“I read you’re supposed to start a blog if you want to be a published writer,” says author Hannah Karena Jones ’11, assistant editor at Transaction Publishers in New Jersey. “It was two weeks after graduation and I had nothing to do before I started at the New York University Publishing Institute later that summer. I had all the time to start a blog.” And so in May 2011 she created The (Writer’s) Waiting Room, her blog which, today, has more than 880 followers.
Jones originally started Waiting Room as a “place for writers to keep each other company,” a community for other people during the time between submitting stories to publications and receiving a response. Many older posts consist of Jones’ own waiting periods and, she admits, “It wasn’t interesting to write.” As she started to submit less, Waiting Room developed into a general writer blog with one question appearing again and again: “What do you do with rejection letters?”
One success of Waiting Room is the post that got her a book deal for Byberry State Hospital (see print article). Another is So, You Want to Work in Publishing!, a guest blogging series that “features the personal stories of how young professionals broke into publishing” with contributions from Jones and guest bloggers. “It’s been fun to kind of mentor people that were like me in college,” says Jones, who currently is working on a young adult novel.
While the blog provides her with good feedback, sometimes it’s just the “need to share” that keeps Jones blogging. “I don’t really have any in-person writer friends,” she says. “It’s the need to connect with that community online.”
– Chanel Carrasquilla ’14