.
Image Description: a pale hand encased in a glove made out of black lace with small black flowers (made out of black-lace) scattered along the glove.
As these were given to me as a birthday gift so I don’t know how much they cost, but they are probably more expensive than the other gloves mentioned, however, if you’re itching to find a pair (I mean, why wouldn’t you want a pair? Am I right?), you might be able to find them in those small stores that sell socks, stockings and tights.

So, do you enjoy pressure stimming? Do you have a wide variety of socks and gloves in unusual colours? Do you have a fashion accessory you always like to wear before you leave the house? Let me know in the comments section below 🙂

~Stim Toy Box: Mermaid Sequin Cushion
~Stim Toy Box: White/Silver Mermaid Sequin Pillow
~Stim Toy Box: Typo Black/Blue-Green Mermaid Sequin Cases
~Stim Toy Box: Mermaid Sequin Storage Cube
~Stim Toy Box: Funky Monkey – Original Fidget

Monthly Forecast: August 2017

Image Description: A large metallalic sculpture of a Balloon Dog, in a dark-orange colour, being presented inside of an art gallery

Contemporary Fiction: Contemporary literature is literature with its setting generally after World War II. So, everything post WWII is counted, except for non-fiction.

This is the monthly forecast for August, which includes three reading challenges I probably won’t complete, I doubt I’ll get through all the books listed here but I’m going to make an attempt. I’m also participating in another Reading Challenge, why? Because I Hate myself (details down below).

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge:
The Australian Women Writer’s Challenge is a reading challenge to help promote books written by Australian women. Here’s my reading recommendations for the month:
~The Things I Didn’t Say by Kylie Fornasier
Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

~My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

RMFAO Genre Challenge – Contemporary:
~The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

~Paper Towns by John Green
Amazon| Book Depository | Kobo Books

Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017 – Non-Western Setting:
~The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Read At Midnight#TheReadingQuest Sign Up
My Character Class: Mage
Bingo Sheet:
Image Description: A bingo sheet template with dark purple background and two layers of bingo-blocks. The first layer, the outer layer of bingo blocks are lavender blocks, there are nine blocks in the centre which are a lilac colour, all the blocks have prompts for books written in the squares. In each corner of the bingo-chart are an illustrated avatar of the character classes (in a clockwise direction): knight, Bard, Rogue and Mage.
CW @ Read, Think, Ponder did the amazing illustrations. Aren’t they adorable? The avatars are freaking adorable :D.

My List of Books
~First Book In A Series:
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Format: Ebook

~A Book Set In A Different World:
Dreadnought by April Daniels
Format: Ebook

~A Book Based on Mythology:
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Format: Audio-book

~A Book That Contains Magic:
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Format: Paperback

~A Book With A One Word Title:
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Format: Ebook

~A Book With Two Authors:
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Format: Paperback or Audio-book

~Time Warp – A Book That Has Been Set In The Past or The Future:
On The Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Format: Audio-book

~Expansion – A Short Story or Companion Novel:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Format: Ebook

~Multiplayer – Buddy Read A Book:
Honestly… IDK what do for this one.

~Open World – Free Choice:
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Format: Ebook

~Mini-Game – Graphic Novel or Short Story:
Bleach – Volume 1 by Tite Kubo
Format: Paperback

~Grind – A Book With 500 pages:\
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Format: Paperback or Audio-book

~Respawn – Read a Book You DNF:
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Format: Ebook

~Animal Companion – Book With an Animal Reference in the Title:
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Format: Ebook

The Beautiful Books #27: August 2017

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals

It’s time for another edition of The Beautiful Books, where I write a blog-post discussing how little progress I’ve made on my WIP Novel Project, Orion – Volume II of the Pushing Boundaries series, YAY! Let’s begin with some writing advice, if you need some, check out the links bellow:

Jenna Moreci:
~Tips For Writers


For this post, I’ll be focusing on Beth and James, hopefully that will make things easier. On with the Questions!

What are they addicted to/can’t live without?
Beth: Caffeine (tea and energy drinks). Beth has a stress-eating problem, but she’s more inclined towards cheese and biscuits, or say, having and enormous tub of Greek yogurt and eating it with savoy-biscuits like dip (IDK, honestly, straight Greek yogurt tastes super weird to me).

