Tag Archives: collaboration

Write 53,000 Words This Summer

Posted by May 13th, 2013

Join The Summer Writer’s Club

106 days. 53,000 words. That’s The Summer Writer’s Club.

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Join us in a writing commitment of 500 words each day, from May 20 through September 2. At the end of the summer, you’ll have 53,000 words of your novel completed. Can’t do 500? That’s okay. You can commit to 250 and still get through a good chunk of the novel this summer.

How it works: Starting Monday, check in with your word count on a daily basis. Feeling inspired? You can post excerpts of your book as you write. Cheer each other on in our hangout.

The Summer Writer’s Club is the brainchild of author Sam Weller. He’s a new face at Book Country, but he’s the acclaimed biographer of Ray Bradbury, a Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson nominee, and an incredible teacher. He created The Summer Writer’s Club Facebook group. Stop by and say hi.

The Summer Writer’s Club is a lot of fun. It’s also a lot of work (the good kind!). Join us this summer to create your best book.

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The Elusive Author-Agent Relationship

Posted by January 19th, 2012

Author Laura Griffin and agent Kevan Lyon discuss how to build and maintain a strong author-agent relationship.

 twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteAlmost all writers who have publication aspirations have, at some point, queried an agent (or are planning to!). And sadly, a large number of those queries don’t get offers of representation. So when an interest agent reaches out, it’s not surprising that writers get excited and anxious to move forward. But it’s important to remember that just because you have an offer at represensentation, doesn’t mean he or she is the right agent for you. You have to be compatible with your agent on several levels and be willing to work through the bumpy patches.

What exactly are these “levels,” you ask? Just check out our January 12th, 2012 Twitter chat with author and agent team Laura Griffin(@Laura_Griff) and Kevan Lyon(@KevanLyon) to find out! They’ve been working together for five years and twelve books and have one of the strongest author-agent relationships I’ve seen. They also have some great tips regarding the best questions to ask a potential agent.

But first, a little backstory on our special guests…

Laura Griffin is a New York Times bestselling romantic suspense author. Since her first book published in 2007, Laura has been busy writing and developing her popular Tracers series, the fifth novel of which, TWISTED, comes out on April 17th. (Mark your calendars!)

Kevan Lyon is a founding partner of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. With a main focus on women’s fiction, romance, and young adult, she reps a number of clients and spends muchtime nurturing her relationship with each one of them. her background in book sales and distribution doesn’t hurt either!

Here’s a little preview of what our participants had to say on the topic:

@Laura_Griff: It is a bit like a marriage! Because it’s a partnership and you both have to be striving toward the same goal.

@KevanLyon: You want to try to get a feel for how they communicate, how often, how quickly. Their submission process, should you expect to hear from them during that process, how much information they share, etc.

@ColleenLindsay: Some writers are self-confident; some need a lot of handholding. An agent has to decide how comfortable they are with that.

@KevanLyon: When you recv an offer of representation make sure you are ready wi questions — make sure it feels right to you.

@Laura_Griff: Twitter and FB are great resources for [writers looking for the right agent]. Talk to other writers and hear what they think of diff agencies & publishers.

@allison_pang: Agent needs to be able to you give you the hard news as well as easy.

@KevanLyon: [The biggest mistake an author-agent can make is] not communicating honestly. I always want to hear from an author 1st if something is bothering them.

@Laura_Griff: Ask the agent what they like about your work. See if they seem sincerely excited. That’s important.

We’ve also posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles. Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start at the bottom and work your way up. Thanks to all who participated in this helpful chat!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

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Working with a Writing Partner/Team

Posted by December 7th, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (December 1, 2011)

Bestselling husband-and-wife team Ilona Andrews and editor Anne Sowards discuss the challenges of writing with a partner

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 Collaborating can be an amazing experience: you can take a project in directions you never conceived of before, you can get multiple perspectives to make a piece more relatable and realistic, you can divvy up tasks to focus your strengths, and so much more. But it can also be very difficult to work so closely with someone else in such a creative, traditionally solitary process. You won’t always see things the same way or have the same ideas of where a story should go. You might even have vastly different opinions on character motivation, for example. There are many areas where conflict could arise.


