Remember in August when Putnam editor Kerri Kolen stopped by the blog and told us about books she was excited to publish this fall? Then you’ll likely recognize the name Hester Young–she’s the author of the supernatural thriller THE GATES OF EVANGELINE. Kerri’s enthusiasm for Hester’s writing is catching, and once you check out Hester’s debut, you’ll see why Putnam eagerly snapped up Hester’s next two books as well.
Here at Book Country, we’re excited to be giving away 3 hardcover copies of THE GATES OF EVANGELINE. Just in time for Halloween, this is a spooky read Publishers Weekly called “haunting, heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful.” Enter to win your copy here.
Read on as we spend the day with Hester, going behind the scenes of her life as a celebrated debut writer promoting her first book and hard at work on her second.Continue reading →
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 →
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is the author of BITTERSWEET, the New York Times Bestseller that exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong. All New York Times Bestsellers have great marketing behind them. But Miranda shares one book promotion idea that didn’t take off and what she learned from the undertaking.
When Crown bought my third novel, BITTERSWEET, in the spring of 2013, I decided to dedicate the year before publication to promotion. There were a lot of necessary (if unexciting) fixes to my author platform, from revitalizing an outdated website, to relaunching a defunct newsletter, to overcoming my shyness on social media. But my main promotional idea was something that enticed me: a website where women could share stories of the ups and downs of their girlhood friendships.
The driving force in BITTERSWEET is a passionate, dark friendship between college roommates Mabel and Ev. I’ve always been intrigued by that particular era in any female life before adulthood when the loves (and heartbreaks, and envies) of our lives are other girls. As I mentioned the book’s premise to friends and colleagues, a funny thing happened: these women would spontaneously share stories of their own complicated friendships. I heard tales of being saved from something perilous, of being unnecessarily cruel, of never getting to say goodbye when a best friend moved away. I was inundated with these beautiful, sad, funny stories, and I wanted to make a home for them. FriendStories.com was born. Continue reading →
I’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!
How 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.
Bouchercon 2014: Murder at the Beach kicks off November 13th in Long Beach, California. Bouchercon is one of the world’s largest crime fiction conventions. Dana Edwin Isaacson, Senior Editor at Alibi, shares what he his most looking forward to at Bouchercon.
Janet Umenta: What are you most looking forward to at Bouchercon 2014?
Dana Edwin Isaacson: During the e-publishing forum on Thursday, our Alibi authors are doing a virtual eBook signing, using our partner Autography. Interested mystery readers can meet our authors at the signings, get a personal inscription or photograph with the author, and then go and download their personalized eBook. As I’ve yet to see this incredibly cool innovation in action, I’m eager to get my own personalized eBooks!
I’m also excited to be meeting in person for the first time a few of our Alibi authors. When editing a novel, you develop an intimate relationship with the author’s viewpoint. It’s fascinating to meet in person someone whom you feel you already know.
JU: What new trends do you see in the mystery and thriller genres?
DEI: Cozies are selling well. In online strategies, novels with a female protagonist find it easier to win readers. Also, there seems to be an uptick of medical thrillers. Continue reading →
We’ve selected 10 new manuscripts to be featured in the Editor’s Picks section on the Read and Review page. This November, we especially wanted to highlight the great selection of mystery, thriller, and NaNoWriMo titles on Book Country. We hope reading and leaving feedback will help you in your writing journey! Continue reading →
I absolutely love Romantic Suspense, both as a reader and as the author of the “SBG” romantic suspense series. Writing Romantic Suspense is fun, but like any genre it has its own rules. Here are my top three guidelines for writing this genre, illustrated with examples from my new book, EXCHANGE OF FIRE, out today from Penguin’s InterMix imprint.
Develop Balanced Alpha Characters.
What do I mean by this? Simple, the hero and heroine should be equally matched. This does not mean the characters are perfect or they’ve suddenly become invincible. Rather, their strengths and weakness ‘fit’ together, allowing them to defeat the enemy and find their HEA (“happily ever after”) together. No one wants to believe a gun-toting Special Ops hero falls for the mousy seamstress who is afraid of her own shadow. Um, ew!
