POST FROM THE DEVIL ORDERS TAKEOUT

GIVEAWAY: The Devil Orders Takeout is Baaaaack!

HELLO BOOKLINGS.

Yes, I am indeed off hiatus! And you know, let's not mince words and get right to the fun stuff: I'm relaunching with this international giveaway.

3 bookish prize packs giveaway: V.E. Schwab swag, Society6, and more!

And remember, EVERYONE who joins that giveaway gets entry prizes.

Even though I'm off hiatus, you might not see me post too much from this blog!

Don't worry, though, for the next month I've written up several guest posts that will pop up around the blookunity. (I'll list them on this post as they go live, so you'll see them when you come back to redeem more giveaway entries!)

As for after that ... I've got some special plans, which I'll share with my takeout army shortly. So join us for the latest updates on this blog's destiny *drumroll*

I'm going to keep this short — join that giveaway, and watch this space!

Say hello in the comments section! And leave all your blog links too, I'm so terribly behind on bloggish news.

POST FROM THE DEVIL ORDERS TAKEOUT

Snazzy Snippets: I HATH RETURNED

BLOOKUNITY I HAVE RETURNED FROM MY HIATUS. With more Mulan + Swan Lake snippets.

(I know I still haven't read all of your snippets last time, but I'll get to them ASAP. My bad, school is killing me.)

Snazzy Snippets is a bimonthly link-up I co-host with Emily @ Loony Literate. For those who weren't around last time:
It’s an opportunity for writers! Every two months, we post a prompt or question for you to share a snippet of fewer than 500 words. It’s designed to let you have fun, analyse your work on a smaller level, or just write something to join in.

If you’re not a writer, or aren’t working on anything, don’t go back up the rabbit hole just yet. Read everyone’s wonderful snippets on the linky!
Still have questions? Snazzy Snippets has its own page on the blog, with FAQs and more. Take a look!

Reminder that this isn't just for novels! The prompts were designed with novels in mind, but most are also applicable to short stories, poetry, anything.

Without further ado, the prompts (themed around the past):

A snippet where characters consider their backstory
or
A snippet featuring a child (i.e. a freebie for you YA and MG writers)
or
A  snippet from something you wrote more than 2 years ago

Remember to include your post URL in the linky! I'll be sure to visit ALL your snazzy snippets.

For those who are new, I'll be sharing snippets from my WIP, a Mulan + Swan Lake retelling. It includes monsters and magic, grave robbers, deaf assassin-witches, witchy rival-lover dynamics, and lots of desserts. I like to imagine it as VICIOUS meets THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

1. A snippet where characters consider their backstory

“Don’t lecture me, huangfu, I might actually remember your wisdom.”

Her father sighed and began brushing the sugar strands on the seat into the palm of his soft hands. “I tried to motivate a little girl who skinned her knee running from a street-performer’s fire-spell. Back then you were afraid of magic. Now I am.”

For half a year, her royal mother spent the two hours before midnight to read Mak the most ancient magical texts, and two hours after to let Mak touch the magic. One morning, instead of her usual nap, Mak snuck out and tried to burn down the vegetable garden. Instead she’d burned out and spent a week in a hospital bed. That was the first and only time her father raised his voice to her royal mother.

Out loud, all Mak said was, “A wonder you had the courage to marry huangmu.”

“Even you fear your royal mother. But you still have the heart to defy her. So why do you hide from Yi?”

Because Yi promised a windstorm in those eyes. Mak could only hold a candle to this sister, and she didn’t know if Yi would snuff it out or set her life ablaze. “My mother and I aren’t competing for the kingdom.”

“Yi doesn’t want to steal your kingdom. She wants to save it.”
This snippet features our second main character, Mak, who is the princess and heir to the empire. However, her position can

When an incredibly talented (and incredibly gorgeous) witch shows up, one can predict the conflict.

More about that in the next snippet. Of more interest here are:
  • Mak's incredibly fabulous parents. Let me tell you, those two have backstory. Not written down, I mean, but I just know.
  • Mak learns magic and instantly decides to burn stuff. A girl after my own heart.
Oh, and since I'm getting back into revising this (aiming for mid-July, once I have all school stuff out of the way), I'm now sharing my writing progress every week to anyone who wants to be email friends!

Read weekly snippets of MULAN + SWAN LAKE

I'll start sending them next week, so grab your takeout and hop on the train!

2. A snippet featuring a child

Mak returned his smile and stretched her legs outside the car. “I’ll look up your almanac and charm a pack of tea leaves.”

“Try not to mix it up with your poisons this time.” Her father frowned again and didn’t even protest when Mak took the box of dragonbeard candy. “And Mak—you’re right to be afraid of her. Take care, my daughter.”

“I think I still have the poison left from last time to deal with enemy sisters.” The cold garage air pricked goosebumps on her bare arms, and Mak hugged the candy box closer to her chest.

“And if she becomes your friend? Witchcraft is a fellowship, and you even call her sister.” Her father pressed the button for the shuttle lift to take them back to the palace. “Coastguard or not, you’re competing with her. When your friendship turns sour, it will ruin you. She will ruin you.”

Mak smiled a careful skull’s grin. If ruination came for her, she’d destroy it first. “Then she’d be making demons. What a traitor to the coastguard.”

“Mak,” her father called after her as she stalked out of the lift. “The Huntress is the kind of woman who is made from the fire. You’re a moth dancing in the flames.”
Since this IS a YA retelling, I could have chosen literally any snippet. But here, I think Mak is behaving like a child who thinks she can take care of herself. So basically every child ever.

