Category Archives: Workshops, Conferences, & Conventions

News and information about writing workshops, conferences, and both genre-specific and media-based conventions.

Ask a Literary Agent: Amy Cloughley Answers Your Questions

Posted by July 13th, 2015

Amy CloughleyPlease welcome literary agent Amy Cloughley of Kimberley Cameron & Associates to the blog today! Amy’s in the market to acquire the following types of books: Historical; Literary; Mainstream; Mystery and Suspense (all types but NO paranormal); Thriller (legal, grounded, psychological); Women’s Fiction; Adult Nonfiction (pop culture and humor, sports, narrative, memoir–travel). Like Book Country, Amy will be at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference at the end of this week. If you’ll also be at #PNWA15, you’ll be able to find Amy at the Agent Forum on Friday, July 17, at 10:00am, and at Power Pitch Sessions A, D, & E on Friday and Saturday.

When do you need an agent?  How do you know when you are ready as a writer to take this step? – Claire Count

There are a variety of great options for publishing your work, but if your goal is to be traditionally published, your odds of success increase quite a bit if you work with a qualified agent. Although many small/mid-sized publishers will consider unagented work, most of the larger houses will not, and the publishers who do often give priority to agented submissions.

You will know you are ready to take this step when your manuscript (or book proposal for nonfiction) is your best, most polished work. Although an agent will often provide some feedback to clients, an agent is typically looking to take on projects/clients who are as close to ready for the marketplace as possible. So be sure to do your research and due diligence. What is the typical word count for your genre? Is your POV clear and consistent? Are your main characters fully developed? Is your pacing appropriate for your genre? Did you have quality beta readers provide feedback? Did you identify a few current comparable titles to include in your query? There are numerous websites such as WritersDigest or here at BookCountry, as well as countless books and classes, that cover how to prepare your manuscript for publication. Applying this information will help your manuscript get an agent’s attention. Continue reading

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Book Country at ThrillerFest and PitchFest

Posted by July 7th, 2015

Headed to ThrillerFest X this week? So is Book Country!

ThrillerFestCome visit the Book Country table on Thursday, July 9th, between 2-5:30pm on the Ballroom Level of the Grand Hyatt NYC. We’re going to be tabling during the PitchFest event, where hundreds of thriller writers will giving their 3-minute novel pitch to dozens of agents.

ThrillerFest is the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers, a writers’ organization that represents professional thriller writers from around the world. Continue reading

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Book Country at the Muse and the Marketplace 2015

Posted by April 29th, 2015

The Muse and the Marketplace 2015 Conference websiteWill you be at Grub Street’s Muse and the Marketplace 2015 Conference this weekend (Friday, May 1, 2015-Sunday, May 3, 2015)? Book Country is proud to be a Muse sponsor this year, and we’ll be hanging out in the exhibition area all weekend long, meeting writers and chatting about how Book Country can help them meet their writing and publishing goals. In fact, all Muse attendees are getting a free copy of our white paper, “Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up: Use Feedback to Successfully Write and Publish Your Book.” Give it a read and stop by the Book Country table to get specialized one-on-one advice for how to apply this advice to your book.

We’re also really excited about this session we are hosting on Friday afternoon. The details are below. We hope to see you there!

Treat Your Book Like a Start Up: Use Online Feedback to Successfully Write and Publish Your Book with Stace Budzko and Lucy Silag

Friday, May 1 – 3:45-5:00pm – Cabot Room Continue reading

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Q&A with Stephanie Chandler, Founder and CEO of the Nonfiction Authors Association

Posted by April 15th, 2015

Q&A with Stephanie Chandler, Founder and CEO of the Nonfiction Authors AssociationStephanie Chandler is the founder and CEO of the Nonfiction Authors Association, a marketing community for writers. The 5th Annual Nonfiction Writers Conference begins May 6th, and the keynote speaker will be Julia Cameron, author of THE ARTIST’S WAY. Participants can attend live sessions by telephone or Skype. Stephanie shares why she started the Nonfiction Authors Association and her experience being a self-published author.

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Lucy Silag: First off, what is the Nonfiction Authors Association and why did you start it?

Stephanie Chandler: The Nonfiction Authors Association is a marketing community for trail-blazing writers! I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. When I quit my corporate job in 2003, I opened a 2,800 square-foot bookstore in Sacramento and planned to write novels in the back office. (When you’ve wanted to write your whole life, you naturally assume that a novel is the way to go.) But it turned out I didn’t have a knack for fiction, so I wrote my first nonfiction book (a business start-up guide) and was astonished by how much I loved writing nonfiction.

I began attending writers’ conferences and eventually started speaking at them as my author career took off. I noticed that nonfiction authors were largely neglected at these events. We didn’t quite fit in with the fiction writers and had different needs and approaches. So I launched the Nonfiction Writers Conference in 2010—an event conducted entirely online. I had no idea if it would catch on, but it did. Each year our attendees kept asking how they could keep the momentum going, so I finally answered them by launching the Nonfiction Authors Association in 2012. We needed our own community and now we have one with over 8,500 members and growing every day. Continue reading

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The ASJA Conference: Why It’s a Must for Me by Laura Laing

Posted by April 8th, 2015

The ASJA Conference: Why It’s a Must for Me by Laura Laing

The American Society of Journalists and Authors will host its 44th annual conference from April 30th to May 2nd in NYC. Writers from across the country will attend 50+ informative sessions; one-on-one meetings with editors, agents, and publishers; three pitch slams; networking events and a keynote speech by bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan. Laura Laing, a freelance writer, shares why the ASJA conference is a crucial investment in her career. This post was originally published on the ASJA website on February 18, 2015. 

