Member Spotlight: Meet Rob Emery

Posted by July 21st, 2014

Book Country logoWelcome Rob Emery to the Member Spotlight! Rob has shared 5 books on Book Country including PERMUTATIONS IN THE RIBBON OF TIME, a July Editor’s Pick. I’m truly impressed with Rob’s storytelling skills and the creativity he shows in his writing. Here, Rob shares his favorite genre and what he wants to accomplish as a writer. Connect with Rob on Book Country. 

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Alex Rosa: From Book Country to InterMix!

Posted by July 18th, 2014

Alex RosaIn spring of 2013, I was looking for constructive peer reviews and decided the best place to start was Book Country, Penguin’s writing community. I had only heard good things when it came to reader feedback. I posted my New Adult Romance TRYST to workshop on Book Country. TRYST is a sexy story about the forbidden romance that grows between main characters Skyler and Blake (check out the teaser I created for it below!).

Long story short, TRYST got the attention of a staff member on the site, which eventually led to an editor expressing interest in the story.

Enter girly scream here.

It started with, “Hey, I like your story” (Thanks, Nevena, for all your feedback!), which delighted me to no-end, and that eventually led to, “Oh hey again, your book TRYST has been selected as an Editor’s Pick!” That got me even giddier. This led to, “Would you at all be interested in being part of a Member Spotlight on our blog highlighting the New Adult genre?” The answer to this is rhetorical and I immediately agreed, stoked that I was even getting any attention at all on the site. This is where things get a bit crazy. The next question dropping in my inbox is, “Hi Alex, your book TRYST has caught the eye of an editor at Penguin, do you mind if I pass your info onto her?” *faints* It was one of those messages that you think you made up, or blame on the copious amounts of coffee you devoured that morning, and attribute the vision to caffeinated hallucinations. Continue reading

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Read and Review New Waiting to Be Discovered Books!

Posted by July 17th, 2014

Book Country Waiting to Be Discovered

We’re excited to share new Waiting to Be Discovered books at Book Country! Reading and reviewing each other’s work are a great way to meet new writers and improve your own writing skills. Visit our Read and Review page to see our selection of Waiting to Be Discovered books as well as other featured titles. Continue reading

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5 Things You Should Know About Modern Publishing

Posted by July 16th, 2014

1. You have lots of options

For decades, your only shot at getting your book into the hands of readers was to snag an agent who would (hopefully) get behind it and send it on to publishers. It was a daunting process with many gatekeepers between you and your readers. But with the advent of e-books and Print-On-Demand, the game has changed. The first step still is to write a great book; after that, there are many ways up the mountain, including small presses and self-publishing. It used to be over when the last house on your list said no. Now, it’s not over until you say it is.

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Ask an Agent: Melissa Sarver White Answers Your Questions!

Posted by July 15th, 2014

Ask an Agent

Welcome to Part II of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Melissa Sarver White of Folio Literary Management answers your questions about the art of the verbal pitch, the etiquette of querying, and how to query when you’ve already self-published one book. Read “Ask an Agent” Part I.

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1. What would an agent want to hear in a five-minute verbal pitch? - kjmiller

The purpose of a verbal pitch or query is simply to entice the agent as you would entice a potential reader (like with cover flap copy). It is not to tell me everything that happens in the book or give a synopsis. It’s a 2-3 sentence logline that should display tone, writing style, main character and major conflict – I should feel interesting, dramatic and full of energy (even if you aren’t writing a dystopian thriller!). Honestly, if you can’t pitch your book in 2-3 sentences, you don’t know well enough what you are writing. Continue reading

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4 Reasons Writers Should Use the Book Country Genre Map

Posted by July 14th, 2014

Why is Genre Important?

This might seem like a no brainer, but you should spend considerable time deciding the best genre for your book. Readers often choose books based on genre, and you want to make sure you’re presenting your book to a receptive audience. When pitching your book to an agent, understanding your genre can help you show how your book fits within genre conventions, and how it will appeal to a targeted audience.

What is the Book Country Genre Map?

Book Country Genre Map

The Genre Map can be found under the Read and Review tab. The map showcases the 60+ genres that we have here on Book Country.  On the left hand side, we have the fiction genres including Romance, Mystery, and New Adult. On the right hand side are the Young Adult and Middle Grade genres. And on the bottom we have the Nonfiction genres. With this dynamic map, you can clearly see the range of genres available to you, and you can begin to explore which genre is right for your book.

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Finding an Agent: What No One Wants to Talk About by Arna Bontemps Hemenway

Posted by July 11th, 2014

As a writer and professor of Creative Writing, what I get asked about most is finding an agent. I struggle to answer for a couple of reasons: namely, that there are only two things of worth I have to say on the matter of finding an agent, and because both of them are pretty awkward to say out loud.