James: sweet treats and desserts. James (like Beth) has a stress-eating problem, James will stand in the kitchen and just eat a whole packet of dark-chocolate digestive biscuits without thinking about it.

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.
01. Positive – Beth is helpful, she’s willing to help volunteer her time (sometimes overly so) if she perceives someone else needs it.
02. Positive – It takes Beth a while to get attached to people, but when Beth cares about a character, she really cares and they’re willing to do a lot for other people.
03. Positive – Beth is eager to learn new things.
04. Negative – Beth can be overly helpful, sometimes giving too much of her time (not being able to see that a project is doomed to fail or being taking advantage of), sometimes taking over a situation completely without asking, she can also come across bossy because of this.
05. Negative – Beth is introverted to a socially awkward level, it can make her insecure and prone to negative thinking.
06. Negative – Beth doesn’t really know what she wants and she’s incisive about things that should be easy to figure out, which is a difficult thing for her to admit to.

01. Positive – James is honest, sometimes too honest, but I consider it a positive thing.
02. Positive – Like Beth, it takes James a while to get attached to people, but when he cares about a character, he really cares and they’re willing to do a lot for other people.
03. Positive – He’s very protective of his younger siblings, sometimes a little too overprotective, he really does care about them, but he finds it easier to display it with action rather than say
04. Negative – James can be super controlling about stuff, like his food and his environment, it’s bad coping mechanism and I’m hoping (over the course of the series) to help him grow out this behaviour and be able to let some things slide.
05. Negative – James can be petty about stuff.
06. Negative – James tries not to to be, but he does get jealous of Dominic, mostly because it seems like Dominic has all the things James has always wanted (a stable job, family acceptance and his own place), I’d like to write a chapter where James eventually resolves his perceived issues with Dominic.

Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?
Beth: Emotional Baggage with both her parents

James: Emotional Baggage with his parents and some guilt/resentment issues with Mac (with what Mac has become and the way Mac is not-dealing with the situation). James also has problems with the way his mother refuses to not-deal with Mac, despite the fact that his mother is the exact opposite with him (his mother is nosy and tends to pry a bit with regards to James).

If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?
Beth: Beth is more of a 5 or 6, she’s naturally a messy person, but she tries really hard to be neat and organised
James: James is more of a 8, he’s organised but it’s also part of a coping mechanism and is connected to his anxiety, so it’s not a natural thing.

What most frustrates them about the world they live in?
Beth: Beth gets frustrated by a lack of empathy or not noticing (or refusing to acknowledge) a problem, the more obvious the problem more irritating it is.

James: Communication with Neurotypical people. They don’t mean what they say and the don’t say what they mean. Conversation is where casual ableism usually shows up as well.

How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?
Beth: Out = pretty vintage style dresses Mary has made for her, In = casual wear (like tracky-dacks and a t-shirt)

James: Out = overly formal, In = overly casual (track-pants, t-shirt, fluffy robe, thick slippers). James does wear a binder during the week when he’s at work.

How many shoes do they own, and what kind?
Beth: an excessive amount of shoes, wide variety of types, but Beth is prone to gravitate towards brightly coloured shoes.

James: a nice pair of black lace-up shoes for formal events, a pair of nice business shoes for work, a couple of pairs of running shoes, and a couple of pairs of work-boots (one for the farm, one for home).

Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?
Beth: Beth tends to gravitate more towards dogs than cats, but she doesn’t mind either.
James: he has a calico cat named Sarah Jane

Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?
Beth: Her mother Claire, for being an alcoholic and being an abusive parent, as a result of Claire’s abusive behaviour, Beth has nothing to do with her. Beth also resents her father because, at the time, Isaac came across as taking her mother’s side, so there’s this unspoken resentment between them.

James: James does harbour some resentment towards his mother, he lives with his grandmother instead of her and he feels she should have made more of an effort in getting Robert’s half of the family to accept him as he is. *Upcoming spoilers* James’s biological father dies in a car-accident and James resents how he has to navigate all the complicated social conventions and social rituals for a person who pretty much abandoned him at five-years of age.

What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?
Beth: snacks, like yogurt and crackers and cheese. Beth likes to have dried pieces of fruits because she forgets to eat fresh fruit and it goes bad

James: James can be kind of anal with his food, so everything is in organised Tupperware containers with labels or ziplock bags with labels. His fridge is most likely to have vegetarian stuff in there but also stuff to make smoothies with. James will often have enormous container of carrot-sticks.