I included copious amounts of food in this novel (thanks Cait) but I actually managed to make it a device to show character development (?!?!?). I won't reveal all, but suffice it to say Mak talks less about candy/cake and more about ... you'll see. *winks*

(There's also a high-flying all-rounded A+ girl who loves coffee. Three guesses why.)
Well ... two guesses left.
This snippet, though, shows just how melodramatic and unrealistic Mak can be. As I said: after my own heart.

3. A snippet from something I wrote more than 2 years ago

“They only remember Mulan fought a war. They forget she weaved at her window, that she asked the emperor for a horse to take her back, that when she returned she donned face paint and gowns. They remember Mulan tried to be a man, and forget when she was a woman.” — from planning notes of this WIP
For those of you who are unaware, I love retelling Mulan. This retelling is so very much about femininity. I looked through my musings back from when I translated the original ballad of Mulan and found this gem.

I don't think it needs further comment, really, except that this WIP is all about femininity and China and mis-identity.

Also witches. Don't forget the witches and demons. Sound cool? Join me as I ignore schoolwork and dash through revisions:

Yes, weekly snippets about witches and demons sound FABULOUS

Alternatively, join my takeout army and read the spinoff short story about a deaf assassin-witch conquering cities and critiquing tea!

You may have noticed, by the way, that I no longer use the title Witches Black & Silver to refer to this WIP. That's because I've thought of a new, better name — and it's nearly quoted in one of the snippets. Guessing time, blookunity!

Which is your favourite snippet? What do you think the WIP's new title is? And how is your own writing coming along?


Twitter-sized takeout:

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Snazzy Snippets: Writers, let's get vulnerable + spin-off from Mulan + Swan Lake retelling!

SOOOOO. How did everyone do with Camp NaNoWriMo? Or other April-y writerly pursuits? Snazzy Snippets is baaaack for writers to share their snippets!

Snazzy Snippets is a bimonthly link-up I co-host with Emily @ Loony Literate. For those who weren't around last time:
It’s an opportunity for writers! Every two months, we post a prompt or question for you to share a snippet of fewer than 500 words. It’s designed to let you have fun, analyse your work on a smaller level, or just write something to join in.

If you’re not a writer, or aren’t working on anything, don’t go back up the rabbit hole just yet. Read everyone’s wonderful snippets on the linky!
Still have questions? Snazzy Snippets has its own page on the blog, with FAQs and more. Take a look!

Reminder that this isn't just for novels! The prompts were designed with novels in mind, but most are also applicable to short stories, poetry, anything. I'm sharing a short story snippet myself this time!

Without further ado, the prompts:

A snippet that was difficult to write (define 'difficult' as you like!)
or
A snippet you had a lot of fun writing
or
A snippet you plan to delete/significantly revise

Remember to include your post URL in the linky! I'll be sure to visit ALL your snazzy snippets.

2. A snippet you had a lot of fun writing

Right now, the Huntress had idiots to kill.

She pointed a finger at the chair she’d been tied to. Orange-red flames exploded around it, then she sent it flying into two of the soldiers. One, two.

Then someone fired his rifle and knocked the breath out of the Huntress. The bullet turned the silver embroidery at her shoulder red.

The Huntress smiled. The magic burned, yes, but so did she.

Tossing aside the remains of her stick, she gathered the magic to her. A heat wave, buffeting her face, curling in her palms, roaring in her ears—

(secret: magic echoed in her ears, and the Huntress didn’t know what to make of it.)

Three four five were summarily tossed out the window.

The last one, with a colonel’s rank bars, gripped his knives too tightly.  He crouched between the Huntress and the Idiot, his lips pulled into a grim line.

The Huntress half-turned away to sip at the tea again. The colonel rushed in, his knives flashing, and the Huntress smashed the teacup on his head.

Waste of good porcelain, she thought mournfully as the tea swirled together with the blood. “I hate pu’er tea,” she growled.
This snippet is from murder with teacups or just teacups, a short story starring the Huntress, a non-POV major character in the Mulan + Swan Lake retelling. The Huntress is a deaf assassin-witch who conquers cities and critiques tea.

The entire short story came from the idea of a teacup as a murder weapon, and a snarky one-liner commenting on the tea afterwards. Yes, I wrote it after watching Spectre. teacups is pretty James-Bond-inspired as a whole, but more like fem!James Bond in China.

Hey, they took him to space once, it's not that preposterous.

Be the first* to read the short story with teacup murder

*I lie. Shout-out to Cait @ Paper Fury for looking over the first draft for me! You're the most benevolent blogging queen. (Also the only one.)

1. A snippet that was difficult to write [first draft warning, y'all]

Mo knelt by the body. Mo tugged off her white jade earrings, stained with a bit of blood that looked black in the light. Silver glinting at the throat. A locket, in the shape of a wing, rusted silver. Mo lifted the head to tug off the locket.

1. long fingers with silver nails, very pale lips, [more monochrome]

2. dying witch.

3. dying was not dead.

4. witch = danger and death [and so on].

5. it wasn’t murder if they were dying

Conclusion: Mo slipped her knife between the witch’s ribs.

Her hands were shaking when she took the knife back out. Shaking too much, in fact, to continue tonight. She rearranged the witch-corpse and dragged her clasped hands to cover the wound.

“Sorry,” she murmured, putting a hand over the clasped hands. She’d pray but what prayers could she say when no gods were listening anymore?
A little context: recently an episode of the 100 aired. I don't watch the show, but as I understand it, a lesbian character died and the media began to reconsider the death of LGBT+ characters. Which is fabulous and necessary.

But guess what this person did in the first chapter of her WIP.
After talking with some fabulous people and reading soooooo many Tumblr posts about the issue, I rethought this scene. And rethought it again. I seriously considered setting this WIP aside for later.

