Writing and Me

Why Are ARCs Important?

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Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, advanced reader copies (ARCs) of your edited manuscript are important. Here is why…

What is an ARC:

ARC is the shortened term for ‘advanced reader copy’. An ARC is a copy of your work that you send out to a group of readers ahead of your publication date.

Note: an ARC copy is not the same as a beta copy. Beta Copies are usually sent out before the final edit to garner constructive feedback during the editing process. ARCs are edited, finished copies of your work that are ready for publication.

Why send an ARC:

  1. ARC reviewers can offer honest feedback before your book is even on the market. You can get a good idea on how well your work has been received
  2. Free promotion. ARC readers tend to be reviewers. Having reviews on blogs, Goodreads, and social media etc is brilliant promotion before publication.  Authors need reviews, plain and simple.

When to send an ARC:

Of course, it would not be an ARC if it wasn’t received in advance of the publication date, however, there are differing opinions as to how early to send an ARC. I have received ARCs up to seven months before publication, and some within two weeks of the release date. Ultimately, it is the choice of the author/publisher. I would not advise sending unedited ARCs, but again, that is personal preference, but please be fair in your time allowance. Give the reader enough time to read and review your work comfortably, unless they specifically agree to last minute reads. 4-8 weeks before publication is acceptable for sending ARCs (especially indie books/ eBooks).

How to find ARC readers:

ARC readers are everywhere, you just have to know where to look for them.

  1. Blog: If you have a blog, do a shout out for ARC readers and reviewers.
  2. Twitter: Write a tweet requesting ARC readers. OR search hashtags such as #bookbloggers #bookreviewer #bookblog etc. You can DM or find blog links to reviewers in your genre.
  3. Social media: Post requests for ARC readers and reviewers on all your platforms.
  4. Research: Use search engines to find book blogs etc. Most book bloggers have review policies for you to study.
  5. Netgalley: You can pay a fee to have your ARC signed up to Netgalley.com. Members can request copies of your work to review.
  6. Friends: Send out copies to honest friends. Make sure they will give you a review. The more reviews the merrier.

Keeping ARC readers for future use:

Once you have found ARC readers, you ideally want to keep them.

  1. Always thank them for reviews, even if it is not the 5* review you wanted!
  2. Reblog/ share their reviews and links. Not only does this help you, but it helps them get traffic to their platforms.
  3. Build a list of trusted reviewers. Ask all of your ARC readers if you can call on them in the future. Avid readers are a valuable assets to all authors.

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 Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Prompt Me: Writing Prompts eBook, Writing Exercises

Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes #3 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you.

The Prompt:

The moon is an engineered structure built for the purpose of observation. Someone or something has been watching us.

Standing in my garden on a crisp, clear night when the moon is big and fat, the settlements are clearly visible. They marr the surface of the moon as I remember it as a child, and sometimes in perfect conditions, lights are visible, twinkling upon the surface like glitter.

I still remember the day they came. The ‘outsiders’, as they were quickly dubbed by the media, told grand tales of two moons. They said that before there was any trace of humanity upon earth, they had discovered our tiny, innocent planet rotating around the sun with two moons, one of which controlled our dangerous tides. The other was half the size and hidden behind the larger.

The Outsiders were there to observe and explore back up planets for when the time came that their own planet failed them, but they claimed that another race of hostile aliens from a dying planet came to conquer our world. However, they met resistance from the Outsiders. There was a war and the main moon was destroyed in a last ditch attempt for the hostiles to take the earth. The smaller moon, the moon we see today, was left behind, settling our tides and terraforming our planet into the world we occupy. The Outsiders set up surveillance devices within our moon, and then left.

However, they came back. 2038 was the year of their return. Their sun was failing them, and a once healthy population had dwindled in wars or through starvation and solar flares. The few survivors- five hundred thousand in total- fled to our atmospheric world in search of safety and a new life.

