Category Archives: Happenings

TONIGHT at BookCourt: “Building a Writing Community Online + Off”

Posted by October 28th, 2015

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TONIGHT
Wednesday, October 28th
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. Continue reading

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An Interview with Book Maven Maris Kreizman

Posted by October 27th, 2015

Maris KreizmanIt’s so exciting to have Maris Kreizman visit the blog this morning! Maris is the author of the new book SLAUGHTERHOUSE 90210, a visual mashup of great literature and pop culture. Those of you who came to our “Uncoventional Paths to Publishing” panel at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference 2015 will recognize Maris from our lineup of speakers: She’s a maven of books, publishing trends, and an incredibly active member of writing and reading communities online and off.

Lucy Silag: You began your career as an editor. What was your favorite part of working in publishing?

Maris Kreizman: I loved being an editor because it allowed me to guide a book in every stage of the process from its earliest drafts to its final incarnation. I loved being able to connect with writers and to be the biggest advocate for my authors, both in-house and otherwise.

LS: Now you are the publishing-outreach lead at Kickstarter. Tell us more about how you help writers in this role.

MK: There are so many different ways for writers to use Kickstarter. Writers are using Kickstarter to plan literary events and book tours, and funding book and magazine-related works from apps to zines. And I’m helping writers and publishers to set up great Kickstarter projects to help them make the most of the platform.

LS: Congratulations on the release of your book SLAUGHTERHOUSE 90210! Tell us about the genesis of this book.

Slaughterhouse 90210 coverMK: Thank you! I was bored at work, which is how many genesis stories about creative projects start, I think. It was 2009. My friend told me that I should start a Tumblr where I could post quotes from literature–I had a stockpile. And I thought, a blog featuring book quotes on their own sounds boring! But I was scrolling through my dashboard and saw a photo of Joan from Mad Men and thought, “Hmm, adding a photo from a TV show to the top of that quote would be way more interesting, and would make the post more about how the image and the text intersect and speak to each other.”

 

LS: Of all the social media platforms, why was Tumblr the right fit for SLAUGHTERHOUSE 90210?

MK: Tumblr is so easy to use! And more importantly, Tumblr is all about community. There’s a very strong group of people who love books on Tumblr, and I was able to find them and interact with them. The fact that Tumblr allows users to follow the blogs they love and also to reblog and add comments was integral to the success of Slaughterhouse 90210. I knew it was catching on when I saw that Tumblr users were having their own conversations about it. Continue reading

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Andrew Unger: Q&A with BookCourt’s Events Manager

Posted by October 26th, 2015

Andrew UngerToday we welcome Andrew Unger to the Book Country blog. Andrew is the Events Manager at BookCourt, the celebrated Brooklyn bookstore famous for its well-stocked events program featuring New York’s most distinguished authors as well as brand new talent. Andrew will be on the “Building a Writing Community Online + Off” panel co-hosted by Book Country on Wednesday night, October 28th, 2015, at 7pm at BookCourt.

Lucy Silag: Tell us about BookCourt and how it fits into the Brooklyn community of writers.

Andrew Unger: “BookCourt is a monument, a university, and a party in slow motion. It doesn’t have to take over the world because it is the world.” — Jonathan Lethem

It’s no surprise that Jonathan Lethem said it best. The store was opened by Henry Zook and Mary Gannett in 1981. It was one room, a former barber shop, with a modest selection of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s titles. They bought the building in 1983. In 1996 Albert, who owned the flower shop next door, wanted to move to Florida and so sold his building to Mary and Henry in 1996. In 2008, they removed the greenhouse behind the old flower shop and added what is perhaps the store’s most defining characteristic, a giant, book-lined reading space. Hoisted above the ceiling, at the apse of the room, is a beautiful skylight. Today the store boasts one of the largest inventories in Brooklyn.

With the addition of the “Greenhouse,” the events series at BookCourt hit a high gear. In the seven years since it was built, the store has grown to accommodate the flush of writers and the wave of gentrification overtaking the neighborhood. In a given week, BookCourt might host ten different authors, four writing workshops, a book club, and a number or stock signings. It is a haven for readers, it’s an intellectual playground to a whole generation of neighborhood children, and it’s a university to writers from across the city.

BookCourt interior

Interior at BookCourt, courtesy of Google Maps.

LS: Why should writers hang out at Bookcourt?

AU: BookCourt is like a living, breathing MFA program. We’ve hosted Junot Diaz, Richard Ford, Don DeLillo, David Sedaris, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, and I could keep going. It’s such a stupidly impressive list of authors. Those events give you goosebumps. Junot Diaz talked for over an hour about his process, his growth as a writer and listened and responded to almost every single attendee, a room of over 300 people. This is an amazing opportunity. But this isn’t entirely the reason writers congregate at BookCourt. Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo Prep: Plotting Your WIP with Index Cards

Posted by October 19th, 2015

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, hundreds of thousands of writers from around the world get together to cheer each other on as they write 50,000 words in just 30 days.

