Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Weigh in, People

I’m such a delinquent blogger these days (this freelancing thing is killin’ me) so I thought I’d try to multi-task in this post. Bare with me, folks.

My dream (yes, I’m blushing) is to syndicate my column. (Sometimes I wonder if I’m one of those tone-deaf singers auditioning for American Idol. You know the ones. They’re either dressed in drag or uber androgynous performing some frightening dance moves while they sing on, oblivious. That’s me. Only I’m submitting column queries, in drag, oblivious…)

So anyway, I’ve gotten positive feedback from two papers so far that have yet to give me a definitive answer. Now I’m of the opinion that editors are not the string-‘em-along type. They don’t know me personally so if they didn’t like my stuff they’d probably just say, “We’re not interested,” and get it over with, right? (I know, I’m such a sucker). So I’ve written a couple follow-up emails with no luck. And that’s when I concluded that since I’ll probably get rejected anyway I might as well have fun doing it. I crafted the following email as my last and final attempt to get an answer from these papers.

Dear Editors,

I’m sure you’ve tired of my endless queries, those relentless emails pleading for your attention. I’m needy that way. But I can’t stop thinking about you and your paper and the wonderful future we could share. I’ve signed my name countless times with your moniker: Shauna B., The Dream-On Daily News Columnist. *sigh* What a combination. So natural. So complete.

But because I haven’t heard back I’m wondering what’s wrong. Perhaps you’re afraid to commit. I know I can be intimidating with my humor and stuff. Or maybe you think I’m high maintenance and will charge a lot of money and tire you with verbose emails like this one. I’m cheap, really. And once you say “yes” I promise to back off and give you your space.

And then the other day I was watching Oprah and she had this expert Guy on who said that when “they” don’t call or email you back it really just means one thing: he’s just not that into you. And it got me thinking: could the same concept apply to a desperate writer and the paper of her affection?

So tell me, are you just not that into me? I can take it, really… (*sob*sob*)

Shauna B.

So what do you think? On a scale of 1-10, how stupid am I? (Okay, okay. I take that back. Please don’t be honest. Just flatter me senseless. I’m a little fragile right now. *snort*).


Erin said...

Shauna--that's awesome! I love it. If that doesn't solicit a response, there are some editors out there in serious need of a sense of HUMOR!! I think you're great--and if I had any money-I'd pay you just for the laughs. Good Luck!

suburbancorrespondent said...

Shauna, serious comment here - check out the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop website - there is a monthly newsletter online and there is also a yahoogroup for humor writers which has a lot of interesting info on it. Sign up for it and then check the archives from the past week or so, it is really relevant to your situation. Particularly some posts from Gordon Kirkland and Somebody Gallagher. They talk about columnists' problems with newspaper editors, podcasts being the new thing for column writers, and a bunch of other stuff you'd be interested in. E-mail me if you can't find the website. Good luck!

Candygirlflies said...

You know what?

A few years back, when I was working full-time in theatre, some actor-guy by the name of Antoni kept auditioning and auditioning, and NEVER getting a call-back. He was young. He was inexperienced. He was (very likely) just about broke.

So, as a last-ditch effort, he wrote a letter to our illustrious Artistic Director, in which he stated that the VERY FIRST PERSON TO HIRE HIM would win a toaster oven.

Shauna, this Artistic Director was an uptight little English dude. ALMOST as uptight as my father. But not quite. Because he had a fantastic sense of humour, and he HIRED ANTONI. And then, he had a little plaque made for the toaster oven ("This Toaster Oven Was Donated By... blah blah blah...) and it was put in a place of honour in our Green Room.

Antoni went on to become not only an extremely successful actor... but is now the General Director of the Stratford Festival Theatre.

You just keep on sending in those letters. And if all else fails, try offering free household appliances!

love and hugs, CGF xo

shauna said...

A complimentary toaster... I hadn't thought of that. I'll have to buy in bulk (and the plaque isn't a bad idea either...).