So yeah, let me know in the comment section if you’re working on a Novel Project, I’d love to hear about other people’s projects (that way I don’t have to think about mine).

Stim Toy Review: Stretchy Squish Balls

Image Description: A wooden surface is in the background, in the foreground is a pale-white hand holding a thick dark-green rubber wrist band with

Image Description: from left to right, a pink ball in a clear plastic bag inside a white mesh bag with the cardboard label reading “hi-bounce stretch ball” in blue, pink and green writing, next to the pink ball is a green ball in a clear plastic bag inside a white mesh bag with the cardboard label reading “hi-bounce stretch ball” in blue, pink and green writing. Both of them are resting on top of a wooden surface.

Item: Stretchy Squish Balls

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: US $1.80 x 2 = US $3.60 (Shipping Fees: US $8.80) = US $12.40 or (at time of conversion) AU $16.52

Date of Purchase: 17/07/2017

Date of Delivery: 29/07/2017

Store: Stimtastic (currently sold out)

Store Location: USA – online

I enjoy bouncy balls, I have a large glass-jar of them sitting on my desk, they are an interest of mine that has continued to follow me into Adulthood (whatever that is), however, there is a weakness with them. As I’m terrible with hand-to-eye co-ordination, and bouncy balls tend to be on the small side, two combined factors makes them easier to lose. Thus in my adult-ish wisdom of trial and error, I have begun pursuing larger bouncy balls, they’re easier for me to catch and easier to find.

The thing is, these balls are more squishy then bouncy, the squish-factor is awesome, you can squish the ball completely flat and then make it round again. To be honest, I would highly recommend this stim toy on squish-factor alone, however, the tag does say “hi-bounce”. The bouncy factor is good but I wouldn’t consider it high bouncy, I tested it out on my kitchen floor, and while I did have to throw it hard, it bounced adequately. I’d be more concerned about the ball collecting dust and other stuff, which is what happened with my ball when I tested it (although it’s easy to clean off so *shrug*).

All in all, happy to recommend to pretty much anyone, there’s a reason these items quickly sell-out on Stimtastic.

~Stim Toy Box: Stimtastic Stretchy Squish Ball VS Lincraft Emoji Squish Ball.

PSA for Indie Authors – Part 2: Revision

Image Description: a picture of a wooden table with (from left to right in a clock-wise circle) a piece of paper, a pair of thick-framed black glasses, a pine cone, a dusty green-leather bound book, a green vintage type-writer, an open blank notebook, a wooden stick, a small tan-coloured rectangle with black writing on it and an empty glass ink-well.

This post is about self-promotion and marketing for Beginner Writers who want to write Genre Fiction or Genre novels, so if that doesn’t appeal to you, fair enough, feel free to pass on this post.

This post will be covering basic tips and advice so this post may come across as stating the obvious, however, we all have to start somewhere. I’m going to be talking about Beta Readers and Critique Partners, so here’s some videos by the wonderful Jenna Moreci on the subject:

Jenna Moreci:
~Writing Tips: What if No One Likes my Writing?
~Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Beta Readers
~Getting the Most Out of Your Beta Readers
~How to be a Good Beta Reader
~What is a Critique Partner?
~How to be a Good Critique Partner

I’ll make up a case study of the typical situation I get asked questions about.

Shannon has just finished writing and self-editing their latest Work-In-Progress Novel Project, they are super excited about it, they have put their manuscript up on Smashwords/CreateSpace/Amazon as soon as possible and then told all their friends and relatives that they’re a “REAL Writer” now (as opposed to those Fake Writers) and have published their book all by themselves. Then, after a few months or even years, they notice that they are not selling a lot of copies (perhaps four or five when they first released the book, but pretty much nothing since) and they don’t know what went wrong.

And that’s when I have to ask a huge laundry-list of questions:
~Did you have a critique partner look at it and give you constructive feedback on your novel?
Critique Partners are people who are Writers that have agreed to read your manuscript and give you feedback from the perspective of a writer, what works, what doesn’t, what a novelist did well, what a novelist needs improving on. If you are a person who can’t handle criticism or your highly sensitive towards your work, I think you need to consider the following: take a step back (mentally, physically, whatever), take a deep breath and ask yourself if you want to be a published writer or a good writer.

