Me, Scrolling through #BooksForTrade: A Screenplay

I admit, right now it’s 8:47 the night before this post is supposed to air, and at this time, I have no idea what I’m writing about. So, why not make a humorous, somewhat salty screenplay highlighting the #booksfortrade hashtag on Twitter?

I’ll talk more in depth about some of the topics I’m trying to highlight through this fictional piece in a post on Thursday, but for now, enjoy this little fictional conversation!

DISCLAIMER: I don’t actually have a dog named MMM. He’s just there so I could fantasize about having a dog named MMM. Derived from a fiction child Vicky being unable to say M’n’M correctly. Ah, fake childhood memories. 

Me, Scrolling through #BooksForTrade: A Screenplay

Both an ode to Marie Lu & Warcross and a discussion on ARCs.

SCENE 1
INT. VICKY’S ROOM – EVENING

VICKY scrolls through Twitter sullenly, eyes fixated on the screen in front of her rather than the dozens of projects and assignments messily scattered across her desk. The screen displays the #booksfortrade hashtag and a feed of ARCs, books, and swag up for trade. 

VICKY
(longing)
Just look at all these books!

She sighs, clicking on an image to view the dozens of ARCs in the photo. 

VICKY
If only I could review that one, and that one, and ooh–

She leans closer, nose almost touching the screen.

VICKY
that one. Just look at that ARC of Wildcard–isn’t it glorious, MMM?

MMM, a small, fluffy, dark-furred lap-dog tilts his head to look up at her. He has an unamused expression on his face.

VICKY
Oh, I can’t wait for when more East Asian reviewers get to review this book. Won’t it be wonderful? Emika is such a kick-ass heroine–I mean c’mon, she has a head full of rainbow hair! And she’s really hard-core repping us Asian-Americans. And how could I forget Hideo and Zero because–

She fans herself.

VICKY
–love interest goals, seriously!

This is directed to no one in particular, but it seems someone (or something?) desires to respond.

CYNICAL VOICE
(echoing)
Really, hun?

VICKY looks down at MMM with a surprised look on her face.

VICKY
(shakily)
MMM? You can speak?

CYNICAL VOICE
No, you idiot. Your dog doesn’t speak–stop trying to anthropomorphize your dog because it’ll never happen.

VICKY looks around, confused, before choosing to direct her eye contact to her tissue box for lack of anything better to talk to.

VICKY
W-who are you? What do you want with me? If you’re trying to steal my Girls of Paper and Fire ARC, I’m sorry to inform you but it hasn’t arrived yet, so you can go back to whatever hole you crawled out of.

CYNICAL VOICE
Liar. You posted a photo of that ARC two days ago. It’s obviously arrived.

VICKY
Stop avoiding the question!

CYNICAL VOICE
I’m not avoiding the question. You are. I asked first, anyways.

VICKY
(incredulous, but adjusted to the idea of a non-corporeal voice talking back to her)
What? No you didn’t.

CYNICAL VOICE
(exasperated)
Yes, I did. Now stop arguing like a petty child. Because really, hun?

VICKY
Oh, that question? I took that as rhetorical. But what’s wrong with Hideo and Zero? Marie Lu writes some of the best male protagonists. And, okay fine. I have no idea about Zero because he’s barely in Warcross but I know about Hideo and even though he’s a [redacted for spoiler purposes] that doesn’t mean–

CYNICAL VOICE
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not that, sugarbean. I’m talking about wishing #OwnVoices reviewers being able to review books that represent them. Do you honestly think that’s ever gonna happen?

VICKY
(unsure)
Well, sure. Why not?

CYNICAL VOICE
You must be more delusional than I thought. First off, if you’re hoping to trade one of your ARCs for Wildcard, good luck. You better hope you can conjure up an advance copy of Priory of the Orange Tree or The Wicked King or Muse of Nightmares or some other unicorn.

VICKY
(irritated)
Now you just wait a minute–

CYNICAL VOICE
So your hopes of trading for a copy of Wildcard are dead and gone because nobody is going to want to trade with you anyways, no matter how much you beg/rant/claim #OwnVoices status, and the second issue is requesting a copy.

And oh, look at that! You haven’t bothered to request one.

