Tag Archives: Book Country 2.0

We’re making some changes to Book Country this week!

Posted by October 14th, 2015

under construction 600 x 400This week we are hard at work making a few changes to Book Country. The site will remain up and you will have access to your dashboard, profile, the blog, the bookstore, and everything else you use on Book Country.

You can expect changes in the following areas of the site:

  • The “Learn” tab: You’ll soon see an expanded FAQ, as well as enhanced organization and navigation around this area of the site. It will be easier to find the help you need to write your best book on Book Country.
  • The “Publish” tab: This tab will be slightly reorganized so that it will be easier to find out about our packages and services.
  • The discussion boards: Our developers have been listening to your feedback. You’ll soon see member avatars in the discussion boards. You’ll also be able to click directly to a member profile from their discussion posts.
  • We also have a few small changes coming in the About Us and the header and footer on Book Country.

If you have questions or run into any confusion, just send us an email at support@BookCountry.com.

We can’t wait to show you how we have used your feedback to improve Book Country. Stay tuned for updates!

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New Notifications on Book Country

Posted by July 6th, 2015

You’re probably seeing a lot more activity on your logged-in homepage on Book Country this week. That’s because we’ve just launched several new notifications on Book Country that are designed to help you stay in the loop on all the exciting news happening within the Book Country community.


New notifications in the Book Country News Feed


New notifications in your Book Country Notification Center

Here’s a list of all the notifications you’ll get on Book Country:

  • When you have a new connection or connection recommendation
  • When your book in peer review has a new review
  • When there is a comment on a review of your book in peer review
  • When there is a new comment on a review you’ve written for another member
  • When a member follows your book in peer review
  • When a member uploads a new draft of a book you have reviewed
  • When a book you’re following has a new version uploaded or receives a new review
  • When a connection uploads a new book or a new draft
  • When a book you are following is submitted to be published

If you have questions about notifications on Book Country, send us an email at support@bookcountry.com.

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Book Country + Romance Writers = LOVE

Posted by May 2nd, 2014

welcome romance writersOne of our absolute favorite genres here at Book Country is Romance. Since our inception in 2011, romance writers have been flocking to our online writing and publishing community to learn about the craft of writing and the business of publishing in this ever-popular genre!

Romance writers will find lots of great resources on Book Country: we’ve got dedicated discussion boards where you can chat with other romance writers about everything from writing sex scenes to romantic cliches to how to plot the perfect romantic triangle. You’ll also be able to find fellow writers to meet up with at conventions and conferences (such as the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans, where Book Country is headed in a couple of weeks!). Explore the Genre Map to learn more about how Romance intersects with YA, Fantasy, Westerns, Women’s Fiction, and many other genres.

This blog is also a great spot to learn about what’s happening in the Romance genre. We’ve enjoyed guest posts and Q&As with some amazing traditionally published romance authors, including Maisey Yates, Christina Lee, Z.A. Maxfield, Roni Loren, Cara McKenna, and Savanna Fox. The blog is also where we’ve learned incredible tips for self-publishing romance books from our members Jessica Hawkins, Ellise Weaver, and Samantha Jane. Curious to learn more about Romance subgenres? Take a deep dive with our explanatory guides to Paranormal Romance, New Adult, and more.

Best of all, Book Country is a place where romance writers can read each others’ work. If you’re looking for romance eBooks to load on your e-Reader, head right over to the Book Country bookstore. And if you are looking for a place where you can read and review other Romance WIPs and get feedback on your own romance manuscript, the Book Country workshop allows you to upload drafts, collect reviews, and get tips from other like-minded romance writers.

Romance writers, please join our community!

Have you uploaded a new Romance project to Book Country? Be sure to announce it to the community here!

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How to Be Featured on Book Country

Posted by March 19th, 2014

Writers join the Book Country writing and publishing community because it’s a place where they can grow their audience of readers as well as get writing feedback. One of the ways we help writers connect with one another is by featuring books in different places on our site, highlighting books for members who are browsing for titles to read, review, and buy.