Because, quite frankly, Writers don’t improve unless they are willing to accept feedback and criticism and are willing to acknowledge these problems AND fix the problems pointed out to them. Wouldn’t you rather accept criticism now while you are still able to fix the problem?

In my view, a writer needs to have another pair of eyes look at their manuscript before they even consider sending their manuscript off to a professional editor, let alone publishing options. I recommend authors find and join a Writing Workshop group (or create one if you can’t find one) and workshop each member’s novel on a chapter-by-chapter basis.

Writing Workshop groups can be found on Facebook or Tumblr and my advice would be a writer who likes to read similar books to you but have a different writing style. For Example: Kim is an amazing Critique Partner (they deserve all the kudos) and we both enjoy fantasy books, however, Kim is a primary a character driven writer and is excellent at editing.

While I’m more a plot orientated writer and I am not skilled at editing. But because we both have different strengths and weaknesses, Kim can point out stuff to me that they felt was unclear/could be better written, like how it’s not always obvious what my characters are thinking or feeling at that specific moment.

~Did you have at least two Beta Readers look at it and give you constructive feedback?
A writer needs people who are not family members to read their work and give an objective view-point on whether or not their novel project is readable. You also need someone willing to review your book once it’s been read, websites like Goodreads and Amazon recommend books based their rating system, although I will acknowledge that the Goodreads review system is easier to understand than the Amazon one.

As an Indie Author, I understand what it feels like to yearn for people to read your book, you’ve worked so hard on your novel and you want to know what people’s reaction to it is. Does it make them think? Does it make them feel? Are they eager to read more?

But you need that Feedback BEFORE you publish, not AFTER (trust me, learn from my fail in this regard). Personally, I can’t stand it when my family and close friends tell me (after reading a small sample of my novel) that’s it’s “good” or “nice”, Writers need honest and constructive feedback and there’s nothing constructive about “nice” and “good”.

This is where a Beta Reader comes into play. A Beta Reader could be a fellow indie writer who is apart of your regular writing group/class. A Beta Reader could also be blogger like myself who reads and reviews books.

Some Book Reviewers only read and review books that are Traditionally Published, I know quite a few book-bloggers that refuse to review self-published books (due to quality control problems).Some Book Reviewers are happy to read self-published authors but won’t accept books in eBook format. Some reviewers will only read and review physical books.

Some Book Review blogs only review books in a certain genre, which has resulted in a large amount of Young Adult book-review blogs (there’s a big trend in Australian Publishing and Book-Blogging communities to use hash-tags like #LoveOZYA). It pays to do some research and to investigate what a book-blogger’s book review policy is (here’s a link to mine).

I think it also helps to check out the Categories section of book reviews, there’s no point asking a book-blogger who primarily reads science-fiction to read your historical romance novel. Also, don’t just bombard the book-blogger with a unsolicited requests to read your book, go through their blog-posts, check out book reviews they’ve written for books within your genre, perhaps leave a comment.

Mutual interest in each other’s work via engagement and building a connection is super important. I mean, you wouldn’t walk up to a random stranger in the street and ask them to read and review your book (or at least I hope you don’t do that, if so, please stop immediately), so don’t do that on the internet.

~Did you organise to have a professional editor look at it?
Okay, you’ve got feedback back from your Critique Partner and Beta Readers, you’ve even managed to acknowledge that maybe they made a few good points and, as a result, you’ve revised your manuscript and made some significant improvements.

What’s next?

Well I guess it depends on what kind of Writer you are. I’m a Writer that is not particularly skilled with the editing segment of writing, I’ve previously written about my experiences with the editing element of self-publishing, so go read that blog-post and then come back. I would also like to add that I’ve recently had some more Melbourne-based Editors recommended to me, here’s the link for them:
~Kathryn Moore
~AJ Collins

Have you researched and/or organised how you’re going to format your book?
Are you going to format the book yourself? Do you know how to do that? I’ve seen some self-published books lacking some standard formatting elements, such as not doing a page break for a new chapter. I prefer a new page for a new chapter, it looks nicer, it’s easier to read and it’s not hard to insert a simple page break.

I myself have difficulties with formatting and page-layout. The Table of Contents is more complicated than I first anticipated. I’ve invested in a copy of InDesign but I have yet to use it for anything, mostly because I have no idea what I’m doing with InDesign. This is why I’ve signed up for Skillshare classes and I’ll be looking into basic tutorials.

