For anybody with a half-completed romance novel on her computer, the idea of sharing it with the world might seem intimidating. What if nobody likes it? Where do you get honest feedback? How will readers respond to Fernando and Gwendolyn's torrid passion?
But now, it doesn't have to be so scary, thanks to Book Country, a new website from esteemed publishing house Penguin, where aspiring romance, thriller, sci-fi and mystery novelists alike can share their completed or partial manuscripts and receive constructive feedback from fellow writers.
The way it works is pretty intuitive: After creating a free account, you can begin reading and reviewing books (you're required to critique at least three works before you can post your own). Next--and only if you choose to--upload your own chapters and wait for others to weigh in. There are forums for various sub-genres, ways to "follow" writers whose taste you trust and even a section for publishing industry insight.
What we like most is the quality of members' feedback (nothing mean-spirited, no crazy rants). The books we perused ranged from mediocre to amazingly compelling, but each had received at least one extremely useful peer review.
Plus, with professional editors trolling the site, there's even a chance your masterpiece could finally get discovered.