Writer's Life - Raven's Cry ARC Squad Spotlight!


*Squeals and runs around in the background, flailing* It's release week for Raven's Cry!!! Man, what a rollercoaster of emotions. As my fellow writers are painfully aware, any book release is accompanied by a sweet and sharp cocktail of excitement, terror, relief, and sleeplessness. You know what makes it better, though?

Your squad.

These are all the angels who support you in various ways throughout the writing and publication process. Today, however, I want to highlight my ARC squad.

ARC = Advance Reader/Review Copy

An ARC reader has several jobs. Firstly, they read the book. Pretty self explanatory, but ARC readers are also your hype men and women. They talk up the book before the release and provide reviews for it, which is a frickin' treasure. So I'm gonna go ahead and feature all these awesome peeps right now.

Alex of The Paperback Piano - Alex is an absolute dear and one of the readiest readers I've ever met. Ohmigoodness, can she tear through a book! And she takes such gorgeous pictures! 😍 Go read her book reviews! They're delightful and insightful!
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Author KJ Chapman - I did an interview with KJ and an ARC read/review of her book, Zombie Playlist, a while back. That was the one I had to make popcorn for because it was so much like watching an action movie! KJ writes fun, awesome books, and she's such a devoted mama and all around fantastic person. Oh! And she writes in a bunch of different genres (post-apocalyptic - and possibly horror if zombies fall under that. I'm really not sure - fantasy, etc.), so you're bound to find something you'll enjoy in her catalogue. Oh! And I made a playlist on Spotify to go with Zombie Playlist because every chapter is a song title, which is so clever!
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Author Faith Rivens - Faith is legit one of the kindest, most encouraging people I've ever met. You may remember my review of her book, Eléonore, and the kick-awesome-est opening line ever!

"There were demons to kill, but first I needed a cup of coffee."

Giiiiiiiiirl. Love that line! 😆  Faith has an editing service, Inky Squid, too, in case you're in the market for that sort of thing.
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Chandra of Where the Reader Grows - Like Alex, Chandra can chomp through a book like nobody's business! She runs one of my favorite book blogs, and I'm not even that into her primary genres: thrillers, suspense, and horror. I just love the way she talks and thinks about books, and she provides brilliant recommendations. This year for Christmas, I got everyone in my family books. My big sis likes thrillers, so I went straight to Chandra for ideas, and boy did she deliver!
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Author DJ Gray - I was fortunate enough to meet and then subsequently be kidnapped by DJ Gray in the autumn of last year. Across state lines even! Serious stuff. 😏 She is a wonderful, kind human being, super fun person, and excellent writer. I've only gotten to read her short stories so far, but you know I'mma get my hands on her first book toot sweet!
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Author James Fahy - You may have heard me gush about James' books here, or perhaps here... and here too. I'm not ashamed to admit it, okay? I'm a massive Helsing/Erlkinger (aka fangirl of James Fahy's books). He does a paranormal series (Phoebe Harkness) and a YA/MG fantasy series (The Changeling series), and I love them both! James also has a talent for awesome book videos. See below for the awesome thing he made for my book baby, Raven's Cry!
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Now would also probably be a good time to mention how bloody terrifying it is recruiting potential ARC readers. James was one of the last folks I reached out to because I had a mini heart attack each time I contacted one of the folks mentioned here, and I needed a break between cardiac events. Imagine me on the phone with my big sis, preparing myself for rejection by saying, "You know what. I bet none of them will say yes. They're busy. They have lives. It's fine. It's fine!" Why did I freak out? It had nothing to do with any of them (you may have noticed they're all lovely, wonderful, sweet people) and everything to do with me and my insecurities. It was because I have oodles of respect for every single one of these people as both readers and authors. They all write insightful reviews and think critically about the craft of writing, they're accomplished and talented in their own areas, and I value them all as both peers and friends. It's an enormous gift for anyone to read your books, let alone agree to take on ARC responsibilities*.


Author Beverley Lee - Beverley is another author I get quite fangirly/gushy over. Her writing is perfect! I mean that in every way. If you know me at all, you know I don't say lightly. I'm fairly certain she's the only person for whom I've ever rated all their books at 5 stars. See my reviews of her first (The Making of Gabriel Davenport) and second (A Shining in the Shadows) books to see what I mean. Beverley smashes genre-walls like she was born to do it, and I am so happy I ventured outside of my usual categories to read her books because I've never looked back. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention what a wonderful human being Beverley Lee is because I have consistently spelled her name wrong for over a year, and she has been nothing but a sweetheart about it.
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Author Sarina Langer - Can you guys keep a secret? I think Sarina might have a couple of clones walking around. She is hands-down the most productive person I know. Sincerely, I think Sarina does the work of five people in a single day. She writes books, works full time, runs an editing business, and she just released a guide for self-publishing your books. You can find that on her website when you sign up for her newsletter. She's also running a serial fiction story called All That I Can Be on her website too, which I have been super enjoying, so I recommend checking out that too. And she wrote a great piece for this blog too: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring an Editor. See what I mean? Little Miss Productivity!
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Catheryn of The Book Lioness - Catheryn was another person I have been fortunate enough to meet IRL. I met her at The Southern Festival of Books last year, and we discussed her doing some reviews for me... and then I promptly forgot after the festival ended. Professional and awesome person that she is, though, Catheryn contacted me to follow up, and I am so grateful she did because you know my scattered brain might never have gotten its stuff together.
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*Curious how to find great ARC readers? Well, you could just sling your hook to every Tom, Dick, and Jane. That is, ask everyone and anyone, but personally I don't think this is the best method. For one thing, some people just want free books with no intention of reviewing them. For another, no offense, but nothing turns me off of someone faster than getting a message from them asking for a book review when we have little to no relationship. I know some of y'all aren't gonna like this, but I 100% believe you have to work for it and develop relationships. I'm not saying you need to become besties, but at least offer something in return - a review of one of their books in exchange, promotion, something. You know the old adages "you scratch my back; I'll scratch yours" and "treat others the way you want to be treated"? Yeah, that's what community is about. Supporting one another and being kind, so invest in other people, and they'll likely return the favor.

As an extra treat, here are some pretty character aesthetics I made for some of my Raven's Cry crew. Enjoy!

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And don't forget, you can get a taste of the Broken Gears world by becoming a VIP Newsletter subscriber. Subscribing gets you access to all my VIP short stories, including Figs and Fae, which I wrote especially for the release of Raven's Cry.

Thanks for reading!