While All That Revision Is Going On…
What’s your social media marketing campaign look like? Have you been making sure to make regular blog-posts on your social media platform of choice? How big is your established audience exactly? What motivation does your Potential Audience have to buy your book?

Obscurity is the Enemy of the Author

If Potential Readers don’t know you exist, how can they possibly buy your book? Also, can readers purchase your book from your website? I’ve scrolled through a few Indie Author’s websites and I haven’t been able to purchase their books. Always make sure readers have access to your books, it’s not hard to set up a separate page on a WordPress Blog with links connecting to Amazon or Smashwords.

Do you have a fixed release date? Are you doing a give-away to celebrate the release of your book? I’m not saying you have to do a give-away, that’s entirely up to you and your monetary limitations. Would something like InstaFreebie appeal to you?

You don’t have to do all of these things, but you do need to know what it is that you are doing, you need a plan in place, the “Publish the book and Readers will Come” mentality just simply will not work for the majority of newbie authors (although I’m sure there are exceptions).

And you might be wondering, “But B.R. it’s not possible to do all that self-promotion stuff and work on my novel at the same time!”

Well… Maybe it’s not possible, you need to figure out what you can and cannot do, and then work within your limitations. Figure out a promotion plan that works best for you.

Perhaps you can send your novel out to your Beta Readers and Critique Partners, then start working on your promotional stuff. I recommend giving your manuscript some space before sending it off to be professionally edited, you don’t want to burn out (self-care is your highest priority). Perhaps you could put working on your novel aside for a few months before revising it.

Publishing a Book is a collaborative process and it takes a team effort in order to make a good book. Try not to rush it.

~Book Bloggers Australia
~The Australian Women Writer’s Challenge

PSA For Indie Authors – Part 1: Questions

Image Description: a picture of a wooden table with (from left to right in a clock-wise circle) a piece of paper, a pair of thick-framed black glasses, a pine cone, a dusty green-leather bound book, a green vintage type-writer, an open blank notebook, a wooden stick, a small tan-coloured rectangle with black writing on it and an empty glass ink-well.

I don’t get a lot of contact from Indie Authors asking for help, however, I’ve recently been contacted by two very different Indie Authors requesting assistance with promoting their novel, while I don’t what to name the Indie Author involved, because this isn’t about shaming people for asking for help (even if they ask for help in the wrong way), however, I thought it might be prudent to write a blog-post about what they did wrong and how they should have done things differently and, perhaps, this post might help other Indie Authors from making the same mistakes.

I think the first thing to do, as an Indie Author engaging in Social Media Marketing, is perform some self-assessment and ask yourself the following questions:

How much do you know about Marketing and Self-Promotion?
Is this something you don’t know a lot about? Or have you done a lot of research? Perhaps try rating yourself from Newbie, Intermediate to Advanced. Knowing how much help you need is crucial and research is the key. You could watch some YouTube Videos or read some articles on Marketing For Writers, for example: Jenna Moreaci has a great video “Marketing Basics for Writers” (I highly recommend her channel) and Joanna Penn @ The Creative Penn has some great articles on Marketing For Writers (this is just a starting point, there’s heaps more information out there).

What kind of promotion are you interested in?
What is your overall objective? Do you want to get more Book Reviews for your novel on Amazon, Kobo or Miscellaneous Brand X Book Selling Platform? Or do you want more subscribers on your blog? I’m not saying you have to pick only one goal, you can have as many goals as you like, but you need to know what they are.

I recommend writing down all your marketing goals, just do a full brain-storming or mind-dump session and get it all out of your head and onto paper. If the problem is that you don’t know what your goals are or where to begin, and it’s okay if you don’t know what your goals are just yet, write that down too.

What kind of Social Media Platform are you interested in?
While this does go back to the question of, “how much do you know?” and “what type of learner are you?”. Are you a visual-learner or more of a text based-learner? Do you learn better by yourself or in a one-on-one type situation? Or do you learn better in a class/group situation? Some writers are visual learners and like to use Pinterest to make storyboards for their novels and share them.

I have mixed results with visual learning, I find Pinterest too distracting and it doesn’t work for me as a writing tool. I tend to work better with text based-learning which is why I’m more productive on WordPress and Tumblr, although (in my opinion) Tumblr isn’t great with large amounts of text, I’d honestly consider Tumblr to be more visual-orientated (your mileage may vary).

