Penguin Group Snags Author Off Online Pool

According to the NY Times, “Penguin Group USA has plucked its first author from its new electronic slush pile.” Slush pile? Really? Do they have to be so snobby in referring to it?

Regardless, this is yet more encouraging news for authors who are trying to get themselves known as respected authors without following the traditional route. See my post from last week about Darcie Chan as another example.

Anyway, according to the report, “Ace Books, an imprint of Penguin, has signed the debut novelist Kerry Schafer to a two-book deal, only weeks after Ms. Schafer posted writing samples on Bookcountry.com, a Web site Penguin introduced in April that invites writers of genre fiction to share their work.”

Bookcountry is described as “a place where readers and writers of genre fiction come together to read original fiction, post work or comments, and make a name for themselves.” But, really, it’s just as much a self-serving tool for Penguin as it is for authors. The creators are hoping that some of the authors who post their work on the site might be good enough for Penguin to snap up. Apparently, that has finally come to fruition.

Kerry Schafer, a resident of rural Washington State, posted chapters of her latest attempt, “Between,” a fantasy novel about a woman named Vivian who must destroy a powerful sorceress on BookCountry.com. Within weeks, her work was discovered by Deidre Knight, a literary agent, who happened to be browsing submissions.

It all happened pretty quickly after that. Shortly after their first conversation, Deirdre Knight had taken on Ms. Schafer as a client and negotiated a deal with Ace Books. The deal even included a second book, “Wakeworld,” a novel that Ms. Schafer is only in the early stages of writing now.

Is this a wild and crazy story that’s unlikely to happen again … like winning the lottery? Or is it something that all authors should aim for? Well, probably somewhere in the middle.

You always hope,” Kerry said. “You always have in the back of your mind that maybe something like this will happen. It was an act of faith on my part.”

We offer her our sincerest congratulations on a job well done!

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