Author Archives: Brandi Larsen

Brandi Larsen

About Brandi Larsen

Brandi Larsen is the Book Country Director. Connect with Brandi on Book Country, or on Twitter as @BrandiLarsen.

Cyber Monday Deals at Book Country

Posted by December 2nd, 2013

We’re celebrating Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with a special promotion for Book Country members who want to self-publish: Take 50% off Book Country’s Standard publishing package. Publish your book for under $30!Cyber Monday Deals from Book Country

Use the code CYBERMONDAY13.

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Act quickly — this Cyber Monday deal ends tonight at midnight.

With the Standard publishing package, you can publish once and distribute everywhere. It’s easy to move the manuscript you’ve workshopped over to publish, just click “Publish” from your dashboard.Our tools will help you find any formatting problems so your eBook will display beautifully for your readers. You can use the cover you’ve already made for your manuscript or design a new one in the cover designer. Once you’re happy with your eBook, we’ll assign it an ISBN and then distribute it to the online retailers you choose. You can keep track of all of your sales in a single place that you can access any time.

Not a Book Country member? Join now (it’s free) to take advantage of our special promotion and discover our supportive online writing and publishing community.

Happy Cyber Monday!
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NaNoWriMo Finish Line

Posted by November 30th, 2013

Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo 2013! We’re so proud of each of you! Whether you finished all 50,000 words or only got a couple of chapters down, we’re happy that you made time for writing this month.

Congratulations to NaNoWriMo 2013 participants and finishers.

Congratulations to NaNoWriMo 2013 participants and finishers.

Book Country sponsored NaNoWriMo because our missions align — we both work to support writers. If you’ve joined us recently, welcome to Book Country! We’re looking forward to reading your manuscript and helping you on your journey as a writer. Check out our tips on how to use Book Country.

As you start to revise and publish your NaNoWriMo novels in the upcoming months, please tell us! We want to showcase NaNoWrimo books and feature them on Book Country. Email us once you’ve uploaded it and tell us the title.

As most of you know, our very own Community & Engagement Manager, Lucy Silag, participated in NaNoWriMo. She’s been writing about her experience on the Penguin USA blog. I’ve really loved hearing about how she balanced a full day job with huge writing goals.

I also found the conversations on the discussion boards inspiring, especially the daily check-ins. Stay tuned! We’re creating an “I Wrote A Novel, Now What?” forum to keep the conversation going, as well as lots of tips from publishing experts on what to do as your manuscript takes shape from a very fast first draft to a polished novel ready for publication.

As you think about publication, I encourage you to consider Book Country if you’re self-publishing. In addition to the support of this community, we also have some special offers just for NaNoWriMo participants.

To celebrate 30 days of hard work, take 30% off Book Country’s Landmark publishing package through December 31, 2013 with code NANO. We’ll also feature all novels in the bookstore.

And here’s one for the winners only:

To celebrate your achievement, we want to help spread the word on your book. BookStubs are like gift cards for your eBook – give them out to reviewers, bloggers, and fans to get your eBook into the physical world. Order BookStubs a la carte or through Book Country publishing packages and we’ll double your order through December 31, 2013.  (And, yes, of course you can redeem this offer alongside your 30% discount on the Landmark package for being a NaNoWriMo participant. Great job!)

If you’ve met a writer who just finished NaNoWriMo and who isn’t a Book Country member yet, invite them to join us. We’d love to share our writing and publishing community with them. And give them a hug. Or a drink. Or both. They deserve it. Congratulations to all of the Wrimos! The whole Book Country team is really proud of you.

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Book Country and Kickstarter

Posted by November 13th, 2013

I’m happy to announce that Book Country created a curated page on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is the world’s largest crowdfunding program. There have been more than five million backers to fund over 50,000 creative projects.

We wanted to give more exposure to Book Country members who have also created Kickstarter projects so you can reach your fundraising goals. For us, Kickstarter is a natural fit. You’re starting your books here and working with other writers on Book Country to shape them into the best books possible. Then, when you’re ready, a Kickstarter project can help you cover the costs of getting those books into the hands of readers.

You can find the Kickstarter page here.

Thinking about creating your own Kickstarter project? Let us know. We’d love to help you by featuring it.

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Book Country Sponsors NaNoWriMo

Posted by November 1st, 2013

Welcome, Wrimos!I’m so excited that November is finally here! Happy National Novel Writing Month, everyone!

Book Country is proud to be one of the sponsors for NaNoWriMo this year. We decided to support NaNoWriMo because we believe in their mission. It’s critical to find a group of like-minded writers. NaNoWriMo writers (aka Wrimos) have made a promise to themselves and to each other that, this month, writing is what matters.

I was deeply moved this summer by The Summer Writer’s Club. I was so inspired by everyone who took the challenge to write. And I was humbled by the enthusiasm at the end— not just from the people who hit their 50,000 word goal (amazing!) — but from how much you supported each other and were ready for more.