As it's one of my extracurricular activities, I do need to finish it to graduate. So I reframed the scene and tried again. There's more spoiler-y context to it,

Another interesting point is that in the initial concept, Mo was five vicious feet of murder and mayhem. Somehow she became a girl who thinks all the vicious things and does none of them. So far, I'm liking this change.

3. A snippet you plan to delete/significantly revise

the tiger’s paws were on her throat now, and she choked—

no stop air moonlight, moonlight, and every breath broke another bone monster run there was blood under her nails, blood pounding through her brain run where? home’s gone drowning from one of the eight oceans she carried in her ribcage you have found a new home, Yi, but the monsters


No, she didn’t faint. She just executed a strategic retreat with no backup plan.
I actually like this snippet very much. We don't get inside the Huntress' head a lot in the WIP, but as we can see in the short story, it's a rather conflicted place. More details, sadly, would be spoilers.

The actual thing that needs changing are the monsters. While they haven't changed that much from the original concept, I realise that they conform more closely in Chinese to the term 妖怪, which I feel demon is a more accurate translation of.

It's sad to lose the monsters-and-magic alliteration, though.

But I really do adore this snippet, especially the last line. It's so snarky and unlike the Huntress that we see in the WIP, who's been through a lot more. Enjoy it while you can, world:

Read the short story with witches, snark, and teacups instead of vodka martinis

Which is your favourite snippet? What's your favourite atypical murder weapon aside from teacups (and books)? And do I use too many italics?!? (hint: no such thing.)


Twitter-sized takeout:

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11 Super Common Villain Tropes as Pokemon Moves! | Should book villains use these?

Welcome, everyone, to the fabulous NEFARIOUS TALES, a villain event organised by Mishma! You're in the right place if you love villains and morally ambiguous characters in general. Today I'm covering 11 common villain tropes ... as Pokemon moves.
Wait, what? Alyssa, how are villain tropes and Pokemon moves related?

First, what are villain tropes?


Tropes are easily recognisable story elements, such as heroes, damsels in distress, and so on. Villain tropes are the tropes that, well, relate to villains, such as the chessmaster, the villain with good intentions, and so on.

(If you love villains, you might also like my previous post on the 7 types of villain deaths.)

For those with no childhood, Pokemon are a very, very, very large group of fictional wildlife that fight each other. Pokemon moves are the specific kinds of attacks that these wildlife use.

Psst, grab the statistical breakdown of how villains are most often killed off in the takeout army library:

Find out how villains die in bestselling books

This post operates on the assumption that villain = antagonist = generally unsavoury. Some of these, of course, apply equally well to anti-villains or even anti-heroes.

11 super common villain tropes + examples:


1. Evil Cackle


This is one of the most "I'm the Villain" signs. In almost every story, there's a point when the villain has (nearly) succeeded. It's time to celebrate with tea and takeout and terrifying laughter!

Often, this cackle precedes a beatdown by the protagonists:
20. Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly. (Evil Overlord List)
Type: Psychic.
Effect: May be humiliating to more self-conscious protagonists. More often exasperates protagonists (and readers!) because of how clichéd it is. I kinda dislike it in everything except the most classic video games. Like, I don't know, Pokemon? *shrugs*

2. Acid Monologue

It often goes with the evil cackle. The villain has succeeded! They've taken over the world! All the takeout is theirs! Mwahahaha!

Now is clearly the perfect time to lord it over the helpless protagonists and/or explain the entire evil plan. After the monologue, failure of said evil plan is almost inevitable.

Type: Poison
Effect: May make you feel good for 0.4 seconds and paralyse the protagonists for 0.25 seconds. May also give them the information needed to utterly destroy you.

However, I do enjoy it when these monologues start off gloat-y and end up revealing the villain's less evil motivations. Morally complex villains FTW!

3. Random Wrath


This villain is a loose cannon. He's just evil for the sake of it! They will for no apparent reason steal children's cake, kick random kittens down wells, and shoot their trusted lieutenant for something that is not his fault and/or plot convenience. They have a terrible reputation and their allies tremble in fear.

Type: Dark
Effect: Strikes fear into the hearts of your enemies. May also give them the resolve to fight and defeat you. I like my villains clever, not just ruthless.

4. Minion Attack

Said some wise literature person, "Everyone likes to root for the underdog." (I'm actually legit, but I cannot find my notes for that lit class, so take my word for it, okay? OKAY.)

Therefore, while the protagonists may only be the hero and his plucky sidekicks, the villain often has armies at his disposal. Many villains will deploy these minions to vastly outnumber the protagonists ... because "we have resources".

The consequences are either (a) their troops turning on them or (b) the protagonists succeeding despite all odds.

Type: Fighting
Effect: Unfortunately, minions never seem to leave a real scratch on the protagonists. (Although they may provide some comic relief to the novel.) Minions are seriously ineffective. The only way to make it worse would be to send out your minions and then say "Leave him to ME!"

5. Shadow Sneer


Unlike the evil cackle, this is when villains appear all simpering in front of the protagonists, hiding their world domination plans with good manners and hot chocolate. Bonus points if the villain-in-hiding steeples their fingers.

I actually adore it when villains in disguise act the hero's allies. But I'm less on board with it when the book then shows me their SECRET smile and tell me, "this guy is SECRETLY evil."

Type: Ghost
Effect: May confuse your opponent and cause them to hurt themselves. Recoil damage is also caused to the Fourth Wall.

6. Royal Disdain

Off with their head! Let them eat cake!

