Scribbler Subscription Box Review – April 2018
Scribbler is a monthly subscription box for writers—specifically, novelists and aspiring novelists—created by authors Victoria Scott and Lindsay Cummings. It’s filled with items to help facilitate improvement and reach publishing goals, as well as some fun writing-themed goodies.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
The Subscription Box: Scribbler
The Cost: $29.99 a month + shipping. Save with 3 and 6-month subscriptions.
The Products: A monthly writing theme, a new release fiction novel, a collectible “writing passport” from the featured author, curated writerly gifts, and an invitation to communicate with a publishing professional (for example, a private Skype chat with that novel’s author).
Ships to: U.S. for $7.99, Canada for $23.99, and worldwide for $33.99 (shipping not available to Mexico and Peru)
Scribbler April 2018 Box Review
This month’s writing exercise is to jot down your biggest writing goal for 2018. It’s nice that the available space is merely postcard-sized, so you don’t feel pressure to fill an entire page with goals. I confess I didn’t have writing goals for 2018 until prompted by this exercise, so already my Scribbler box has me working to improve myself! I have found it healing to write poetry as a way of unpacking some of the big, heavy life and relationship concepts, so I decided to make it my goal to write at least 1 poem per month in the remaining months of 2018.
Also included is a card that highlights a few of the products in this month’s box and a peek at the theme of next month’s box. This is my first month subscribing to Scribbler so I didn’t get to preview this month’s theme ahead of time, but I see from Scribbler’s site that it’s “Point of View.”
Gallery Books Ballpoint Pen — Estimated Value $1?
The first writerly item included in my box is this ballpoint pen from publishing company Gallery Books. The Gallery Group publishes “a wide array of commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction.” It looks from their website that they only accept submissions from writers with a literary agent. Aspirations! The pen itself is pretty standard, with blue ink.
Yoobi 8 Color Retractable Ballpoint Pen — Retail Value $3.49
And, because every wordsmith needs an endless selection of writing utensils (I know I do, at least—one to fit every possible mood!), they’ve included a second pen. Well, 8 pens, kind of. This is the mother of all retractable pens, with 8 different colors to choose from. I would say my kid self would be freaking out right now, but honestly, my adult self is freaking out too!
Writing Is Hard Button — Estimated Value $1?
You’re not kiddin’, little panda. I think the world can agree that writing is hard work. But, so rewarding! This small pin is good for a smile.
Now, here’s a spiffy paperclip! I agree with the tip its packaging gives: that editing your work in print is a great idea. For my full-time job, one of my responsibilities is writing the copy for a print catalog. I always think it looks spic and span in the PDF, then catch at least 1 or 2 more errors when proofing the paper copy. I’ve also recently taken a few poetry workshops at a local university, and my classmates and I always print our poems out so we can mark them up for each other. There’s just something about the tactility of it that helps us focus, I guess!
The creators of Scribbler recommend reading at least 1 book on writing each year. This box is just full of awesome advice! I could already tell from the slightly dated design on the cover of this handbook (it was written in 1972) that it was going to be chock full of time-tested knowledge. After skimming through it, I can say for sure that there are gems throughout. I love that not only does it include real, applicable writing knowledge, it also has unconventional ideas for getting your wheels turning—like touching your toes!
Book Summary on Amazon:
This is the one guide that anyone who writes–whether student, business person, or professional writer–should put on the desk beside pencil, pen, typewriter, or word processor. Filled with professional tips and a wealth of instructive examples, this valuable, easy-to-use handbook can help you solve any and all writing problems.
Bonus: Scribbler Writing Passport
Okay, I LOVE this feature of Scribbler. It’s maybe my favorite thing that I’ve explored in my box so far. I’ll show you little peeks inside…
The first section is a note from the authors who founded Scribbler. It’s almost like their own forward to the featured book, The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley. It’s such a treat having that special intro written from writer to writer. There is some (more!) really solid storytelling and industry advice in there.
The next section is actually written by Maureen Lindley and focuses on this month’s theme, point of view. She identifies some of the benefits and drawbacks of writing a novel in the first person point of view and offers a few insights into the fine art that is authoring a story through your main character’s first-person account. Having read this pamphlet prior to delving into the book itself, a ton of anticipation began to build for me!
Finally, a brief bio on the author. I always enjoy knowing a little context as I’m reading a new-to-me author’s works.
Also included is a bookplate signed by Maureen Lindley. From what my detective work would tell, it looks handwritten on there in ink, not just mass printed!
Okay, here we go! Perhaps because I had been given a little preview of Betty’s character or perhaps because Lindley is just an incredible writer, I was invested in Betty from the first page. Subtly, Lindley captures the nuanced relationship between siblings that forms at a young age; those feelings and emotions with carry with us through our lives, that form almost instinctually and without our having a say. This sets a distinct tone and kicks things off with a relatable concept that carried me onward through the unfolding of the storyline.
Book Summary on Amazon:
An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.
Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.
Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.
Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.
Bonus: Sample Pitch Letter for The Beloveds
Next up is an invaluable resource that I am so, so honored to have received as part of my Scribbler box! In the intro letter from Scribbler’s curating authors, they acknowledge how rare it is to have these sacred documents shared. This is a big deal, guys. They included both the pitch that Lindley’s agent sent to the publishing company for The Beloveds (actually, I’m not sure if this is exactly it or if it’s a sample), as well as Lindley’s own synopsis of her book. In Scribbler’s note, they call out some concepts to note as you read both. They also encourage you to do a side-by-side comparison of the two so you can see the differing roles they play. SERIOUSLY, THIS IS SO COOL. And, so useful for folks who are preparing to send their own pieces in for publishing!
Bonus: Invitation to Author Conversation
The final resource included—and it’s another doozy—is an invitation to have a private conversation with Simon & Schuster’s senior editor, Jackie Cantor. How it works is: Scribbler will send out the link to the YouTube conversation via email prior to the talk next month. I imagine questions can be submitted in the form of comments, but either way, the opportunity to have this talk is certain to have some serious insights within. They offer Jackie Cantor’s bio on the back.
The Verdict: My first month of Scribbler was mind-blowing! Not only was it clearly designed and packaged with care, it was completely stuffed full of insanely useful offerings that will undoubtedly improve my writing. I can’t believe this treasure of a box is something that’s offered monthly! Curators Victoria & Lindsay clearly put so much care into this endeavor. I can’t get over it! This box costs $29.99 plus $7.99 shipping (so $37.99 total). Its purchase-able contents add up to approximately $30, but that doesn’t account for the writing passport, pitch letter, and conversation invitation, which I marked as bonus items because I wasn’t sure how to price them…but the reality is they’re completely priceless offerings for which I would pay an arm and a leg!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you will receive the May box. The last day to order a box is the 10th of every month unless sold out prior to that date (there are limited quantities). If you order after the 10th, it will be for the following month.
Value Breakdown: This box cost me $29.99 + $7.99 shipping, which means that each of the 9 items in the box has an average cost of $4.22. That is an unbelievable value.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of the April Scribbler box?