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What keeps you from sharing your work?
Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 2:27 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

I'm curious about the reasons that writers don't always share their writing. What keeps you from posting?
Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2015 2:03 PM
Joined: 9/17/2013
Posts: 104

If I had to put my stories in any genre I suppose it would be literary fiction. Activity on BC is predominately in fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. I don't read much in those genres and reviews are difficult for me. I haven't asked BC members to review my stories out of their fields.

I have two accomplished Lit Fic writers who will serve as beta readers for my stories. An hour over coffee with either of them provides the reviews I think I need.

I attempted reviews of a couple of books on BC and I was  never able to post them. It may have been due to a problem between my connection, my slow ISP, and the BC software. It was frustrating to work seriously on a review and have it disappear.

I've written my first novel and I am on BC to learn about queries and marketing. I'm learning about those things, and for that I'm grateful. But I don't see BC as the best place to post my book for reviews. 

Posted: Monday, December 7, 2015 9:16 AM
Joined: 8/20/2015
Posts: 95

Yeah, I'm afraid the single most significant factor in people not uploading work is a purely practical one, the buggy interface. Back when Authonomy closed, lots of people reported not being able to upload work to the site. I know you helped some personally, Lucy, but plenty of others were put off at that preliminary stage and never came back. They're now on writeon or scribophile or some other site. A pity, but there you go.

Judging from Perry's comments above, the technical issues extend to existing users and other parts of the site other than uploading books.

Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 10:17 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

I'm afraid I agree with D'Estaing. When I first joined Book Country, I spent hours fighting with the Online Editor to let me upload my manuscript. There were all these double spaces between lines that had to be taken care of. Even when I followed the Editor's guidelines to a T, I had trouble.


If I hadn't been so in love with this site, I might have given up and left, too. Which would have been so sad, because I probably wouldn't be near as efficient in my writing if I'd left Book Country.


Lucy, I think the Online Editor needs some maintenance. The two other Online Writer's Workshop groups I've joined don't have the problems Book Country's Online Editor does . . .


I love this site. Truly I do. But lately, I've found myself more drawn to my other Writer's Workshops. I've gotten feedback twice as fast there as I ever did here. And that hurts.

Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 11:07 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Hi everyone!


When I originally posted the question, I guess I had been thinking more about the interpersonal or psychological reasons we aren't always ready to share something, but this feedback is good, too.


Perry, I'm sorry to hear you couldn't post your review. Any chance you saved it? Do you remember which book it was?


It's true that we did get a spike in complaints about difficulty uploading right after many former Authonomites joined Book Country, and I agree that there are likely people who, if encountering a website difficulty, will just click out of it and not return. However, I am also seeing that there a lots of new books and drafts posted on the site throughout the fall, and I haven't had any requests for help in over a month or more. So it seems that many members aren't having this difficulty. I've been trying to pinpoint exactly what the pattern is for why some users are having trouble and others aren't.


The good news is that we have a roadmap for improving the uploader in the not-so-distant future! We're also going to be addressing the review tool. So please use me as a resource for help if you run into trouble until we announce more development in this area.


And thanks for your comments!

Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 7:28 PM
Joined: 9/17/2013
Posts: 104



I just typed a substantive reply to this very thread, and it did not appear when I clicked on "post". Frustrating.

Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 9:04 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

Perry, I have had this happen so often that I now type in Word, then copy and paste. Reviews especially, Nothing goes in here directly, except for things of a line or two.


--edited by Mimi Speike on 12/9/2015, 9:05 PM--

Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 4:03 AM
Joined: 8/20/2015
Posts: 95

" I have had this happen so often that I now type in Word, then copy and paste"


Ah, that's my default method of input, which is perhaps why I'm not experiencing the problems others are. If your post doesn't materialise in BC, your text is still in Word, so you can try again.


And sorry Lucy, I'm aware that I kind of hijacked the thread to highlight the practical reasons why people aren't posting, rather than the psychological, but I think they are relevant. Anyone a little uncertain or timid about putting their work up on the site is much more likely to be dissuaded from doing so if any obstacles are put in their way.

--edited by D'Estaing on 12/10/2015, 4:04 AM--

Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 10:04 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Uh oh. This sounds very frustrating! What browsers and types of computers are you all using?


Yes, D'Estaing, I agree it's an important note to consider as we gauge what keeps members from sharing their writing!

Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 1:09 PM
Joined: 9/27/2015
Posts: 9

I don't post my work for a very practical reason.  The masters, the ones I learned from at writers conferences, many of whom are now deceased said to be careful whom you share your work with, even just the idea of the story.  Another person can hear the idea, run with it and publish your story out from under you.  Or they share it with someone who shares it with someone and that person writes the story and publishes it first, etc.  Then the publishers are not willing to publish yours because they published a similar one.  The same could be true of self-publishing.  Only in that case the buyer may not buy your book because there is another one like it and they pick that one.  There are myriad ways the scenerio could play out.


It's massively unwise to post one's work where others are free to steal it.  Unfortunately those who have grown up in the computer/Internet generation deny or don't even consider the risks.






John Speikers
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 5:24 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 20

I have posted a 3-chapter sample, but I write for the electronic medium, so my stuff has hyperlinks that BOOK COUNTRY doesn't or cannot resolve.  Besides, my fiction doesn't fit well in one genre or another, so it's hard to attract reviewers.  The ones that DO read a portion are often disappointed in the narrative which doesn't fit their notions of a particular genre or another.  For instance, BOOK COUNTRY has no slot for nonfiction essays..