As explained above, we tend to root for the underdogs. So powerful royal figures are the domain of many villains instead. Some monarchs may slip into Random Wrath as explained above. Others might simply not care about the peasants they trample on.

Type: Dragon
Effect: Makes for dramatic entrances. That said, that's all it really does. Most attempts to destroy the protagonist via a casual royal command don't work. (When it succeeds, though, you can bet I'll be on board for that.)

Chances are, said villain will lose their royal authority fairly soon ... unless you happen to be reading somewhat accurate historical fiction, where there's a decent chance the "villains" make it out.

7. Kiss n' Kill


There are two sides to this. First, evil overlords tend to keep around a harem (or at least a very attractive consort). Unfortunately, villains are also paranoid, so they also tend to kill off their consorts, if they're secondary/tertiary characters, quite liberally. Look, they're evil!

That said, I genuinely don't like treating love interests as disposable plot objects.

But you know what is cool? When villains try this on less savvy protagonists and distract them to carry out their schemes. And maybe even fall for the protagonist for real.

You know what is even cooler? Savvy heroes trying it on villains.

Type: Psychic
Effect: Causes confusion to the opponent, as well as to the reader. Also muddles up feelings and murder and basically flailing all around.

8. Backstab

Yeah, that image really says it all. But y'know, villains might not be able to do everything alone. And their allies often don't have moral compunctions. So a great deal of stabbing happens within the enemy camp.

I adore this trope and it's one of my favourite ways for a villain to go out as well.

Type: Steel
Effect: Creates a NEW villain for the protagonists to fight. *happydance* Unfortunately, it does very little actual harm to the protagonists.

9. Crimson Wash


While I hold the best entrance is having a signature villain song (Imperial March for the win!), books don't play music. While we wait for this momentary oversight to be corrected, giving villains a signature colour is the next best bet.

So when the villain enters and/or takes over, a shift in colour can instantly signify that victory. Red may not always be the villain colour of choice, although ... *looks around blog* Hmmm

Type: Psychic
Effect: Creates fabulous tension + atmosphere—colours are one of my favourite literary elements. However, not very effective for anti-villains or disguised villains, for obvious reasons.

10. Evil Scar

While protagonists may have the occasional scar to show their bravery on the battlefield or somesuch, many villains like the Joker or Scar (like, obviously) have evil-looking scars. Sometimes it's even serious enough that the villain is down an arm or half a face or an eye.

Type: Normal
Effect: Handy label for a villainous appearance. But personally, I feel this trope could be very problematic in propagating ideals of beauty and/or ableist ideas, so I'm a little dubious unless it's well justified.

11. Thousand Stories


I've talked about villains and the potential problem about their troubled backstories, but villains with complex motivations are still fantastic. Here's why it might just be my favourite trope here:

  • heartbreak all around
  • characters being vulnerable
  • moral ambiguity
  • just emotions, okay? I might not be able to handle them in real life, but emotions in fiction = the most important

Type: Ground
Effect: Earth-shattering destruction on everything you thought you knew.

Oh, and don't forget to check out everyone else on the Nefarious Tales trail (ahaha, I rhymed):
Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts - Awesome Villain Powers
Nova @ Out of Time - The Darkling Formula

There's also a giveaway for the event I'm super excited to share! Thank you so much, Mishma!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Oh, and another cool thing in case you're new here from other Nefarious Tales posts *waves* I'd like to share a bunch of cool bookish resources with you, including interesting stats about fictional villains and

Get access to the takeout army library

Which of these tropes do you like/dislike? Who's a villain you really love? And comment with a Pokemon move-version of a trope yourself! I will feature the best ones :D


Tweet out the takeout!
PS: In case you love villains (of course you do) and have read Harry Potter / The Hunger Games / A Song of Ice and Fire / A Darker Shade of Magic (c'mon, one of these at least), you may be interested in how villains tend to die in these books. Get the stats here.

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How should you monetise your book blog? Redbubble vs Society6 + 6 case studies + Infographic (CIVIL WAR!)

More and more book bloggers are monetising their book blog, which is THE COOLEST. One of the more popular options are print-on-demand design shops like Redbubble and Society6. Today, we have 6 fantastic designers here for the CIVIL WAR between the two!
So why are design shops so popular? First off, print-on-demand design shops like Redbubble and Society6 are super easy. In my opinion, they also align better with blog readers, aka other book lovers, more than most ads.

And last of all ... many bloggers have picked up design to make a pretty blog! So it only makes sense to transfer the skills. I think it's super important for book bloggers to be invested in art OTHER than books. It's productive procrastination and helps us keep blogs running!

Oh, and in case you were wondering: no, I have no plans to get a design store. However, if you are looking for my designs, I've designed a set of wallpapers for my revenge and witchy WIPs for my takeout army:

Yes, send me the Tumblr wallpapers!

Team Divergent:


Shannelle @ Art of Escapism


1. Thoughts on Society6? 

I think that Society6 is awesome because it runs promotions with free worldwide shipping. As a customer, it's really hard to beat that. But I really, really hate how I have to size a different file for each item. I can't just crop a file like I do in Redbubble.

2. Thoughts on Redbubble? 

I love how much more user-friendly Redbubble is when it comes to uploading, they have a cool range of products, and their support is really quick too. I love how you can set whatever price you want, for every single product, and their option to download an image that you uploaded yourself is awesome too!

Redbubble only offers discounts, though, but no free shipping. And while sometimes that's manageable, like a journal to China with a shipping fee of $5, which I can actually live with (and no, I have not been staring at my cart with my All the Mysteries of the Universe journal and crying inside a lot). But the fact remains that it's still expensive.

