Writers, Fare Thee Well

Posted by March 27th, 2014


Dear Book Country members (Hi guys!!),

Being the Book Country Assistant, and later Coordinator, was my first full-time job. It was my first time working in a big office, having my own desk and a group of people to call my team. But of course it was a lot more than that. Few people are as lucky as I have been to be able to call their job a vocation, a passion, something to get excited about doing every day.

Not only have I always been a book lover and devourer – one of those nerdy kids who lies about having homework to her friends just to be able to finish an engrossing book – but I have also felt incredibly passionate about helping writers believe in themselves and muster the courage to shout out from the rooftops, “I am a writer!”

While I am not a long-form writer myself (although I hope to become one and trust that you will welcome me with open arms and review my work-in-progress), I’m no stranger to feeling self-conscious about language. English is not my mother tongue, so the past eight years in the U.S. have been an uphill battle of proving to other people and, most importantly, to myself that I deserve to call myself an English major, a writing tutor, a graduate literary student, a publishing professional, a copywriter, a blog writer – a Writer!

I may never completely shake off the feelings of self-doubt, but that is not the point, I’ve come to realize. The point is to know to keep going – despite it – keep reaching for what may now seem impossible but be within reach one day. That is the fate of the writer – to write and re-write thousands of words with no reward in sight but the release of having expressed oneself, having let it all out on the page.

Over the past two years, I have witnessed Book Country members tear up a much-labored over draft to start over from scratch the next day. I’ve seen you get over a harsh review, a writer’s block, a creative rut, a rejection letter, the dismissive voice in your head. After a fall, I’ve seen you get back up, shake yourselves off and go back to the keyboard. This relentlessness has been mind-blowing to observe. Whenever I get my own pangs of self-awareness, I think about what all of you put yourselves through every day to write your daily count, to plot, revise, edit, workshop, tweet, and promote. I am so proud to have been part of that process in some small way. If I have managed to encourage you and comfort you during your almost-Sisyphean labor, I consider myself lucky.

It’s therefore with bittersweet sadness that I’m announcing that I’ll be leaving Book Country to start a new stretch in my own journey. Next week, I will be joining the Digital Marketing team of the Vintage Books and Anchor Books to engage with fellow readers and promote the work of authors I respect and admire. Most of the conversations I have had with you have been online – via Twitter and Facebook posts, private messages, emails, peer reviews, and discussion comments – and it is in the same online arena where I’ll be talking to readers and helping them discover new voices and old masters. Without the dialogue I’ve had with you on Book Country, I would not be here today, about to embark on yet another book conversation.

I want to offer special thanks to the Book Country members whom I’ve interviewed for the member spotlight; it has been an honor to be let into your inner writing sanctums. Thank you!

Thank you all for teaching me so much about genre fiction, dragons, technobabble, time travel, sexy sidekicks, dialogue tags, character development, writing, fandom, working your hind off, friendship, community, and being a person.

Let me end this not-quite-goodbye with my favorite Book Country sign-off:

Happy reading and writing! See you on the site.


BKL: –Nevena, thank you for all that you’ve done for the Book Country community. We’ll miss your tireless dedication, your great ideas, your insightful comments, and your lovely, lovely laugh. The Vintage and Anchor team is lucky to have you. -Brandi.

Say goodbye to Nevena on the discussion forums.

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