Tag Archives: Girl Friday Productions

Book Country will be at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2016!

Posted by December 2nd, 2015

San Francisco Writers Conference 2015

We’re excited to announce that Book Country will be returning to the San Francisco Writers Conference in February 2016!

ThinkstockPhotos-478259118What: One of the best writers’ conferences in the country, with authors, agents, editors, and other publishing industry professionals presenting sessions catering to every aspect of writing and publishing. Featured speakers at this year’s conference include bestselling novelist Ann Packer (The Dive From Clausen’s Pier) and author and digital publishing expert Jane Friedman.
When: Thursday, February 11th-Sunday, February 14th, 2016 (Presidents’ Day Weekend)
Where: InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco, CA
Registration is still open! Find out more here.

Don’t miss the San Francisco Writers Contest, open to all writers, including those who are attending the conference. The entry fee is $35 and the deadline is January 8th, 2016.

What will Book Country be doing at the SFWC?

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VIDEO: 5 Golden Rules of Social Media for Authors

Posted by November 23rd, 2015

Watch now: Book Country member Andrea Dunlop, social media and marketing director for Girl Friday Productions and author of the novel LOSING THE LIGHT, shares the 5 Golden Rules of Social Media for Authors.

5 Golden Rules of Social Media for Authors

1. If you’re an author, marketing is part of your job.
2. Marketing is all about community.
3. Consistency is key.
4. Check your karma.
5. Do what you like.

Go here to learn more about how Girl Friday Productions works with authors like you, and check out more videos on the BookCountryTV YouTube channel.

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NaNoWriMo: Building Good Habits by Andrea Dunlop

Posted by November 9th, 2015

Nano cloudsLast week we posted about the awesome sweepstakes Girl Friday Productions is running for NaNoWriMo participants. As we kick off week 2 of Nano, we check in with Book Country member Andrea Dunlop (social media and marketing director at GFP and author of LOSING THE LIGHT, coming from Atria Books in February 2016) for tips on making the writing habit sustainable over time.

What do you need to make it as a writer? Talent? Ambition? Discipline? An enormous trust fund that allows you to quit your day job?

Sure, you need those things (okay, not the last one, but it couldn’t hurt). But whether your version of “making it” is getting through your 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year, getting a six-figure book deal, or anything in between, you definitely need good habits, because without them, none of the rest of these things will matter.

What I love about NaNoWriMo is that its very concept dispenses with any precious notions of what it means to write a book. NaNo does not concern itself with airy-fairy visions of the muse alighting on your shoulder and inspiring greatness; the only goal is to reach the word count. Technically this means that you could write the sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” five thousand times in a row and complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, though we all know that doesn’t end well for the author. (On a related note, if you ever find yourself saying, “You know, if only I could get somewhere really isolated and quiet where I didn’t have any other responsibilities, I could definitely get my novel done,” you should probably watch The Shining.) Continue reading

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Why NaNoWriMo?

Posted by November 4th, 2015

nano 2015 1Please welcome Kim Bridges, a writer who works with our friends at Girl Friday Productions in Seattle, to the blog this morning. Kim, like myself and others on Book Country, will be participating in NaNoWriMo. To celebrate, Girl Friday Productions is offering a really exciting giveaway: a grand prize of a free edit of your manuscript! Five additional prizewinners will receive a swag pack from Girl Friday Productions. Go here to learn more about the giveaway.

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With the changing of the seasons comes one of my favorite times of the year: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. NaNoWriMo takes place in November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. In addition to the word count, the ultimate goal of NaNo is to complete a draft. Parts of the draft will be bad (there’s no way to avoid it when you’re writing so much so quickly), however, you may surprise yourself with how much of it is good. But it doesn’t matter how much of it is good: what matters is that when you finish, you will have a completed draft of a novel.

I have participated in NaNo twice, and I took very different approaches both times. The first time, I used a plotline from a short story that I’d written. Having a solid outline helped me write a stronger draft, but I was unaccustomed to spending so much time writing every day; I fell behind on the word count and had to write 15,000 words over the final two days.

When I NaNo’d the following year, I didn’t really have any notes about the novel I was going to write; I had only a vague notion of characters and plot. I still fell behind on the word count, but instead of having to write 15,000 words in the last forty-eight hours, I only had to come up with 10,000. Part of the difference the second time around was that I didn’t care as much about what I was writing. My expectations were very, very low. Continue reading

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VIDEO: 5 Mistakes Every Writer Should Avoid

Posted by September 21st, 2015

Become a savvier author in 15 minutes!

In this video tutorial, editors Meghan Harvey and Christina Henry de Tessan share the 5 Mistakes Every Writer Should Avoid:

  1. Don’t forget your reader.

  2. Don’t fly blind.

  3. Don’t rush the process.

  4. Your editorial team is on your side.

  5. Don’t wait to build your audience.

Take a seat and get schooled on how you can avoid these mistakes as you work to reach your writing goals.

