So I got my contract signed, my forms filled out, and everything else tidied away and put in the mail last week. The good folks at Clean Teen have them now, and I just get to look forward to scheduling a video chat with the ladies in charge. I think it’s pretty neat that my publisher’s chief officers are all Texan women. That’s just neat. Who would have even conceived of such a thing fifty years back? The internet and twenty-first century are ushering in a lot of interesting change and putting a lot of power in strange geographical places now that anybody can be anywhere.
Which brings me to Book Country.
I am so lucky I found this website and had a chance to discover the possibilities of it while I was at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference six months ago (I can’t believe it’s already been half a year!) I hop around the west coast too much to regularly attend any writers group, but with Book Country I can be anywhere. It’s easy to log on and review manuscripts, and it’s so nice to know that mine is up and open to members for review too. I could not have made the revisions I did without the feedback of the Book Country community, and I feel so grateful to the people on that site who have made it what is it.
Before Book Country, I was really bad at taking feedback. I think that’s a pretty common thing for armature authors. I just had this absurd feeling that nobody knew my manuscript like I did, and no one could know what needed to change to make it better. I was so certain I was writing immaculate first drafts that didn’t need anything more than proof-reading. I never articulated this because even in the height of my pretension I was fully aware of how arrogant it was…but that thought lingered in my head and clouded over my ability to give my book to people who would challenge me creatively. It was so much more fun to give it to friends and have them tell me how amazing I was.
On Book Country, you run into other writers. People who read, study, and produce fiction are some of the most valuable assets to a blooming manuscript. What’s more, it’s a community of people who all share a common dream and don’t have any desire to “shoot you down” but by the same token, are not your friends and are not there to pump up your ego.
I highly recommend to anyone who has a manuscript, a draft, or even just an excerpt of a story to come join the community and get involved in Book Country. Even if you’re not ready to post your work, get involved with other people who are excited to be writing in the genre you are. Book Country has wide open arms, and is a good place for any aspiring writer.
I joined Book Country thinking that there was a chance some imprint of Penguin-Random (Book Country’s parent corporation) would find my book through this unusual and strictly 21st-century avenue. I never imagined that the feedback I got would enable me to completely rewrite my opening chapters, and pack so much more punch into the rest of the story. In the end, I had a publishable product and now I have a book deal to prove it.