An Anniversary Giveaway!

Today is a very special day. Just thinking about it makes me totally overwhelmed and appreciative and blows my mind anew.

One year ago today, my amazing agent, Mary Kole, of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, offered me representation. Her email popped up on my Blackberry at 7:30am the day after I received my very first rejection for my new novel, THROUGH TO YOU. I about had a heart attack when I saw who it was from, and after I read the email, I had my husband read it too, just to make sure I wasn’t delusional. I won’t hesitate to say the things that have happened in the year since have changed my life irreversibly. THROUGH TO YOU will be coming out November 20, 2012 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins (the cover is currently in development–can’t wait to share it with all of you), Paramount Pictures has purchased the film option rights, and I’m hard at work on a second standalone book for B+B.

So, as you can tell, today is a big day for me! I had NO idea one year ago what lay in store for me. I was so focused on just getting an agent, I proceeded to spend hours that day sifting through message board threads trying to figure out what happens next. The answer is: a lot! I have learned so much, had so many great experiences, and am so grateful. And now I’d like to celebrate with:


 My very first giveaway – be gentle. ;)

So, the important question: what can you win??


SIGNED hardcover copies of SUPERNATURALLY by the lovely Kiersten White, and A BEAUTIFUL DARK by the fabulous Jocelyn Davies!  …and just for fun, I’ll throw in some awesome Apocalypsies bookmarks and buttons. I had the pleasure of meeting Kiersten and Jocelyn when they came to The Tattered Cover on the Dark Days tour. They are both fellow HarperCollins authors, so I figured what better books to feature for my agent anniversary and very first giveaway? Did I mention these books are signed?


The rules are very simple:

All you have to do is leave a comment right here on this blog post saying you’d like to enter (if you’re reading this on Facebook or Goodreads, please come HERE to my website to comment or I may not see your entry). YOU WILL BE ENTERED TWICE if you indicate in your comment that you have LIKED my Facebook page, which can be found here: (please be truthful, I’ll be checking). This counts for anyone who has already LIKED my page too. Just remind me!

Entries will be open until this Friday, November 18th, at 5:00pm Pacific (sorry, due to shipping costs this giveaway is only open to those with addresses in the continental U.S.). One lucky winner will be chosen at random and announced here next week. Will it be you?


A Successful Query Letter

Me with Mary Kole in Los Angeles :)

(I am cross-posting this with the BRAVE NEW WORDS blog since it might actually be helpful to post my query letter on my own blog)

Since I previously blogged rather ecstatically HERE about signing with Mary Kole, I thought I’d focus this Agent Story post on the query letter that set my publication journey in motion. I hadn’t looked at my query since late last year when I signed with Mary, and I had no idea re-reading it would fill me with all of the same dread and anxiety it did when I originally sent it! Query Letter Stomachache is apparently not a curable condition.

That said, before you read it, I feel the need to put out a few disclaimers (which may also serve as warnings for those still in the trenches):

1) I sound completely stuffed. I was trying to be business-like and professional, and I think I succeeded, but ZERO personality shines through in this letter. Yes, Mary offered representation anyway, and I realize there’s a delicate balance between personality and weirdo, but use your best judgment.

2) THROUGH TO YOU is really not a paranormal novel. At the time I was very much under the impression “science fiction” was still a dirty word in YA. A lot has changed in nine months. If I queried today I might call it “light sci-fi,” a term I heard more than once at SCBWI this summer.

3) THROUGH TO YOU is also not magical realism! I realized that after I read IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma. If you want magical realism, read her book! My use of the term is further evidence of me being “sci-fi” phobic.

4) Note the previous rejection and lack of any publication credits (okay, to be fair, I did have an article published in a dog grooming magazine, but that was notrelevant). Everyone gets rejected and everyone has to get their first publication somewhere. Mary offered representation because she liked THIS book.

All right, with all of that aside, I feel slightly less embarrassed posting this for the entire internet to see:


Dear Ms. Kole,

I was in touch with you last year about a previous novel, [REDACTED], at which time you encouraged me to submit other work to you in the future. I thought you might be interested in my latest YA paranormal novel, THROUGH TO YOU. It is complete at 59,000 words.

