News from Book Country Director Lucy Silag

Posted by January 25th, 2016

Today I have some bittersweet news to share with the Book Country community: I’m leaving my role as Book Country Director and moving to a new position inside Penguin Random House, as Assistant Director of Publicity at Random House.

As you might know, my first couple of jobs right out of college were in publicity. My favorite projects were when I got to work on literary fiction debuts by emerging writers. Working with these types of books is exciting because the publicist’s job is to get readers excited about up-and-coming writers, and also gets the chance to work with writers at the beginning of their careers. This is actually quite similar to what I’ve been doing here at Book Country in many ways, and I can’t thank the community enough for what I have learned from you as you have explored the new frontiers of writing, publishing, and marketing your books online. I’m firmly of the mindset that no writer can find an audience without getting involved in a writing community at the start, and I’m planning on using a very community-minded approach to publicizing books in my new job at Random House.

Random House publishes some of my all-time favorite writers, so I feel very lucky to become a part of their world-class publishing team. However, there are a lot of things about working at Book Country that I know I’ll really miss. Working with this community was a unique opportunity to learn an enormous amount about diverse genres, different styles of publishing, social media and video, web development, and, of course, gave me the chance to connect to over 20,000 writers from all over the world. With Book Country I hung out with romance writers in New Orleans and Atlanta, mystery and thriller writers on the beach at Bouchercon, and dug into the craft of writing and business of publishing at writing conferences and meetups in Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and here in New York. I’ve read and reviewed books that have been in progress for years, as well as new novels you’re just starting to write. We’ve also set–and achieved–some incredible goals together, from NaNoWriMo to feedback challenges to the Book Country Buddy Program.

Outgoing Book Country Director Lucy Silag with member Andrea Dunlop at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in July 2015.

Outgoing Book Country Director Lucy Silag with member Andrea Dunlop at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in July 2015.

Now that I won’t be the Book Country Director, I won’t be able to answer community questions about how to use the site and I won’t be able to help if issues come up with your account. Please email if you have questions so that my Book Country colleagues can help you. Continue reading

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What Are Your 2016 Writing Resolutions?

Posted by January 5th, 2016

Happy New Year with Nib 625

Quick, while the new year is still fresh: It’s time to make your 2016 writing resolutions!

What’s that? You haven’t made a writing resolution for the new year yet? If not, here are some ideas:

  • Finish a draft of my novel.
  • Workshop my novel on Book Country.
  • Grow my following of writers and readers on social media.
  • Design a cover for my book.
  • Start a blog.
  • Sell more copies of my eBook.
  • Read more books in my genre.
  • Go to more readings and writing events.
  • Start a new project.

See? That wasn’t so hard. Whether or not you’ve given it a lot of thought yet, share your 2016 writing resolutions here. Here’s to writing together as a community on Book Country in the year ahead!

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Thank you for writing with us!

Posted by December 23rd, 2015

BC_Nib_onlyIt’s been another exciting year in the Book Country community, with members writing thousands of new words, completing their WIPs, reaching revision milestones, winning National Novel Writing Month, publishing, and plotting sequels. The community has shown incredible generosity and thoughtfulness as feedback partners for one another. Book Country writers have also spent this year right at the cutting edge of book marketing, with so many of you taking a truly innovative approach to building a platform and getting out the word about your writing.

I know I speak for everyone who works behind the scenes on the Book Country website when I say how much fun you writers are. Your feedback and ideas are going to continue to be the bedrock of how we move forward as a community. We are planning exciting things for 2016 and we can’t wait to work with you on those projects as the community continues to evolve.

It’s such a treat to be involved in your writing journey. Thank you for being a member of the Book Country community!

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How to Take Perfect Social Media Profile Photos

Posted by December 16th, 2015

A picture is said to speak a thousand words, and determining the best visual to use for your social media profiles can be a daunting task. Below, book marketing and publicity experts share tips and best practices to help writers and authors literally put their best face forward, across different platforms.

How to Take Perfect Social Media Profile Photos

Selecting the Best Picture for Social Media Profiles

  • Make sure the picture represents both you and the content of your work. If you’re a YA author, you might dress casually, while a business author might be best represented wearing business attire and a cookbook author in her kitchen.
  • Make yourself, not the background, the focus of attention. Select a photo that shows your face clearly and doesn’t surround it with a complicated backdrop, which can be distracting. Always make sure the photo is well lit.socialphotos24

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7 Ways to “Put Yourself Out There” as a Writer

Posted by December 15th, 2015

Was there ever a more generic piece of advice to writers than “put yourself out there”? I hear this constantly, and yes, I often say it myself. typing with nib smaller

It’s worth investigating what it really means to “put yourself out there as a writer.” Which writers are putting themselves out there, what does that look like, and how can other writers follow their example? Continue reading

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Book Country Was Featured on LinkedIn Pulse

Posted by December 14th, 2015

Over the weekend, an essay I wrote about Book Country and the benefits of online workshopping for writers called “Emerging Writers: Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up” was featured on LinkedIn’s Pulse blog. Check it out here!

Emerging Writers: Treat Your Book Like a Start Up

You can also download an expanded version of this essay here.

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Book Country Blog Roundup: Guest Posts by Members

Posted by December 9th, 2015

It seems like a great time of year to give a big thanks to our community members who’ve taken the time to write guest posts for the Book Country blog. Book Country members have shared incredible insights on writing and publishing with us over the years.

Click to join the Book Country community.

Here’s a round up of Book Country Blog guest posts by our members:

(Member names are organized alphabetically by last name. Posts are in chronological order, newest to oldest.) Continue reading

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Use the Penguin Hotline for Book Recommendations

Posted by December 8th, 2015

Penguin-Hotline-Facebook-GeneralAs writers, we all know how important it is to support other writers by buying and sharing each other’s work. And with Penguin Random House’s #GiveaBook program, there’s a lot of good you can do by giving books as gifts this holiday season.

But what book should you give that will also make the perfect present? This is the hard part.

That’s where the Penguin Hotline comes in! This holiday season, Penguin Group USA is bringing back the popular program from last year where readers get help with their holiday book shopping from Penguin employees. Fill out an online request form for the readers you are shopping for, and a Penguin will get back to you with book recommendations via email. The recommendations include both Penguin titles and books from other publishers.

Have you tried the Penguin Hotline? What recommendations did you get? Share in the comments below!

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Updates on Book Country Improvement Projects

Posted by December 7th, 2015

We’ve been making progress on Book Country improvement projects.

As you likely already noticed, the discussion boards now include member avatars alongside posts. (Click through the image to the discussion board to see how it looks on the site.)

Discussion Board Avatar illustration

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Book Country will be at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2016!

Posted by December 2nd, 2015

San Francisco Writers Conference 2015

We’re excited to announce that Book Country will be returning to the San Francisco Writers Conference in February 2016!

ThinkstockPhotos-478259118What: One of the best writers’ conferences in the country, with authors, agents, editors, and other publishing industry professionals presenting sessions catering to every aspect of writing and publishing. Featured speakers at this year’s conference include bestselling novelist Ann Packer (The Dive From Clausen’s Pier) and author and digital publishing expert Jane Friedman.
When: Thursday, February 11th-Sunday, February 14th, 2016 (Presidents’ Day Weekend)
Where: InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco, CA
Registration is still open! Find out more here.

Don’t miss the San Francisco Writers Contest, open to all writers, including those who are attending the conference. The entry fee is $35 and the deadline is January 8th, 2016.

What will Book Country be doing at the SFWC?

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