Columns > Published on October 30th, 2019

Giving ARCs Instead of Candy and Other Halloween Hacks for Writers

Photo by Matheus Bertelli

Halloween is my favorite time of the year. In fact, I think we should cancel Christmas and keep going with Halloween until January 1, 2020. In any case, Halloween is the perfect time to be a writer. I've already written about some of my favorite reads for the season and about the best costumes for writers. Now I'm going to give you some hacks to help you maximize the season's potential.


Give out ARCs instead of candy 

They can be your own ARCs or ARCs you have around the house that you'll never get around to reading. Both options are awesome. The first one because it allows you to spread the word about your work, and the second because it helps you clean your place up a bit. Plus, no one has gotten cavities from reading, so you're doing something nice for the kids. 

Tell everyone you write horror 

I don't care what you write. The point here is that everyone gets in the mood for horror during Halloween. People are craving scary stuff, so tell them your book delivers the goods. They can figure out it's crime or romance after they buy it. Let them get mad. You shouldn't care because a sale is a sale! 

Save candy for when you can't pay for food 

If you light some black candles and try to put a curse on your enemies in July, people will look at you weird.

You know, because this business is full of motherfuckers asking for a free book and editors telling you they'll pay you in exposure. You can hoard a bunch of candy and save it for times when your bank account is full of exposure and you have to stay alive. It's relatively easy, and tasty, to survive on candy bars for a week or two. 

Dress like a writer who has received a ton of rejections 

Dressing like a writer who has received a ton of rejections and then talking about those rejections will help you deal with depression. People will think you're just acting the part but you will be vocalizing your trauma. It's free therapy, Get to it. 

Put googly eyes on your cover and show it to everyone 

This works even if there are no faces on your cover. The point here is to shove your book in front of people. Remember: you should take advantage of every marketing/promo opportunity you get. 

Print out your rejections and make Halloween decorations with them

You can stuff them into black bags to make it look like there's a body in front of your house. You can also use them to fill up the body of a scarecrow. Whatever you do with them, you'll be using something useless to create something cool. You know, and you'll be processing rejection by getting rid of it in physical form at the end of Halloween. 

Carve your book's title into a pumpkin 

Plug that thing all night with some free advertising, people! 

Put a curse on your enemies 

The one thing you can count on when it comes to publishing is that you'll find plenty of great people to love and plenty of assholes to hate. If you light some black candles and try to put a curse on your enemies in July, people will look at you weird. If you do it during Halloween, everyone will laugh, especially if you're wearing a black robe. Take advantage of this and hex some fuckers!  


What Halloween hacks for writers do you recommend? Drop them in the comments like a treat!

About the author

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of ZERO SAINTS, HUNGRY DARKNESS, and GUTMOUTH. His reviews have appeared in Electric Literature, The Rumpus, 3AM Magazine, Marginalia, The Collagist, Heavy Feather Review, Crimespree, Out of the Gutter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, HorrorTalk, Verbicide, and many other print and online venues. Y

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