Spray It, Don't Say It

Thursday, March 26, 2020
On the occasions when I'm so enthusiastic or my mouth is just so darned juicy that a bit of spittle sprays from my mouth towards whoever I'm talking to, I hope. I hope the slob droplets headed their way didn't reach them. Sometimes I even see where the spit landed--like on their sweater--and then I hope they didn't notice what happened.

Sometimes I imagine they're polite enough that they definitely did see exactly what happened, but they're too nice to embarrass me by reacting.

photo by Pixabay

If you read one of my posts on The Muffin, you know that I recently received a second rejection email. (I'm waiting to hear from a third publisher, one who also requested a full manuscript.) I expressed my discouragement. A few writer friends suggested I make a final push before going a route other than seeking a traditional publisher. One said to send my piece everywhere... to make March my month. To spray it everywhere.

Spray it everywhere. That idea really wedged into my brain. I couldn't get it unstuck.

So, instead of just saying I'm going to submit it to other places, I'm going to spray it. I'm going to send it so many places, it'll be like I had a fire hose in my hands, and my queries whooshed out with incredible force.

I began with manuscriptwishlist.com. I made a list, with five agents each day, and that website got me to March 18. 18 x 5 = 90. That means that so far, I'll be sending out 90 new submissions.

I'm changing each of my query letters to match who I'm sending them to. Rachelle Gardner, an agent, wrote a post about how to attract an agent. Cathryn Summerhayes, another agent, wrote a piece about what works and what are potential pitfalls when it comes to queries. Jane Friedman includes resources for writers looking for agents in her post.

I figure that 155 submissions, added to the query letters I sent out previously, proves I haven't given up. I'm willing to give one last-ditch effort before going a different publication route.

Screeeeeeeech. Then the coronavirus really hit the U.S.

The above was written about a month ago. I was not able to keep up the five-a-day query goal, but it looks like I have some time on my hands now to catch up. We've been told to stay at home, and I've been engaging in "distance teaching." The earliest I will report back to "normal" work is April 23...

So, in between my posting lessons online and answering repeated questions of "I did it and I submitted it, but it says I didn't. What do I do?" and grading their work, I have time to query. By the end of my social distancing journey, I will have racked up 155 queries.

(And reading over this, from a month ago, I realize with everyone wearing masks and covering when sneezing and washing our hands until the skin cracks, the thought of spittle spraying everywhere might make you shudder. But fear not. Lately, when I get overly excited, it's just me, the hubby and the dog. We're putting way more than 6 feet between us, so whatever spit is flying around, it's probably landing back on me... which is probably a good thing.)

If you're staying close to home, what are you doing to keep yourself entertained? What are you binge-watching? What are you reading? What are you writing? Querying-like-crazy minds want to know...

Sioux has worn the same pair of sweat pants for a couple days in a row (Ew!), she plowed through the last season of Ray Donovan, is looking forward to the airing of the last few episodes of Schitt's Creek and she just finished reading American Dirt. If you'd like to read more of shudder-worthy habits, check out her blog, Sioux's Page.


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Reading: The Chill by Scott Carson
Listening to: 11/22/63
Watching: Star Wars. I'd never noticed before how often Obi Wan (Ewan McGregor) touches his face. Six watched, three to go.

I've seen several agents post that they want to read submissions so keep sending things in. Now, I need to take my own advice. There's a grant I want to apply for as well.

I imagine distance learning solves some problems and creates others. Hang in there!


Myna said...

Good luck, Sioux! I'm rooting for you. :)

Margo Dill said...

That is a lot of queries, but that is amazing. We are on Harry Potter Book 3. I am reading my friend's novel--sci-fi--and just started reading Mark Dawson's new book--a crime novel. I am working on formatting my school visit book. And homeschooling and puppy training and editing...ugh. SO much to do, still.

Nicole Pyles said...

First - yay that you are doing the spray technique!! I have been able to tackle a lot of the "I'd like to try this" projects and also picked up another freelance project (which came to a pause this week because of the COVID virus). That's okay. I can play catch up.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sioux, YES! Spray it, chica! That's a great number of queries. :)

Reading: Consider This by Chuck Palahniuk (his first craft of writing book, and it's fire. Best craft book I've read.)

Binge-watching on Netflix: the docuseries, Tiger King, which I highly recommend if you like to watch train wrecks. :)

Writing: a Coronavirus essay.

Good luck, Sioux! Change those sweat pants! ;o)

Angela Mackintosh said...

PS. Remember to paste your post in the HTML tab. I just fixed the text size for you. <3 Stay safe, and much love.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue--I have that King book. Started it, but for some reason didn't keep up with it. Perhaps because its spine is 14 inches thick and the book weighs 19 pounds? ;) Let me know if I need to return to it.

And submit!

Myna--Thanks. I need all the pom pons rustling for me that I can get.

Margo--Puppy training. That alone is a time and energy sucker. Good luck with that.

Nicole--Maybe a true miracle will happen. Maybe an AWOL member of the Butt-Kickers will return... I look forward to hearing about the new projects you're trying out.

Angela--Have you read his "Haunted"? The most twisted book--about writing--that I've ever read. I love him.

I have that book, but was saving it for a special occasion. Maybe I will let myself start it after I've sent out my 155th query... Like a reward to myself.

And thanks. I did this post the same way I always do it, but when I saw the smaller text, I couldn't figure out how to fix it. (Also, on the third day, the sweat pants and me become one. ;)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I started 11/22/63 on CD and when I returned it couldn't put it through the slot. I'm just over half way through the book on e-audio. I prefer having it "phone-sized" to obscuring the horizon sized.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue--"Obscuring the horizon-sized" is the perfect way to put it.

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux, good luck with the spray technique! I think that's a reasonable goal and that you should definitely go for it.

Watching: Like Ang, I also binge-watched the Tiger King Netflix series last week when I wasn't feeling well. I couldn't look away. I also just started "Little Fires Everywhere" on Hulu.

I'm re-reading "Mrs. Everything" by Jennifer Weiner this week and have found several continuity errors. I remember her addressing them when the book first came out and wanted to go back and see for myself. I guess when you're writing a story that spans several decades, that's bound to happen. I also figure now is a good time to finally read a few books I've had on my shelf unread . . . Hillbilly Elegy is one of them. I also need to finish "One of Us is Next" by Karen McManus.

I'm not doing much writing except for my podcast scripts. I have a few essay ideas I want to flesh out, though.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I've ordered the book "Little Fires Everywhere." I love Kerry Washington, but I want to read the book before I watch the series.

I had a Zoom work meeting today, and after it was officially finished, some of us stayed on and chatted. Several of them have watched "Tiger King" and what they said made me put it on my "must watch/can't look away list.

Podcasts are good. That means that soon we can listen to them, right? ;)

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