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Congratulations to The Book Country Summer Writer’s Club!

Posted by September 3rd, 2013

September seemed so far away the_summer_writers_club_bookcountrywhen we set the challenge to write 53,000 words this summer. I wasn’t sure how many people would want to spend the best days of the year inside at their desks, toiling away on the work that must be written.

Over 250 of us joined, checking in on the message boards, the Facebook group, and over Twitter with the hashtag #write53K. We even inspired a parody group, The Summer Slacker’s Club, complete with its own challenges and members.

Some of us wrote 53,000 words. Some of us wrote half of that. Some of wrote more than 53,000. Some of us edited. Some of us went from piece to piece. Some of us tried things we hadn’t tried before. Some of us established a daily writing habit. Some of us wrote more than we ever had before. Everyone was an inspiration.

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Book Country adds a personalized news feed and other new features!

Posted by August 12th, 2013

Today we unveil another new feature for the Book Country community: a personalized news feed.

Here’s what you can expect to see in your news feed:

  • A Book Country member gives you feedback on a manuscript you’ve posted.
    We know how much courage it takes to post your work and how valuable it is to receive member feedback. You’ll see who gave you feedback and a link to your manuscript.
  • A writer posts a new version of a manuscript that you’ve reviewed.
    You took the time out to give feedback to another Book Country member. As soon as that person uploads a new version, you’ll see it appear in your news feed so that you can read it again and see how your support has helped that Book Country member.
  • You have a new connection.
    Book Country is a a community. We believe it’s important to seek out other writers and support each other through the writing and publishing process. When you connect with another Book Country member, you’ll see that you’re connected, as well as that person’s photo and a link to his or her profile.
  • Someone posts in a discussion board where you have a subscription.
    Stay up-to-date with the conversations that matter to you. Subscribe to the discussions you care about and you’ll see when another Book Country member posts in that discussion, as well as that person’s picture and a link to take you to the start of the conversation.

Is your news feed empty? Connect with other members. Give people feedback. Share your work. Subscribe to discussions. It’ll quickly fill up with the news that matters the most to you.

An Explanation
Some members have asked why do we have multiple pages: a home page, a dashboard, and a profile? We wanted to explain our thinking about the design.

When you’re logged in, the home page (where you see the news feed) is the place for you to see everything that’s going on around you in the Book Country community. You’ll see the activity in your news feed, as well as be able to keep track of the books you’re following and manage a list of your discussion subscriptions. Because it’s the hub of information around you, we designed it as the home page. You can get to it from anywhere on the site by clicking on the Book Country logo in the upper left corner.

Your dashboard is the place where you work on your book projects. Whether you’re polishing a manuscript (or two or three or four!) or publishing an eBook, your dashboard is where to go when you’re ready to create. We made this its own page for a couple of reasons. One, we know that work takes focus and wanted to build that into the design of the site. Two, while you may be thinking about your book all the time, we understand that you’re not making adjustments every single day. That’s why we put it by itself — and it’s always easy to access from the Read and Review menu on the left.

Finally, there’s your profile page. This is the place for you to tell people about you. The profile page is where other Book Country members come because they want to know more about you. Your profile is where people see your name, bio, and put a face with the name. It’s where people can see the manuscripts you’ve shared and the feedback you’ve given to others. It’s where other writers can see your favorite writers and books, and most importantly, where members can connect with you — on Book Country, and in social media, if you choose to add links to Twitter or to your website. We designed this as its own page because you know all about you, and it’s the place for others to get to know you as well. Your profile is always easy to view and edit from the Connect menu.

Another New Feature
We made another big change based on Book Country member feedback:

Persistent login. This is a fancy tech term for being logged in until you decide to log out. When you log in, there’s now a box that’s checked by default. It keeps you logged in, even if you close your browser.

If you’d prefer to login with your email and password each time you visit Book Country, simply uncheck the box and you’ll be able to do that.

Note: If you come to Book Country from two computers, say your home and work machines, you’ll have to login twice. The same is true if you use both Firefox and Chrome. (It’s because the login is based on your browser’s cookies. That means if you clear your cache, you’ll need to login with your email and password again. If your internet connection drops, you may also need to login again. If you have a machine that doesn’t accept cookies, you’ll need to login with your email and password each time to you come to the site.)

And a Fix

We’ve been squashing bugs as they’ve come up, but we wanted to let you know about a big one:

When you came to Book Country from an email, and you weren’t logged in, sometimes you’d get a white screen after logging in. We’ve fixed that problem so it shouldn’t trouble you again.

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New Book Country Feature: Following!

Posted by July 29th, 2013

Today when you login, you’ll see some big changes have come to Book Country. We’ve brought back following and designed a new homepage that’s as unique as you!

Here’s a picture of what to expect once you’ve logged in:
New homepage

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Book Country is now live!

