Category Archives: Literary Categories

Alex Rosa: How I Designed My Book Cover for FAHRENHEIT

Posted by September 22nd, 2015

Happy book birthday to Book Country member Alex Rosa–her latest book, FAHRENHEIT, pubs today!

When I found out that Alex designed this gorgeous, sexy cover for FAHRENHEIT herself, I had to find out more. Alex explains her DIY approach to cover design below.

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Everyone says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” which is true, but you can’t help but “oohh” and “aahh” over an enticing one. Although we aren’t supposed to take a book at face value, it should still exemplify what the book holds inside at least a little bit, which is what we are all trying to go for as authors in this ever evolving world of publishing. Here’s how I designed my book cover.

Fahrenheit cover lo res

FAHRENHEIT (out today!) is my first leap into the erotica genre, and since it has some risqué subject matter I knew it was important for the cover to feel edgy, sexy, and forbidden. I have a plethora of tools to work with in Photoshop (an Adobe design program), but I knew I wanted an illustrated look to the cover rather than people or places. I wanted something more conceptual rather than realistic.

If you’re choosing to design the cover yourself there are many stock image websites where you can find illustrations and photographs to license.

Recommended stock image websites:

If you can’t find a stock image you like, you can also consider seeking out a favorite photographer that might have a photo in their portfolio for you to license for a fee. 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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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WRITER: Jessica Hawkins

Posted by September 15th, 2015

Today we’re following Book Country member Jessica Hawkins, contemporary romance author of The Cityscape series and the Night Fever serial), around San Francisco as she knocks an author signing event out of the park.

8:00am

1__writingToday is my 5th author signing in 2 years, the San Francisco Golden Gate Author Event, which mostly consists of writers in my genre, contemporary romance, and its subgenres, like paranormal or YA. It doesn’t start until late morning, so I squeeze in a coffee and few hundred words before I have to head over to the hotel.

10:45am

2_signingsetup

Set up takes about half an hour & I’ve been assigned an assistant, who helps me construct my banner and lay out my books. (I’ve brought 8 titles, so it’s harder than it looks to display them all.) Also on my table: my iPad, for my book trailer & mailing list, and to accept credit cards; tote bags, which are a great advertisement for an event like this; swag like rack cards, business cards, and buttons. 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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Member Spotlight: Catching Up with Alys Arden

Posted by September 8th, 2015

Alys Arden 8.8.2015It’s always wonderful to have Book Country member Alys Arden visit the blog. Today she’s here to update us on all the exciting things that are in the pipeline for her and her bestselling self-published young adult novel THE CASQUETTE GIRLS (originally workshopped right here on Book Country!).

Lucy Silag: We know you’re re-releasing THE CASQUETTE GIRLS with Skyscape (an imprint of Amazon Publishing) but we need more details! Fill us in on how it got picked up, what’s new, and when we can buy the new version.

Alys Arden: THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, along with its unreleased sequel, were both acquired by Skyscape early this year. They are re-releasing a new edit of TCG with a new cover (see below), which was just revealed last week! When I re-drafted the manuscript for Skyscape, my objective was to polish it up without changing SO much as to confuse people who don’t want to read the new version and wanted to skip to book two, but I wanted to add some exciting new things for fans who do want to dive into the new edit. As for what’s different . . . there are a few brand new scenes; my beta readers said Nicco is more sinister in the version. Oh, and there is a new layer to the curse! I really had fun focusing on the magic and the witches in this draft. There are a few more hints about things that will happen in book two, a few more clues. *wink* One of the scenes that I ended up totally re-writing, and had so much fun with, was Adeline’s fight scene in 1728. I’ll just say . . . it’s a bit bloodier, now. The pre-order went up this week, and the book will be released on November 17th.

THE CASQUETTE GIRLS
Continue reading

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Meet Putnam Editor Kerri Kolen

Posted by September 2nd, 2015

Kerri Kolen on Penguin.comSay hello to this morning’s blog guest Kerri Kolen, Executive Editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Putnam), the Penguin Publishing Group imprint that holds the record for more New York Times hardcover bestsellers in the last two decades than any other imprint. Kerri’s going to be one of the fabulously knowledgeable panelists on the Book Country panel at the upcoming Slice Literary Writers’ Conference talking about “Unconventional Paths to Publishing.” Below she shares insights on what sets apart the books she acquires for Putnam, and what she’s excited about publishing this fall.

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LS: You are in charge of the nonfiction program at Putnam, where you edit books on a huge variety of subjects (including lots of books by famous people!). For the non-famous writers of nonfiction among us, can you tell us what qualities will set a manuscript apart for you?