3. Biggest difference between the two?

I see Redbubble more of as truly for the artist. As a whole, it provides proper protection of art, it's easier to upload things on it, and they have a really cool range of products (if you see someone using a Fire-Breathing Bitch-Queen journal in the wild, tell me so I can smother the person with my love), not to mention their very flexible pricing.

Society6's biggest selling point to me, as someone not in the US, is their free shipping for other international buyers. But I personally think that their system is not nice to artists. Unlike Redbubble, I can't put an artist's note, and as someone who puts a lot of thought into each design, I would like to put something and hope people appreciate that. Links to the artist's website are also hidden, so while it does put a spotlight on the art, the artist deserves appreciation too.

ALYSSA RECOMMENDS: Shannelle's VICIOUS throw pillow as pictured to the right! I mean, did you expect anything else from the diehard Schwab fan? And don't forget to visit Shannelle's Redbubble and Society6 stores!

Cait @ Paper Fury


As our glorious queen, Cait is of course different from the other lovely divergent contributors to this post. Instead of being on Redbubble and Society6, she's on Etsy and Society6.

1. Why did you choose to sell on Etsy? And after that, why did you also join Society6?

I basically picked Etsy because before that I'd been selling via facebook and it is abominable for trying to promote products and not pay for ads. Etsy was the only other internet creature I knew of to trot my origami over to so -- voila! I did!

I've been on Etsy for nearly 2 years now, but I only just signed up for Society6. Firstly, because I've wanted to for a while. So why not try it?! And secondly (most important) I honestly don't think there's ever enough merchandise out there to proclaim the gloriousness of dragons. I am here to fill the need.

2. What are the best features of Etsy and Society6 respectively?

Etsy: You only pay about 3% of your profits to Etsy, so that's marvellous. You basically have a lot of control over your store and if you're a mild control-buzzard like me, then that's glorious.

Society6: Your job is so easy. After you upload the design: BOOM, you are done. You could sell 1 thing or 100 things and you don't have to do a thing. Also no risk of mixing up orders, running out of something, or accidentally crying over your products in rush-season.

3. What are the limitations of these two platforms?

Etsy: People who buy handmade tend to be very picky. And if a customer has a problem, they can leave a nasty review before you even have a chance to fix the problem.

Society6: It definitely boils down to: you don't make very much profit. You definitely have to sell a lot, which can be daunting. Also purchasing the correct licenses for graphics and fonts can be mildly overwhelming.

ALYSSA RECOMMENDS: On Cait's Etsy, definitely her new bookhook bookmarks! And from her Society6, it shall be her "drinking the tears of my readers" travel mug. I think I'd kill for one of those.

So far an infographic to sum up Society6 vs Redbubble, but keep reading the case studies for details!

Society6 vs Redbubble: read this post on what platform to use to monetise your book blog!
Oh yes, blookunity, you should pin that for reference. Just roll your cursor over the infographic!

Team Redbubble:


Eve @ Twist in the Taile


1. Why did you choose Redbubble?

I chose Redbubble because I preferred it as a customer. I’d previously had good experiences buying from it. The pricing and shipping of Society6 seemed quite geared towards the US, and I feel as though it sells more art and illustration. I wanted to sell designs on actual items rather than just art prints!

2. What is the best feature of Redbubble?

It’s extremely easy to set up. You only have to upload designs and set prices! And it’s easy to find your stats too. For someone like me who has very small knowledge of businesses, it’s excellent.

3. What limits you most on Redbubble?

I haven’t yet encountered any major limits (although I haven’t been selling on it all that long). But I think the search system doesn’t work particularly well, and often seems quite random. It can miss out items for a specific combination of search terms even if the keywords are in there.

ALYSSA RECOMMENDS: Eve's Les Mis vive la revolution notebook and her writing warrior stickers are so cool! Check out her store!

Meleika @ Endless Pages


1. Why did you choose Redbubble?

Redbubble is super easy to use and uploading pictures is super easy. I also chose to open a small shop there because it had no verification fee.

2. What is the best feature of Redbubble?

The best features on Redbubble is the layout of the website. I prefer it way more than Society6. It's also easier to upload your work as you can resize it (zoom in and out and also multiply it) on the website. I can also bulk upload my designs and fanarts!

3. What limits you most on Redbubble?

Redbubble hardly ever has 'free shipping' or specials. This is why I also ended up opening a Society6 store but most of my customers are on Redbubble. They go crazy for the shadow hunter stuff and my tumblr chats.

ALYSSA RECOMMENDS: Her 'the pen is mightier than the sword' and 'I wish I was reading' notebooks are super snazzy! Check out her store!

Team Society6:


Yani


1. Why did you choose Society6?

There are countless reasons I can think of right now so let's just break them down:

I am in an overwhelming feeling of admiration whenever I visit stores of some great artists in Society6 which resulted to daydreaming of my store & that someday, I would be one of these artists, that people would look up to my works (THAT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE RIGHT NOW BC I'M LAZY AS THAT CAT BESIDE YOU).

Society6 serves their artists in a satisfactory manner. Take this: You are a long boarder and went to a skate park with lots of skate boarders but these skate boarders invited you to join them because you are a boarder. Long and skate boards just differ in sizes but when you use it, it's still skating. No difference, eh? The artists in Society6 have different kinds of works but they are still the same.

Society6 is like the legit site I know for now. There are lots that are booming but I don't know them, yet. And I even don't know how to manage my time with blogging, school and my store, how much more if I open another store? I would go demented!