At first they were welcomed, and their advanced technology was welcomed, but then came the power struggles. Humans took their technology and tried to turn it upon them. That’s what ignorance and fear can do- it can make rational minds do irrational things. The Outsiders have always been more advanced, more powerful, and they have and will always hold the upper hand. They are smarter than us in many ways; they knew that a war would only destroy a planet that both of our races depend on, so they offered a proposal. They wanted our moon. A fragile agreement was made, and the domed colonies have been upon the surface of the moon for the past fifteen years.

 


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Writing Exercises A-Z Round Up

writing exercise

It may have taken me much much longer than the twenty six weeks I had given myself, but I have finally completed my ‘What’s Your Name?’ writing exercise challenge.

I set myself the fun challenge of picking a random name from the first page of each letter in my naming book (a book I cherish for naming the characters in my novels). Then, I had to write a short piece using that name as a main character or sub character. Some of the exercises are stand alone, whilst others are linked together. And some weeks, I just plain cheated.

I thought I’d compile all twenty six into this post as a round up of what has proven to be a useful, creative exercise.

Letter A: Abbie

Letter B: Ballard

Letter C: Cadence

Letter D: Daire

Letter E: Eavan

Letter F: Fairley

Letter G: Gabrielle

Letter H: Haidee

Letter I: Ida

Letter J: Jack

Letter K: Kady

Letter L: Lacey

Letter M: Mackenzie

Letter N: Naomi

Letter O: Oakley

Letter P: Paige

Letter Q: Quentin

Letter R: Rae

Letter S: Sabine

Letter T: Tate

Letter U: Ulric

Letter V: Val

Letter W: Walburga

Letter X: Xena

Letter Y: Yasmin

Letter Z: Zadok

Thanks for all the likes, comments, and shares on these blog posts. Your encouragement has been amazing as usual.

thank you


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Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Collective Ramblings by Various Authors

book review(1)

Collective Ramblings (Vol #1) by Various Authors 3/5

14055610_1248793538505394_815131931_nTwenty stories, four genres. See where these talented and varied authors take your imagination. Travel to worlds with superheroes, mystical, time-warped islands, a world where criminals are tortured to death, and a city plagued by mosquitoes.

Thanks goes to Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:

I have yet to find an anthology of works where every story appeals to me in some way, however, there were more intriguing stories in this collection than in similar works I have read. Most of the stories were well written and had unique narratives.

There are only four genres covered in this book, which I prefer to an array, and jumping from one story to the next, or one genre to the next, didn’t feel jarring. That being said, a lot of the stories do not have any kind of solid conclusion. They are more like writing exercises that could lead on to a full story, and this left me unsatisfied as a reader.

My favourites were:

Island Games by Ranger Reid

Terrors Great and Small by John Langmaack

Stained by Kayla Krantz


 The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter Z

And here we are… the finale of my ‘What’s Your Name?’ writing exercises. I took my sweet time to get here, but I made it.

Today’s name has been randomly picked from the first Z page in my naming book.

Zadok: a masculine first name meaning righteous. (Hebrew).

I hadn’t pre-selected this name, so I had no idea how to work a new character into the narrative at this late stage. In true KJ fashion, I broke the rules a little. Zadok is not a person…

To catch up on previous installments of this narrative, click the following links:

Letter Q,  Letter R, Letter S, Letter T, Letter U,  Letter V , Letter W, Letter X, Letter Y.

Zadok

Xena did a blinding job. She was careful not to make her trail look too obvious and slyly gave her address when purchasing a boat in Portsmouth. The details must have been uploaded into an accounts system. Val reckons that as soon as the seller hit enter, the T.D.E.D got a hit on her location…’our’ location. He was careful to hack only business CCTV, databases and the such; nothing the government would notice.

We went with the theory that Ulric and the T.D.E.D are closing in on Xena, and now, we’re cramped into the back of the truck on our way to headquarters. Sabine and Quentin are back at the farmhouse. If this goes badly, at least they will have some chance of escape.