KK: From Word One, the voice will set a manuscript apart. And then pretty soon thereafter, I will be able to tell if the writing is singular or not, as well. Those two qualities are so incredibly important for obvious reasons, but also because those are the qualities that are very difficult, if not impossible, to teach a writer or tease out in an edit. After that, depending on the type of book, I will always look to the narrative itself. What is the story? Is it new? Is it something that readers will feel compelled to tell all of their friends about? And of course, a platform is always very helpful. You don’t have to be famous to build a nice platform–whether it be on social media, with a blog or website, with a brand, with a voice to a larger community in some way or another. And then attached to that: how engaged is the audience? I’d take a smaller but highly engaged audience over a tremendous number of less engaged readers every time. The platform is not essential (and we would look to help the author with building a platform in the months between acquisition and on-sale) but it certainly helps me value the project.  Continue reading

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WRITER: Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Posted by September 1st, 2015

Kicking off a new blog series here on Book Country is the celebrated New Yorker cartoonist and graphic novelist Marisa Acocella Marchetto. Marisa’s 2006 book, Cancer Vixen, was a huge critical success, and today her new graphic novel, ANN TENNA, comes out from our friends at Knopf. Kirkus Reviews said of ANN TENNA: “Zany with a touch of uplifting. You will be measurably hipper after reading it.” Marisa’s husband, Silvano Marchetto, is also the owner of the trendy restaurant Da Silvano here in NYC. Below she gives us a slice of a typical day in her busy writing life.

7:11am

fridge editedI got up and went to grab the one thing I need to finish my cartoons today, and GAH! No coffee. I need it just as much as I need my fine line Black Sharpie pen to rough out my cartoons.

7:35am

acocello desk editedAfter a trip to Jack’s down the street, I got back to the drawing board. (I have a new book, ANN TENNA, coming out. Look for subtle product placement throughout this post.) Continue reading

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COVER REVEAL + VIDEO: Andrea Dunlop, LOSING THE LIGHT

Posted by August 31st, 2015

Andrea Dunlop on Book CountryAs you know, Book Country member Andrea Dunlop‘s book was picked up by Washington Square Press (an imprint of Atria Books at Simon & Schuster) last fall. We’ve pretty much been in a perpetual state of celebration since then!

Today, we have lots of exciting updates for you on Andrea’s book, originally workshopped on Book Country with the title THE SOJOURN.

First off, THE SOJOURN has a new title: LOSING THE LIGHT.

Secondly, LOSING THE LIGHT will come out on February 23, 2016! You can already preorder it from retailers. Woo-hoo!

We’re also super excited to reveal the cover for LOSING THE LIGHT this morning! Check it out: Continue reading

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How Book Country Helped Me Land a Book Deal

Posted by August 25th, 2015

Please welcome Book Country member Audrey Greathouse to the blog! I met Audrey at the San Francisco Writers Conference on a panel designed to let conference participants practice their agent pitch before going to the formal pitch session the following day. Audrey’s pitch for her young adult novel THE NEVERLAND WARS was one of the best in the room: a modern retelling of Peter Pan featuring fourteen-year-old girl Gwendolyn, in denial about growing up. I knew that Audrey would be a terrific addition to our community because at the conference I saw that she is curious, kind, enthusiastic about meeting other writers, and, of course, very hardworking! Her great news this week is that all that hard work paid off: THE NEVERLAND WARS has been picked up for publication by Clean Teen Publishing. Read on to hear how Book Country was a big part of helping her land a book deal.

Audrey Greathouse's blog

From Audrey Greathouse’s blog, audreygreathouse.wordpress.com

So I got my contract signed, my forms filled out, and everything else tidied away and put in the mail last week. The good folks at Clean Teen have them now, and I just get to look forward to scheduling a video chat with the ladies in charge. I think it’s pretty neat that my publisher’s chief officers are all Texan women. That’s just neat. Who would have even conceived of such a thing fifty years back? The internet and twenty-first century are ushering in a lot of interesting change and putting a lot of power in strange geographical places now that anybody can be anywhere.

Which brings me to Book Country.

I am so lucky I found this website and had a chance to discover the possibilities of it while I was at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference six months ago (I can’t believe it’s already been half a year!) I hop around the west coast too much to regularly attend any writers group, but with Book Country I can be anywhere. It’s easy to log on and review manuscripts, and it’s so nice to know that mine is up and open to members for review too. I could not have made the revisions I did without the feedback of the Book Country community, and I feel so grateful to the people on that site who have made it what is it. Continue reading

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