In EXCHANGE OF FIRE, Wraith (our heroine) is a kick-butt sniper of SBG’s Delta Squad who is on the run and hiding in a small town. Her match is our hero Casper Grady, former marine, successful business owner and Wraith’s boss. These two complement each other with their skills and training and they work together as equals to defeat multiple enemies on their path to happy ever after.
Create A Strong Storyline Conflict By Using Villains.
In a typical romance, the Storyline Conflict is based on the relationship itself; the hero and heroine’s lives prevent them from forming the relationship. In Romantic Suspense, the storyline conflict happens outside of the hero and heroine’s relationship. To accomplish this, Romantic Suspense has a villain (or in my case, multiple villains). These villains give the storyline intensity by raising the stakes and presenting consequences that affect more than just the hero and heroine. Will the hero and heroine stop the bomber in time? Can the hero and heroine get that vital piece of intel back to command post before the military is deployed? Continue reading →
Lucy Silag: Environmental thrillers–what a great genre! Have you always been a fan of them, and if so, how did you get into them? What environmental thriller writers have you enjoyed reading?
David Whitaker: Deciding to classify my book as an Environmental Thriller was one of the more difficult parts of writing the book. At first I thought it was Sci-Fi, but it was when I started reading the Book Country Genre Map, and started digging into sub-genres, and realized that Environmental Thriller was more accurate. But there’s still a Sci-Fi component to it that is only hinted at in the first five chapters. So I guess I’m not positive that it’s an Environmental Thriller.
Maybe I’ll end up re-catagorizing it down the road somewhere if I get feedback to that end. I don’t want to mislead potential readers.
That said, I think it’s hard to strictly categorize stories by the sub-genres. Continue reading →
Today we are talking to Book Country member John Franklin, whose book SIERRA OVERDRIVE is a June Editor’s Pick. Connect with John on Book Country, and read on to find out more about his book and how he’s using Book Country to write and revise a story that’s been thinking about for ten years.
Lucy Silag: How did you find out about Book Country? What made you want to be a part of the community?
John Franklin: I first heard about Book Country on National Public Radio. I’d had an idea for a novel that had been rattling around in my head for probably ten years. I decided that if I could write some of it out I could put it up on Book Country so people could read it. If it got good reviews I would keep working on it. If it got bad reviews I would at least be taking on a new challenge. I didn’t know if I had enough talent to write a story that people would want to read but I really wanted to try. Sometimes I’m still surprised I had the courage to put it out where people could read it. People I don’t even know! Continue reading →
The death of print is a fear that comes hand in hand with the rapid technological developments of our digital age, but in Alena Graedon’s THE WORD EXCHANGE, it has become reality. She presents a not too far-off future where over-reliance on smart digital devices impairs our ability to communicate—even think. What goes into imagining a world in which technology inhibits our thought processes? How about our speech patterns? We talk to Alena about THE WORD EXCHANGE’s “language in ruins.”
NG: THE WORD EXCHANGE is based in the recent future—and yet the death of print and the onslaught of sixth-sense digital technology have already tremendously changed the way people live. You had to coin new words and concepts that only exist in the futuristic sci-fi world of the book and think through how a language virus would change people’s speaking and thought patterns. Can you talk about that process of creating language in a novel about language?
AG: Language is really at the center of the book, you’re absolutely right. In some sense, it’s the hero of the story. Our relationship to language has been profoundly changed by technology, and I’ve been fascinated by the implications of inviting lots of beautiful, blinking machines into our lives, and of gradually relinquishing functionalities to them that we once viewed as fundamental to ourselves—decision-making, creating and interpreting things, communicating. Setting the book in the near future helped me explore what might happen when these processes have advanced just slightly, and how things could go really wrong.
A lot of the decisions I made in writing the book came from its focus on language. For instance, I always knew that lexicographers would tell the story. Dictionary-makers are especially attuned to words—to their diachronic evolutions over time, as well as to synchronic snapshots of what our living language means at any given moment. It was also interesting to have lexicographer protagonists because the publishing industry is changing so quickly, and the shift from print to a more fragile, ephemeral digital medium leaves us vulnerable to certain losses and threats. In the book, these include the hijacking and corruption of language, and also a disease, “word flu,” which makes communication nearly impossible, increasingly isolating and alienating its victims.