The day eighteen-year-old Camden Pike sees a ghost is the day he assumes he’s finally lost it. For the last two months, he’s been torturing himself over why he walked away from the car accident that killed his girlfriend, Viv. She was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after an injury ended his football career, and picking up the pieces when his home life shattered. With Viv at his side, his pain was manageable–she was all that mattered. He’d give anything for one glimpse of her again. But now there’s a ghost…and it isn’t her.

Cam quickly realizes the apparition, Nina, is not a ghost at all. She’s a girl from another world–one where Cam was the one who died, and Viv is alive and well. Once he learns this, all he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But the accident isn’t the only thing different about this other world–Viv and Cam both made very different choices here that changed things between them. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets and the window between the worlds isshrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become, he’s forced to choose–stay with her, or let her go–before the window closes between them once and for all.

THROUGH TO YOU is a book that explores themes of unhealthy relationships and the power of choices within a magical realist atmosphere. Per your submissions guidelines, I have included the first ten pages below. A full manuscript is available upon request. I am currently querying other agents at this time. I appreciate you taking the time to consider my work.



Emily Hainsworth



I’m not sure how to write a blog post like this. I’ve never written about getting a book deal before.

[Update: I am now on my third try. Coherence, where are you?]

So, amazing things have been happening to me this year–and we’re only in February.

Maybe it’ll be easier if I cut right to the chase…my amazing agent, Mary Kole, sold my debut YA novel, THROUGH TO YOU, to Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins for publication in Fall 2012. I doubt I need to say this is one of the most amazing things that has happened to me. EVER! I couldn’t be more elated, thrilled, terrified, excited, and over-the-bright-and-beautiful moon!

Despite combing through message boards, blog entries, vlogs, you name it…nothing could have prepared me for this. I don’t think the emotion that goes along with selling your first book ever makes it intact to the public. Because it looks like this: (O_O), and it sounds like this: “!!!!!!!!!!!”

And yet here it is (from the Publishers Marketplace announcement):

Emily Hainsworth’s debut THROUGH TO YOU, about a grieving teen who discovers a parallel world where his girlfriend is still alive, only she’s harboring some dangerous secrets, and the devastating choices he must make, and a second, untitled book, to Alessandra Balzer at Balzer & Bray, in a good deal, in a two-book deal, at auction, for publication in Fall 2012, by Mary Kole at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (NA).
Foreign: Taryn Fagerness

After four years of writing, revising, and endless queries, I had myself convinced I’d never get an AGENT, let alone an EDITOR. Now it’s like a mini-riot inside my head: all the OLD thoughts I’ve grown used to–maybe someday, I’ll try harder, I can do this, one day–versus the NEW thoughts–I am going to be a published author, my book will be in stores, I hope people like it, OMG THIS IS REAL!

It’s that last thought I am having a hard time with. I keep experiencing these earth-shaking reality checks. Yesterday, while reading a friend’s blog entry about receiving her first edit letter, I found myself wistfully taking in her account of how daunting and exciting the edits were. I thought…wow, that would be so scary and cool…but then I caught myself and realized that WILL be scary and cool, and it’s going to happen to me SHORTLY.

I walk into book stores, but they are no longer just places where I buy other people’s books…MY book will be on the same shelves with people I admire and respect. My book. The one I wrote mostly between 10pm and 2am, falling asleep on the keys surrounded by coffee mugs and candy wrappers. The one I pitched half-heartedly to my invaluable critique partner, Courtney Summers, one night over a couple of direct messages on Twitter after giving up on my last novel:

“Ok so this never happens, but I have a title: THROUGH TO YOU. But I think my MC is a guy, and that makes me sooo uncomfortable/unsure. Idk. Think his name’s gonna be Camden. His gf recently died, but then he sees this girl (who isn’t his gf) he thinks is a ghost, except she’s not a ghost, but in another dimension, and she needs something from him but I have no idea what yet…but he’s just hoping his gf might be in another dimension and not dead?”

What shocks me now, after months of writing and revision, is that these lines still describe exactly how the novel starts. But thank you, Courtney, because her response to me that night was: “WRITE THAT.”

So I wrote it–with one agent specifically in mind the whole time: Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I knew this was foolish…but Mary had given me insightful feedback on my first novel and I just had a good feeling. I took writing THROUGH TO YOU as a challenge to impress her, and to (hopefully) take my writing to a new level along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I did send other queries…but when Mary read the manuscript, she LOVED it and offered representation: [insert dreams coming true].


