I love trying new things. I love telling stories. I love working with different mediums. That’s how I started writing in the first place and how I came to make a book trailer for THE CASQUETTE GIRLS.
One of my favorite aspects of making the trailer was watching figments of my imagination turn into tactile objects. Whenever our production designer, Matt Whittle, would text me questions like “Okay, what does the altar at Vodou Pourvoyeur look like in your head?” I’d get really excited. First I’d send him any actual description from the book, and then he’d really dig into my head, “Tell me everything.” After I garbled everything out, I’d get a text a couple days later like, “Is a complete cat skeleton overkill?”
In 2005, I wrote a weird book. A really weird book that no one knew what to do with, including me.
My pigeonhole at the time was Historical Romance. I’d gotten a good agent, and she was shopping my novel. I was working on a follow up, but I didn’t want to write a story about dukes or balls. I wanted to write a novel about war and magic. So that’s what I did.
The novel that became STEEL AND SONG: Book 1 in the Aileron Chronicles flowed right out of me. My then-agent was baffled by it. It wasn’t a paranormal romance. It wasn’t epic fantasy. It was somewhere to the left of what was considered marketable: a dieselpunk romance with magic and war. A heroine who was mouthy and a hero who was a coward. In other words, never going to sell.
So I left the draft on a flashdrive (how quaint!) thinking that was that. I started working for book packagers, ghost writing several YA novels. My day job became very intense. Writing novels was taking a back seat, and honestly, the stuff I was writing wasn’t singing to me anymore. Even though I was the co-founder of a highly regarded writing community, my love for the industry and for writing had taken a beating. I needed to check out for a while. Continue reading →
We are so excited for Book Country member Jaycee Ford! Tomorrow she is publishing her first book, WATCHING FIREFLIES. We are so proud that workshopping the book on Book Country was a part of her amazing journey.
Since I was young, I always knew that I wasn’t exactly bred for a normal life, but my life was like every other kid. I grew up and went to college. I partook in all of the normal college things, but there was something that I just didn’t know. I graduated in History because I loved History. I got married in my mid-twenties. I got a dog. I loved my life, but life was still … normal. Something was missing.
One Saturday, my husband was out fishing, and I was reading most likely my hundredth book of year. We were being normal. I didn’t finish the book and couldn’t tell you what it was. I pushed myself off of the sofa and turned on my computer. I sat in front of a blank Word doc and a blinking cursor. In that moment, I became a seat of your pants writer. I didn’t know it then, but my publishing journey had begun.
The most successful writers are those willing to really listen to the feedback they get on their manuscripts, and then use feedback to revise. And then do that again, and again, and again, until their book is really ready for readers on a large scale. On Book Country, writing and posting new drafts to share with the community is how you can gain traction for your book, widen its audience, and ultimately, have a better chance of turning your book into a publishing success. Continue reading →
So excited to have my friend and fellow Book Country member Andrea Dunlop back on the blog this morning! I just read Andrea’s book, THE SOJOURN, and I was blown away by how good it was. Just as I was finishing the book, Andrea wrote to tell me that she’s signed with literary agent Carly Watters. If you haven’t yet checked out the excerpt of THE SOJOURN that is available to read on Book Country, I highly recommend that you do so ASAP!
Lucy Silag: Tell us what compelled you to write THE SOJOURN.
Andrea Dunlop: It was inspired by the time I spent in France as a student. Traveling abroad for the first time is an incredibly heady experience, it has a way of blowing open your perspective on life.
LS: How long have you been working on it? What is your writing and revising process like?
AD: I’ve actually been working on the novel off and on for twelve years now, if you can believe it. There have been many, many versions of the story but it always came back to the friendship between [main characters] Brooke and Sophie. I’ve gotten lots of feedback from different sources over the years that have helped me shape the book: fellow writers, agents, professors, I ended up hiring a developmental editor and I can’t overstate the difference that made. After you’ve been working on something for a certain amount of time, you lose perspective on it. It really helped me to just let go and be willing to do whatever it took to make the story better. Continue reading →
When it came to writing my recently self-published novel, SERAPHIM: GENESIS, daunting is the word that often comes to mind. Set in a world teetering on the edge of technological and medical evolution, GENESIS follows Jade Tetsumo, a disgraced Royal Marine haunted by a violent past and faced with a dangerous future when she is chosen to be part of the Seraphim, a six-man black-operations security force operated by the powerful Alighieri Bio-Solutions to protect the secretive and highly sensitive research contained there–but when a rogue geneticist forces the team into action, the past bleeds into the present and Jade realizes that the hardest battle to come might be from within.
