Category Archives: Book Country News

News and information about the Book Country Community.

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

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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.

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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

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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?

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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

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We’re making some changes to Book Country this week!

Posted by October 14th, 2015

under construction 600 x 400This week we are hard at work making a few changes to Book Country. The site will remain up and you will have access to your dashboard, profile, the blog, the bookstore, and everything else you use on Book Country.

You can expect changes in the following areas of the site:

  • The “Learn” tab: You’ll soon see an expanded FAQ, as well as enhanced organization and navigation around this area of the site. It will be easier to find the help you need to write your best book on Book Country.
  • The “Publish” tab: This tab will be slightly reorganized so that it will be easier to find out about our packages and services.
  • The discussion boards: Our developers have been listening to your feedback. You’ll soon see member avatars in the discussion boards. You’ll also be able to click directly to a member profile from their discussion posts.
  • We also have a few small changes coming in the About Us and the header and footer on Book Country.

If you have questions or run into any confusion, just send us an email at support@BookCountry.com.

We can’t wait to show you how we have used your feedback to improve Book Country. Stay tuned for updates!

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NYC Writers Event: Building a Writing Community Online and Off

Posted by October 6th, 2015

https://www.facebook.com/events/1622362738032076/

Join us in Brooklyn on October 28th, 2015, at 7pm for a panel discussion at BookCourt, hosted by Book Country, Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, and Pinterest, and featuring special guest author Maris Kreizman!

Building a Writing Community Online and Off
October 28, 2015 @ 7pm
BookCourt
163 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY

The most daunting task for aspiring and emerging writers can be building and growing their writing community online and off. Danielle Rayman of Pinterest and Lucy Silag of Book Country will share how social media and online writing communities can be tools for getting your work into the hands of agents, publishers, and readers. Julia Fierro, founder and director of the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop; Maris Kreizman, of Kickstarter and SLAUGHTERHOUSE 90210 (the Tumblr and new book); and Andrew Unger of Bookcourt provide insight into how being a part of a local “writers” scene has real value when it comes to taking your writing to the next level.

This NYC writers event is free and open to the public.

RSVP to the event on Facebook.

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Book Country at Moonlight & Magnolias 2015

Posted by September 30th, 2015

I couldn’t be more excited to head down to Atlanta this weekend for the Georgia Romance Writers regional conference, Moonlight & Magnolias 2015!

Official MandM logo general

I’ll be the featured industry speaker on Saturday afternoon. Here are the details:

Saturday, October 3
2-3:50pm
Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria

Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up

Join us to learn about Book Country, Penguin Random House’s writing and publishing community, and how the site has helped writers to write their best books, connect with audiences, and publish with the support of a community. This session is designed to help Georgia Romance Writers figure out the next step toward reaching their writing and publishing goals. Each participant will leave with a customized, immediate, and actionable plan for their book or work-in-progress based on where they are in the writing process. Continue reading

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Janice Peacock: The Serendipitous Path to a Publisher

Posted by September 14th, 2015

HIGH STRUNGIt’s fabulous to have Book Country member Janice Peacock back on the blog this morning to celebrate the rerelease of her debut cozy mystery HIGH STRUNG, originally workshopped here on Book Country. Read on for the story of how Janice found her publisher, Booktrope.

A new edition of my novel, HIGH STRUNG: A Glass Bead Mystery, was released today. I had self-published my cozy mystery last year, but this time around it has been published by Booktrope—a real publisher—not just me winging it in the wee hours. And while this is exciting news, at least for me, the story behind how I ended up with a publisher is the stuff that good tales are made of: fear, dumb luck, bravery, and ultimately a happy ending.

In January I sat in a cafe drinking coffee with my friend Kim. The San Francisco Writers Conference was coming up in a month and I told Kim I was thinking about going, but that I was nervous about it. I was worried that I wasn’t a real writer, even though I had self-published a book the previous year. I hadn’t been writing for long and was worried that someone would expose me as an impostor or that I’d embarrass myself by being such a newbie.

Kim told me to go and just “breathe the air” at the conference. She encouraged me by saying that I didn’t need to do anything but be there and absorb what information I could.  The next day I sat at my computer, shut my eyes, and I clicked the Submit button on the registration form for the conference. I was going. And I was going to be brave.

A month later I stood outside the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. I had arrived ridiculously early, so I sat in the lobby chatting with a couple from out of town, giving them sightseeing advice. When it was time for the first session, I filed into a large conference room with the rest of the attendees. The first thing the moderator did was ask each audience member who had brought a book that they’d written to hold it above his or her head. I held up my empty hand and told the moderator that I had sold the book I had brought to the tourists in the lobby, and received a small cheer.  Maybe the weekend was going to be okay after all.

Janice Peacock at SFWC

Janice Peacock at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015, holding a copy of the self-published version of HIGH STRUNG.

I hadn’t signed up to do the Pitch-a-Thon, that was over-the-top intimidating to me. For the uninitiated, a pitch-a-thon is like speed-dating with agents and publishers, instead of potential mates. Authors move from table to table pitching their story in three minute sessions with the hope that an agent or publisher will be interested in seeing a full manuscript. The prospect of pitching my book scared me to death. Instead, I went and sat on a bench in the park across from the hotel, soaking in the sun during the pitching session. I had breathed enough conference air for the day.

 In the final hours of the conference, I sat at a round table in a ballroom with some of the other attendees. I’d learned a lot during the conference and I’d met authors like me who had a love of words, books, and stories. There was a raffle and I won a prize—a free pass to go to a Pitch-o-Rama hosted by the Women’s National Book Association in San Francisco. Of all the prizes, this was the one that I didn’t want. I was going to have to pitch my book to publishers and agents, the thing I’d so actively tried to avoid during this conference.

A few weeks later I was standing outside the Women’s Building at the Pitch-o-Rama, armed with my manuscript, business cards, and a look of grim determination. Okay, maybe not that grim, but determined, nonetheless. I’d done my research; I knew which agents and publishers I wanted to pitch my book to.  This event would be good practice. I could learn to talk about my book in a clear, concise, and exciting way. I didn’t need to find a publisher that day, I could continue to self-publish. But still, did I want a real publisher? Yes, I did. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Erotica Author Olivia Glass

Posted by September 9th, 2015

oliviaglass.comHow would I describe Book Country member Olivia Glass to someone who doesn’t have the pleasure of knowing her yet? First, I’d say that Olivia is one of the most community-oriented writers I’ve ever come across: very active in the communities around the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (where she got her MFA), the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, adjunct faculty organizations, Philadelphia-based writers, and erotica writing. Second, I’d say that she’s an intrepid explorer of the rapidly changing publishing landscape: eager to try new ways to reach readers and enthusiastic about connecting with them online.

Today we are celebrating the release of her novella FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF, which she published right here on Book Country. Check out the heap of praise Olivia has gotten for her erotica:

“Angsty and hotter than hell . . .” Iris Blaire, author of Exposure

“Yes, this is a good story, but it’s a hot story. Glass is an author who knows how to write a blush-inducing sex scene . . . You’ll absolutely want to read this well-crafted, deliciously written lesbian love story again.” Erika Almond

“Glass takes readers on an emotional journey as three women learn to live and love again after heartbreak . . .” Elizabeth Franklin, Portland Book Review

“Olivia Glass spins a mesmerizing story of lust, love, betrayal and so much more… hot erotica wrapped up inside a strong, compelling story.” Jon Pressick

FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF lo res

Lucy Silag: Tell us about writing your erotic novella FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF, and how it was originally published. Continue reading

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