Huge Congratulations to Sally!

Charge your glasses and celebrate with SCBWI volunteer, Space on the Book Shelf Blogger and, among other competition successes, UV2012 Honorary Mention, Sally Poyton!

Sally has signed with Literary Agent Shelley Instone. Especially wonderful as Sally struggles with dyslexia. She wrote this beautifully candid post for W&P last year. We're delighted how Sally's persistence has paid off!

Over to Sally for how it happened...

I started writing in 2007. Like many writers, I stayed in the writer’s cupboard for a few years until I was coaxed out by other likeminded folk when I joined my first critique group. Since then I have embraced writing life, joining and volunteering for SCBWI. Like every aspiring writer, I have beavered away furiously; writing, editing, polishing, blogging and submitting. And like every writer I soon came to expect rejection, and despite trying to be the metaphoric rhinoceros, found each one would dip me down on the yo-yo of despair, to be pulled back with renewed hope (or stubbornness) to continue submitting.

In September, I stumbled on a new agent, Shelley Instone, and after researching her and finding she had worked with fellow SCBWIer, and UV12 Honorary Mention, Lara Williamson on her Début Novel A Boy Called Hope, I swiftly submitted. I then sat back with the expectation of a long wait and a lovely thank you but no response, to find three days later an e-mail from Shelley asking to see other work, and a request to meet up.

After I met Shelley, I quickly put my autograph on the contract and poured a rather large glass of something bubbly.

Being somewhat of a spreadsheet fanatic, I've kept records of all my submissions; here is my writing journey, to the point of signing with Shelley in numbers…

Books written – 2 Novels, I Novella, 5 Picture Book Texts

Agent Submissions – 31

Agent Requests for Full Manuscripts – 7

Agent Rejections – 30

Agent Signed - 1

Publisher Submissions – 7

Publisher Requests for Full Manuscripts – 7

Publisher Rejections – 6 (still waiting on one)

Competitions entered -10

Competitions won – 1

Competitions Long-listing – 2 (The Times Chicken House 2013 & 2014)

Competitions Honorary Mentions – 2 (Undiscovered Voices 2012 & Winchesters Writers Conference 2012)

Congratulations Sally, you're an inspiration!


  1. Hearty Congratulations Sally! Thank you for sharing the time-line of your writing journey. It just goes to show that gritty determination is the only way. I read your blog when I sent a thrashed-out-in-a-month novel to Chicken House last year, and found it very inspiring. Here's to the next step in your journey. Cheers!

    1. Thank you Nancy! It's lovely to hear that my blog helped you a little too. Have you entered this year? By the way much admiration for finishing a novel in a month!

    2. Thanks Sally - not entered this year, as concluded pretty quickly that flinging out a thrown together, unproofread (and unproved) pile of typo-filled ingredients isn't the best way forward :-)

  2. Great news Sally. I love the stats. It goes to show that producing great writing is only half the story. Resilience and persistence in submitting is also very important. You deserve all you are getting.

    1. Thank you David, yes it seems to be a lot about thick skin...

  3. Brilliant news. Love the stats!

  4. Your stats are very impressive, Sally - a much better hit rate than me! Clearly you were always destined for great things :-)

  5. Many congrats, Sally, and a great spur to persistence. Fingers crossed for that publisher submission, too.

    Heartfelt congrats, Sally, and fingers crossed for that publisher submission. (And I agree with everyone about the stats. Jolly interesting.)

  6. Congratulations Sally! I love your journey by numbers and wish you lots of luck on the next stage!

  7. Congratulations Sally, and thanks for sharing your journey x

  8. Great to see this and best of luck with the next stage!


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