Creativity is abound this summer! The Book Country team has uploaded 10 new Waiting to Be Discovered books on the Read and Review page. We have quite a diverse mix including a memoir, a couple contemporary romances, and a story about an immortal empress-in-hiding trying to run away from dangerous religious zealots.
Book Country member Jaycee Ford won a one-on-one manuscript feedback session at RT14. Jaycee asked me to take a look at a historical romance that she is working on called ORDER OF THE GARTER. I love anything historical, and was even more intrigued that the book takes place in New Orleans (where Jaycee is from) and NOLA is where she and I met! I was so excited to re-visit the Big Easy via Jaycee’s sexy book.
ORDER OF THE GARTER is the story of Ella Harrison, a beautiful, charming “lady of the night” who makes her living charming the pants of the men of New Orleans in Storyville, the red light district, in 1915. Determined to stay unattached, afraid of wanting more, Ella’s carefully compartmentalized world is shaken up when she meets not one but two dashing men eager to sweep her off her feet.
Reading ORDER OF THE GARTER left me with a few writing takeaways that I wanted to share with the community.
Jaycee’s commitment to the historical setting really wins over the reader. In Storyville, a district in early 20th-century NOLA where prostitution was decriminalized, she’s found a true historical oddity. The city printed up “blue books”–basically, a directory and tourist’s guide to every prostitute in the city. I love how Jaycee uses the “blue book” to kick off ORDER OF THE GARTER and then subtly threads historical details into the story, so that the situation is normalized for the characters, but still feels intriguing and rare for the reader. Continue reading →
Many authors use Twitter to engage with their readership and promote upcoming titles. With over 230 million active users, Twitter is an amazing tool to get your message across to a wide audience, but how do you use it to great effect? Continue reading →
Thank you to all those who submitted questions for our Ask an Agent blog series! Your questions touched on a lot of topics including how to query agents and how agents actually go about choosing manuscripts. Thanks to the literary agents who helped make Ask an Agent possible! You can find links to their blog posts below.
This August, we are launching our Ask an Editor blog series! As you know, editors decide which manuscripts they would like to publish. Editors are involved in virtually every step of the publishing process, from the actual editing to marketing and promotion. Continue reading →
I am a copywriter. This is not to be confused with a copyeditor (who makes sure the gods of grammar are not angered) or a copyrighter (which I don’t think is a real thing, but I assume would be someone who enforces copyright law). I’m the person who writes what’s on the covers of books and retailer websites. Continue reading →
The reviews don’t lie! Ten new highly lauded books in the Book Country community are featured in the Top Rated section of the Read and Review page. Find out why these books are so good and get inspired!
Dan Croutch has been a Book Country member since finding us during NaNoWriMo 2013. Always a helpful and supportive community member, Dan can often be found on the Book Country discussion boards or chatting with us on Twitter.
In April I wrote to all of the Book Country newsletter subscribers that I would read anyone’s book who wanted me to. The only catch was that the member had to have done a significant revision and reuploaded a new draft for me to read. Dan took me up on my feedback offer for his High/Epic Fantasy novel THE KINGS OF CARNIN: Rise of Ari.
THE KINGS OF CARNIN stars a young blacksmith named Ari. The son of the king’s foremost weapons maker, Ari is granted an audience with the king after his father’s death. During this meeting, he’s compelled to fight an emissary named Raden to the death. Unexpectedly defeating Raden means that Ari is transformed from a civilian artisan to a commander in the army overnight.
Dan’s prose is varied and flows easily–this was my favorite part about reading THE KINGS OF CARNIN. You can tell he is taking time to begin his sentences in different places, crafting each paragraph so that it avoids repetition and redundancy.
I am appreciative of the straightforwardness of KINGS OF CARNIN. It’s good old-fashioned storytelling that doesn’t confuse or alienate the reader. The linear way he has structured his book is appealing and will be accessible to readers of all ages. Furthermore, I think that fantasy often benefits from a straightforward narrative like this one: It makes the reader’s passage into the fantastical realm much more seamless, and it highlights the innovative details Dan has created as part of the worldbuilding process. Continue reading →
Welcome to Part III of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Ryan D. Harbage of The Fischer-Harbage Agency answers your questions about re-querying agents, social media, and what to submit to agents. Read Part I and Part II of “Ask an Agent.”
1. In today’s market authors are very involved with promoting their work via Twitter and Facebook. When looking over a query, do agents look at the author too and evaluate their networks? Does this have any weight?- Danielle Bowers
When it comes to nonfiction, one’s platform is a big deal. Social media is less impressive to me than an established following in traditional media—print, radio, television and/or film. And authority and expertise are even more important, most of the time. Twitter and Facebook followers usually don’t impress publishers unless the writer has a celebrity-level, or near-celebrity-level following. I encourage my clients to spend more time writing than promoting. The work is always the most important thing. Continue reading →
Welcome 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.
In 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 →