Arna Hemenway 2

Arna Bontemps Hemenway poses with his book ELEGY ON KINDERKLAVIER, which comes out from Sarabande Books on Tuesday, July 15th.

Before I get to those two pieces of wisdom, let me start by reiterating what you’ve probably already heard about finding an agent: You should take the time and effort to make your query effective and professional. You shouldn’t sign with an agent you’re afraid of (as the novelist Ethan Canin once memorably put it to me, “you shouldn’t need an agent to call your agent”) or one you can’t talk to or one who seems like they won’t answer your calls if you’re not successful. You want somebody who’s smart and effective enough to make good business decisions for you, but also somebody who seems like a basically good person. Pay attention to your gut. Be ready to get rejected over and over and over and over and over again.

Now we’ve got that good advice out of the way, here’s the first thing no one particularly wants to say or hear about finding an agent: agents are not important. Let me repeat that: the literary agent is not important. No offense. Continue reading

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New Editor’s Picks for July!

Posted by July 10th, 2014

Editor's Picks July

We are happy to announce the 10 new Editor’s Picks for July!

Everyday, we are impressed with your work on Book Country, and we want to share with you the 10 books that really stood out.

If you’re looking for a great story this weekend, read and review our Editor’s Picks!

  1. The First Nine by Linnea Ren
  2. Satan’s Lure by DJ Pizzarello
  3. Sly! The Rogue Reconsidered by Mimi Spieke
  4. The Romeo Catchers by AlysArden
  5. Order of the Garter by Jaycee Ford
  6. The Kings of Carnin: Rise of Ari by Dan Croutch
  7. The Sojourn by Andrea Dunlop
  8. The Outlands by Julie Artz
  9. Athena Charles by Ayesha Court
  10. Permutations in the Ribbon of Time by Rob Emery
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How BookBub Helped My Books Sell by Therese Walsh

Posted by July 9th, 2014

the moon sisters“It’s sort of miraculous,” one of my author friends said late last year of BookBub, a website/newsletter used to promote quality e-books with temporarily (and drastically) slashed prices. She had moved from traditional publishing into the world of hybrid-publishing—still accepting contracts with publishers but self-publishing older books that had gone out of print. When she decided to run a sale on one of her self-published books, decreasing the price from $4.99 to $1.99 for a few weeks, she contacted BookBub and was accepted for inclusion in a one-day email promotion. Sales increased once the price of her book dropped, she said, but truly spiked once BookBub’s e-blast reached its subscribers. The benefits didn’t end there; her numbers remained boosted for months after the end of the sale, and she began to sell more of her other novels as well. “It’s a whole new world,” she said.

I’d heard from other friends about the potential impact of BookBub, too, and so when my publisher decided to put the eBook of my latest novel on sale and utilize BookBub to get the word out to over 500k women’s fiction readers, I took a keen interest in the event. Sales for the eBook of THE MOON SISTERS had never really taken off. Though I didn’t hawk over my numbers, the best ranking I’d noticed on Amazon was in the range of 10k for the e-book. Nook numbers were similarly meh at Barnes and Noble. If the $10.99 price point—standard for an eBook when the bookshelf-book is a hard cover—repelled the e-book audience, would the $1.99 sale make a difference, and if so, how much of a difference?

BookBub1

May rolled around, and the two-week sale of the e-version of THE MOON SISTERS began. Though the BookBub announcement wouldn’t release until midway through the sale, word-of-mouth (and Facebook and Twitter) did a lot, and numbers quickly improved on the sales front. The day before the BookBub, numbers for the eBook of THE MOON SISTERS on Barnes and Noble were in the 900 range, and were in the 2k range on Amazon; a huge improvement.

I woke early the morning of the BookBub promotion and turned on my computer, full of anticipation. But nothing significant had changed. “Hang in there,” a friend coached. “My BookBub email hasn’t even arrived yet, and it’ll take a while for sales numbers to be reflected online, too.” Her reassurances made perfect sense, but I did spend a few hours wondering if I’d become the anomaly.

And then, boom. Continue reading

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Ask an Agent: Lucy Carson Answers Your Questions!

Posted by July 8th, 2014

Lucy Carson Ask an Agent

Credit: Jacobia Dahm

Welcome to Part I of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency answered some of your questions that were posted on our discussion board and on Twitter. We hope you find her answers just as insightful as we did! Feel free to post any questions you would like to ask an agent on our discussion board, Book Country “Ask an Agent” Blog Series

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1. I have read that agents are far too busy to pick through the offerings on these sites (Book Country), yet several people here have announced that an agent contacted them after reading them on here. Which situation is closer to reality?Mimi Speike

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