With this in mind, we decided to bring in one of the most successful writing duos today–Ilona Andrews (@Ilona_Andrews)–and Ilona’s editor–Anne Sowards (@AnneSowards)–to talk about their experiences.

Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife writing team–Ilona and Gordon. Together, they have written two New York Times bestselling urban fantasy novels, as well as a number of eBook originals.

Anne Sowards is the executive editor of the Ace/Roc imprint at Penguin Group, and works with bestselling authors like Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine,and many more, in addition to Ilona Andrews.

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the chat’s great discussion:

@Ilona_Andrews: The idea is not to compete but rather to create the best book possible.

@AnneSowards: Both author names are listed on the contract, i.e. “author x & author y, writing as author z.”

@Ilona_Andrews: We disagree frequently on characterization, but if it’s in the final book, it is a compromise.

@AnneSowards: I would be a bit more cautious (if approached by an agent with a writing pair) because it’s a more unusual situation, but love for the book overcomes fear!

@Ilona_Andrews: I don’t think the gnre matters that much. 🙂 It’s more what each of the partners brings to the table.

@AnneSowards: [It’s a] marketing decision [to use a pen name instead of both author names]. Less confusing for readers to have one name, and [for] UF, we wanted it to be female.

@Ilona_Andrews: Writing with a partner is very similar to working with the editor.


If you missed the chat, you can view or download the entire transcript as a PDF here. It will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start reading on the last page and work your way to the first page.

Thanks to all who took the time to share their experiences and ask questions.

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

Follow us on Twitter for more: @Book_Country 

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That Tricky Revision Process

Posted by September 22nd, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (Sept. 8, 2011)

New York Times bestselling author and editor team Rachel Caine and Anne Sowards talk about how to take a good book and make it great.

 twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteYou’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your first draft, and it’s finally ready. Well, kinda sorta. Now, you just have to revise. Whether you’re a writer getting feedback from a community like Book Country or from a beta reader, a contracted author getting notes from his/her editor, or the editor in question, it’s a tricky process.


Not only is it a complex process, but everyone approaches revisions differently. That’s why we decided to chat with a New York Times bestselling duo–author Rachel Caine (@RachelCaine) and her Ace/Roc editor Anne Sowards (@AnneSowards) to get their take.

Rachel Caine is the New York Times bestselling author of 14 adult urban fantasy novels, including the “Weather Warden” and “Outcast Season” series, as well as 11 young adult novels in her beloved “Morganville Vampires” series (and more!).

Anne Sowards is the executive editor of Penguin’s Ace/Roc imprint and has helped grow some of the most well-known bestselling SF/F authors today like Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, and Ilona Andrews (in addition to Rachel!). With 15 years of experience at Ace/Roc, Anne certainly knows her stuff.

With the tips and experiences they have to share, you might figure out what kind of reviser you are! Check out these gems from the chat:

@AnneSowards: If you feel the first draft is perfect, sit on it for a while and then look at it again.

@rachelcaine: If I feel strongly about keeping something, I am suspicious of why I do. Often, that’s what needs cutting.

@mbrucebarton: A good self-editing technique: reread & write down what you learn about your own plot/characters on each page

@mer_barnes: Read aloud!! Esp works with dialogue.

@Chumplet: I get rather excited to see edits. It gives my book an anchor. I’m no longer alone, playing a guessing game.

@AnneSowards: An author doesn’t have to fix the book my way. They can say, Anne, your idea stinks. How about this?

@rachelcaine: As a writer, you fear seeing the editorial notes, but the trick is take things one comment at a time, fix, move on.

@mbrucebarton: Sometimes small issues are symptoms of the larger issues so I recommend starting with the BIG ones

If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start at the bottom and work your way up.

Thanks to all who made this chat such a great success!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

 

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