How familiar are you with social media platforms?
Do you already have a Blogger blog or a WordPress blog? Are you already active on Facebook or Twitter? What types of Media Content are you most comfortable with? What types of Media Content are you willing to research? How much instruction will you need? My friend Kim runs a Tumblr-Blog about reviewing Stim Toys, it’s very popular and Kim was eventually asked “How does one go about setting up a Stim Toy blog?”, here’s a link to the article:

~Stim Toy Box: An Essay on Blogging

As someone who puts little to no thought into how to go about setting up a blog or any other social media platform, I think it’s a great article (in fact I printed out a copy), I’m not saying you have to do all the things Kim suggests (do what works best for you), you don’t have set-up a review-style blog if you don’t want to, but Kim asks some good questions and it’s a great checklist to work from.

I also want to point out that, when I first started out as a Writer on social media, I tried to do ALL THE THINGS (as you do) but it took me longer than it should have to figure out that it wasn’t making me happy and I wasn’t getting enough in exchange to justify it.

Now, I’m regularly active on Twitter and Tumblr, I try to update my WordPress blog at least once a week, and that’s working okay thus far (it could be better but I’m trying to lower my expectations due to currently dealing with mental health problems *shrug*).

What kind of limitations do you have?
It’s important to know what it is you can do, it’s even more important to know what you can’t do, figuring out your limitations is super important. It’s all well and good to want to set up a YouTube Channel but that’s difficult to maintain if you have no experience or knowledge of how to make videos. YouTube is one of those complicated social media platforms, everyone does it so it’s common, but common and simple to use are not the same thing.

YouTube channels that started in the beginning of YouTube might not exist now or be successful ventures now because it’s been done before. I’m not saying people shouldn’t make videos on YouTube, I’m just recommending realistic expectations. Like, what’s your budget for recording equipment? What about editing software? Sometimes figuring out what you can’t do or don’t know is easier to figure out than what you can do.

And the most important question of all

How much time do you have available to promote your brand as a writer and to promote your novel/project?
Do you have a partner, children and other family obligations? Do you have a day-job? Do you have mental health problems like I do? Mental Health problems can seriously impact your ability to consistently create good quality content. The same can be said for physical health problems. Time is your most valuable resource and there is simply a finite number of hours in a day.

I’m afraid I tend to squander mine a lot due to procrastination and lack of focus and it’s sort of gotten to a point where I don’t think I can fix this problem and some days I ask myself why I even bother, and let me tell you, it’s a shitty mindscape to be in.

I’m not saying this to put you off writing, or perhaps bitch about my personal problems, I merely wish to convey that writing is something you have to make time for, it’s something you have to actively organise (it’s not just “going to happen” – trust me on this), it’s something you have to want above a lot of other seemingly important things.

This is because people are never going to stop making demands of your time and, with a few exceptions, most people aren’t going to respect or value your time unless you make them and establish boundaries on what you will and will not dedicate your time to.

I also mention my mental health problems because, for better or worse, creative people tend be associated with mental health problems and pretending that this is a problem that will never occur to you or someone you know isn’t going to help you.

I loath the idea of romanticising mental illness in association with the creative arts but the fact remains that Denial and Fear of the thing is more powerful than the thing itself. Acknowledging that this is a thing that might affect you or someone you know in your Art/Writing community is important.

I know this might seem ramble-like or irrelevant, but writers with mental health problems or physical health problems need to take the time to recover and a person’s recovery, health, and well-being is the higher priority.

I don’t care if you have to push back the release of your book, and I don’t care if you have to shut down your blog for an indeterminate amount of time, because your recovery, health, and well-being is the higher priority.

I still struggle with this myself on regular basis, I resent the fact that this short blog-post has taken me two days to write, but I have to accept it and let it go. I have to accept and resign myself to the fact that I will never be able to learn at the same speed other people do and projects are going to take longer for me to complete.

So, do readers have any tips or suggestions on marketing for writers? Perhaps recommend some online communities for writers? Let me know in the comment section below.

~The Creative Penn: Tools And Resources For Authors And Writers
~The Creative Penn: Marketing Your Book
~DuoLit: 105 Author Blog Prompts: Banish Your Blank Blog!
~DuoLit: Free Writing & Self-Publishing Tools

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