From Digital Book World:
In November 2009, a novel was born about a gatekeeper and a penguin.
Two years later, the novel (initially conceived during National Novel Writing Month, a novel-writing fest in which participants are expected to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days) was uploaded to Penguin’s Book Country, an online community for genre-fiction writers to share and workshop their work.
Fast-forward a few weeks: Danielle Poiesz, an editorial coordinator at Book Country emailed Kerry Schafer, 48 and a mental health crisis response professional in Colville, Wash. and the author of said novel, asking her if she would send the complete manuscript to an interested editor at Penguin.
Susan Allison, vice president and editorial director of Berkley Books, a publishing group within Penguin, was that interested editor. Allison wanted to talk, somehow an agent, Deidre Knight, got involved, and a digital-age book deal was born.
The structure of the deal is fairly standard, according to Schafer: Advance, two books, first due out in February 2013. (Schafer would not disclose the size of the advance.)
What’s different about this book deal is how the book was discovered: Book Country.
. . . .
JG: You were discovered on Book Country. How do you think the site helped you?
KS: With Book Country, it all depends on what you want to get out of it. With Between, I hoped maybe – I didn’t really believe it – but I did hope that maybe it was good enough and somebody might have a look at it and maybe an agent or an editor might have an interest. At the same time, I continued to query it [with agents].
JG: So, now that you have a book deal from a big-time publisher, have you quit your job?
KS: No, not yet. Someday, there’s a dream, down the road, I would like to write full-time.
But now I’m a little bit more dedicated making sure I get my daily writing time in. it’s a job now. I have a contract; I have a commitment. My family understands.
My first round of revisions is due by the end of March. The second book rough draft is due the end of December.
The second book, we’re looking at calling it Wake World, will be a continuation of this book. We’re looking at a trilogy, even though there are two contracted books, I’m planning a trilogy.
JG: Before this deal came through, did you ever consider self-publishing?
KS: I hadn’t. I know I need a good editor. I like to have a team. I didn’t want to spend all the time that is required for formatting and self-marketing. I like having the professional team that I have now. It’s awesome.
Link to the rest at Digital Book World and thanks to Melissa for the tip.