Category Archives: Happenings

News from Book Country Director Lucy Silag

Posted by January 25th, 2016

Today I have some bittersweet news to share with the Book Country community: I’m leaving my role as Book Country Director and moving to a new position inside Penguin Random House, as Assistant Director of Publicity at Random House.

As you might know, my first couple of jobs right out of college were in publicity. My favorite projects were when I got to work on literary fiction debuts by emerging writers. Working with these types of books is exciting because the publicist’s job is to get readers excited about up-and-coming writers, and also gets the chance to work with writers at the beginning of their careers. This is actually quite similar to what I’ve been doing here at Book Country in many ways, and I can’t thank the community enough for what I have learned from you as you have explored the new frontiers of writing, publishing, and marketing your books online. I’m firmly of the mindset that no writer can find an audience without getting involved in a writing community at the start, and I’m planning on using a very community-minded approach to publicizing books in my new job at Random House.

Random House publishes some of my all-time favorite writers, so I feel very lucky to become a part of their world-class publishing team. However, there are a lot of things about working at Book Country that I know I’ll really miss. Working with this community was a unique opportunity to learn an enormous amount about diverse genres, different styles of publishing, social media and video, web development, and, of course, gave me the chance to connect to over 20,000 writers from all over the world. With Book Country I hung out with romance writers in New Orleans and Atlanta, mystery and thriller writers on the beach at Bouchercon, and dug into the craft of writing and business of publishing at writing conferences and meetups in Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and here in New York. I’ve read and reviewed books that have been in progress for years, as well as new novels you’re just starting to write. We’ve also set–and achieved–some incredible goals together, from NaNoWriMo to feedback challenges to the Book Country Buddy Program.

Outgoing Book Country Director Lucy Silag with member Andrea Dunlop at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in July 2015.

Outgoing Book Country Director Lucy Silag with member Andrea Dunlop at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in July 2015.

Now that I won’t be the Book Country Director, I won’t be able to answer community questions about how to use the site and I won’t be able to help if issues come up with your account. Please email customersupport@publish.bookcountry.com if you have questions so that my Book Country colleagues can help you. Continue reading

Share Button

Book Country Was Featured on LinkedIn Pulse

Posted by December 14th, 2015

Over the weekend, an essay I wrote about Book Country and the benefits of online workshopping for writers called “Emerging Writers: Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up” was featured on LinkedIn’s Pulse blog. Check it out here!

Emerging Writers: Treat Your Book Like a Start Up

You can also download an expanded version of this essay here.

Share Button

Use the Penguin Hotline for Book Recommendations

Posted by December 8th, 2015

Penguin-Hotline-Facebook-GeneralAs writers, we all know how important it is to support other writers by buying and sharing each other’s work. And with Penguin Random House’s #GiveaBook program, there’s a lot of good you can do by giving books as gifts this holiday season.

But what book should you give that will also make the perfect present? This is the hard part.

That’s where the Penguin Hotline comes in! This holiday season, Penguin Group USA is bringing back the popular program from last year where readers get help with their holiday book shopping from Penguin employees. Fill out an online request form for the readers you are shopping for, and a Penguin will get back to you with book recommendations via email. The recommendations include both Penguin titles and books from other publishers.

Have you tried the Penguin Hotline? What recommendations did you get? Share in the comments below!

Share Button

Updates on Book Country Improvement Projects

Posted by December 7th, 2015

We’ve been making progress on Book Country improvement projects.

As you likely already noticed, the discussion boards now include member avatars alongside posts. (Click through the image to the discussion board to see how it looks on the site.)

Discussion Board Avatar illustration

Continue reading

Share Button

Book Country will be at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2016!

Posted by December 2nd, 2015

San Francisco Writers Conference 2015

We’re excited to announce that Book Country will be returning to the San Francisco Writers Conference in February 2016!

ThinkstockPhotos-478259118What: One of the best writers’ conferences in the country, with authors, agents, editors, and other publishing industry professionals presenting sessions catering to every aspect of writing and publishing. Featured speakers at this year’s conference include bestselling novelist Ann Packer (The Dive From Clausen’s Pier) and author and digital publishing expert Jane Friedman.
When: Thursday, February 11th-Sunday, February 14th, 2016 (Presidents’ Day Weekend)
Where: InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco, CA
Registration is still open! Find out more here.

Don’t miss the San Francisco Writers Contest, open to all writers, including those who are attending the conference. The entry fee is $35 and the deadline is January 8th, 2016.

What will Book Country be doing at the SFWC?

Continue reading

Share Button

#GiveaBook and Benefit Literacy for Kids!

Posted by November 24th, 2015

GiveaBook-Logo-300x231Have Book Country writers heard about the #GiveaBook campaign? For every use of the hashtag #GiveaBook on Facebook and Twitter from now until 11:59pm on December 24th, 2015, Penguin Random House will donate a book to First Book, a charity that helps children access books and fights illiteracy in the United States and Canada.

All you have to do is use the hashtag #GiveaBook publicly on Twitter or by posting to the #GiveaBook, Givington, and Penguin Random House public Facebook pages. Penguin Random House will donate up to 35,000 books for this campaign! Continue reading

Share Button

Alys Arden Rereleases THE CASQUETTE GIRLS with Skyscape/Amazon Publishing

Posted by November 17th, 2015

The YA paranormal novel and self-publishing phenomenon by Book Country member Alys Arden was picked up by Skyscape in a 2-book deal.

