After nine months, Penguin’s online writing community Book Country has produced its first book deal. First time novelist Kerry Schafer landed a two-book deal with Penguin’s Ace Books imprint.

Schafer (pictured, via) is a mental health crisis response specialist who lives in Washington State. You can read her Book Country work at this link. Knight Agency agent Deidre Knight negotiated the deal and Berkley Publishing Group editorial director Susan Allison uncovered the manuscript on the writing site.

Schafer explained in the release: “I had a different novel up on the site and discovered that the feedback helped improve my writing. Criticism takes a little getting used to; my thought was that I should get some pages up and start building a thicker skin.   When I uploaded BETWEEN to Book Country, I wasn’t even thinking about it being picked up by an editor or an agent.   What happened after that felt like pure magic.”