Thursday, December 27, 2007

Guest Post by Jean Hackensmith

My name is Jean Hackensmith, Owner and Senior Fiction Editor for Port Town Publishing. As both a publisher and an author, I have only one piece of advice for any would-be writers out there. DON’T GIVE UP!

I started writing 30 years ago and, trust me, I’ve seen and heard it all. In short, anything that has happened to you on your road to being a published author happened to me, too. I papered my office walls with rejection letters; I even got to the point were I was receiving personalized rejections…no more form letters. I was the victim of an unethical agent and an equally unethical editor. I turned down a contract from a large publisher—because my lawyer said they wanted too much. (Which they did. I would have given up virtually all rights to my work, which should never happen.) Yes, I’ve been through the gamut—like all of you—and I was tempted to just throw in the towel many times. In my case, I got so frustrated after losing $1500 to that unethical editor I mentioned that I said to heck with it and self-published my first book, Wagons To The Past. Luckily it paid off, and the sales from that book allowed me to start my own publishing company—but that’s another story.

Mainly, I guess what I want to relay in saying “Don’t Give Up” is to do whatever it takes to get your work out there—and if you’re a dedicated author who believes in his or her work, and you know it’s good (and don’t take the word of Mom and Grandma on that one) then keep trying.

When that manuscript comes back with a rejection letter, send it out again—the same day. Keep a list of potential publishers and just keep submitting until the list is depleted, then start a new one. Your persistence will pay off. One day you’re going to see your manuscript land on the right publisher’s desk on the right day at the right time and voila, you, too, will be a published author. This business takes about 20% talent and 80% persistence. Develop a tough skin and one day you’ll sit back and watch your dream come true.

Jean Hackensmith is the author of The “Passage” Time Travel Romance Saga, “The Gitche Gumee Saga”, “Wagons To The Past,” “Tender Persuasion” and “Sweet Hell, Bitter Heaven.” Her books can be purchased through or through the publisher web site at


Jim Melvin said...

Great advice, Jean. And very encouraging. The publishing industry needs more people like you.

Jean Hackensmith said...

So sorry for not getting here sooner! My Internet has been down for three days and am just now able to get back in the swing of things. I'll be here now, though, I promise, to answer any questions.