Friday, January 22, 2010


(here's that post I teased you with.)

Not to brag, but I conduct myself differently from a lot of other writers, which is something you might have noticed and might find a little confusing. I'm open about a lot of things other blogging writers might sweep under the rug. I have a lot of sass and attitude and a lot of other attributes some people might not find attractive, but so does everybody. I'm just loud about mine.

I didn't do this by accident. When I started this blog, I knew exactly one thing: I wanted to be an example of a writer who was a fucking human being, because, let's be honest, a lot of writers scare the shit out of me.

Have you noticed that the only thing that seems to divide published writers online and unpublished ones is that the published ones always seem all together and shit? They never worry about revisions or going on submission or what agent is taking what queries. They're all lying in the sunshine drinking margaritas, and it's like they were never the writers down in the trenches, pounding through those first drafts and fielding rejections and stalking agents online. And that isn't a part of me that I want to hide or forget.

So I wanted to do things differently, and I trusted that people would like it.

And not one single person has ever told me, "hannah, stop with the fucking cursing and clean up your act and maybe act like a professional."

So I feel trusted, too. You guys, reading this, and my family, hopefully not reading this, and my agent and my editor, knowing exactly what I'm like and letting me talk to humans anyway, trust me.

And yet I'm still getting emails from people asking me how they can be sure agents aren't going to steal their ideas. And there are writers out there--published writers--afraid to share a few sentences of their books online because they're worried they'll be scolded.

I know that I'm not the most careful of people, but I am not stupid. This career means more to me than just about anything that isn't related to me or covered in fur. I'm not going to put it in jeopardy just to be edgy. But I trust myself to not go to far and I trust the powers that be not to overreact. And I think that's pretty reasonable, because, in a lot of ways, this is an industry that revolves around trust.

Your advance is based on the amount of copies your editor trusts your book to sell. Your print run is based on the amount of copies all the book stores trust you beautiful readers out there to read. My last two agents and I worked on a handshake (a virtual one), not a contract.

When you pick up a book, you trust the author to give you characters you love. You trust the awesome book bloggers out there to tell you what's good. You trust the author to write a satisfying ending. (er, sorry, guys.)

If we stop trusting each other, this industry falls apart.

And that's why it boggles my little mind that writers can be the least trusting people on the planet.

GUYS. All it takes is a few google searches and a few friendships with other authors to figure out who's going to try to screw you. The scams exist, but they are NOT well-kept secrets. And no one else wants to see you get hurt. Trust us. We're going to take care of you.

And if you don't trust me, and you don't trust the other writers who probably aren't writing impassioned fucking pleas like this on their blogs, I want you to trust one thing.


Publishing also revolves around this statement. Stuff can be fucked up, queries can be awful, manuscripts can be late, but EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY.

I promise.

And here is an example. P.S., this is the real reason this post is coming right now.

On Wednesday, I moved into my new house. It was a huge crazy step for me--a real house without my parents, close to the college I'm transferring to, starting to live like an adult, all that shit.

On Thursday morning, I got an email from my agent, Brendan, asking if we could chat.

He calls and tells me he's taking an editorial position, so he won't be my agent anymore. He sounds so apologetic on the phone that I'd almost believe someone's forcing him to switch jobs. He tells me who my new agent's going to be, and that he still wants to be in touch with me, and I congratulate him and try to make my voice sunny and bright and then hang up the phone and cry all day.

In case you missed agent appreciation day, Brendan was, without a doubt, the best thing to ever happen to my career.

So I felt crushed and awful, and if any of you had come up to me and been like HANNAH EVERYTHING'S GOING TO BE OKAY I would have spit at you.

And then on Monday, my new agent emails me and tells me she's read all my books and she loves them, and this is going to be awesome.

And yesterday she emails me with more examples of her awesome.

And all of a sudden my world has rainbows again.

I'm going to miss Brendan like crazy, but goddamn, he's going to make a lot of authors (and hopefully me someday?) very happy with his mad editing skillz. And new agent is really, really awesome. And she's prettier than Brendan.

So this post is really to tell you that I'm now repped by Suzie Townsend.

And that everything really is going to be okay.


thelittlefluffycat said...

whoof, no wonder you needed to be told Good Things the other day. . . glad everything's moved from that moment to okay! :) Congrats to you - and to Suzie!

Sumayyah said...

super super congrats :)

also - you are totally awesomes. you give me hope about future writing workshops, lol. and this whole writing thing. ;)

Sarah said...

I love your honesty! And Suzie is the awesomest! You're going to *love* working with her. :)

MBee said...

Silver linings. They are always there somewhere if you look hard enough. You just needed your time to mourn before seeing this one. I've come to believe things really do happen for a reason, and I'm sure this is an important step for all three of you in someway (evident at the moment or not). Best of luck and congratulations to you all!

BTW, you being "human" is much more preferred than a "canned celebrity" who thinks/cares that everyone will judge them badly for being themselves. Who wants to live a life where you can't even be you? :)

Casey McCormick said...