Agent-Extraordinaire-Mary sent THROUGH TO YOU out on submission Friday, January 14th, and by the following Friday (one week later) we had our first offer — with more to come. The next week was a haze of editor phone calls worked in around my day job, pet grooming…I’m not sure how I managed to cut dog hair straight that week, but none of my clients received an accidental mohawk the way my critique partner Tiffany Schmidt teased. That Wednesday the 26th, Mary called to tell me Taryn Fagerness of The Taryn Fagerness Agency had already sold TTY in a pre-empt to Germany (Oh Mein Gott!). And finally, Monday, January 31st, Mary sat down to auction off my book in the U.S. while I sat down to bite my nails. The next day, February 1st, we accepted a two-book deal from the fabulous Alessandra Balzer of Balzer+Bray / HarperCollins, and THROUGH TO YOU will be published in Fall 2012!

In time for the apocalypse!

So that’s my MY BOOK SOLD story! And yes…I still expect to wake up tomorrow and discover it was a dream. But I have to admit the moments when I realize IT’S REAL all over again are pretty cool. So I’ll keep re-reading emails that make me smile, and pinching myself while I await my own edits, and pointing little things out to my very patient husband to try to make it all seem real. Things like, LOOK! THIS! WILL BE ON THE SPINE OF MY BOOK:

BONUS! Read Mary Kole’s own account of the sale HERE.





Write Something ELSE (It might get you an AGENT!)

It has been about four years exactly since the first time I told S — “I am writing a novel.” He nodded at the time, clearly unaware that ~this was important~. So I added, “I’m serious about this. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’m going to finish this book and do everything I can to get a literary agent and get published.”

…to which he nodded again, mildly. So I rolled my eyes and went back to writing my book.

I queried that book months later. I got a lot of form rejections and one SUPER encouraging query-rejection from an agent I admired…who pointed out that my writing needed polish.

So I went out and bought books to jog my memory on how to write WELL. I had changed my major in college from English Writing to Psychology since everyone said I’d get nowhere with an English degree (FYI I currently run a business that doesn’t even come close to using my Psych degree either :P). The single most useful book I read during this time? SELF EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Browne and King. I blushed reading that book, realizing everything I was doing wrong.

So I rewrote the first book with my new skillz! And I queried AGAIN! This time I got a couple of full requests! And a lot of rejections. I didn’t get any agent-feedback at this time, but I was trying out some critique groups and learning more than I could’ve read in ANY book from the experience.

Still unwilling to give up on my Brilliant First Book Idea, I started rewriting it…AGAIN. Along the way, I finally met some GOLDEN critique partners I meshed with, and I truly believe we made that book as polished as a square peg in a round hole can get! So I queried it…AGAIN (3rd time same book, if you lost track)! This time I got AWESOME detailed feedback from several agents. They weren’t outright rejections…more like suggestions for HEAVY revision with an invitation to submit again. The problem with that was–I was sick of Brilliant First Book Idea by this point. Don’t get me wrong…I’m still in love with the concept. But the characters and I were so sick of each other, I finally decided (through many tears and threats to quit writing, naturally) that maybe the best thing to do was work on something else while trying to gain some perspective on that book.

So I wrote a New Book. It’s called THROUGH TO YOU. I queried it recently and I am THRILLED (THRILLED!!!) to announce that writing a different book was exactly the right decision for me because…

I have just signed with agent Mary Kole at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Mary astounded me with her enthusiasm and drive–she gets my novel, maybe even better than I do! But the best part? Mary was one of the agents on the last round who was enthusiastic about my writing, but told me (SUPER SWEETLY) that the Brilliant First Book Idea…wasn’t working.

And the most important thing I did? Acknowledge that she was right.

I think what can be taken from this how-I-got-my-agent story is pretty clear: PERSEVERE. If you want to get an agent, write the very best book you can, and query it! Pay attention to the feedback you get — good AND bad, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a project — even when it seems brilliant! You can always return to it (maybe I’ll revisit that first book too someday). But if you’re having trouble with a project and you just CAN’T make the peg fit the hole…maybe you’re working on the wrong thing. That manuscript you love will always be special because that’s where you started. But you’ll never know what OTHER projects might be successful if you can’t let the current one go…

WRITE SOMETHING ELSE. And see what happens! :D