There are several ways to get your writing featured on Book Country.

If you have a book that is up for workshop in the community on Book Country, it can be featured on the Books page on Book Country in one of four carousels. We know that lots of members use the Books page to find new manuscripts to read and review.

Books page on Book Country

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Supporting your writing community: Be a fan!

Posted by February 19th, 2014

The most common question Book Country members ask me is: “How can I get people to read my book?”

be a fan

In the spirit of the 2014 Winter Olympics, I wanted to pose a challenge to the Book Country community. What would happen if we, as writers, embraced the fandom of authors as readily as fans worldwide embrace the Olympic Games?

Here are three ways to start:

1.    Go to readings at your local bookstore.

There’s no better way to see book publicity in action, and it’s a great chance to ask the author your questions about the process of completing a book and finding a publisher. And being a bookstore “regular” is a great way to learn about how books are marketed and sold in your community. (I’ve attended approximately 3 million author signings in my life, and still I learn something new about writing and publishing at every single event.)

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The Back Cover Synopsis: Writing Your “About the Book” with Copywriter Carly Hoogendyk

Posted by December 6th, 2013

Writing Your "About the Book:" on Book CountryWe are so pleased to have copywriter Carly Hoogendyk as our guest blogger this morning. Carly, a colleague of the Book Country team here at Penguin, is an expert in writing back cover copy for dozens of books in many genres. We all know how important that cover copy can be in selling a book, whether it is a physical book jacket you are reading or the “About the Book” entry on a eBook retail site. I asked Carly to apply some of her knowledge of book cover copy to what Book Country members are doing when they upload their books for peer review or to publish. Read her tips for writing your “About the Book” to attract and engage readers on Book Country.

Putting together a fantastic “About the Book” is a great next step for writers, whether you are just coming off a month of NaNoWriMo or preparing to self-publish.


Carly HoogendykI’m a Junior Copywriter at Berkley and New American Library. I read manuscripts for soon-to-be published novels across the full spectrum of genres—New Adult, Westerns, Cozy Mysteries, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Erotica, and Thrillers. Once I have a sense of the story, characters, and “what sets this book apart from the rest,” I write the snappy, three-paragraph persuasive book report that we all know and love: The Back Cover Synopsis.*

*Grammatically speaking, you’ll observe throughout this post my copywriter’s love affair with my favorite persuasive punctuation: ellipses, colons, the Oxford Comma, and—perhaps my favorite—the EM DASH.

I got into copywriting via fundraising. I became extremely adept at the 15-second elevator pitch by cold calling strangers to ask them for money to support the arts. (If you think writing book synopsis is difficult, trying hectoring strangers for their hard-earned dough during dinnertime.)

It was brilliant practice for what I do now: If I couldn’t engage their attention quickly and articulate my hook in an extremely short window of time, they’d hang up on me (and it happened… a lot). In the instances where I successfully got strangers to listen for long enough to actually fork over a buck or two (or a thousand), it was lively language, a confident tone, and fact-based persuasion that gave my argument the edge that won them over.

That being said, here are my basic tips for how to avoid a “hang up” when you’re writing descriptive copy for your book:

Know Your Hook(s)
In cover copy, the hook is anything that will make your story especially enticing to a potential reader. It can be the name recognition or awards won by the author, a clever turn of phrase which suggests the writing will be entertaining, or a cryptic suggestion that there’s something completely unexpected in store…*
*There’s something about the dot-dot-dot that reads like beckoning someone with a curled index finger…  Which, while creepy in real life, is fair game for effective book copy.
There’s something about your novel that makes it original and specific and intriguing to readers. That’s your hook. Working your hook into a tagline that opens your copy is a tried and true way to get a reader to continue on to the rest of your synopsis and, ideally, the first page of your book. Continue reading

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How to Fill Out Your Book Country Profile

Posted by November 20th, 2013

Book Country members are writers who come from all corners of the globe and all walks of life. They write in over sixty literary categories. Some are writing series of epic novels; others are perfecting each word of a short story. Lots of us are new to writing; on the other hand, many members draw from years of writing experience.