The act of writing can be a harrowing and overwhelming task. Crafting characters, set pieces, events, histories, worlds, stories and plot; it can often feel like a titanic ordeal to get the ball rolling–and that’s just the prep work! Getting it all to work together is another story entirely and it’s something you won’t figure out until after you finish the first draft. When it came to my first write-up of GENESIS, there were bumps in the road but for the most part crafting that draft was organic and painless. After all, it was just my computer and I, content in the isolated flow of the creative stream. Continue reading →
At Girl Friday, we work with all kinds of folks who want to see their words in print. From first-time novelists to writers penning memoirs to companies who want custom materials to promote their brand, we offer clients the services, know-how, and support they need to get their books out there. Authors today face an exciting publishing landscape in constant flux, and we relish the chance to help them jump in with both feet and succeed. In that spirit, here are 5 things you should know about modern publishing:
1. You have lots of options
For decades, your only shot at getting your book into the hands of readers was to snag an agent who would (hopefully) get behind it and send it on to publishers. It was a daunting process with many gatekeepers between you and your readers. But with the advent of e-books and Print-On-Demand, the game has changed. The first step still is to write a great book; after that, there are many ways up the mountain, including small presses and self-publishing. It used to be over when the last house on your list said no. Now, it’s not over until you say it is.
Like it or not, books ARE judged by their covers. Having an eye-catching and attractive book cover can persuade more readers to read and review your book. Our free and easy-to-use Cover Designer can help you create a polished cover. The following step-by-step guide shows you how to use the Cover Designer.
Today we are talking to Book Country member Sherrie Petersen, whose book WISH YOU WEREN’T is a June Editor’s Pick. Connect with Sherrie on Book Country, and read on to find out more about her experience with beta readers, designing her own cover, and why she loves writing for middle graders.
Lucy Silag: Congrats on publishing your first book, WISH YOU WEREN’T. Tell us the story of how the book came to be, and how you brought it into the world.
Sherrie Petersen: I wrote the first page of this story several years back after watching stars with my kids one night. It was right before a writer’s conference where I had the chance to get feedback from an agent, an editor and an author. (Someone else read the page out loud, thankfully!) All three of them loved the voice, the setting, the mood that page evoked – they wanted to read more. That totally encouraged me to keep going. And despite many rewrites, the first page has stayed essentially the same. Continue reading →
Today we’re getting to know Book Country member DJ Lutz. His WIP on Book Country is a fun, fast-paced Cozy Mystery called THE APPLE PIE ALIBI.
Lucy Silag: How did you get started writing in the Cozy Mystery genre?
DJ Lutz: I started writing about six years ago, experimenting with different forms, genres and voices. Since mysteries had always been a favorite of mine to read, writing them came easier to me than other genres. I eventually drifted toward cozy mysteries because the style seemed to mirror my own life: somewhat fun with a twist of dry humor, not too much violence at all, and full of quirky characters. My life to a T, without the requisite dead body.
LS: Who are your favorite Cozy Mystery authors? What have you learned from reading their work?
DL: In general, I have always loved the intellectual process used by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; and I certainly enjoy the whimsical inventiveness of Agatha Christie. I suppose my slant toward the culinary mystery could be due to my quest of reading the entire Rex Stout collection. But of those, I suppose only Agatha would count as a true cozy writer. They all help, though, in that they have shown me it is possible to write a challenging mystery in such a way the reader doesn’t think about the format. They succeed in creating a world of characters that force us to keep turning the page! Recently, I have also started reading Diane Mott Davidson. She is an awesome scribe and very prolific in the culinary mystery sub-genre. I enjoy her books and have discovered it is possible, and sometimes best to break the rules! Continue reading →