2. What is the best feature of Society6?

Their profit on art prints! You can name your price. ($$$HINING IN MY EYES). I'm genuinely thankful to Society6 for these profits, it's staggeringly helpful + I don't have to do the work on producing whatever I sell on the store, I only just upload my art and tadahhh! (EXCUSE MY DESIGNS RIGHT NOW FOR THEY ARE A PRODUCT OF HEAVY SCHOOL SCHEDULES). *Hollers.*

3. What limits you most on Society6?

They should have a template for phone cases because I have a problem whenever I upload some typography designs. And, some of my designs are not available in another product even though I already uploaded a design for that particular product.

ALSO! Take note on this, if you haven't noticed: Whenever you upload your designs or view some artists store on S6 using Google Chrome, some of the products are not shown or not "there" when you expect it to be there.

ALYSSA RECOMMENDS: Her 'mischief managed' art print and her 'home is where my books at' tote bag look FAB. Check out her store!

Bhavya


1. Why did you choose Society6? It seemed easier and nicer to deal with than Redbubble.

2. What is the best feature of Society6? I think the best feature of society6 is that you can pick your profit for the prints. Also, they seem to have sales all the time.

3. What limits you most on Society6? It's a bit annoying to resize images for the different products. A few of the products to have templates but it would be nice to have one for all of them. That way it's easier to figure where to place things so print doesn't look odd/end up where you don't want it to be.

ALYSSA RECOMMENDS: This iPhone case is so unique. Check out her store!

For those skimmers, here's the infographic towards the right again for your reference.

Personally, while I'm all for monetising book blogs, I feel that the design store market is a little oversaturated, and book bloggers are now gearing up for other ventures like subscription boxes.

There are also some designers who don't really have quality work, but just slap haphazard fonts on random backgrounds. And that's okay — everyone has a learning curve.

But take the time to make quality designs and artwork, and then? Upload everything and "they will come"?

Not quite. Build your reputation in the blookunity (read my super intense detailed guide how), learn how to market your work, and let's rock whatever design store you choose.

Psst, looking for design inspiration? I talked about how I design edits and wallpapers here.


Are you Team Redbubble or Team Society6? Do you sell your designs online? Who sells your favourite book merch?


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POST FROM THE DEVIL ORDERS TAKEOUT

I challenge ALL book readers to stop making these 11 mistakes [#bookwormproblems GAME!]

Okay, unpopular opinion here: BOOK READERS ARE STUPID. *dodges the hurricane of urchins*
I say that as a proud, card-carrying, TBR-ignoring reader. And so I'd like to challenge myself and everyone from the blookunity to STOP. We are so often blinded by our love for books. Let us STOP making these 11 most heinous mistakes.

(In case you haven't picked this up, this is Not a Serious Post. Until the end.)

Play this game (and be honest!) to find out whether you're a hardcore book lover:


(I didn't embed it 'cos it ends up really long, so click here to play it. There's a plot twist.)

The 11 mistakes that all book readers make:


1. We actively seek out heartbreak.


This conversation practically happens to me EVERY DAY:

Friend: You talk about this book a lot. Is it good?
Me: IT RIPPED MY HEART OUT AND SMASHED MY DREAMS
Me: read it
Friend: okay, that sounds fake but okay

Still! Most of the time, the difference between a good book and an AWESOME book is whether I was emotionally traumatised and screamed at the book enough times. After all, we read to vicariously experience adventures, and what better than an adventure of the heart?

If a book is particularly awesome, we might even — gasp — STOP READING for a while. Because nothing can hurt you like the way that last fantastic book hurt you. If you're suffering from these book hangovers, Anissa has a few cures for you!

PS: I strongly believe this is a vicious cycle because if readers later decide to write a book, said book probably aims to break hearts.

2. We feel guilty when our hearts are not torn apart.


Even for fluffy contemporaries (read: Simon Vs), we have FEELS. And even if it's not as dramatic as allllll the characters dying (read: Hamlet), these FEELS can hurt our fangirl heart, especially if they lead to headcanons and fan edits and just skjldfjs—

But sometimes, books DON'T break our hearts and wreck our feels.

One of these books would be The Winner's Crime. I actually loved the ending of The Winner's Curse so much I didn't want to pick Crime up, but everyone was raving and The Winner's Kiss was coming out. But then I DID and I felt so incredibly underwhelmed.

So disappointment + guilt = sad bookworm.

3. We get excited about books with sequels that come out YEARS later.

#bookstagram for Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Vicious by V.E. Schwab (who else, really) has somehow secured the impossible spot of being my favourite book. It was a standalone, which I was on board for, but then APPARENTLY TOR IS PUBLISHING A SEQUEL. Cue fangirling.

And there isn't even a publication date listed on Goodreads. How will I live?

Or — even worse — there is NO SEQUEL YET. Again, I am perfectly on board for standalones, but some books are clearly first books in a series but somehow the series doesn't exist? *pterodactyl screech*

Personal pet peeve: first books that aren't also standalones. Please make it somewhat possible for the story to just end there. Otherwise, I'll just be annoyed all the way through the second book.

4. Our TBR keeps growing but we decide to reread.


The threat of the TBR has always been a common topic in the blookunity:
(Psst, like this graphic? Check out my blog post about Tumblr edits + download cool wallpapers!)

We've all faced that decision. We have a nice, tall (maybe not so nice) TBR waiting for us to dive into. They all look wonderful, and it's going to be agonisingly hard to pick one, but it's also going to be fantastic to know you have a stack of super intriguing books waiting for you.

So, we apply supreme book reader logic, and reread an old favourite.

And it is so tempting! After all, we're guaranteed to love an old favourite, probably love it even more. Whereas that TBR, tempting as the premise may be ... there is zero guarantee that it will rip out our hearts. And who wants to be a disappointed bookworm instead of an unproductive one?

