Please welcome this weeks guest Sally Bradley for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey? in a two-part series. The first half having posted today. On Sunday, October 13, 2013, Part 2 posted. I hope you will enjoy her journey as much I have.
My writing journey began a year or so after Ronald Reagan was shot, back when I was in third grade. Somehow, for reasons long forgotten to me, I knew—knew—I’d write Christian fiction when I grew up. How vividly I remember my mom and her friends passing around Brenda Wilbee’s Sweetbriar Bride books, their salmon-colored covers capturing my attention. Someday that would be me.
Let’s get you caught up to date. I’m not published. Yet.
I went to college and majored in English. Because I was going to be a writer, you know. And maybe an editor too. I wrote paper after paper, spent half a year writing a paper on F. Scott Fitzgerald. (If you know anything about Fitzgerald, you understand why I regretted choosing him for that research paper.) I took a whole semester of Shakespeare, Early American Literature, Advanced Grammar and Composition (thank you, Dr. Chapman!), two creative writing classes, and—my favorite class—a full semester of American Novel.
What an education, hmm?
I got it.
While I was glad I’d gotten that job, I was disappointed I hadn’t gotten my dream job. What good would it do me to work in sales for a publisher?
Lots. Less than a year later, I was writing the sales sheets that the entire publisher used. All of them—marketing, editorial, sales. I took what editorial gave me and created a short book blurb, an author bio, and target market section.
I loved my job there. Loved working there. Then my husband had the nerve to move us eight hours away for seminary. The commute from home to work would be a killer, so I had to quit my job.
My boss, the only full-time employee, was an editor who taught me the editing side of fiction. We talked about research, about audience, proofreading, and content editing. We even dipped our fingers into marketing and sales because, well, we were the only employees. What an education, hmm?
Sometime in the year or two after I resigned to stay home with our first child, the publisher closed. It’s awfully hard for people to buy books that they don’t know exist. But I was blessed with real-life publishing experience that few unpublished writers have.
Over the next seven years, I had two babies, potty-trained two toddlers, and wrote and studied fiction and wrote some more. I received a request for a full manuscript from my dream publisher (remember that publisher I used to work for?) and received a letter with a revision request from an editor—the editor that got the job I originally wanted.
While I worked on the revisions, I queried agents and had two offer representation. Surely now my first contract was months away.
I chose an agent, and we went to work. As he began submitting my book, I became sick. Very sick. Sick enough where I ended up spending a lot of my spring in various doctor’s offices until I finally got a diagnosis of an auto-immune disease. My body was fighting itself, and I was worn out. I slept half the day for months and realized that if my agent sold my book—and the sequels in the proposal—there was no way I could write another book.
Not like this.
For part 2, click here.
Sally Bradley has worked for two publishers, writing sales and marketing materials, sorting through the slush pile, and proofreading and editing fiction. She has a BA in English and a love for fiction, especially fiction that points to God and provides hope.
A Chicago native, Sally now lives in the Kansas City area with her pastor husband who moonlights as a small-town cop. She runs her freelance editing service from her estate-find roll-top desk and hides out in the unfinished basement with the characters from her own book. Sally is a three-time Genesis finalist, and her current work-in-progress won two other writing contests in 2013. She writes realistic, honest contemporary fiction. You can find her at sallybradley.com or her writer page on Facebook, Sally Bradley, Writer.