Sally MendocinoOh 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. 

I’m so glad that I didn’t give up writing, because after only four submissions “Jerry the Boy Who Cried Monster” is due for release in May of 2013 on the MeeGenius! app. 

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: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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21 Comments

  1. Great story about not giving up! I think we all need to be reminded that if we don’t strive to do just one more ( in whatever it may be), we’ll never know if that “one more” was IT.
    Congratulations on the app!!!

  2. Hi Sally Good for you not giving up and congratulations on your manuscript that got accepted, that’s a big plus. Keep writing and be true to yourself, so many people try to twist things around to what they want. It’s an advantage to accept critiques that are positive.

  3. Like they say, “You’ve got to be in it to win it,” and you certainly won, Sally. Thanks for your inspiring story; I look forward to seeing your app. :0) Too funny about your lab having more followers than you!

  4. Thanks for sharing your persistent journey with us, Sally!

  5. Congratulations! And there’s more where that came from, right? Is your rating from Rate Your Story correct as mentioned here? Best wishes on many more successes.

  6. Hooray for your story of perseverance paying off! Congratulations on your upcoming story, Sally! I’m going through a my-writing-sucks period too; it’s a common writing affliction. :}

  7. congrats Sally! So glad your perseverance payed off! Yougenius!

  8. Love, love, love hearing that your persistence payed off, Sally. Exactly what I needed to hear the day after I received 2 rejections. Thank you for sharing and congrats on your app!

  9. Never, never, never give up? Right now, I want to quit. The June agent told me my story reminds her too much of Beatrix Potter. 🙁 But I’m trying to hold on. Thanks for your story. I have changed the MS so that it is much less Peter Rabbitish. Who knows. Congrads on your success!

    • Don’t ever give up. Even if you think it’s crap…it may be – but then again, it might not. And sometimes in the crap, there is a tiny diamond waiting to be polished.

  10. Super-inspiring success story! Congratulations! ….maybe you can put some more cats in your next story….?

  11. Thank you for sharing your story with us Sally. It is very inspiring. Congratulations on your success!

  12. Loved hearing your story, Sally. Wishing you many more successes.

  13. Congratulations, Sally! Way to stay with it :•)

  14. Congrats, Sally. What a wonderful story! I wish you all the best.

  15. Great story! Congratulations again on your recent sale!

  16. Sally, after several rejections this week, your story of persistence and patience are welcome encouragement. Also, my granddaughter previewed “The Boy Who Cried Monster” and said, “Poppi, I LIKE this one!” It’s now in her MeeGenius library. I laughed out loud at the ending! Great work, thanks again for your story.

  17. I love your descriptions of critique groups–so funny (and frustrating)! Happy that you worked yourself out of your doubt and excited for your book app. 🙂

  18. Congratulations, Sally! What a wonderful, inspiring story! So excited for you 🙂

  19. Thanks everyone. I’ve been out of the loop for a few weeks, and just reading this now. Getting caught up.

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