#  I've also noticed I've spent more time and energy reviewing others' manuscripts than I receive from reviewers.  I am currently with a MEETUP group that gets together every two weeks.  Here I get face-to-face feedback from other members.  And the authors of this group tend to edit their stuff more diligently because they know they'll have to speak it for other members.

#  Since I've published an eBook on AMAZON, I've found a number of websites that list all the FREE eBooks on AMAZON.  These tend to have fewer grammatical errors than the samples available at BOOK COUNTRY.  By selecting free eBooks, I satisfy my curiosity and keep up on what other authors are doing.  I find one must read widely to learn the craft of writing.  Why should I stumble through a preliminary draft when there are hundreds of free eBooks available?

#  I am still looking to share my fiction with others, but I'd like to develop a relationship with another author.  I'm not looking for someone to point out grammatical mistakes or typo errors.  I love a 2nd-opinion whether a scene or paragraph works or doesn't work.  And I would do the same for my partner.

--edited by John Speikers on 12/10/2015, 5:27 PM--

Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Saturday, January 2, 2016 9:26 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Hi, David.


Book Country isn't for finished manuscripts, per se. It's a place for writers to get feedback on their stories, finished or unfinished. Reviews are meant to help a writer improve their stories.


Have you read any of the reviews left on manuscripts here? They're constructive criticism from readers.


So please, don't go telling writers on site that their manuscripts stink and that they won't ever be published, because they're works-in-progress, not the final product.



Richard Maitland
Posted: Sunday, January 3, 2016 7:15 AM
Joined: 8/31/2015
Posts: 16

DavidPaulPro wrote:


One of the request for new members, before posting one's own work, is to review and comment on someone else's work.  I am certainly willing to do this and would look forward to it, should I come across a book so interesting and well written that I would actually want to buy it.  Such as the yet to be posted "The Casanova Consequences" written by yours truly.



After perusing a few books that begged to be abandoned, it has occurred to me that I don't want to write a pointless put-down on books that have no chance of ever being given away much less sold.  I want to be able to praise a book for specific reasons, albeit possibly pointing out the few minor flaws that won't keep the tome out the book stores.


So, point me in the right direction.  Give me some recommendations.  And once I've "made my bones" I'll be ready to offer up my own potential best-seller.


P.S.  I especially like cozy mysteries and satire.  No kiddie books please.





As I see it, you are willing to comment only on work that doesn't actually require any input from you---or anyone else, come to that.  You want to be recommended a manuscript as well-written as any published book, that you can then justifiably praise.



You're in the wrong place, David.  What you want is called a "library"---you can find one in most towns---where a nice librarian will suggest any amount of published cosy mysteries and satires which might appeal to you, so you can then send a fan letter (with minor criticisms) to the author.



This isn't a library.  It's a place where amateur writers look for help, opinions, and critique from among their peers.



You don't have to write a "pointless put-down on a book that has no chance of ever being given away, much less sold."  You are asked, and expected, to point out to the author how the work under review can be given a better chance.  Not a difficult task, I would have thought, given that you have (in your opinion) written a book so interesting and well-written you would actually want to buy it.  Passing on the secret of success should therefore be a doddle.



And, in return (once The Casanova Consequences have been uploaded), you might find that other authors here are able to point out a few of the "minor flaws" in your own work that are doubtless all that stand between it and The Booker Prize.  It's win-win.












--edited by Richard Maitland on 1/3/2016, 7:16 AM--

Posted: Sunday, January 3, 2016 10:05 AM
Joined: 8/20/2015
Posts: 95

Yes. David, missing the point you are, says Yoda.

Elsie Byron
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2016 2:11 PM
Joined: 1/8/2016
Posts: 4

Hi I only joined Book Country recently and I was under the impression that you could only post finished manuscripts and I've only just managed to finish the first three chapters of my story. Now after reading replies on this page I understand part works can be posted so I may post the chapters I've already done sometime soon.
Posted: Monday, February 1, 2016 11:55 PM
Joined: 1/5/2016
Posts: 14




You’re right about the predominance on BC of fantasy and Sci-Fi, neither of which I read, but I don’t feel that’s any reflection on or fault of the site. If you check out the fiction lists of published books, that’s what is getting put out there these days. It’s everywhere! So that’s what many writers are writing. I, too, don’t feel comfortable reviewing books in genres I don’t enjoy.


In your post, you state, “I attempted reviews of a couple of books on BC and I was  never able to post them. It may have been due to a problem between my connection, my slow ISP, and the BC software. It was frustrating to work seriously on a review and have it disappear.”


My strategy for posting reviews and forum entries is to write the whole thing in Word, then copy and paste my comments into the different sections, then click on Post. Done. If there’s a snag, I haven’t lost anything except the time involved in pasting.





David Russell
Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2016 11:04 AM
Joined: 8/6/2014
Posts: 6

Hello Lucy and Authors,
I am a returning member to BookCountry with the goal to read, review, submit and ultimately publish some of my short stories. Technical bugs have kept me from posting anything but am motivated to try and overcome them. I participate with an online critique group which has been helpful, but am ready to take another step on the writing journey.

I find the posting options numerous and intimidating. To read someone's book is a matter of trial and error. Unless these things are addressed to improve accessibility, writers will be deterred from becoming involved with BookCountry, a great idea but a cumbersome path to navigate. I was ready to read and review a title from January 1 that had no reviews or feedback, but could not find the link to access the story itself. I am not an expert in tech matters but find sites like goodreads.com much easier to access and get around. I want the idea of BookCountry to work and flourish!



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