Category Archives: Uncategorized

Top Rated Books on Book Country

Posted by January 20th, 2015

Top Rated Books on Book Country

Top Rated Books on Book Country

A new set of Top Rated books is featured on the Read and Review page. We are excited to share with you the books that garnered great positive feedback! Continue reading

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Great Waiting to Be Discovered Titles!

Posted by October 9th, 2014

WTBD October 2014 We’re excited to share with you 10 new manuscripts featured in the Waiting to Be Discovered section! We’ve selected a great mix of genres, including Young Adult, Science Fiction, and Nonfiction. Be sure to leave awesome feedback!

If you are wondering what’s the best way to leave feedback on another member’s manuscript, this blog post can help: Dos and Don’ts for Giving Feedback on Book Country Continue reading

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5 Considerations for Sequel Writing by Hillary Jacques

Posted by September 10th, 2014

Hillary Jacques on sequel writing

Welcome Urban Fantasy author Hillary Jacques! Hillary has been a Book Country member since 2011, workshopping THIS IS DALTON and BROKEN IN. Her new book, CARNIEPUNK: RECESSION OF THE DIVINE, will be out in December and is published by Simon and Schuster. Hillary shares advice on sequel writing. 


Writing a first novel is like going on a carnival ride in a foreign language. Even when you think you know what’s happening, there are these moments of pure discovery where you round a corner and find a ghost town or a nemesis long thought dead. It’s almost magical. And then comes the sequel.

Writing a sequel isn’t as simple as getting in line for the ride again. Nope. The author boards, ticket in hand, but instead of bumping along a familiar set of tracks, there are all these considerations to deal with. Details, development, and continuity. Half of them have been explained before, and the other half have changed. So what do you do? Continue reading

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Feedback on THE KINGS OF CARNIN: Rise of Ari by Dan Croutch

Posted by July 23rd, 2014

THE KINGS OF CARNINDan Croutch has been a Book Country member since finding us during NaNoWriMo 2013. Always a helpful and supportive community member, Dan can often be found on the Book Country discussion boards or chatting with us on Twitter.

In April I wrote to all of the Book Country newsletter subscribers that I would read anyone’s book who wanted me to. The only catch was that the member had to have done a significant revision and reuploaded a new draft for me to read. Dan took me up on my feedback offer for his High/Epic Fantasy novel THE KINGS OF CARNIN: Rise of Ari.

THE KINGS OF CARNIN stars a young blacksmith named Ari. The son of the king’s foremost weapons maker, Ari is granted an audience with the king after his father’s death. During this meeting, he’s compelled to fight an emissary named Raden to the death. Unexpectedly defeating Raden means that Ari is transformed from a civilian artisan to a commander in the army overnight.

What’s working:

Dan’s prose is varied and flows easily–this was my favorite part about reading THE KINGS OF CARNIN. You can tell he is taking time to begin his sentences in different places, crafting each paragraph so that it avoids repetition and redundancy.

I am appreciative of the straightforwardness of KINGS OF CARNIN. It’s good old-fashioned storytelling that doesn’t confuse or alienate the reader. The linear way he has structured his book is appealing and will be accessible to readers of all ages. Furthermore, I think that fantasy often benefits from a straightforward narrative like this one: It makes the reader’s passage into the fantastical realm much more seamless, and it highlights the innovative details Dan has created as part of the worldbuilding process. Continue reading

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Ask an Agent: Ryan D. Harbage Answers Your Questions!

Posted by July 22nd, 2014

Book Country Ask an AgentWelcome to Part III of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Ryan D. Harbage of The Fischer-Harbage Agency answers your questions about re-querying agents, social media, and what to submit to agents. Read Part I and Part II of “Ask an Agent.”