5. Or we decide to do other bookish things, and our TBR grows in retaliation.


Maybe we FINALLY tackle one book in the TBR, and heavens save us, that book is every bit as wonderful as you'd hoped. You are a broken, shambling reader (as stated in no. 1). No point stopping the illogical decisions!

Instead of slaying the book hangover with a new book from the TBR, let us become obsessed with this new amazing book! Write 2000-long keyboard-smashy reviews on Goodreads and all the retail sites. Seek out all the fanart and headcanons. Heck, make some of those fanworks.
a darker shade of magic four londons bookstagram
Let's pretend this didn't take me years to edit.
Personally, bookstagram is my bane. I didn't discover it until this year but oh man am I obsessed. Last month, I shared my top takeaways about bookstagram tips.

But to stop the other books from coming to life and attacking me, I've been simplifying my system into 5 bookstagram templates — download these and try them out!

6. Sometimes we forget to eat and instead spend hours on Twitter/Tumblr/Pinterest.


Oh man, social media. On one hand, it lets us ramble about our love for books in (5). On the other, it is a huge time suck. I'm sure I spend hours every week on social media to chat with other book readers.

A Typical Day In Alyssa's House:
Me: spends one hour on Twitter
Me: I need to stop procrastinating.
Me: closes tab
Me: ...
Me: opens new Twitter tab

Personally, I find Pinterest to be the least time-consuming, but Twitter is WAY more fun to connect with other book lovers.

Tumblr is a void. I wouldn't be there if I knew how to escape.

7. Sometimes we speak with non-bookish humans who ask DIFFICULT questions.


Let's be honest, non-book lovers can be very eccentric. Sure, us in the blookunity might sniff books and cry over fictional characters or take out our ENTIRE BOOKSHELF for one bookstagram.

But non-book lovers have the gall to ask questions like:
  • "What is your favourite book?"
  • "Why do you spend so much time reading?"
  • "Why can't you just let go of [insert dead fictional character]?"
  • "Why are you eating all the takeout?"
The last one isn't book-related, but clearly no book reader would ask such a strange question.

For MORE things we're tired of hearing, here are things that Pyjama Queen Blogger Cait @ Paper Fury has dictated bookworms (book dragons?) should NEVER have to hear.

8. We read books recommended by our most evil book friends.


Yep, that's me!

9. Sometimes those books keep us awake past 2AM accidentally.


Everyone knows that "I'll just read one chapter before bed" NEVER works. I'll go back to The Winner's Curse again. At the time, I went to bed at 10 PM every schoolday, but that day I brought TWC into bed with me.

I must have said "Just one more chapter" at least a dozen times before I gave up and speed-read the entire book. I finally slept at 1 AM. I had a few bones to pick with it, but let's face it, any book this compelling was an auto 5-star.

(I also just realised that all my bookstagrams in this post are books by Victoria Schwab ... but I've never read her books past midnight. Possibly because I just abandon all daytime activities to read them the moment they appear.)

10. New book with pretty cover eeeeek.

a darker shade of magic a gathering of shadows bookstagram
What is better than book mail, I ask you? BOOK MAIL WITH GORGEOUS COVERS. Let's not deny it, we do judge books by their covers. In fact, if it's a particularly pretty book, we'll probably stroke it, sniff it, bury our face in it, or even *gasp* go outside to take 300 bookstagrams of it.

Or maybe — and I won't ask you to confess, but I know it's true for some of you — you've bought books JUST because of the pretty covers.

(I'm sure it'll be the bane of any book buying ban I try to start.)

11. We run out of kidnapped souls to trade for books.


Wait, what? Um, no, that never happens. Nope. Not ever.

(By the way, thinking of writing a new post about evil bookish recipes ... tell me in the comments if you'd like that?)

Now go and do the quiz if you haven't ... because now I'm going to analyse the answers.

To keep those people from peeking, some more hilarious posts of the same vein before we move on:

All right, spoiler. There's only one result: You love books. Done.


Being a bookworm is not a competition, okay?

The blookunity has its fair share of drama. Over celebrity bloggers, blogging for ARCs, blogging for followers, blogging for stats, blogging for $$$. I've talked about so many #bookwormproblems today but none of them are REAL problems. They're just slightly fanatic things we do as fans. (hahaha, pun.)

The real mistake I'd like to challenge the blookunity to stop is this: Stop competing with each other. Let's start loving books together.

How did you do?!? What is your biggest bookworm problem? Oh, and do you want a list of evil bookish recipes?? Let me know!


Want more advice from me for book bloggers? Check out the 30-step action guide to developing your book blogger trademark. I cannot tell you how much taking these steps has transformed my blog.

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POST FROM THE DEVIL ORDERS TAKEOUT

Pretty Witchy WIP Wallpapers + 5 Ways Tumblr Edits and Memes Inspire My Writing

I confess, sometimes I procrastinate my writing. And sometimes I find myself on Tumblr. And I always stay there for longer than is wise ... but Tumblr is pretty high up my list of inspirations! Here's how Tumblr motivates me to keep writing.
Pin this post for reference!
Psst, thinking of changing up your phone wallpapers? See if my Tumblr-inspired ones are to your taste:

Email me the Tumblr-inspired wallpapers!

Wait one moment, what are Tumblr edits and memes?


Neither of these are specific to Tumblr, but that's where I come across them most often so I have named them that. *nods*

Tumblr edits often involve adding text over a photo or a gif. Sometimes the focus is on the text and it's a line of poetry or a quote from a novel; other times the focus is on the photo or gif (probably from a TV show or movie) and a meaningful line is added over it.