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COVER REVEAL + VIDEO: Andrea Dunlop, LOSING THE LIGHT

Posted by August 31st, 2015

Andrea Dunlop on Book CountryAs you know, Book Country member Andrea Dunlop‘s book was picked up by Washington Square Press (an imprint of Atria Books at Simon & Schuster) last fall. We’ve pretty much been in a perpetual state of celebration since then!

Today, we have lots of exciting updates for you on Andrea’s book, originally workshopped on Book Country with the title THE SOJOURN.

First off, THE SOJOURN has a new title: LOSING THE LIGHT.

Secondly, LOSING THE LIGHT will come out on February 23, 2016! You can already preorder it from retailers. Woo-hoo!

We’re also super excited to reveal the cover for LOSING THE LIGHT this morning! Check it out: Continue reading

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What Is a Developmental Edit?

Posted by August 24th, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-508609021Our guest blogger this morning is editor Christina Henry de Tessan of Girl Friday Productions, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at this year’s San Francisco Writers Conference. She’s here today to break down the nuances of the term “developmental edit,” something you’ve likely heard as you make your way from being a writer to being an author.

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Editing can serve as something of a catchall term that can refer to anything from tinkering with semicolons to removing entire characters or plot threads. This nebulousness can make it confusing to know what you’re even asking for when you’re in search of editorial help. In an effort to make the entire undertaking less opaque—and hopefully less daunting—here are some insights into that crucial first stage in the editorial process: the developmental edit.

Fiction

Character: For fiction, character is paramount. Your characters can be lovable, flawed, complicated, even loathsome, but no matter what, you’ve got to make us care about them. Do we see their vulnerable underbellies and darkest thoughts? Or are you keeping your characters at arm’s length? Does your main character have enough nuance to keep us interested, or is he/she falling flat or being a bit too predictable in places? Does your protagonist evolve over the course of the story? Do the characters feel real? Do we feel invested in their trajectories? Developmental editors are here to make sure your readers are compelled to hang out with your characters until the very last page.

Plot, pacing, and structure: Does the story feel rushed? Are you doling out information in a way that leaves us wanting to turn the page? Or does it drag right at the moment when we want resolution? Is there enough tension? Is the lush setting or history of the time period eclipsing the main plot? Are there awkward information dumps that could be woven in more naturally? Are there any holes? Are you making any problematic leaps in logic? This can seem obvious, but if you’ve worked on numerous drafts of a book, old material may no longer make sense with more recently added material.

Style: Although a developmental edit doesn’t usually focus extensively on the line (sentence structure, repetition of words or phrases, and so on), a dev editor will point out stylistic issues. One that comes up a lot is the classic “Show, Don’t Tell” edict. Writers will often do a fabulous job of showing and then undermine their own great storytelling by telling just to make sure they got their point across. So if young Rose blushes and averts her gaze when the boy she has a crush on approaches her, you don’t need to then tell us explicitly that she felt nervous. The dev editor is there to tell you that your scene can stand on its own two feet—and if it needs extra support, your editor will suggest fixes. Your dev editor will also look at voice and tone—is your dialogue sounding genuine or stilted? Do all the characters sound the same? Does their word choice accurately reflect who they are?

Memoir

With memoir, a developmental edit can be particularly helpful, as it is sometimes difficult for writers to transform their life story into a cohesive narrative comprised of discrete scenes. How do you choose what to tell and what not to? How do you integrate crucial background information in a way that feels seamless? Perhaps most importantly, how do you nail the voice from the very first page so that the reader is drawn into your story?

Nonfiction

Nonfiction is a bit of a different beast. If you’ve written a book on finance, character development is not your primary concern, and ensuring that the plot thickens at just the right moment isn’t relevant. But a developmental editor can work other kinds of magic with nonfiction. Below are some of the most frequent issues that come up with nonfiction.

Audience: It’s imperative that you know who you’re writing for. But this can be surprisingly tricky when you’re an expert on the subject—after all, when you think about financial planning all day long, it can be hard to see what a novice might not know. A good dev editor can hone your language to make it appropriate for your target audience, using the right level of vocabulary and making the right assumptions about your readers’ background knowledge. Have you assumed a level of understanding of reverse mortgages that will leave your readers flummoxed? Your editor will be the one to point that out.

Organization: When you’re a subject-matter expert, it can be hard to see your material from an outside perspective. You’re so deeply immersed in it that it can be difficult to present your argument in a logical fashion. Who is picking up your book, and what do they hope to get out of it? Have you organized your material in such a way that each section builds on the last? Does it give enough foundational information at the outset? Or have you bogged it down with too much background before getting to your message? A developmental editor will point out the holes and ensure that there is continuity so that your readers never once furrow their eyebrows in confusion.

A good developmental editor is like some hybrid of a detective and a psychologist, sniffing out problems and proposing solutions so that you can polish and hone before putting your beloved manuscript in front of a wider audience. In short, we hope you’ll think of us as your secret weapon.

