Spotlight on Writing

Before the Contracts


I’ve had a wonderful last few months in the writing world, yet, I want to showcase the behind the scenes struggles. Why? Because so often authors see the good news of others and develop a pain in their heart that it was not them getting to share good news. For this reason, I think it’s important to breakdown what happens before the contract.

In the last two months I have announced signing a contract for my picture book Winston Versus the Snow and my sweet romance novel Grounded in January, both coming out in 2019 from Brother Mockingbird Publishing. AND….my signed acquisitions letter for my Inuit picture book Nanook and the Pizza (coming 2020 from Audrey Press).

Here are the numbers….


  • 25 rejections, not bad considering my first picture book Nonnie and I was rejected over 50 times.
  • 3 “love, but can’t publish it”
  • 5 Twitter pitch contests, 1 “like”

The story was originally titled Winston Hates the Snow, but at a writer’s conference I decided after a panel speaker’s advice to change the word hate. It also went under a major revision prior to the final submission.

First submission April of 2017 – making this a relatively “quick” acceptance. (Nonnie and I took 7 years to sell)


  • 28 rejections
  • 1 “love, but not right for us”
  • 4 Twitter pitch contests, 0 “like”
  • 1 revision request – which turned into the acquisitions letter afterwords.

Submissions started in February of 2017, with one major rewrite prior to the revision request.


  • 2 rejections – 1 with, please submit your next manuscript when available
  • 2 Twitter pitch contests, 5 “likes” (I only submitted to 1 of them in the end)

First submitted July 2018.

Yep, that story ends there for this one.

This shows you the more you write and read, the better your writing becomes. The more you focus on craft, the better your writing gets.


10 thoughts on “Before the Contracts”

  1. Thanks, Savannah. I think most seasoned writers realize this but we all need reminding from time to time. I wish more authors were this transparent about the grueling process, the patience needed, as well as that “luck” factor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Twitter pitch contests are where you pitch your story or illustrations to agents and or publishers. Since Twitter only allows for so many characters (words) you have to have a well thought out pitch. And, nope the publisher used a stock photo of a lab.


      1. That’s kind of cool. Kind of like a portfolio review for writers. Does your story pitch get seen on-line by other writers when your doing this, or do the publishers keep that part off-line, so your story doesn’t fall in the wrong hands? When getting a book published, where does the copy right laws come in at?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Rick, sorry I missed this comment. When you pitch your story anyone on the internet can see it. You don’t even need to have a Twitter account to view them. But since you are only sharing a few sentences, it is possible for someone to steal your idea, but unlikely. Oh, copyright laws are rather tricky. Technically once you have written a story it’s essentially copyrighted, but to legally do a copyright you need to go through the process with the copyright office.


  2. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this, Savannah. It’s an encouragement to hear the journey of other authors, and to realize it can be a long road. It’s easy to feel like a failure if our first book/pitch/query/etc. isn’t an instant success. And it’s wonderful to share in the successes of others. It encourages me to keep pursuing my own dreams, too. Thanks again for the transparency. And, I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t wait for the release of Grounded in January!


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