I'm sorry to hear about Brendan. He seemed like such a good match for you. But congrats on getting a new agent that makes you see rainbows. Suzie is awesome. Brendan is doing what he needs and wants to do. And yes! It's all okay.

Thanks for another awesome post.

Becca Cooper said...

Candid is so much better than canned. :)

I'm glad Suzie makes you see rainbows!

CupofDice said...

Awe inspiring post. Very honest and uplifting. Thanks. :)

maine character said...

Congrats - I found this interview with Suzie, and she sounds like a class act and a great fit.

And thanks, as always, for keeping it real.

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me how honest you are about writing, about publishing, about everything. I admire that a lot, because I'm the shy kind of person who's afraid of offending even a little baby. :)

It's sad that Brendan won't be representing you anymore, but Suzie Townsend sounds like an awesome agent, and I wish you best of luck!

Kristin Miller said...

Suzie is brilliant rainbows pooping skittles all over the world. You will love her. :)

Nadine said...

I love how you're so open and honest. It's very refreshing!

Sorry about Brendan leaving but Suzie sounds awesome! And you are right, everything's going to be okay!

Bailey McKay Clement said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. Don't spit on me, but everything did turn out okay :) Good luck with Suzie, she requested a partial of mine a few days ago. And I'm glad she's as ecstatic as the rest of us are about your books.

choco (In Which a Girl Reads) said...

Hannah, you're awesome :) I really appreciate how you tell everything like it is. I'm pretty much scared of all pubbed authors except you. :D

Good luck with your new agent!

hannah said...

yaaaaay, not scared of me! I like the sound of that.

suzie townsend said...


Paul Greci said...

Congrats to you Hannah for weathering that change!! I wish you all the luck in the world with Suzie. I've heard great things about her!!

hannah said...

:D back, suzie.

inkspatters said...

Hannah, have I ever told you how awesome this blog is? PLEASE DON'T EVER STOP CURSING AND START ACTING ALL PROFESSIONAL AND SHIT. Because, yeah, published authors do kinda scare me like that sometimes.

And good luck with Suzie! It sucks that you had to switch agents, but she sounds super-awesome :D

Ellen B said...

Hannah, I really respect what you're trying to do as a blogging writer.

I'm in the trenches right now, and sometimes I am loath to post about difficulties I have in case in the future a potential agent reads my blog and says 'Eeep. She says writing is occasionally difficult for her. She says she didn't write for two weeks while she moved house. Not my Kind Of Person At All.'

But I know right now that I'm a long way from publication, and it's more important to me to present an honest account of the challenges I've faced and how I've gotten past them - or not - than to write a happy happy blog in which I am productive and talented all the time.

Writers are under enough pressure without putting ourselves under more.

Respect, and congrats on the new agent. I hope she's awesome :D

Misty Provencher said...

Hannah, you are -tablespoon by blogging tablespoon- a bowl full of soul soup, a prescription smile, a nudge off a ski slope, a hug from our mamas. You got so much of "it" that we all are hoping "it" slops onto us. Pure genius, baby~ thanks.

hannah said...

I really do love you guys a ton.

Anonymous said...

Now that I'm thinking about it, you were the first "real" author I talked to, Hannah. And you rocked my socks and made me think, "Wow! A real teenage author! Maybe I can do this!"

So kudos to you for being real and approachable. Thanks. And congrats on your epic new agent!!!

Kody Keplinger said...

Hannah, I <3 you. Your honesty is both fun and refreshing.

Also, Suzie rocks!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I followed Suzette Saxton's recommendation to hop over here and check out your blog!

I've been debating how to structure my blog, and I'm still learning about myself (at least in the "web presence" self), so it is good to see how others do things. Your "realness" is refreshing. And freeing.

I'm sure for my blog, the pendulum will swing a few times before I find a happy middle ground, but I will approach my posts with honesty and I will strive for clarity. Seems you're doing that already. Bravo!

Sage said...

Such a great post, Hannah, and I'm so glad you're happy with your new agent.

Abby Stevens said...

I saw your comment on Nathan Bransford's blog today about how you got your idea for your work in progress, and I was just blown away by both your concept for INVINCIBLE SUMMER and your blog. I remember being utterly haunted by the I-95 sniper, and it is astounding to think that people don't know about that. To me, it was a terrifying October. In 2003, my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I rode by the Ponderosa he shot one of his victims at. I was 16 when 9/11 happened, and I have to say it affected me far more deeply than the sniper shootings, but going by that Ponderosa (not on purpose, mind you) was really, really chilling.

hannah said...

Abby (that's my sister's name!)--

Thanks so much for the concept--I'm glad to hear someone besides me remembers the sniper shootings! It's a very isolated tragedy, and it isn't something people outside of the area seem to think about very often.

(A note, though--that manuscript is actually called THE ANIMALS WERE GONE, and it's as-yet unsold. INVINCIBLE SUMMER is a different ms coming out in 2011 :))