Christina Henry de TessanAbout Christina Henry de Tessan

Christina Henry de Tessan is the vice president of editorial at Girl Friday Productions, a full-service editorial firm headquartered in Seattle. Formerly of Chronicle Books and Seal Press, she’s also the author of several travel books, including Forever Paris and Expat: Women’s True Tales of Life Abroad.

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6 Takeaways from the PNWA 2015 Conference

Posted by July 21st, 2015

Seattle skyline

Seattle, home of the PNWA 2015 Conference

It was a great weekend at the PNWA 2015 Conference in Seattle, talking with agents, editors, and writers about Book Country, social media, and the publishing process. (PNWA stands for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.) I want to share these six big takeaways from the conference with the rest of the Book Country community:

  1. Finding beta-readers is as important as ever. However you choose to work with beta-readers–whether in a real-life writing group, remotely via email, or on a workshopping site like Book Country–no one can dispute that a writer needs feedback on their manuscript prior to a successful publication.Technology that makes finding beta-readers easy has become indispensable to in-the-know writers.
  2. Feedback can be wide-ranging, but ratings are also revealing. The more feedback a writer gets on their book, the better informed revision decisions they can make. Getting reviews on your book from beta-readers is a great way to seek suggestions on how to revise. But different readers give different suggestions, sometimes contradicting one another. Your overall ratings can be a powerful way to aggregate your readers’ opinions. On Book Country, for example, your overall rating–so long as you’ve spent the time and energy to garner a large number of peer reviews–will help you gauge whether or not your book is ready to be published.
  3. Distribution is everything. Writers have gotten savvier about this since the last time I was at PNWA. Back then, I met a lot of writers who had self-published but their book was not widely available. It’s rare these days to find a writer who isn’t planning to publish their book electronically, and it’s also common for writers to make sure their book is available for many different types of eReader. On Book Country, for example, authors can publish once and simultaneously distribute to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, Kobo, iBooks, Google, and Flipkart. It’s essential for writers to stay on top of book retail trends.
  4. Social media takes time. Writers at PNWA knew how important it is for them to be growing their social media audience. It’s key to start building a following early, so that when your book does launch, it has somewhere receptive to land. Learning how to use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and others now rather than later is a good use of an aspiring writer’s time.
  5. Social media takes time. Wait, didn’t I just say that? To be clear, it’s not just building a social media that takes time. Doing the real work of social media–writing posts, creating engaging images, reading social media feeds, and conversing with followers–takes big chunks of your day-to-day. So not only do you want to start early, you also want to get organized. Writers I met at PNWA were figuring out how to carve out time for social media tasks. One tip Andrea Dunlop shared in our “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media” session was to be realistic about how much time you will be consistently able to devote to your social media. It’s easy to sign up for a lot of accounts, but it’s better to be selectively active than to have a bunch of abandoned online profiles. (Go here for more tips from Andrea.)
  6. Professional author services are the author’s best kept secret. More and more writers–both those seeking self-publishing and traditional publishing–are hiring professional developmental editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, book publicists, marketers, designers, and more. The competition to get noticed is stiff, so figuring out what you need help with to make your book stand out is becoming a bigger part of the publishing process. Many writers are using editorial firms like Girl Friday Productions to develop and polish manuscripts. Authors who find social media either too daunting or too time-consuming are learning how to hire it out to professionals. While these services can be expensive, many writers and authors are finding them to be valuable. I predict that we’ll be discussing this aspect of the publishing industry much more here on Book Country in the next year.

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Book Country at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015

Posted by February 11th, 2015

San Francisco Writers Conference 2015Starting this Thursday, February 12th, I’ll be representing Book Country at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015. BC member Andrea Dunlop will be there as well, on behalf of Girl Friday Productions. I’m also hearing that other members are going to the conference. Please chime into this discussion board and let us know if you’ll be there, too!

Here’s my event schedule–if you’ll be there, please come say hi! Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Andrea Dunlop

Posted by August 8th, 2014

Andrea Dunlop on Book CountrySo excited to have my friend and fellow Book Country member Andrea Dunlop back on the blog this morning! I just read Andrea’s book, THE SOJOURN, and I was blown away by how good it was. Just as I was finishing the book, Andrea wrote to tell me that she’s signed with literary agent Carly Watters. If you haven’t yet checked out the excerpt of THE SOJOURN that is available to read on Book Country, I highly recommend that you do so ASAP!

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Lucy Silag: Tell us what compelled you to write THE SOJOURN.

Andrea Dunlop: It was inspired by the time I spent in France as a student. Traveling abroad for the first time is an incredibly heady experience, it has a way of blowing open your perspective on life.

LS: How long have you been working on it? What is your writing and revising process like?

AD: I’ve actually been working on the novel off and on for twelve years now, if you can believe it. There have been many, many versions of the story but it always came back to the friendship between [main characters] Brooke and Sophie. I’ve gotten lots of feedback from different sources over the years that have helped me shape the book: fellow writers, agents, professors, I ended up hiring a developmental editor and I can’t overstate the difference that made. After you’ve been working on something for a certain amount of time, you lose perspective on it. It really helped me to just let go and be willing to do whatever it took to make the story better. Continue reading

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