1. In today’s market authors are very involved with promoting their work via Twitter and Facebook. When looking over a query, do agents look at the author too and evaluate their networks? Does this have any weight?- Danielle Bowers

When it comes to nonfiction, one’s platform is a big deal. Social media is less impressive to me than an established following in traditional media—print, radio, television and/or film. And authority and expertise are even more important, most of the time. Twitter and Facebook followers usually don’t impress publishers unless the writer has a celebrity-level, or near-celebrity-level following. I encourage my clients to spend more time writing than promoting. The work is always the most important thing. Continue reading

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Upload Your Travel Writing To Book Country

Posted by April 23rd, 2014

We’ve been talking about going places for the last couple of weeks, and we’re interested in reading about all the places you go.

Travel books are more than just facts and data on the page; they share with the reader the writer’s unique point of view of where they’ve been and why. Our favorite travel writing usually has a narrative arc that gives the reader a story to embark on from his or her armchair.

We want to see more travel writing on Book Country. If you’re working on a travel book, upload it now.

Please share with your friends, too, so that we can all go on the journey together!


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The Top 3 Entries from Our About the Book Contest

Posted by March 26th, 2014

winner-about-the-book-contestThanks to all who entered the About the Book contest on Book Country! We’ve deliberated and are ready to announce the winner. But first, we have our judge, Berkley copywriter Carly Hoogendyk, workshop the top three book descriptions. Her dissections are a great way to polish your copywriting skills! Carly wrote a fantastic back-cover copy writing guide a while back — be sure to check it out if you missed it before!


Runner-up #1

fishing-for-hopeFISHING FOR HOPE by William Byers

This novel is a love story set in the south that derives from the perspective of three brothers. A tragic car accident occurred on Christmas Eve and claimed the lives of their wives. Each brother, living their separate life, must find a way to cope individually as well as find the strength to continue raising their daughters. This is a story that touches on brotherly love and will fully define the true meaning of what a father-daughter relationship can be under extraordinary circumstances.

First of all, based on the content of this copy, this sounds like a touching story and a worthwhile read. Unfortunately, the style of the copy suggests that it might not be told in the most compelling way. My biggest pointer is to give specific examples and details instead of just presenting the content. When it comes to book copy, the storytelling begins NOW.

That said, always include specific details like your character’s names. The story essentials will vary from case to case, but you will want to consider including character particulars like a hometown, job, foibles, and personality traits.

One unspoken rule of professional book copy is to not overtly refer to “this novel” or use the phrase “this is a story about.” In the same way that creative writing suffers imaginative losses when an author “tells” rather than “shows,” your copy ought to illustrate the characters/events/setting of your story, rather than coldly present the facts about the book you wrote.


This novel is a love story set in the south that derives from the perspective of three brothers.


On Christmas Eve in a small southern town, three brothers lost their wives in the same tragic car crash.

Instead of using the phrase “told from the perspective of…”, a fun trick to use in copy when a novel is told from the POV of multiple characters is to devote separate copy to each of those characters’ stories, suggesting that the story will focus on specifically one person’s desires, challenges, etc. If all three brothers have their own storyline, it’s important to give detailed insight into what makes their stories (and potenitally their voices) different.

(For a great example of how to suggest alternating POV’s in copy, take a look at copy for nearly any romance novel.)

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Book Country’s Rebecca Hamilton Reaches International Audience with THE FOREVER GIRL

Posted by November 7th, 2013

Rebecca Hamilton author photoWe are so excited for Book Country member Rebecca Hamilton and all the great stuff that is happening with her Top Rated Book Country book THE FOREVER GIRL. Published in the US by Immortal Ink Publishing, Rebecca recently shared with us the happy news that her book has been translated into both German and Hungarian, and is now for sale in both of those countries. (In Germany you can find DAS EWIGE MÄDCHEN from Mira-Taschenbuch/Harlequin-Darkiss; and in Hungary, AZ ÖRÖKLÉTŰ is published by IPC Mirror Könyvek. and sold on Könyvtündér.) We caught up with Rebecca to find out more about how she’s finding an international audience for her books.

