It’s worth investigating what it really means to “put yourself out there as a writer.” Which writers are putting themselves out there, what does that look like, and how can other writers follow their example? Continue reading
Today we welcome Andrew Unger to the Book Country blog. Andrew is the Events Manager at BookCourt, the celebrated Brooklyn bookstore famous for its well-stocked events program featuring New York’s most distinguished authors as well as brand new talent. Andrew will be on the “Building a Writing Community Online + Off” panel co-hosted by Book Country on Wednesday night, October 28th, 2015, at 7pm at BookCourt.
Lucy Silag: Tell us about BookCourt and how it fits into the Brooklyn community of writers.
Andrew Unger: “BookCourt is a monument, a university, and a party in slow motion. It doesn’t have to take over the world because it is the world.” — Jonathan Lethem
It’s no surprise that Jonathan Lethem said it best. The store was opened by Henry Zook and Mary Gannett in 1981. It was one room, a former barber shop, with a modest selection of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s titles. They bought the building in 1983. In 1996 Albert, who owned the flower shop next door, wanted to move to Florida and so sold his building to Mary and Henry in 1996. In 2008, they removed the greenhouse behind the old flower shop and added what is perhaps the store’s most defining characteristic, a giant, book-lined reading space. Hoisted above the ceiling, at the apse of the room, is a beautiful skylight. Today the store boasts one of the largest inventories in Brooklyn.
With the addition of the “Greenhouse,” the events series at BookCourt hit a high gear. In the seven years since it was built, the store has grown to accommodate the flush of writers and the wave of gentrification overtaking the neighborhood. In a given week, BookCourt might host ten different authors, four writing workshops, a book club, and a number or stock signings. It is a haven for readers, it’s an intellectual playground to a whole generation of neighborhood children, and it’s a university to writers from across the city.
LS: Why should writers hang out at Bookcourt?
AU: BookCourt is like a living, breathing MFA program. We’ve hosted Junot Diaz, Richard Ford, Don DeLillo, David Sedaris, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, and I could keep going. It’s such a stupidly impressive list of authors. Those events give you goosebumps. Junot Diaz talked for over an hour about his process, his growth as a writer and listened and responded to almost every single attendee, a room of over 300 people. This is an amazing opportunity. But this isn’t entirely the reason writers congregate at BookCourt. Continue reading
We were saddened to hear about the closure of the Authonomy writing community. Operated by HarperCollins UK since 2008, writers from all over world have really enjoyed using the site and the careers it has launched have been inspiring to watch. According to the Authonomy blog, the site will officially close on September 30, 2015.
Many writers are members of both Book Country and Authonomy. In the past week, we’ve seen even more former “Authonomites” join our ranks, many introducing themselves on this discussion thread started by member Katie O’Rourke (Katie78). It’s been wonderful to meet all these new folks and welcome them into our community! Continue reading
‘Tis the season for gifting! What better gift to give a writer than detailed, honest, and constructive feedback on their work-in-progress?
That’s why we’re launching a new challenge this month: Give the Gift of Writing Feedback! Pledge to review four books on Book Country this month, and give your writing community the feedback they need to make their books better in the new year.
How does it work?
- Head over to this discussion thread and make your pledge!
- Throughout the month of December, review four Book Country books (one for each week of the month). Find books via other members who’ve taken the pledge, browse this month’s Featured Manuscripts, or explore the Book Country Genre Map to find books in the genres you love!
- Read and review at least three chapters of the work-in-progress.
- Remember, you can save your review for later. Just don’t forget to post it by New Year’s Eve, or you won’t have won the challenge! 🙂
- Support others who’ve taken the pledge–connect with them on Book Country and social media, comment on their review with thanks, comments, and questions, and return the gift of feedback by reviewing their book!
- Share the feedback you are giving or receiving on social media by using the hashtag #GiftofWritingFeedback. We’ll cheer you on!
Happy reviewing–and thank YOU for giving the gift of writing feedback to your community!
Questions? Email us at support@BookCountry.com.
Sometime in the autumn of 2006, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. I took several writing workshops at The New School in New York City, where I worked. I often found myself scribbling down ideas that would be the foundation of my novel (still in progress) in notebooks during my hour long commute between the village and The Bronx. Getting in the way of my writing ambitions was the problem of my full time job. My writing life, I wrote in my graduate school applications, exists in stolen moments at the office and crowded subway cars. I wanted more. Continue reading
The most common question Book Country members ask me is: “How can I get people to read my book?”
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.)