Authors on the Verge: Meet Sydney Salter, young adult novelist

Sydney Salter
Sydney Salter

This week, we have Sydney Salter who held a variety of jobs before becoming a full-time writer, including her brief stint delivering pies and flowers, wrecking vans, and destroying wedding cakes in Reno, Nevada. Sydney now lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two cats, two dogs and two tortoises. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and, of course, baking and decorating cakes (but not driving them anywhere).

A little bit about Sydney’s debut novel MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS (Harcourt/Graphia) coming out this week!

For Jory Michaels, it all comes down to her nose. The big, bumpy monstrosity she calls the Super Schnozz  makes her feel different from everyone-her classically good-looking family, her cute-as-a-button best friends, and her gorgeous crush. Jory wants nothing more than to join the “Nice Nose Club” before the start of her senior year. So she gets a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for a nose job at the end of the summer. She even keeps a notebook filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. But Jory’s quest for cosmetic perfection is unexpectedly derailed when she discovers the people she longs to be like are not as perfect as they seem; and she finally finds a place-and a person-that makes her feel like she fits in.


Now let’s start the interview. When you received your offer, what happened?


My agent called me while I was in the airport on the way to the SCBWI LA conference. I loved celebrating with fellow writers! My husband flew to LA two days later and met me with champagne at the hotel lounge (very romantic!)

So now that you have a contract, what’s it like to be on the other side-on the verge of publication? What does it feel like to be official?

It’s very thrilling, but also a little scary. I feel like I have so much to learn about the business side of writing. And I really hope people love my book!

Tell us a little bit about your path to publication.

Writing, rejection, more writing, revision, rejection, more revision, more writing… About five years after I started writing seriously, I signed with my agent. My first published book is my fourth manuscript.

And here’s our favorite question. How many rejections did you receive IN GENERAL (not just for this book) before you landed your first major publishing contract?

  • 0-10
  • 11-25
  • 26-50
  • 51-100
  • 100+

Tell us about one of your most heart-breaking rejections and about one of your best. 

All the editors at well-respected X publishing house loved my second manuscript, but the publisher rejected it at acquisitions. I ate chocolate and took a long walk.

An editor scribbled a note on the bottom of a form rejection, “Promising, but Kat’s voice could be stronger.” It took me two years to figure out how, but I did, eventually, through quite a bit of revision. And now that book-my first manuscript–will be my second published novel, JUNGLE CROSSING, in September 2009 (Harcourt).

How long did it take to sell your books, from putting the first words on the page to receiving an offer?

  • 0-3 months
  • 3-6 months
  • 6 months to 1 year
  • 1 year – 2 years
  • 2 years – 3 years
  • 3 years+
  • The manuscript has been around longer than I have.

Prior to selling your books, you were …

a stay-at-home mom.

I wrote my first novel when my youngest daughter started preschool. I made the most of those 2 ½ hours a day! I didn’t do anything but write for those hours (I still have a chronically messy house).

Now that you’ve sold some books, you plan to …

Not change a thing.

I will continue to write while my daughters are in school. I am struggling a bit with balancing work and family as I get busier with deadlines and promotion.

What are some of the new things you worry about now that you have a contract?

Marketing, marketing, marketing. I’m trying to figure out the whole online world of blogs and social networking-a lot of the time it makes me feel like a junior high girl attempting to break into the popular crowd. If you friend me, I’ll friend you…

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing. Finish one manuscript and start the next, then go back and revise previous manuscripts as you become a better writer. Also, learn to make rejection fun. I keep all my rejection letters in a big Notebook of Rejection. Its girth has become kind of impressive, really.

Any inspiring quotes you live by?

I keep this framed on my writing table:

“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.” -Anthony Trollope

Finally Snoop wants to know: so do you think you have a big nose? Mine is huge, but especially keen.

Argh! Not that question again! When I wrote about a girl who thought she had a big nose, I didn’t realize how much I would end up talking about my own nose. And my insecurities about my own nose. Make sure you are comfortable talking about the subject matter in your story. Because you will be talking about it a lot!

This concludes our interview with our latest author, Sydney Salter. We wish her much success with her debut novel MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS.

To see what Sydney is up to these days, visit her website  or her blog at

One thought on “Authors on the Verge: Meet Sydney Salter, young adult novelist

  1. Cynthea, I love your Authors on the Verge series. Always so inspiring to aspiring writers! I’m looking forward to reading this book. I never wanted a nose job, but I have a few family members who went under the knife…and half my senior class in high school, LOL!

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