As someone who’s attempted NaNoWriMo for the last two years, but never quite made it to that 50K finish line, I am learning that to succeed at Nano, you’ve got to do at least a little prep work.

Here’s an idea for NaNoWriMo prep, inspired by an outlining idea I saw on a Book Country discussion thread called “How do you break out of writer’s block?”

Member and screenwriter Bret Plate offered up a strategy for outlining scenes ahead of time, so that you won’t get stuck when you want (or need!) to keep writing: 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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Takeaways from Moonlight & Magnolias 2015

Posted by October 5th, 2015

mm 2015It was great to be a part of Moonlight & Magnolias 2015. This was the annual conference of the Georgia Romance Writers (a regional chapter of the Romance Writers of America). Longtime Book Country member Noelle Pierce was conference chair, and she did a truly fabulous job for a seamless, fun, productive gathering of 200+ high-spirited romance writers. (In fact, Noelle was a winner of the Maggie Service Award for her contributions to the chapter this year. Go, Noelle!)

Here are four key takeaways from Moonlight & Magnolias 2015:

Romance writers have a strong support system. More than any other genre group of writers I’ve worked with so far, romance writers band together to lift up their own. First off, they read–and buy–a ton of books in their own genre. They also follow one another on social media, review each other’s books online, and cheer on both new writers and long-held favorite authors. Georgia Romance Writers have taken it one step further in real life.  For the last 33 years, they’ve maintained a robust schedule of meetings and events, an incredible mentoring program, and the prestigious Maggie Awards to honor standout books in the genre. Romance writers should absolutely be taking advantage of these resources, whether on the national level, or by seeking out their local chapter. Not a romance writer? Follow the example of romance writers by finding similar ways to support and celebrate your own genre writing community. Continue reading

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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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4 Reasons to Go to a Writers Conference

Posted by September 29th, 2015

We’ll be meeting up with longtime Book Country member and romance writer Noelle Pierce this weekend at Moonlight and Magnolias 2015, the annual conference of the Georgia Romance Writers in Atlanta. Below Noelle (who’s been involved in the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference for many years) offers 4 reasons to go to a writers conference.

  1. To network with other writers at various stages in their careers. A conference is one of the best places to meet a critique partner or writing mentor. It’s also a place to be with like-minded individuals. I cherish those few days a year where I can walk up to virtually anyone and have something in common with him/her.
  2. To pitch to editors and/or agents. Some of us have a hard time translating our enthusiasm for a project into the written word. Sometimes talking about our stories leads to an infectious excitement that makes others want to hear more. If you’re one of the latter, then a conference is the perfect place to get your story to an industry professional. This doesn’t have to be at a formal pitch session, but at a luncheon or at the bar. NEVER, under ANY circumstances, follow an editor or agent into a restroom to pitch. It won’t end well. In that same vein, I’ve met editors and agents when I didn’t have a book to pitch, and we ended up talking about the stories anyway. They often suggest I query them when the story’s ready, which means I have something specific to put on the query letter in that “why I chose to send this to you” section.
  3. To hone your craft, get inspired, or learn something new about the changes in our industry. Workshops are part of conferences. You can take sessions with bestselling authors, eager to teach you what they know. Learn about different topics, such as branding yourself, audiobooks, or even how a seasoned pantser can learn to embrace the joys of plotting (I’m a plotser, myself, so I see the good in both). Characterization, dialogue, setting up Goal-Motivation-Conflict in scenes, how to format your book for self-publishing, how to find time to write, what to look for in a book cover…these are all areas I’ve had the pleasure of learning at various conferences. If there’s an area you need to improve, workshops are the place to do it.
  4. To meet readers. There is usually a book signing that takes place at the conferences I’ve attended, and those are usually open to the public. Some conferences rely heavily on authors attending (e.g., Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference), but many are also open for readers and fans to attend (e.g., The Romantic Times Convention). Some, like Authors After Dark, are more geared toward the readers/fans, with only a relative handful of writers attending as “authors.”

Continue reading

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BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert: Inspiration + Galley Giveaway

Posted by September 16th, 2015

Elizabeth Gilbert, the hugely popular author of the mega-bestseller Eat Pray Love and other literary fiction and memoir titles, is back this fall with an incredible new book about creativity. The new book is called BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear and we could *not* be more excited for it to go on sale next Tuesday, September 22.

BIG MAGIC cover

To celebrate BIG MAGIC, Book Country is giving away five galleys of the book. You can enter the galley giveaway here.

All summer, Elizabeth Gilbert has been stoking the conversation about creativity on her Facebook page with beautiful inspirational quotes (our favorites are below) and on her awesome podcast, Magic Lessons, which features writers like Ann Patchett, Rob Bell, Cheryl Strayed, and others offering advice for how to keep that creative fire burning. You’ll be itching to get back to your WIP after just one episode.

Click through each of these images to share them on your own Facebook wall.

5.18-Motivation-Monday Continue reading

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