I'll keep sending queries because it makes the accounting newsletters I write for really money more tolerable. Just having something to dream about is fun.

And suburbancorrespondent, you didn't post it here, but you send a fabulous email with all that Erma Bombeck site info (and I have to agree, I am absolutely GREEN over the Because I Said So blogger--she regularly has over 100 coments to her posts. Unbelievable--now maybe I should have thought of eBay as my marketing vehicle...)

And thanks, Erin. I couldn't love Jason more for bringing such a lovely, compliment-givin' sister-in-law into the family!

Eileen said...

Truthfully, I think your e-mail was brillant. I laughed my ass off. I think it says so much about who you are as a person and what a fantastic writer you are, and how stupid they would be if they "were just not in to you." I creativity and risk taking is the key in this field, what do you really have to loose. It certainly did not hurt your chances, and in my opinion, it made you stand out and your talents noticed. Let us know how it goes. Wishing you lots of good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who doesn't publish the best writer in the world would be an idiot. I know someone will discover you someday and when that day comes they will be lucky to find you and I will be one of the first to subscribe to that paper. Love ya and good luck, jen

shawn said...


I may borrow some of that letter in the coming days as I explore the same territory on the Northern side of the Border ...

Brilliant, funny ... and memorable. Three things you want in a columnist ... any editor who gets this and files it without cracking a smile isn't someone you want to work with any way ...

Keep us posted and - Happy Writing!!

Break a Quill !!!

shauna said...

Here's Paper #1's reply:

"Hi Shauna:
I'm into you! I'm into you! Truth is, I'm running half a dozen columns in my Sunday Lifestyles section and one of them is going to have to hit the road to make room for you. There, does that make you feel better? :-)

So give me two weeks, send one more shot across the bow and by then I'll have decided who to whack. And on that happy note, have a good evening!"

Woohoooooo! (And the happy dance commences...)

zellmer said...

I was about to say that your persistence will pay off, but it sounds like it already has. Good for you!

Karen said...

Go for the double-wide dream, Shauna.

JaniceNW said...

The good will win. It's in the Bible. ;) I think you might find yourself some work there. I really like the toaster over idea!LOL. Keep on truckin' like they used to say in the '70's! Hugs.

Rachel said...

I hope, hope, hope, that you get this going for yourself because I really couldn't think of a better person to write in the "big leagues". I love seeing the inner workings of your gray matter on the blog...I think it would be fantastic if more people saw what you are capable of.

kitty said...

Conratulations, Shauna. That's fantastic! I know more will come along. The email was definitely an eye catcher. With your sense of humor and style, they would be crazy not to sign you on.

shauna said...

Thanks, Kitty. Are you Mary's sister-in-law? She told me you read my blog. I'm so flattered--thanks for coming out to comment! I hope all's well for you and your family.

Gustogirl said...

Look at you! That is awesome. You have spunk, you have confidence and you now have your first reply from paper #1!!! You have every reason to be proud and I hope the positive feedback and acceptances just keep rolling in!!!

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

That's terrific! I love your email! So glad to read in the comments that one of the papers responded!

shawn said...

Shauna: You inspired me with this entry ... yesterday I spent some time sending off letters to a variety of publications in the Manitoba area offering to write a column on life, faith, spirituality and religion for them ... didn't even have to borrow your letter - only your inspiration!!!!

Had one reply almost immediately - they didn't say no!!!!!!

Don't think I would have done it had it NOT been for you and your travails ... I wish you luck in this ... as I seek the same.

shauna said...

Shawn--That's GREAT! (When they don't say 'no' I automatically chalk it up as a 'maybe'--that's wonderful news!) I wish you the best of luck on your queries.

And thanks to all of you for your well wishes. No response yet on paper #2, but I'll keep you posted...

pinks & blues girls said...

I love your writing, Shauna. If I were an editor, I would scoop you up so fast you wouldn't know what hit you. So I am so happy to hear that you heard back with that awesome news!! Congrats!!

Jane, Pinks & Blues