There are many, many, many styles of Tumblr edits, from contrasting two characters by using the same text over different photos, to making a photoset and spreading a quote over each photo and so on. Check out all the Tumblr edits I've reblogged!

Tumblr memes, on the other hand, is when someone makes a sassy comment, someone else uses the template to sass something else, and eventually a formula is formed and someone adds the formula to Urban Dictionary. If you're planning on being productive today, please do not Google Tumblr memes.

How can Tumblr edits and memes be writing motivation?


I admit it! It's mostly procrastination! But it's important to take a break now and then, and Tumblr edits/memes are a great way to take a break without stopping the flow of creativity.

1. They help me fall back in love with the small things.


Or as Samantha Chaffin called it, save the narwhals.

I am a HUGE fan of cool one-liners. I actually like playing around with words on a micro-level more than plotting character deaths, although both are cool. But since large-scale revisions are my bane,

It's important to find the little scraps of starlight even when you want to throw the entire manuscript out the window. Great one-liners remind me I might actually be able to write and throw characters out the window instead.

Making these Tumblr edits help me keep these great lines in mind, and also makes me hone my writing so that it's concise enough to fit on an image. Win-win!

By the way, I lied. There are wallpapers from the Revenge WIP Matryoshka AND the Witchy WIP WIBAS in this post, but pretty and witchy are a near rhyme so I went for that.

Conventionally, the revenge genre is about "we will have vengeance OR die for it." I decided an immensely practical family trying to seek vengeance would be much more fun to explore, and that's exactly what Matryoshka is about — seeking vengeance not for the sake of the dead, but for the living.
Oh, and inspired by Shanelle's lettering for Aristotle and Dante, I decided to try an experiment in lettering, as well:

2. Alternative forms of art keep my mind creative.


Sometimes—not often—I don't want to write anything at all. It's not a plot hole I'm trying to avoid, or a WIP I'm tired of. Maybe I've been writing for two months straight and feel incredibly tired, but the magic won't go away and I'm 200% inspired.

Making Tumblr edits let me keep working on the same WIP without running out of writerly energy. Unlike my writing, which I set several deadlines for, graphic design is just a side-side-side-side hobby. I get to try ALL sorts of experiments without the pressure!

Besides, challenging my mind in artistic pursuits other than writing often feeds back into inspiring my writing.

Second set of Matryoshka edits! You guys saw the second half in my blogversary:
I'm sure a couple of you are blinking right now. "Waaaaait, who is Tarek?!?"

You might remember I mentioned changing our favourite brat Thomas' name. The main reason for this is Matryoshka arose from my first manuscript and utterly whitewashed attempt Shadowplay, and so the names didn't change with the ethnicity.I felt it was important to mirror this change, so despite a twinge of reluctance at giving up the familiar, please welcome Tarek, our new favourite brat.

This next one, I believe, is sometimes called the "slap Arial font on pastel background" style of Tumblr edit.
And in case you were wondering about the state of Matryoshka — I've officially decided to completely rewrite it after a flash of inspiration. It'll end up another experimental mess at some point, but for now, I am shelving it.

Stay updated with progress on my novels!

3. Establish the novel aesthetic.


When revising Matryoshka, one of my major issues was insufficient worldbuilding. Once upon a time, I adored writing pages and pages of purple prose description, but then I learned that was baaaad. I therefore compensated by ... forgetting to write description at all in recent drafts.

Tumblr edits help me visualise the aesthetic of a novel, without sacrificing brevity. This is especially important since my current WIP, the Mulan + Swan Lake retelling, will rely heavily on building atmosphere. Here's to relearning description the right way.

Check out the novel aesthetic of my witchy Mulan + Swan Lake in this #WatchMeWrite post!

4. Stay sassy.


I MEAN ... we all love banter, right? And there's really no place better for sass than Tumblr. Plus, Tumblr memes often include variations upon the same basic framework, and when we think about it, Tumblr memes are a LOT like writing. Same tropes, different presentation.

Switching to the witchy WIP:

A 'cinnamon roll', by the way, is a fictional character who is adorable/charismatic/generally fabulous, and people want to give them ALL the hugs.

5. The only real reason, procrastination.


Sometimes we need a break. Sometimes we want a break. And if you can't avoid procrastination, might as well make it productive procrastination, right?

I've already told you why Tumblr edits inspire my writing ... and let's be honest, those hours are better spent wrestling with fonts and unruly layers than floating around on Pinterest.
This is the opening line of my witchy WIP, a Mulan + Swan Lake retelling that's also a roadtrip across China that's also a superhero-avenges-love-interest story told from the PoV of the villain and the love interest that's also a dystopian set outside the US. *happydance*

The beautiful thing about this first line is that I've figured out how this one line can represent the entire novel. (I mean ... I did say Tumblr edits made me more concise.)

Procrastination may be inevitable, but it doesn't have to be unproductive. (share this secret with your Twitter friends!)


That said, I did calm down and write a lot during March, which is why I didn't finish all the edits I wanted to make! Including these other quotes that you suggested:
  • "we will never build a future chasing the past", suggested by Topaz here
  • "They set the world on fire for their dreams and the law meant they perished in the flames." suggested by Kelly here
  • "witchy magical Starbucks" on a T-shirt suggested by Nirvana here
Sooooo I haven't gotten to these yet. (Pro tip, don't keep a blog while doing IB.) I also planned on converting all of these into cool desktop and iPhone wallpapers. Not to worry, I'll still work on them!

ETA: The wallpapers are now done! Get them here:

Yep, email me the wallpapers with feelsy quotes!

So blookunity! Do you like these quotes and designs? Do you spend TOO MUCH TIME on Tumblr? (yes, yes you do. find me at alyssacarlier.)


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