In the old days of publishing, getting your manuscript into the hands of an editor often meant mailing the unsolicited finished product to the offices of literary agents or editors, where it would receive a cursory look from an editorial assistant — or none at all.
A modern version of the slush pile is the online “writing community,” a Web site where aspiring novelists can post their ideas, writing samples or manuscripts and open them to comments and reviews from strangers.
In its initial phase Book Country will allow writers to post their own work — whether it’s an opening chapter or a full manuscript — and receive critiques from other users, who can comment on points like character development, pacing and dialogue. Later this summer the site will generate revenue by allowing users to self-publish their books for a fee by ordering printed copies. (The books will bear the stamp of Book Country, not Penguin, and the site is considered a separate operation from Penguin.)
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