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My family knows not to schedule anything for the last weekend in April each year. For the last five years, I’ve spent those days at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City at the ASJA annual conference.

It’s not easy to rearrange my work and family schedules. And I could spend the money on something else. But it’s worth it—every single time. These days I don’t even question the decision. And here’s why. Continue reading

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Book Country at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015

Posted by February 11th, 2015

San Francisco Writers Conference 2015Starting this Thursday, February 12th, I’ll be representing Book Country at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015. BC member Andrea Dunlop will be there as well, on behalf of Girl Friday Productions. I’m also hearing that other members are going to the conference. Please chime into this discussion board and let us know if you’ll be there, too!

Here’s my event schedule–if you’ll be there, please come say hi! Continue reading

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Five Reasons to Take an Online Writing Class in 2015 by Sharon Oard Warner

Posted by January 21st, 2015

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”                          – Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki

First Ranamin adOL.inddMost beginning writers are anxious to shrug off the adjective, which they perceive as a pejorative. When I was beginning to write, I wanted nothing more than to be taken seriously. Now, I can pass as an expert fiction writer. I am a professor in English Department at the University of New Mexico where I teach creative writing to undergraduates and graduate students. I also serve as the founding director of the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference, an annual week-long event that is currently in its seventeenth year.

Why, then, have I decided to shrug off the expert mantle and assume the role of beginner again. Why am I taking a writing class online? Here’s why:

In October of 2014, I finally published my fourth book—and second novel—a family story set in New Mexico called SOPHIE’S HOUSE OF CARDS. It’s a good novel. I’m proud of it, but the sad truth is that I spent the last thirteen years of my life completing it.  At that rate, I will complete only one or two more novels in my lifetime, and I won’t have much fun in the process.

My reasons for enrolling in “Write Where You Are: a Mindful Approach” might be different than yours.  But if you are wishing and hoping to write more in 2015 (more, say, than you wrote in 2014), if you’re striving to compose better, fresher prose, consider the following: Continue reading

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Apply to the 2015 NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship Program!

Posted by January 14th, 2015

NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship

Center for Fiction

Attention NYC writers! The Center for Fiction is hosting the 2015 NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship Program. Nine fellows will each receive a $4,000 grant, the opportunity to meet with agents, free admission to all Center for Fiction events for one year among other great benefits. Sara Batkie, Awards and Programs Manager for the Center, shares how the fellowship program helps writers and the success past fellows have achieved. The deadline to apply to the 2015 NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship Program is January 31, 2015.

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Janet Umenta: For a writer, what are the advantages of living in NYC?

Sara Batkie: I’d say that the biggest advantage by far for writers in NYC is the literary community here. It’s not just that many great writers make their home in the city or that so many MFA programs are here; it’s that there’s always something literary going on. Almost any night of the week you can go out and find great readings at bookstores and event spaces like The Center, where you can hear from and meet your favorite authors or discover a new, exciting voice. While a large part of being a writer is sitting in a room and getting the work done, equally important I think is going out into the wider world and meeting the other people who are doing the same work you are, getting to know them and what they’re writing too. Often a writer will find his or her first great supporters, and eventually lifelong friends, this way. There are other great cities where this happens obviously, but New York has sheer volume on its side.

Continue reading

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Apply to the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices

Posted by December 16th, 2014

Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT VoicesThe Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices is a one-week intensive workshop in fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, playwriting or poetry for LGBTQ writers. Hosted by the Lambda Literary Foundation, it is an amazing chance to learn from the LGBTQ writing community. Tony Valenzuela, Executive Director of Lambda Literary, shares what to expect in the Retreat and how you can apply. The application deadline is January 5, 2015!

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Lucy Silag: Tell us about Lambda Literary as a whole–what are some of the main goals of the organization, and what’s your role within it?

Tony Valenzuela: I’m the Executive Director of Lambda Literary.

I’ll start by telling you our mission: “Lambda Literary believes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published and read.”  Our programs – the Lambda Literary Awards, the Lambda Literary Review, LGBTQ Writers in Schools, and the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices – serve emerging and established writers, readers of all stripes looking for the next great book to pick up, librarians and booksellers interested in stocking their shelves with the best contemporary queer literature, publishers who want their titles reviewed and to win awards, and students who want to discuss queer literature in their classrooms. No other nonprofit organization in the world does as much to advance LGBTQ literature. Continue reading

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Book Country Will Be at BoucherCon 2014!

Posted by November 11th, 2014

BoucherCon 2014 websiteI’m really looking forward to participating in BoucherCon 2014 in Long Beach, California, this week! If you are around on Thursday, come to the Book Country panel, where I’ll be showing Mystery and Thriller writers how to use Book Country to make their books better at the same time as they are finding their audience. This is a great chance to start building your author platform and online profile!

Lucy Silag photoHow Online Workshopping Gives Writers an Edge in a Crowded Market

Thursday, November 13th, 4-5pm, Hyatt Regency Conference Center, Seaview A

Book Country is Penguin Random House’s online writing and publishing community where thousands of mystery and thriller writers connect to get feedback on their books. Whether you are self-publishing or seeking a traditional book deal, your book is up against stiff competition. How can you improve your work, present it successfully to readers and the publishing industry, and grow your fan base? Please join Lucy Silag, Book Country’s Community and Engagement Manager, for a candid discussion about how online workshopping helps writers to hone their craft and improve their sales success rate once they publish. Go beyond social media to grow your online platform and achieve your writing and publishing goals.

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