Guest Post & Giveaway – Author Jess Haines

I am very lucky to have the very talented author Jess Haines, doing a guest post on my blog today. I hope you will give her a warm welcome. She has some invaluable information to all budding authors on the road to publishing. Not only that but you can win one of her amazing books. Thank you and welcome Jess.

My Road to Publication
By Jess Haines

Hello there! Jess Haines here. I’m the author of the urban fantasy H&W Investigations series. You may have heard of HUNTED BY THE OTHERS and its sequel TAKEN BY THE OTHERS (released January 4, 2011 by Kensington). Susan invited me over to talk to you a bit about the process of getting published.

Before anything else, let me dispel here and now any ideas that you have to have to “know someone” in the industry to make it to publication. I went into this game with no contacts, no “ins” and no real savvy. I went through the slush pile all the way to the top, baby!
That out of the way, I’ll give you the (relatively) short version of how my first book, HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, found a home.
First, I wrote the novel. This is important. Some people forget about this step, believe it or not. Don’t query before you have a complete—and as polished as possible—manuscript to offer. (You can see another guest post I wrote regarding editing prior to publication here and one on how to write a query letter here.
Next, I started my hunt for an agent. I used Google first to find out what to do and how to query.
Note: This was not a good idea.
My first acceptance came from a scam literary agency. Thank goodness, I was reading industry blogs to learn more about the process even though I was already submitting. I learned what the red flags were, and this literary agency was covered with the buggers. I backed out before very long, did more research, and found some of the better places to look for an agent/market:
Absolute Write Forum (note the Bewares & Background Checks section)
During the process, I read an article in Writer’s Digest magazine that listed literary agents who were open to new work. I sent a query to Ellen Pepus of Signature Literary Agency off of that list, and she accepted me for representation!
She helped me clean up my manuscript a bit and sent HUNTED BY THE OTHERS out to a few editors for review. Before I knew it, Kensington had an offer on the table not only for HUNTED—but for two more books, as well!
Needless to say, we accepted the offer. The H&W Investigations Series is now selling internationally, translation rights have sold in two languages, and that three book deal has expanded into a six book deal. Must be doing something right, eh?
To this day, I still stay on top of what’s happening in the industry by reading blogs. Here are some helpful links (some of these blogs are no longer active, but check the archives for tips):
It may seem like a lot to take in, but I attribute a great deal of my success in finding a home for my novel to staying on top of what’s expected of me as an author. By studying up on what is needed and wanted by agents and editors, I’ve found some measure of success. Here’s hoping those of you who wish to go the traditional publishing route (as opposed to self/vanity publishing) can use this information to your benefit!
As part of my visit here on Susan’s blog, I’m offering a giveaway—the winner’s choice of a signed copy of HUNTED or TAKEN BY THE OTHERS. Just leave a comment telling me of some of your favorite book-related blogs (whether they have to do with getting published, reviewing books, etc)! The winner will be picked at Random on the 22nd January 2010.
Thanks again for having me over, Susan!
This post is protected under copyright. SusankMann 2009 – 2014
  • debbie

    One of my favorite book blogs is I am a reader, not a writer. It has alot of reviews.

  • livyparker

    Jess, your story gives me HOPE!!! It's very reassuring that writers can still get published without having to know/sleep/beg/pay People In The Industry.My fav blog is the Guide to Literary Agents – another great spot for tips :)

  • Such an insightful post. I loved it. Down to earth and honest. Something to give us aspiring writers/authors hope. Thanks for sharing your experience Jess, and thanks for hosting this author Susan. This is the type of post I love reading. :)

  • A great post and an honest one. Who do I like? Well I like my own book blog Falcata Times <a href="http://(” target=”_blank”>( which goes through a hell of a lot of books. Yep I know its probably corny to recommend your own but hey, no one else is going to market it if you don't.LOLSeriously though some great advice and people might want to look at the Writers Market 2011, theres some great advice and also a full list of agents etc that could be of use. The other thing I'd suggest is that you look at authors who write a similar type of tale, see who they thank in thier acknowledgements and if they stick with the same agent throughout, the odds are they're not only genuine but good at what they do.

  • I'm sad that Editorial Ass is closing. :( My absolute favourite blog is SlushPileHell – check it out, you'll probably get a few laughs.

  • I love hearing about published novelist's quest for publication! Lovely post. You hit most of my favourite publishing industry blogs (Nathan Bransford, Book Ends, Query Shark, Pub Rants, Janet Reid), but I'd also add: Rachelle Gardner's CBA Ramblings (appropriate for authors outside the CBA!), and Jennifer Jackson's blog: . Oh, and I second that Slush Pile Hell is hilarious!

  • Casey (The Bookish T

    This was really interesting to read! Thank you for sharing your knowledge — especially the knowledge of what can be a scam! Great post!

  • Thanks for this great post, ladies!BookEnds,LLC has a fantastic blog that I follow. I also love agent, Rachelle Gardner's blog. Very informative. And Authoress Anonymous runs monthly Secret Agent contest on her blog Miss Snark's First Victim. There's tons of great info available to writers if you do a little research.

  • Angela Addams

    Great post! I really love reading about how authors found their path to publication.I follow a lot of the blogs mentioned already but I also like Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog and I just mentioned Rachelle Gardner's blog on my blog this week!

  • I enjoyed this post. The writer is unassuming and straightforward about her success. Falcata times is a favourite blog. Reading Quill and Quire also furnishes good info on markets etc.p.s.(please consider using a different colour type or background – it was so hard to read the post.)DianeG

  • Great giveaway! Thanks for a chance to win! A couple of my favorite blogs for reviews are…Tha Story Siren, The Naughty Book Kitties and Mundie Moms!

  • I really like these kinds of posts!I obviously love Susan's blog because there is always something different going on! Some of my other fave review books are Asamum Booktopia, Fluttering Butterflies, The Delusional Diaries and The Bookish Snob! All quite different blogs but great reviews

  • Lindsay

    Thanks for doing the guest post. Evil Editor is always a fun blog. :)

  • There are so many good blogs around.Soem of favorites are "I am a reader not a writer". Candace;s Book Blog, Bookworming in the 21st Century.Thanks for the giveaway.Carol Tbuddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  • I enjoyed hearing your story :) Thanks for sharing! & thanks for the chance to win!!

  • Hey, thanks for sharing the link with me, Susan.My favorite (at the moment) blog is />because of the emotion (and other) theasurus on it.

  • I am passing this on to my daughter, who is 15 and wants to write, this will certainly help her out and give her some hope!! as well as , perhaps, open her eyes about potential bad guys out theremy fav blog is bittenbybooks, I like scary LOLthanks for the chancesabina dot edwards at gmail dot com

  • Chrizette

    One of my favourite book blogs is Parajunkee's View. Her blog is honest and includes blogging help and advise sessions as well.Chrizettebaychriz at gmail dot com

  • THank you so much for this fantastic opportunity!my favorite blog would have to be Tynga's reviews! The layout is gorgeous and her posts show quality for her readers rather than quantity.moonlightgleam(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Anthony Elvy

    Rachelle Gardner's blog is worth a look amongst others. :)@elvy106 on Twitter

  • Thank you Jess for stopping by and giving us such an insightful post. It's really good to know that those of us who dream to become an author, may actually come true one day.Thank you to all who entered Jess' giveaway we will announce the winner shortly. x

  • Thanks again for having me, Susan, and to all who left such lovely comments!<3,-J