Penguin has relaunched its online writing community Book Country adding a digital book store, where writers can sell the books they have published with Book Country’s self-publishing tools, among other new feature updates.
Penguin introduced Book Country back in the summer of 2011, as a place for writers to workshop unfinished manuscripts and get feedback from other writers. The idea was to create a platform for writers to get advice from readers and editors alike so that writers could workshop their books before submitting them to a publishing house or publishing them on their own. The site currently has more than 8,300 active members. Members are required to read and comment on another book before they can upload theirs, a process designed so that the site is not just a bunch of uploaded manuscripts with no comments on them. According to a press release, the average manuscript gets about six reviews. And writers take the feedback to heart, as each manuscript gets about six rewrites.
Aside from the new bookstore, the latest update includes a feature that lets members direct message each other. Book Country has also updated its genre mapping tool, a way for writers to locate themselves on the genre spectrum. The genre map now has more than 60 categories, including nonfiction and young adult (YA).