Welcome Janice Peacock to the Member Spotlight! Janice recently published her first cozy mystery novel, HIGH STRUNG, A GLASS BEAD MYSTERY, Volume One of the Glass Bead Mystery Series. Janice is an award-winning glass artist, whose work has been exhibited internationally. HIGH STRUNG has earned stellar reviews on Amazon. Janice talks about how she got started writing cozy mysteries and the revision process. Connect with Janice on Book Country.
Janet Umenta: How did you get started writing cozy mysteries?
Janice Peacock: As a teen in the 1970s, I shopped the groovy bead stores in Laguna Beach, California, looking for treasures to make my own jewelry. I continued working with beads and making jewelry, and in 1992 learned a process called lampworking so that I could make my own glass beads. The first time I lit a torch and started melting glass to create beads, I knew that I was hooked. I’ve been making beads ever since, and designing jewelry with the glass components that I create.Continue reading →
Welcome to Part II of Book Country’s Ask an Editor series! Melissa Danaczko is an Editor at Doubleday, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Today, she talks about how to improve dialogue in writing, how marketability plays a role in selecting books for publication, and how editors deal with personal bias. Read Part I of Ask an Editor.
The most successful writers are those willing to really listen to the feedback they get on their manuscripts, and then use feedback to revise. And then do that again, and again, and again, until their book is really ready for readers on a large scale. On Book Country, writing and posting new drafts to share with the community is how you can gain traction for your book, widen its audience, and ultimately, have a better chance of turning your book into a publishing success. Continue reading →
This is Part IV of Book Country’s Ask an Agent Blog Series! Literary agent David Fugate of LaunchBooks answers questions about representing self-published authors and what he looks for in a writer. Check out Part I, Part II, and Part III of Ask an Agent.
1. Assuming the query letter generates your interest and the writing is strong enough in the chapters you see (and yes, that’s a big assumption), what kind of things do you look for in the writer’s personality? Or is the writer somewhat irrelevant when it comes to closing the deal with the publisher? – Steve Yudewitz
The writer is never irrelevant in any circumstance. I think any agent will always look first at the work, as if it’s not there on the page there’s not much an agent can do. Beyond that, I look for authors who I feel a strong connection to, as for me the relationship I have with my authors is a very personal one. I intentionally don’t have an assistant or use interns, and so every interaction with each author I represent is directly with me. I answer the phone, write the checks, negotiate the contracts and read the royalty statements, and I talk with my authors every step along the way so it’s important to have a great feel for working together. Continue reading →
Longtime Book Country member Marshall Maresca is back on the blog today to unveil the gorgeous cover for his first book, THE THORN OF DENTONHILL, which was workshoppped in the Book Country community and was picked up for publication by DAW Books. The book will go on sale in February 2015.
We are very excited about this! Congratulations, Marshall!
The gorgeous cover for THE THORN OF DENTONHILL by Book Country member Ryan Maresca. Read on to hear about what it’s like to finally be “done” with the manuscript.
“Done” is a tricky word in this business.
By which I mean, I was “done” with THE THORN OF DENTONHILL—the rough draft of it—in September 2008. Of course, that’s just a rough draft, so that isn’t done. Really, a year later, I had finished my edits and was querying to agents. Then it was “done”. Continue reading →
Welcome 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 →
Welcome to Part II of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Melissa Sarver White of Folio Literary Management answers your questions about the art of the verbal pitch, the etiquette of querying, and how to query when you’ve already self-published one book. Read “Ask an Agent” Part I.
1. What would an agent want to hear in a five-minute verbal pitch? – kjmiller
The purpose of a verbal pitch or query is simply to entice the agent as you would entice a potential reader (like with cover flap copy). It is not to tell me everything that happens in the book or give a synopsis. It’s a 2-3 sentence logline that should display tone, writing style, main character and major conflict – I should feel interesting, dramatic and full of energy (even if you aren’t writing a dystopian thriller!). Honestly, if you can’t pitch your book in 2-3 sentences, you don’t know well enough what you are writing. Continue reading →
Welcome to Part I of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency answered some of your questions that were posted on our discussion board and on Twitter. We hope you find her answers just as insightful as we did! Feel free to post any questions you would like to ask an agent on our discussion board, Book Country “Ask an Agent” Blog Series.
1. I have read that agents are far too busy to pick through the offerings on these sites (Book Country), yet several people here have announced that an agent contacted them after reading them on here. Which situation is closer to reality? – Mimi Speike
Today we are talking to Book Country member Sherrie Petersen, whose book WISH YOU WEREN’T is a June Editor’s Pick. Connect with Sherrie on Book Country, and read on to find out more about her experience with beta readers, designing her own cover, and why she loves writing for middle graders.
Lucy Silag: Congrats on publishing your first book, WISH YOU WEREN’T. Tell us the story of how the book came to be, and how you brought it into the world.
Sherrie Petersen: I wrote the first page of this story several years back after watching stars with my kids one night. It was right before a writer’s conference where I had the chance to get feedback from an agent, an editor and an author. (Someone else read the page out loud, thankfully!) All three of them loved the voice, the setting, the mood that page evoked – they wanted to read more. That totally encouraged me to keep going. And despite many rewrites, the first page has stayed essentially the same. Continue reading →
First, I created a list of agents based on some online resources and the suggestions of published folks. Each agent was ranked based on their success with clients.
I chose to send off a batch of snail mail queries first. My first rejection was exciting; a badge of honor. Now that I had it I felt I was truly well on my way to publishdom. The second was less exciting and the fourth was just plain discouraging. Querying agents is a really emotional process, one where every letter or email sent faces an astonishing battle of the odds.
One of my queries, the third to this agent I’ll admit, resulted in a “partial.” This is where the agent wants to see the first chunk of the manuscript. Huzzah, finally people can see my work! That’s what I had been saying all along – “if only they could read this.” That rejection was particularly sobering and quite a setback. Thankfully, some feedback from Book Country members came in shortly thereafter and restarted the passion for my work. Now I can hardly wait for an agent to request my first “full” – the whole manuscript – and maybe even representation! Continue reading →