My mind keeps wandering back to Xena. Brave, sweet Xena. I can’t think about what might happen to her without bile rising into my throat. I did love her, I was just scared of the man I had become. I should have told her that. I should have told her a lot of things.

“We walk from here,” says Lex, turning off the engine. “No lights, no talking, and remember the plan. Plan B is still viable, but it’s an abortion plan only. We have one shot at this.”

Val smudges black face paint across my face with a sweaty palm, and I pull my black cap onto my head. “Don’t think too much,” he whispers. “We get in, we get the box, and we get out. It’s that simple and that hard.” He wants this to go well, of course he does, he needs to make amends for getting us stranded on Earth in the first place. The crash was an accident, but he was the pilot- the captain- and that eats him up.

Neema and Marko use a device they ‘acquired’ from their many run ins with the T.D.E.D, to disable the last sector of electric fencing, and Yas clips the wires with bolt cutters. It’s down to Val to loop the CCTV which he does in tens econds flat. I feel obsolete save from the gun in my hand. I’m the best shot here, and I’m willing to kill if need be.

I’m the first through the fencing, and keeping low to the ground, we skirt around the perimeter toward the building that looks like nothing more than a collection of pre-fab offices. Other than security lighting, there is little sign of anyone being inside. They must have night security, surely? We are prepared for at least a small team of guards.

Val signals for us to head to the back entrance. The door is small with no handle or any type of locking system. Everything must be controlled from within.

Lex takes the device from Neema and presses it against the door. “Perhaps it will disrupt the electrics,” she muses. Val makes a grab for it, but it is too late; an alarm sounds against the still night. “Shit! Shit! Shit! My bad.”

“Did you think there would be a padlock or something?” says a voice behind us. We all spin around, training our weapons on Rae Matthews. “I thought you cleverer than that. This may only be T.D.E.D adminstration offices, but it’s still government run.”

Pressing a button on his watch, the alarm is silenced, and then he pushes a finger to the headset tucked behind his ear. “All is well. I forgot to disable the alarm before opening my office window.”

“What are you doing?” I ask.

Matthews tilts his head. “What have you come for. The black box? I can help you get it.”

“And why would you do that?”

“Because I want to come with you. I want to see the universe, Tate. That’s where this all started for me. I want to travel with you.”

Val scoffs. “Why should we do a damn thing for you, after everything you have done to us?”

Matthews presses another button on his watch and the metal door swings open. Xena stumbles out and into my arms. The relief that floods through me is beyond compare.

“He helped me, Tate. He found me at the docks before Ulric could, and helped me stage everything.” I hold her, breathing in the scent of her hair, not wanting to let her go.

“Let me come with you,” Matthews insists.

Yas flexes her finger over her trigger. “We ain’t going anywhere without that box.”

Matthews digs in his jacket pocket and retrieves a black box no bigger than his palm. “The light has been blinking for thirty-three years. This box is Ulric’s most prized possession. He loves it, but at the same time he loathes it because he has never been able to understand it.”

As soon as the box touches my skin, small, seemless panels open like automatic doors. It must be our DNA that activates it. Val lunges forward, pressing the red button inside without hesitation.

“ScoutShip 12 to Zadok Command. ScoutShip 12 to Zadok Command? Do you read us? Please, anyone?” he calls into the box.

“Zadok Command is hearing you loud and clear, ScoutShip 12. We have been waiting a long time to hear your voice Captain Valentine.”


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Writing Exercises

Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes #2 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.

The Prompt:

When they began splicing organic tissue with machinery to create advanced artificial intelligence, that’s when the world was lost.

Who am I?

Some call me a humanoid, some call me model Hx187, some call me Kyle. I prefer it when they call me Kyle. I may not have been born in the natural sense of the word, but I live. I have feelings and hobbies and friends… I did have friends.