Congrats on publishing FOREVER GIRL in both Germany and Hungary. What a milestone for you as an author! Will you shed some light on the intricacies of foreign publishing: What was the most exciting part of the publishing journey, and what surprised you the most about how things work abroad? Das Ewige Maedchen.

Thank you! There’s so much involved and, at the same time, my agent made it very easy. He found me the deals, sent them to me, we discussed, I signed, they paid me, and we moved on! The publishers there are very hands on, too, and move FAST. It feels like my Hungarian release happened in the blink of an eye! I talk to the my publishers sometimes, and they give me support in marketing overseas. DARKISS (Harlequin) in Germany has even arranged for me to have an article published in a major magazine over there, and they have had huge two-page advertisements out in the book fairs. They are very kind to their authors.

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Memoir Writing: Find The Past – Advice from Beth Kephart

Posted by October 10th, 2013

handling_the_truthFINALThis is a guest post by HANDLING THE TRUTH: ON THE WRITING OF MEMOIR author Beth Kephart. ~LS

Earlier today my niece, Julia, and I opened the door to my father’s attic, where a single box among many boxes bears my name. I had agreed to help Julia with a school photography project—to search, with her, for elements from my past that would somehow explain who I am.

Letters were there—old boyfriends, a marriage proposal, a key-sized envelope containing the dust of some prom flowers. A postcard upon which each hand-inked letter was no larger than a sugar ant. Names: Tanya, Steven, Pierre, Rob. An evaluation from the library where I’d worked as a University of Pennsylvania student; the supervisor noted, in square boxes, that I’d been “excellent” in all things. I also read, however: Although Beth chats to her friends at the checkout desk for long periods of time, she seems to be able to continue working and be accurate.

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5 Must-Read Writing Guides from PNWA 2013

Posted by July 31st, 2013

5 Must-Read Writing Guides

As things were winding down at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference last Saturday afternoon, I took a spin through the on-site PNWA bookstore that had been set up by staff of the University Bookstore in Bellevue, Washington. The table that I spent the most time oohing and aahing over was the “Writing Guides.” There were so many, and what surprised me the most was how many I hadn’t read yet. It’s moments like this that remind me of the amazing work that booksellers do: curating displays like these, making sure that interested readers will easily find the books they really, really need.

Here are the 5 books from the University Bookstore display that I plan to read ASAP!

BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott

My dad actually gave me a copy of this book when I was fifteen, and spending most of my time obsessively recording my teenage thoughts into one of many spiral-bound journals. I adore Anne Lamott’s other work, in particular her essays about faith, but I shame-facedly admit that I never read the copy of BIRD BY BIRD my dad gave me all those years ago. Must remedy!


I’ve not yet read his work, but Walter Mosley strikes me as a wise, wise man. This book is safety orange and very slim, the combination of which tells me that it urgently needs to be read, and soon.

ON WRITING by Stephen King

The University Bookstore staffers told me that every year, they bring a ton of copies of this book to the PNWA Conference. Invariably, one of the panelists will mention this book in a conference session, and immediately after, everyone will race down the hall to the bookstore to pick up a copy.

WRITING DOWN THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg

Okay, I’ll be honest: I actually have read this, and fairly recently. But when I saw the familiar cover at PNWA, I felt a longing to read it again. Goldberg’s is an almost yogic approach to the writing life: she calls her method a “writing practice.” This is a book to be read again and again (and again).


There’s my real life as a writer (think pajamas until five pm, hourly breaks to post my word count on Facebook, etc.). Then there’s my fantasy life as a writer, which includes a Woody Allen-style Manhattan apartment stocked to the gills with books just like this anthology edited by the brilliant longtime New Yorker writer. When I imagine myself sitting down with this book, I suddenly look just like Diane Keaton in 1978, and when I’ve finished, my writing will be witty, incisive, and immensely intellectual. If that doesn’t happen, at least I’ll have spent some quality time in the hands of one of America’s great contemporary thinkers.

So, now I’m wondering: Who in the Book Country community has read these books, and which should I read first?


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