I also know that, like me, niclf loves JANE EYRE, and I know that she’s a Brit teaching English abroad. I know that DCLabs (hailing from Canada) works in IT and loves Fantasy and Historical Romance. I know Leonardo Ramirez is the author of Young Adult Steampunk and Science Fiction novels who’s favorite books are THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS and STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. Angela Donnell, whose book SYZYGY is an Editor’s Pick this month on Book Country, is a graphic artist who is learning Japanese.

How do I know so much about our members?

Because they’ve filled out their Book Country profile! And so should you.

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Member Spotlight: Meet Historical Fiction Writer Renee Gravelle

Posted by October 15th, 2013

Renee Gravelle Author PhotoOne of the very first books I read on Book Country was Renee Gravelle‘s WIP FIRES OF HALCYON. I am a sucker for well-researched, thoughtful historical fiction, and FIRES OF HALCYON is this and so much more. FIRES OF HALCYON is the story of four families living in the village of Fredonia, New York, in the mid-nineteenth century, right in the midst of intense social change–the temperance, women’s rights, abolitionist, and Spiritualist movements are in full swing all around these characters. Drawing on deep research into German immigration and American social reform of the 1800’s, Renee is in the process of drafting an historical novel that is warmhearted, intriguing, and just a little bit frightening. Read on to hear what Renee has to say about joining Book Country and working on FIRES OF HALCYON.

First off, what brought you to Book Country?

This summer, I met an author who’s writing about [the children’s author] Margaret Wise Brown. She told me about Book Country. I thought it was worth a try. Expecting an anonymous vastness in which being noticed would be difficult, I found a delightful cozy intimacy instead. The requirement that new members post a review before they can submit their own work for review guarantees their active and important participation from the start. And welcoming e-mails and invitations open up a banquet of connecting and discussion opportunities from which members can choose.

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Using the Book Country Discussion Boards

Posted by September 4th, 2013

The Book Country Discussion Boards are where members can talk to  each other about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. It’s a great place to start getting to know other Book Country members, and find all kinds of writing tools, tips, and food for thought.

But it’s much more than a writing resource: it’s where you can have real conversations with your fellow members—find encouragement, advice, or just have fun. The Discussion Boards are like the little cozy café where you can chat about anything from revision strategies to manuscript word count to just geeking out. Continue reading

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Young Adult Contemporary Guidepost #3: Genre-benders very welcome!

Posted by August 27th, 2013

guidepost 3 imageEver heard of a little genre-bending book called TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer? TWILIGHT took the publishing industry, and then the movie industry, by storm when the series launched a few years ago. Paranormal themes had indeed been dancing around YA lit for many years, but TWILIGHT was the book that took it to the mainstream, in an unforgettable way. Suddenly, readers from middle schools up through senior centers were declaring themselves “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob.” (One mom I know always jokes that she’s “Team Charlie”–you know, Bella’s single dad.)

What we’ve seen since TWILIGHT is that publishers and readers embrace genre-bending Young Adult fiction in a big way. Take the New York Times-bestselling SHIVER trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater: It’s YA Paranormal, but it has many of the the hallmarks of YA Contemporary as well. It definitely takes place in the contemporary world of small town Northern Minnesota. We go to high school with the characters, who wear jeans, backpacks, and rainbow-striped mittens. We ride in cars with them and eat candy and canned soup with them. Their cell phones ring. There’s nothing about this book that isn’t contemporary. It’s actually because SHIVER is so realistic that the haunting paranormal romance also works: once we as readers start to believe in the “real” world that Stiefvater creates in her fiction, we more readily accept the incredible plot twists that ensue (SPOILER ALERT: There are werewolves).

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