Oh how I adore stories of courage and tenacity that end up paying off for the person with the persistence! Today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author, Sally Spratt, has just one of these stories. The kind that make my skin tingle and love 12 x 12 and everyone in it because we prop each other up and we keep each other going. One by one, like Sally, we cross the finish line somewhere. But then, once you read her bio and see what kind of sons she raised, I doubt if you’ll be surprised by her recent success. Please welcome Sally!
I joined 12×12 in 2012 because I desperately needed to rekindle my love of writing. In January of 2012, I was ready to give up writing. I’d been writing, and writing, submitting, and submitting. I’d collected a wall full of rejection notices.I started to doubt myself and wondered if I had any talent. My writing was crap and I knew it.I think all writers go through this phase, for me though; it didn’t seem like a phase, I was 100% done with writing.
I’m not sure where I first saw the 12×12 in ’12 Challenge, perhaps on a blog or somewhere on Facebook. It doesn’t matter where, what matters is 12 x 12 made me think I should give writing one last try. I’d be accountable for writing something every month, even if it was crap. I’d have the opportunity to join another critique group. I craved someone to tell me, “Your writing sucks,” or be honest with me and say, “You’re great, you’ve got real talent.”
Critique groups haven’t been helpful for me in the past; with reluctance, I joined one of the 12×12 groups. My past groups were like reading to my family, “It’s great, I love it.” Or, I was reading to people who had no clue about the writing industry, “It doesn’t have enough words,” or, “You need more descriptions, I can’t tell what’s going on.” Then there was the group that I loving refer to as Cat Lady Writers (you know who you are), “I read your story to my cats, they loved it,” or “you could use a few more cats in your book.” Then there’s the group who wants a moral or statement in every story. If you know me, you know that I have the sense of humor of a 2nd grade boy, no moral to my story, just silliness.
I handwrite all of my first drafts. Every month I found myself at a blank sheet of paper. I would jot down words, sounds I was hearing, whatever came to mind. Sometimes I get a good manuscript; other times I’d come up with something like, “The Veggies on the Bus go Up and Down.” My June manuscript flowed out of my gel pen magically. I started writing and it just came out in 1,000 words. Normally I had 2,000 or more words for a picture book and went through anguish cutting out the best parts. With a little fine-tuning, I soon had it down to an acceptable word count, without losing story integrity. I sent it off to my critique partners, who gave me some suggestions. I took their ideas, made some minor adjustments and I sent it to Rate My Story, where I received a 9 out of 10 score. The editor who reviewed my story had a few minor changes, which I made and then started submitting.
My first rejection notice was hopeful, “Love the story, but we don’t know how to market it.” The second rejection notice was better, “I love Jerry, but I’m already working on a similar project.” Whoopee! My husband thought I was crazy at being excited about rejection notices. I explained since I wasn’t receiving canned rejection notices, it proved someone was reading my manuscript and liked it.
MeeGenius! sent me an e-mail in January 2013 asking for a few edits of my manuscript, and then they would consider a contract. My palms began to sweat, my heart raced and my mind raced with thoughts of what they wanted me to change. The edits were minor, change mother to mom and father to dad. After I sent my corrected manuscript back the following week, I received my contract and W9.
More about Sally Spratt: I am a writer. I tell myself that every morning. My daytime job is for the NorCal Ace Retailer Group, which is marketing and advertising agency for 46 independently owned Ace Hardware Stores in N. California. I do the writing for their ad copy, blog, social media, and anything else I can get my hands on. My manuscript, “Jerry the Boy Who Cried Monster,” is due to be released on MeeGenius! in May of 2013. My husband, Sean, and I are recent empty nesters, with my youngest going off to Nuclear Training school in the Navy, my middle son back in Florida trying to get into UCF and my oldest, a Marine Vet with one tour of Afghanistan under his belt, also at UCF studying to become a math teacher. My husband, Sean, and I enjoy fixing up our empty nest, which includes a wonderful writing room. We have a black lab named Sarge, who has more Facebook friends and Twitter followers than I do, and three cats (who think all my stories should have more cats).Categories: 12 x 12, Apps, Authors, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Publishing, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12, apps, Author, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Goals, Julie Hedlund, MeeGenius, Picture Books, Publishing, Sally Spratt, Tuesday 12 x 12, Writing