I had an amazing time reading GABRIEL FINLEY & THE RAVEN’S RIDDLE! Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, GABRIEL FINLEY follows twelve-year-old Gabriel on his journey to find his missing father with the help of his riddle-loving raven, Paladin. Set in Brooklyn, New York, this story was full of magic and plot twists; I didn’t know if Gabriel was going to make it until the very end! Author George Hagen shares what inspired him to write GABRIEL FINLEY and his experience writing for children for the first time. Anne Schwartz, the editor of GABRIEL FINLEY, shares what’s it like when a book clicks for her.
Janet Umenta: Your two previously published books were written for adults. What made you decide to write a children’s book? How would you compare writing for adults with writing for children?
George Hagen: My younger daughter Lola challenged me to write her a book. She was 10 and specified that it should be both exciting and magical. I loved stories like that at her age, but my adult books were quite realistic in tone. Every weekend we took family walks across the Brooklyn Bridge to Chinatown for lunch, and I had to invent a story engaging enough to keep Lola walking. I learned quickly what kept her interest. Her favorite situations were a) when magic goes wrong, b) when children are more competent than adults, and c) when children have the power to communicate with animals. So, I followed those rules. Continue reading →
The #TwitterFiction Festival will take place from May 11-15, 2015. The organizers are looking for talented emerging writers to submit original story ideas in advance of the festival. Select submissions will receive featured placement during the festival. This is a great way for writers to experiment with storytelling devices, widen their author platform, and connect with writers and readers from all over the world. The deadline for submitting ideas is TODAY! Submit here!
I signed my book deal with Atria last fall. The manuscript is done, but the book doesn’t come out until March 2016, giving me a little over a year to wait patiently for book to meet world. Except I’m not a very good waiter. I’m like a five-year-old or a German Shepherd, I need a job to do if you don’t want the furniture destroyed.
I was reminded last week in talking to a friend, a memoirist whose just-released book was on a much tighter schedule than mine, that having this kind of time is actually a huge blessing. I’m always telling clients and students that they should start as early as possible when it comes to their social media and marketing efforts. Ideally marketing should be a gradual, organic process, and that takes time.
As the social media and marketing director of GFP, this is where I put my money where my mouth is. As an author with a year-long countdown ahead of her, here’s what’s on my to-do list now: Continue reading →
Pinterest is a fun, image-based social media platform that allows users to “pin” all sorts of pictures on boards. As a writer, you might be wondering how you can use Pinterest to promote your book. One powerful aspect about Pinterest is that pins give a visual element to your story. Pins can get “repinned” for months or even years to come. For tips on how writers can use Pinterest, we decided to ask Book Country members Jaycee Ford and Alex Rosa how they use Pinterest to promote their books.
Janet Umenta: How did you get started on Pinterest? What advice would you give to writers who are hesitant to join “another social media site?”
Alex Rosa: I think Pinterest is this beautifully organized chaos, which makes it less daunting than other social media sites. So when someone tells me they aren’t sure of giving it a go, I tell them that there’s no pressure. If anything, you can use it as a creative outlet rather than as an output of information. Continue reading →
While reading Eve Karlin’s historical fiction novel CITY OF LIARS AND THIEVES, which is published by Alibi, I was struck by Eve’s powerful use of imagery that made me feel like I was living in 18th century Lower Manhattan. The street names were familiar: Spring Street, Bowery Lane, Greenwich Street, Chambers Street, Wall Street. But the detailed description of the boats bobbing along the New York harbor, the gritty and packed city blocks, and the sounds of a growing working-class invoked the spirit of a different era. Eve shares the real-life murder mystery that inspired her to write CITY OF LIARS AND THIEVES and the questions she encountered during her research that led to her novel.
I did not set out to write a historical novel. Six years ago, while reading a biography on Alexander Hamilton, I came across a reference to a story that reached out and shook me.
In December 1799, a young woman named Elma Sands vanished on the snowy streets of Manhattan. Twelve days later, her corpse was found floating in an abandoned well, and her lover, Levi Weeks, was arrested for murder. The brutal slaying of a beautiful girl rocked the city—as similar crimes do today—but it was the trial that made the case truly sensational: Levi was defended by Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr four years before their infamous duel. Continue reading →
Congratulations to Book Country member Alex Rosa on the release of her New Adult novel TRYST! We are thrilled to see this day finally arrive. You can purchase TRYST on all major e-retailers. Alex shares what it feels like to have Penguin publish her book below.
When a young girl (that being me) dreams of becoming a writer someday, she is aware it’s a daunting dream to take on. Especially when your hero Jane Austen says in one of your favorite movies (Becoming Jane) with such pleading hopefulness, “Maybe I could live by my pen?” and her mother just laughs. It’s an ugly-cry-worthy moment for an aspiring writer. You just hug your notebook close and remind yourself that Jane Austen totally made it. She showed them all, but you’re still all like:
But armored with this fact, I still made the ultimate decision to never stop writing, even if it was in secret or anonymously posted online. Whatever, same difference.
Now flash forward to age twenty-six. I still have Jane Austen dreams, but I now have a publishing deal. Wait, hold the phone. How did this happen? Continue reading →
Right before our eyes, companies like Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, and Dropbox went from tiny startups into massive companies. And they did it with essentially no traditional marketing whatsoever.
They used a Silicon Valley technique known as growth hacking that helps rapidly launch and build a company. If one can understand that launching a book these days is not altogether different than starting a company, it should stand that there is something we can learn from these growth hackers. And it turns out that many of their techniques are already being used by forward thinking authors like Tim Ferriss. I’ve even had success applying it to my books and my author clients.
Are you an old-fashioned storyteller with a newfangled Twitter habit? If so, you won’t want to miss this awesome new writing opportunity: #TwitterFiction Festival 2015!
A project of Penguin Random House, the Association of American Publishers, and Twitter, #TwitterFiction Festival will take place from May 11-15, 2015. The idea is that during this time, writers from all over the world will live-stream unique and original stories to the “Twitterverse.” An incredible lineup of 22 authors–from Margaret Atwood to Jackie Collins to Eric Jerome Dickey–have been tapped to tweet new writing during the festival. Writers like you are encouraged to join the fun and tweet your own stories, too, using the hashtag #TwitterFiction.
But that’s not all! The organizers of #TwitterFiction Festival are looking for a crop of talented emerging writers to submit original story ideas in advance of the festival. Select submissions will receive featured placement during the festival. This is a great way for writers to experiment with storytelling devices, widen their author platform, and connect with writers and readers from all over the world. The deadline for submitting ideas is March 30, 2015. Submit here!Continue reading →