Posted by July 24th, 2013

I’m happy to announce that the new Book Country platform is now officially out of beta. Yay! Throughout the beta period, we’ve been reading your feedback and have been moved, saddened, and overjoyed at the reactions we’ve seen from you as we’ve worked to improve the site, fix bugs, and add features that matter most to you.

Today when you visit the Read Book Country bookstoreand Review section of the site, you’ll see that we’ve added a Book Country bookstore! This is the place to support your fellow community members who have chosen to publish with Book Country.

Next week, we will reinstate the ability to follow books and discussions.

In August, you’ll see a news feed, similar to LinkedIn or Facebook, where you can easily keep track of the writers, books and discussions that are important to you.

We know we have more work ahead of us. We’ll continue to fix the bugs you’ve reported just as we’ve been doing over the last few weeks.

On behalf of the entire Book Country team, thank you for caring so much about this site. If you need anything, please email me at brandi at bookcountry dot com, and I’ll be happy to help you.

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Sequelmancy: On Being Published (twice!)

Posted by July 22nd, 2013

We’re so excited for Book Country member Michael R. Underwood. Previously, he told us how he spent his time writing since his first book, GEEKOMANCY, was published by Pocket Books. That writing has come to fruition: He just released his latest book, CELEBROMANCY, and we couldn’t be happier for him. (You’ll want to pick it up — it’s a fantastic read!) He’s guest blogging for Book Country today. His words on writing a sequel are below. -BKL.

Michael R. UnderwoodThe sequel is a mainstay of contemporary genre fiction – when you sell one book, the publishing house will almost certainly ask for another book in that same series. Epic fantasy is nearly synonymous with the trilogy, and series are nearly part-and-parcel with urban fantasy (aka what Geekomancy is) these days.

In general, series sell, and while there tends to be a drop-off from book to book, releasing a new book in the series invariably boosts sales of the books in that series that have come before. And in the best cases, a series builds momentum and sales over time, so that each new book sells more books in the first few months than the books before had done, eventually getting onto bestseller lists as the series gains momentum.

So when I sold Geekomancy to Pocket Books, a sequel was inevitable. In fact, I have a very clear memory of sitting in my car in Okemos, MI, on Thursday, February the 2nd, 2012, after a sales call for my day job, tapping away on my laptop so that I’d have some sequel ideas. I was about to take a call from Adam Wilson, this editor with Pocket Books, who wanted to talk to me about Geekomancy. I’d never sold novels before then, but I knew enough about the business that editors didn’t tend to want to talk to you on the phone about novels they had no interest in buying. Knowing this, I wanted to go into the conversation with some ideas for sequels.

Fast-forward several months, when Geekomancy was revised and out of my hands, on the production fast-track to publication to be out for San Diego Comic-Con, leaving me with one more task: write the sequel to Geekomancy. And what’s more, Adam had asked for Book Two to stand alone as much as possible within the series.

Celebromancy

CELEBROMANCY (Ree Reyes #2)

So I asked myself “Self, how does one write a stand-alone sequel that advances the characters, the overall story, and expands the world?”And here’s what I came up with by way of answer when writing Celebromancy:

1. Introduce a new aspect of the world, and focus the action there. This doesn’t mean ignoring what I’ve built before, but what it should do is let me introduce these new elements and let much of the action of the sequel hang on those elements.

2. Sum up the existing relationships when characters are introduced – this can get tricky, because ideally I want the same readers from book 1 to read book 2 and be happy while also bringing in new readers. So when I introduce the new status quo, I can’t be boring about it. In fact, avoid being boring entirely. Make things tense and/or funny whenever possible.

3. Take elements that were in the foreground in book 1 and keep them present, but as the B-plot in book 2. The A-plot (primary plot) in Celebromancy is the pilot of Awakenings and Jane’s curse. The B-plot is Ree’s ongoing Urban Fantasy life and her job at Grognard’s. Keeping Grognard and the Geekomancer world important in Celebromancy meant that the book felt like a step forward, rather than being a total departure or just a ‘once more, without feeling’ kind of bland copy sequel.

4. Re-use the stat blocks/character sheet motif from book one – this lets me re-introduce characters with the established shorthand as well as to show the progression of the characters.

In summary, for me the fine art of Sequelmancy is a balancing act – be bold enough to move forward without leaving behind what has come before. Keep the central awesomenesses of the characters and the setting while escalating, expanding, and moving forward.

Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeRUnderwood and visit him on the web at http://michaelrunderwood.com.

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New Book Country Now Live!

Posted by June 24th, 2013

Great news! We’re live in public beta.

Book Country is the best online writing and publishing community.We changed the navigation so you can easily find what you want. You’ll see four main sections of the site: Read & Review, Connect, Learn, and Publish.

We brought over your books, reviews, connections, and profile so all you have to do is click the login button at the top of the screen. The first time you login, we’ll ask you to enter a new password. This is part of the integration process.

When you login, you’ll see that there are a lot of new features. We created an intro video to show you what’s new.

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