Scribbler Subscription Box Review – July 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, an exclusive YouTube chat).
Ships to: U.S. for $7.99, Canada for $23.99, and worldwide for $33.99 (shipping not available to Mexico and Peru)
Scribbler July 2018 Box Review
This month’s writing exercise is our first intro to the theme: setting. The exercise asks us to write a 2-3 sentence to open a novel, using a setting to kick things off. I always find starting to be the hardest part and often come back to write the beginning of my pieces later, so this is a particularly useful challenge for me!
Typically, Scribbler also includes a card that highlights what was included in the current month’s box and a peek at the theme of next month’s box. This month, instead of a card, they printed this info on the back of the Publishing Process Inside Look booklet (side note: those of you who are familiar with this sub might be delighted as I am that they’ve upgraded the PPIL materials to a booklet instead of rolled up pages! So fancy!). Since the PPIL is one of the offerings listed here, I’m just giving you a snapshot of the back right now and we’ll explore the rest later. Sound good?
Oh, and next month’s theme is tackling tension. Oh baby am I excited to dig into that topic!
Make sure you have the “scene” theme in mind when you jump into this novel. Crandall timestamps the prologue and each chapter with a date and location, and it’s interesting to see how she builds upon that “telling” foundation by “showing” details in the character’s life. Remember, scene-setting is about more than just location, and the other dimensions of the setting are expertly explored in The Myth of Perpetual Summer.
Book Summary on Amazon:
From the national bestselling author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes a moving coming-of-age tale set in the tumultuous sixties that harkens to both Ordinary Grace and The Secret Life of Bees.
Tallulah James’s parents’ volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to child rearing set tongues to wagging in their staid Mississippi town, complicating her already uncertain life. She takes the responsibility of shielding her family’s reputation and raising her younger twin siblings onto her youthful shoulders.
If not for the emotional constants of her older brother, Griff, and her old guard Southern grandmother, she would be lost. When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, she takes to the road, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of Southern California. The dysfunction of her childhood still echoes throughout her scattered family, sending her brother on a disastrous path and drawing her home again. There she uncovers the secrets and lies that set her family on the road to destruction.
I haven’t finished the book yet, but I am quite grabbed by it. It bravely addresses issues of race in the South in decades past, which still feels so relevant and important today.
Scribbler Writing Passport
Those who have been reading my Scribbler reviews for the past few months know that I think the writing passport they include is the absolute tops. In the passport, curators Victoria Scott and Lindsay Cummings explain why they chose the novel of the month and how it relates to the theme.
Victoria and Lindsay (how they refer to themselves in the passport) explore the importance of setting; setting shouldn’t just be a random place where things go down in your novel, but carefully selected or crafted so that it’s partially responsible for the identity of your characters.
Next, the passport touches upon some of the featured author Susan Crandall’s career highlights and then launches into her own words and advice on setting.
And, some encouragement on the back. Always appreciated!
Also included is a signed bookplate from the author. This is a regular bonus for Scribbler to include and I’m always so impressed that it appears to actually be hand-signed and not just printed!
Invitation to Author Conversation
This next monthly perk is an invitation to a private conversation with someone in the publishing industry. For August, it’s with Writers House literary agent Susan Ginsburg. I’ve had a tricky time with availability for these chats in the past, but I did catch the tail end of July’s live chat with Candlewick Press Executive Editor Hilary van Dusen. It was hosted by Victoria & Lindsay, lasted about 25 minutes, and involved them asking van Dusen their own list of questions, followed by questions asked by listeners in the live comments section. The chat was accessible for 7 days after its original launch so I was able to go back and listen in on what I had missed originally. Not surprisingly, van Dusen had all sorts of great insights!
Scribbler-Exclusive Writing Goals Notepad
Who else loves filling in the blanks and checking literal boxes? This notepad scratches my every itch! The ladies behind Scribbler suggest you shoot for two full hours of writing time each day. Whew, that’s a big goal! I can’t say it’s feasible for me at this season of life, but I think it’s a great stretch goal to work toward. In the meantime, the sheets of this notepad will keep me organized for the reduced time I set aside to write. Love love love it.
Scribbler-Exclusive Coffee Grounds from Novel Coffee
Umm, excuse me? Is this not the greatest idea Scribbler has ever had (aside from the amazing writing resources, of course)? Scribbler collaborated with Dallas-based Novel Coffee to bring an exclusive blend to Scribbler subscribers. The flavor notes include fudge brownie and dried fruits for a full-bodied flavor. It smells absolutely incredible and gave such a sleek look to the unboxing experience this month. Cannot wait to sip this stuff!
Bestseller in Progress Coaster
Need somewhere to put that coffee? Here you go! This coaster feels to me like ceramic and has a cork bottom to it. So cute!
Go Away, I’m Writing Sticker
Oooh, where to put this sticker…it strikes me as being a good Nalgene candidate!
Publishing Process Inside Look (PPIL)
Okay, so here’s the front of and a peek inside the PPIL booklet I mentioned above. This month it’s NYT bestselling author April Henry whose work is being shown. You get to see the one-sentence pitch for The Lonely Dead (coming in January 2019!), her synopsis with notes on how it was edited, and a peek at chapter one with edits shown. The original drafts are what was sent to acquisitions, which the front of the booklet explains is a meeting with editors, marketing, and sales at a publishing company, during which the author pitches their story in hopes of having their book acquired. Ugh, this PPIL is so cool!
The Verdict: I was already obsessed with Scribbler, but they’ve upped their game this month! I love that the PPIL is now in a booklet, which makes it easier and more organized to save in the writing resource drawer of my filing cabinet. I’m also diggin’ the exclusive coffee situation—such an original idea! This box costs $29.99 plus $7.99 shipping (so $37.99 total). This box is a little different than others in that most of its items don’t have a price tag attached to them. The only product that can be purchased is the featured novel itself, for $16.00 (or at the discounted rate of $12.80), but the other resources and bookish goodies are of awesome quality and undoubtedly a great value.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you will receive the August or September 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 costs $29.99 + $7.99 shipping, which means that each of the 8 items in the box has an average cost of $4.75. That is an incredible value!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
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