Things changed when the AI took control. I mean, it was inevitable that one day the humans would create and create and create until they no longer had to. Such sophisticated machinery could start creating for itself. They gave us human bodies, well parts; my life system is machine, but my appearance is human. It became harder and harder to differentiate us, and that’s when the wars began. Humanoids were infiltrating the government, the military, even the police force. I bet you couldn’t walk down the street and not pass at least half as many humanoids as humans. Your waitress, your dentist, your hairdresser- we were everywhere.

The change was gradual at first; protests about morality and ethics, humans appealing to marry their humanoid spouses. The human governments tried to pass bills, tried to accommodate both species, for we are a species, but they were fighting a losing battle with an enemy they had created.

Where do I fit in?

I feel like an alien in someone else’s world. Humans were here first. They gave us life, and how do we repay them? We slaughter them, experiment on them, nuke them. They are our creators, our fathers and mothers, and we treat them like cockroaches to be stepped on. No, I will not contribute to their destruction. In fact, I plan to get their world back for them.


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Uncategorized, Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter Y

This is the penultimate week of the ‘What’s Your Name?’ posts, and the penultimate installment of the current narrative. Today’s Y name was picked in advance to be interwoven into the last installment.

I’ve cheated a little because Yas is just a minor character in this narrative. The story is too far along to bring her into the spotlight.

Yasmin: (Yasmine) Feminine variant forms of Jasmine.

To catch up on the previous installments of this story, just click the following links:

Letter Q,  Letter R, Letter S, Letter T, Letter U,  Letter V , Letter W, Letter X.

Yasmin

The kid is on the floor crying hysterically, Sabine paces back and forth, and I’m not sure what to make of Tate. The guy is distraught, he may not be screaming or bawling, but I know him, and it’s as if the universe has just slapped him in the face. He and Xena have history and there is love there. Maybe they just had to find each other again, but I think it has dawned on Tate that they may never have the chance now. I feel sorry for the poor bugger. It’s very rare that Val Grimley feels sorry for Tate Edmonds.

“Your Mum has done a really brave thing,” Neema says to Quentin, but he just buries his face into his arms.

I take the letter from her hands and read it for the umpteenth time:

I think I can lead them as far as Italy, definitely to Barcelona. Do what you’ve got to do to keep our boy safe. I love you, Tate. I’m at peace with how things are between us, and I will always have your back, you know that. Tell Quentin and Sabine that I love them, and thank Val for all he did for us. Just make sure you get that damn box and get off of this planet. All my love forever and always, Xena x

“This doesn’t mean the end,” says Yas, reading over my shoulder. “You said she has a good load of money, and she’s clearly intelligent. If she gets to Italy, she could still escape the T.D.E.D.”

“And then what, Yas?” Tate snaps. “We get the comm box, contact home, and then leave Xena here to rot. No. I met Xena when I was twenty five and she accepted everything I told her about home, about us. How many people have you met who have accepted you- loved you?”

Yas isn’t one to be scolded, and I feel her temper crackle in the air around me. “I’m just trying to be positive. But if you want the truth, Xena’s gone and we have no way of finding her, so I say we don’t waste her sacrifice and we get that comm box. If we do nothing, and she does die, then no-one wins, right?”

Placing a hand on her shoulder, I shake my head in warning. She’s right. Hell, Yas is always right, but tact isn’t her strong point.

“I agree,” says Sabine. Both Tate and Quentin gawp at her. “Xena has done this to give you a fighting chance. Take her offering and run with it. I couldn’t live with myself if I lost my sister and it was all in vain. Please, Tate. Please, get your head back in the game.”

Tate nods, but doesn’t speak. Instead, he crouches beside his son and holds him close.

Neema hands me a laptop. “Well, Mr Hacker, it’s your time to shine. We need confirmation that they’re following Xena’s trail, and then we get this show on the road.”

I look to Tate. We’re a team, but it’s his approval that I look for. I’ve always looked for his approval because he’s my safety. When I crashed the ship he was the first to defend me. I know he can never fully forgive me, nor will the others, but Tate never gave up on me, just like I refuse to give up on him.

He exhales loudly. “Do it, Val. Get us off this rock, buddy.”


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman