Tag Archives: Book Country 2.0

Guideposts for Writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Posted by August 21st, 2013

One of the biggest additions to the Book Country Genre Map is Young Adult Fiction, on the east side of the map. If writing Young Adult Fiction interests you, by all means, explore it!

Young Adult is a genre rich with innovation, and by reading and reflecting on recently published Young Adult titles, we can learn a lot about good writing of any genre.

Over the next two weeks, I’m going to be sharing some approaches to writing Young Adult Fiction, especially Young Adult Contemporary. To go along with the Genre Map metaphor, I’m calling these suggestions “guideposts.” They aren’t rules. Instead, I’m imagining myself coming upon various crossroads in my Young Adult writing, and needing to make choices about the path I want to take through this area of the Genre Map. The guideposts are there to—you guessed it—guide those choices, with the ultimate goal of writing my best Young Adult Contemporary book.

Here’s the first:

How contemporary is contemporary in YA fiction?

Young Adult Contemporary Guidepost #1: How contemporary is contemporary?

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Connecting with Members on Book Country

Posted by August 20th, 2013

Connecting imageOne of the aspects of Book Country that we’re most excited about is the expansion on what it means to connect with one another on the site.

Before, you could “Follow” as well as “Connect” with other members on the site. When following a member, you would receive updates on their site activities, such as uploading a new book or responding to a discussion, but you wouldn’t be able to see those members’ connections or the books that they were following, or even read their full manuscripts. Most importantly, the person you were following wouldn’t know that you were interested in building a connection with them. We wanted to change that so members could seek more meaningful relationships with each other.

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#BCReadalong: Reading THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Like a Writer

Posted by August 18th, 2013

perks readalong draft 2One of the things we want to try with Book Country 2.0 is having a “readalong” every couple of weeks. What we envision is not just a book club (though I do love a good book club!), but rather reading a specific book as a community, from a writer’s perspective.

So what does it mean to read a book as a writer?

It means that we won’t just discuss what we like or don’t like about the book (though that’s fair game, of course!). We’ll also talk about the book as if the author was a Book Country member posting the manuscript for feedback. We’ll analyze what works and what doesn’t work in terms of structure, prose, dialogue, pacing, voice, and characterization. We can also talk about how this book was published, and what went into making it successful. Writing and publishing issues big and small will be up for debate, and the more people who join in on the conversation, the better!

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Book Country adds a personalized news feed and other new features!

Posted by August 12th, 2013

Today we unveil another new feature for the Book Country community: a personalized news feed.

Here’s what you can expect to see in your news feed:

  • A Book Country member gives you feedback on a manuscript you’ve posted.
    We know how much courage it takes to post your work and how valuable it is to receive member feedback. You’ll see who gave you feedback and a link to your manuscript.
  • A writer posts a new version of a manuscript that you’ve reviewed.
    You took the time out to give feedback to another Book Country member. As soon as that person uploads a new version, you’ll see it appear in your news feed so that you can read it again and see how your support has helped that Book Country member.
  • You have a new connection.
    Book Country is a a community. We believe it’s important to seek out other writers and support each other through the writing and publishing process. When you connect with another Book Country member, you’ll see that you’re connected, as well as that person’s photo and a link to his or her profile.
  • Someone posts in a discussion board where you have a subscription.
    Stay up-to-date with the conversations that matter to you. Subscribe to the discussions you care about and you’ll see when another Book Country member posts in that discussion, as well as that person’s picture and a link to take you to the start of the conversation.

Is your news feed empty? Connect with other members. Give people feedback. Share your work. Subscribe to discussions. It’ll quickly fill up with the news that matters the most to you.

An Explanation
Some members have asked why do we have multiple pages: a home page, a dashboard, and a profile? We wanted to explain our thinking about the design.

When you’re logged in, the home page (where you see the news feed) is the place for you to see everything that’s going on around you in the Book Country community. You’ll see the activity in your news feed, as well as be able to keep track of the books you’re following and manage a list of your discussion subscriptions. Because it’s the hub of information around you, we designed it as the home page. You can get to it from anywhere on the site by clicking on the Book Country logo in the upper left corner.

Your dashboard is the place where you work on your book projects. Whether you’re polishing a manuscript (or two or three or four!) or publishing an eBook, your dashboard is where to go when you’re ready to create. We made this its own page for a couple of reasons. One, we know that work takes focus and wanted to build that into the design of the site. Two, while you may be thinking about your book all the time, we understand that you’re not making adjustments every single day. That’s why we put it by itself — and it’s always easy to access from the Read and Review menu on the left.

Finally, there’s your profile page. This is the place for you to tell people about you. The profile page is where other Book Country members come because they want to know more about you. Your profile is where people see your name, bio, and put a face with the name. It’s where people can see the manuscripts you’ve shared and the feedback you’ve given to others. It’s where other writers can see your favorite writers and books, and most importantly, where members can connect with you — on Book Country, and in social media, if you choose to add links to Twitter or to your website. We designed this as its own page because you know all about you, and it’s the place for others to get to know you as well. Your profile is always easy to view and edit from the Connect menu.

Another New Feature
We made another big change based on Book Country member feedback:

Persistent login. This is a fancy tech term for being logged in until you decide to log out. When you log in, there’s now a box that’s checked by default. It keeps you logged in, even if you close your browser.

If you’d prefer to login with your email and password each time you visit Book Country, simply uncheck the box and you’ll be able to do that.

Note: If you come to Book Country from two computers, say your home and work machines, you’ll have to login twice. The same is true if you use both Firefox and Chrome. (It’s because the login is based on your browser’s cookies. That means if you clear your cache, you’ll need to login with your email and password again. If your internet connection drops, you may also need to login again. If you have a machine that doesn’t accept cookies, you’ll need to login with your email and password each time to you come to the site.)

And a Fix

We’ve been squashing bugs as they’ve come up, but we wanted to let you know about a big one:

When you came to Book Country from an email, and you weren’t logged in, sometimes you’d get a white screen after logging in. We’ve fixed that problem so it shouldn’t trouble you again.

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Book Country is now live!

Posted by July 24th, 2013

I’m happy to announce that the new Book Country platform is now officially out of beta. Yay! Throughout the beta period, we’ve been reading your feedback and have been moved, saddened, and overjoyed at the reactions we’ve seen from you as we’ve worked to improve the site, fix bugs, and add features that matter most to you.

Today when you visit the Read Book Country bookstoreand Review section of the site, you’ll see that we’ve added a Book Country bookstore! This is the place to support your fellow community members who have chosen to publish with Book Country.

Next week, we will reinstate the ability to follow books and discussions.

In August, you’ll see a news feed, similar to LinkedIn or Facebook, where you can easily keep track of the writers, books and discussions that are important to you.

We know we have more work ahead of us. We’ll continue to fix the bugs you’ve reported just as we’ve been doing over the last few weeks.

On behalf of the entire Book Country team, thank you for caring so much about this site. If you need anything, please email me at brandi at bookcountry dot com, and I’ll be happy to help you.

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Taking the “Read & Review” Plunge on Book Country

Posted by July 12th, 2013

My first couple of weeks at Book Country can be defined in one word: NEW. New faces (meeting all the people who work so hard to make Book Country the best writing and publishing community on the web), new vocabulary (“back-end,” “interface,” “populate,” are becoming things I regularly—and proudly!—say all the time now), and new chances to connect with writers from all over the world.

As you may have seen, I’ve been treading into the discussion boards since I started as the Book Country Community and Engagement Manager. There is such a huge variety of conversations on Book Country, and they all have to do with my very favorite things: 1) Books I love and 2) How to be a better writer, one well-placed word at a time. Where else but on Book Country can you expect to see a thread having a high-level debate about the meaning of the word “humanity” (especially as it relates to The Walking Dead) just above a thread about which romance books have the best sex scenes?  These are just the kind of debates I like! And it is still super exciting when a member responds to my posts. (I have a feeling that thrill is not going to go away.)

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Site Updates in Response to Your Feedback

Posted by July 3rd, 2013

Hi everybody!

It’s been really fun to get to know the development team here at Book Country. We’ve been digging into your feedback together.  As you know, the new site is still under development, so your participation in the process has been invaluable. 

Just wanted to share some development news:

We want you to know that soon there will be a centralized logged-in homepage. 

After listening to your feedback, we decided to prioritize bringing back the ability to “Follow” books and discussions over other improvements. Our development team started working on this last night, and tells us that you’ll see this functionality back on the site later this month.  We’re also bringing over all the books and discussions that you were following prior to the site’s relaunch!

When we release the new version of “Follow,” you’ll see it appear on your new (forthcoming) logged-in homepage.  We will continue to build out the homepage in the coming months. With this, when you look at a connection’s profile page, you’ll be able to see the books they follow and their connections. 

Thank you for the feedback and your patience as we work to improve Book Country. Keep on giving us feedback on this discussion board—we really appreciate it!


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New Book Country Now Live!

Posted by June 24th, 2013

Great news! We’re live in public beta.

Book Country is the best online writing and publishing community.We changed the navigation so you can easily find what you want. You’ll see four main sections of the site: Read & Review, Connect, Learn, and Publish.

We brought over your books, reviews, connections, and profile so all you have to do is click the login button at the top of the screen. The first time you login, we’ll ask you to enter a new password. This is part of the integration process.

When you login, you’ll see that there are a lot of new features. We created an intro video to show you what’s new.

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The Young Adult Fiction Flag

Posted by June 21st, 2013

Welcome to Book Country, Young Adult fiction writers!

Young Adult Writing FlagWe wanted to expand Book Country to include young adult writers. There are quite a few of you on the site already – and we love your work – and wanted to give you a place to connect with each other and workshop your books.

Young adult books are oftentimes emotionally wrenching journeys for the reader. The protagonist straddles the divide between childhood and adulthood, gingerly making his or her way into the world.

Young adult books help teens weather that transition, but they also let adults revisit the stormy, exciting time of their high school years. These stories are not watered down versions of adult books but stand on their own as works of adventure and art.

Young adult writers, this flag is the banner under which you can gather your troops and spread your writerly wings on Book Country. Upload your book on Book Country now.



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Revealing the Science Fiction Flag

Posted by June 14th, 2013

Presenting the Science Fiction Flag!

ScienceFiction_ScifiOnce a writer chooses a genre on the map, it becomes a home. Science fiction writers, we wanted to give you a home that captures the immensity of the art that you create!

Science fiction seeks answers. It’s entrusted with the important function of imagining the future.

In some cases, it warns us about what might come to pass, projecting how human choice entwined with new technology could define—and possibly destroy—the world as we know it. It demands that we take into consideration ethical questions and issues to ensure that we preserve our humanity. Sci fi books serve a great purpose. Continue reading

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