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
At Girl Friday, we work with all kinds of folks who want to see their words in print. From first-time novelists to writers penning memoirs to companies who want custom materials to promote their brand, we offer clients the services, know-how, and support they need to get their books out there. Authors today face an exciting publishing landscape in constant flux, and we relish the chance to help them jump in with both feet and succeed. In that spirit, here are 5 things you should know about modern publishing:
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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!
- The First Nine by Linnea Ren
- Satan’s Lure by DJ Pizzarello
- Sly! The Rogue Reconsidered by Mimi Spieke
- The Romeo Catchers by AlysArden
- Order of the Garter by Jaycee Ford
- The Kings of Carnin: Rise of Ari by Dan Croutch
- The Sojourn by Andrea Dunlop
- The Outlands by Julie Artz
- Athena Charles by Ayesha Court
- Permutations in the Ribbon of Time by Rob Emery
“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?
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
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.
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
We are happy to have D.J. Pizzarello with us today! D.J. has written several highly rated works on Book Country including ANGEL OF MERCY and SATAN’S LURE. He is the winner of the Editor’s Choice Prize from AuthorStand. D.J. is currently working on a collection of horror short stories. Connect with D.J. on Book Country.
Janet Umenta: Your books have garnered a lot of positive feedback on Book Country! I especially enjoyed reading SATAN’S LURE. How do you use the feedback you receive to better your writing?
D.J. Pizzarello: I often find feedback provocative, giving me the chance to see my work through the eyes of readers. I try to understand what prompts the suggestions and often find they lead to changes that strengthen my story. I don’t always incorporate the suggestions as given, but they initiate a chain of thought that improves what I’m writing. Criticism is, for me, valuable and welcome Continue reading
Lucy Silag: Environmental thrillers–what a great genre! Have you always been a fan of them, and if so, how did you get into them? What environmental thriller writers have you enjoyed reading?
David Whitaker: Deciding to classify my book as an Environmental Thriller was one of the more difficult parts of writing the book. At first I thought it was Sci-Fi, but it was when I started reading the Book Country Genre Map, and started digging into sub-genres, and realized that Environmental Thriller was more accurate. But there’s still a Sci-Fi component to it that is only hinted at in the first five chapters. So I guess I’m not positive that it’s an Environmental Thriller.
Maybe I’ll end up re-catagorizing it down the road somewhere if I get feedback to that end. I don’t want to mislead potential readers.
That said, I think it’s hard to strictly categorize stories by the sub-genres. Continue reading