Join us in celebrating Alys at an online launch party for the rerelease on Saturday, November 21, 2015 from 1:30-6:00pm, featuring giveaways, author chats, and more!

TCG now availableAs you’ve probably heard on Book Country, member Alys Arden has had quite a writing and publishing journey over the last 3 years! Her debut YA paranormal novel, THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, was originally workshopped here on Book Country and elsewhere on the web. She used this exposure to get writing feedback and to find an audience of readers. On Halloween 2013, Alys self-published THE CASQUETTE GIRLS and won acclaim from reviewers and bloggers (including a starred review from Publishers Weekly–see the quote below!) At the end of 2014, she found agency representation by ICM Partners, and early this year announced that she had sold THE CASQUETTE GIRLS to Skyscape (an imprint of Amazon Publishing) in a 2-book deal. After editing, rewriting, and designing a beautiful new cover, the rerelease went on-sale today! Continue reading

Share Button

NaNoWriMo: Building Good Habits by Andrea Dunlop

Posted by November 9th, 2015

Nano cloudsLast week we posted about the awesome sweepstakes Girl Friday Productions is running for NaNoWriMo participants. As we kick off week 2 of Nano, we check in with Book Country member Andrea Dunlop (social media and marketing director at GFP and author of LOSING THE LIGHT, coming from Atria Books in February 2016) for tips on making the writing habit sustainable over time.

What do you need to make it as a writer? Talent? Ambition? Discipline? An enormous trust fund that allows you to quit your day job?

Sure, you need those things (okay, not the last one, but it couldn’t hurt). But whether your version of “making it” is getting through your 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year, getting a six-figure book deal, or anything in between, you definitely need good habits, because without them, none of the rest of these things will matter.

What I love about NaNoWriMo is that its very concept dispenses with any precious notions of what it means to write a book. NaNo does not concern itself with airy-fairy visions of the muse alighting on your shoulder and inspiring greatness; the only goal is to reach the word count. Technically this means that you could write the sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” five thousand times in a row and complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, though we all know that doesn’t end well for the author. (On a related note, if you ever find yourself saying, “You know, if only I could get somewhere really isolated and quiet where I didn’t have any other responsibilities, I could definitely get my novel done,” you should probably watch The Shining.) Continue reading

Share Button

Why NaNoWriMo?

Posted by November 4th, 2015

nano 2015 1Please welcome Kim Bridges, a writer who works with our friends at Girl Friday Productions in Seattle, to the blog this morning. Kim, like myself and others on Book Country, will be participating in NaNoWriMo. To celebrate, Girl Friday Productions is offering a really exciting giveaway: a grand prize of a free edit of your manuscript! Five additional prizewinners will receive a swag pack from Girl Friday Productions. Go here to learn more about the giveaway.

***

With the changing of the seasons comes one of my favorite times of the year: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. NaNoWriMo takes place in November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. In addition to the word count, the ultimate goal of NaNo is to complete a draft. Parts of the draft will be bad (there’s no way to avoid it when you’re writing so much so quickly), however, you may surprise yourself with how much of it is good. But it doesn’t matter how much of it is good: what matters is that when you finish, you will have a completed draft of a novel.

I have participated in NaNo twice, and I took very different approaches both times. The first time, I used a plotline from a short story that I’d written. Having a solid outline helped me write a stronger draft, but I was unaccustomed to spending so much time writing every day; I fell behind on the word count and had to write 15,000 words over the final two days.

When I NaNo’d the following year, I didn’t really have any notes about the novel I was going to write; I had only a vague notion of characters and plot. I still fell behind on the word count, but instead of having to write 15,000 words in the last forty-eight hours, I only had to come up with 10,000. Part of the difference the second time around was that I didn’t care as much about what I was writing. My expectations were very, very low. Continue reading

Share Button

Takeaways from “Building a Writing Community Online + Off” Panel

Posted by November 3rd, 2015

Last week’s “Building a Writing Community Online + Off” panel event at BookCourt was a remarkable chance to hear six brand reps (Pinterest, Kickstarter, Tumblr, the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, BookCourt, and, of course, Book Country) chat about how each of their organization or platform can be an extremely useful tool for building up a writer’s network. Julia Fierro of SSWW and Maris Kreizman of Kickstarter were also able to speak to their own experience building a writing community as traditionally published authors (respectively of CUTTING TEETH, a Landmark Women’s Fiction Title on Book Country and SLAUGHTERHOUSE 90210, which we featured on the blog last week). As one panel-goer said on Twitter after the event, all these perspectives made for “Delicious brain food!”

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/finding-and-building-your-community-of-readers-tickets-18467224967

From left: Lucy Silag, Danielle Rayman, Julia Fierro, Maris Kreizman, Rachel Fershleiser, and Andrew Unger. Image courtesy of Rich Kelly via Twitter. Learn more about Rich by clicking through the picture.

We want to extend an enormous thank you to everyone who came out in the pouring rain to join in the conversation! For those of you who couldn’t make it or aren’t local, here are some takeaways from the event: Continue reading

Share Button