VICKY
Yes I have! I filled out the Penguin Teen request form.

VICKY beams proudly to herself and MMM, unhappy from the recent lack of attention, leaps of her lap and stalks away. 

CYNICAL VOICE
Even your dog knows that doesn’t mean anything. You need to grab the bull by its horns, or however that saying goes.

VICKY
But how?

CYNICAL VOICE
I don’t know. That’s your problem. Go write some emails. Message people on Twitter. Offer up your ARC of Blood Water Paint.

VICKY
(aghast)
Never! How could you even suggest such an act?

CYNICAL VOICE
(innocently)
What? Writing some emails?

VICKY
(exasperated)
Never mind. But I’ve tried those in the past and they haven’t really worked. And I might just find an amazing opportunity on #booksfortrade if I’m fast enough…

CYNICAL VOICE
Lucky enough, you mean. Because finding someone willing to trade Wildcard for one of your ARCs is a unicorn in itself. No matter your #OwnVoices status.

VICKY
Well…that’s not right. Shouldn’t #OwnVoices get some sort of priority? I mean, I’ve suffered through more than enough white fantasies to last a dozen lifetimes–with how much change is happening in YA, shouldn’t #OwnVoices reviewers start gaining opportunities, as much as diverse characters are appearing?

There’s a heavy pause as CYNICAL VOICE reels in shock.

CYNICAL VOICE
What world are you living in? Because you know what? Almost none of those people are going to go out of their way to help you, #OwnVoices reviewer or not, while there’s “value” in ARCs. Why should they intentionally lessen their platforms’ influence or lose their bargaining chips by trading with you for something they don’t want or need?

VICKY
Y’know, I really don’t like you. Who says people are that selfish? Why are we even talking about this?

CYNICAL VOICE
The hashtag says everything it needs to. And because you’re conveniently ignoring the issues in the community like everyone else.

VICKY
Then shouldn’t someone do something?

CYNICAL VOICE
Yeah. How about you?

VICKY
Me?

CYNICAL VOICE
Yeah, you. What’s wrong with being the one to start pushing for more realistic expectations for everyone on #booksfortrade, or at the very least, acknowledgement of some of the problems? Maybe pushing for more reviewers and less collectors on the tag? Or start your own tag–#reviewerstrading or something wacky like that.

VICKY
Well…I don’t know. I don’t want to regularly trade or pay a bunch of money for shipping. And since #booksfortrade is so dysfunctional as you say, I’d much rather go through these things the publisher way with the form.

CYNICAL VOICE
Well lucky you. How about all those other poor schmucks who live out of the US? How do you expect them to get it, because publishers sure aren’t going to send them ARCs. And nobody wants to trade with them anyways because INTL shipping is killer.

VICKY
(resigned)
Okay, fine! Fine. I’ll go write a blog post about it. Happy?

CYNICAL VOICE huffs.

CYNICAL VOICE
For now. I’ll be back.

much love, vickyOkay, would totally love feedback on this one because it’s different than normal but I didn’t want to write a flat out discussion post. Comments? Thoughts? Questions/concerns?

Continue reading part 2 of this post here!

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Me, Scrolling through #BooksForTrade: A Screenplay

    1. ahaha omg I am so glad you like it! was iffy on the concept but i’m happy it turned out well (and was hopefully easier to read than regular discussion posts?) can’t wait to post the continuation! thanks for all the lovely words, Kaleena!

      Like

  1. Queen!!!😍 I love what you did here Vicky and I honestly don’t know how to thank you enough for always thinking about the Int’l readers/bloggers like me, higlighting the issues we have in this community. Thank you!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aww, of course! it’s hard not to analyze my every move and think about what it’s like for other people, now that I’ve started thinking more about it! thank YOU for voicing your struggles and letting me advocate for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you just posted this entire thing as a screenplay ❤ and I really do hope that #ownvoice reviewers do get the ARCs they deserve. I can't really help on that front, because I have never gotten a physical ARC in my life, but I am rooting for #ownvoice and international bloggers everywhere

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you!!! ugh, yeah. I wish ARCs were able to reach a wider range of bloggers and reviewers because a lot of the times they’re picked up at conventions and kept in the circles of convention goers vs. reviewers. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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