Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lessons Learned: How NOT to get Published on BLUNTmoms

I have a post up on the website BLUNTMoms. Apparently this is not an easy thing to do. How did I get there? Well, in spite of myself, of course. I did it ass-backwards, the hard way. I did the exact opposite of everything I should have done. But that’s not really a surprise to you, is it?

Is there an easier way to get published other than through name calling and taunts and challenges? Hell yeah. If you want to get onto a well known site, pretty much just do the opposite of what I did. Follow their damn rules. How hard is that? Well, for everyone other than me anyway.

So for those of you looking to get onto a site like BLUNTmoms, here’s exactly what I did, the lessons I learned and . . . well . . . what you should not do. Because even though I did end up on the site, I’m still not sure exactly how that happened. I had a much better chance of being a quick dinner to a school of hungry sharks.

Lessons Learned: How NOT to get Published on BLUNTmoms | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I have to admit I’m out of the loop when it comes to blogging status. I don’t enter myself or my work into “best blogger” contests, hate writing guest posts and rarely submit pieces to big name web sites or book anthologies. I’m sort of in my own world and in many ways I like it. Sure, I want my blog to be successful, but on my terms which are way different from those of many bloggers I’ve come in contact with. I don’t write to become the next Bloggess. I don’t develop recipes to become the next Pioneer Woman. I keep on writing because I want the escape and the challenge and the fun and the connections.

Some of my posts go viral. Some are just plain vanilla. Works for me.
Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cake | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cake
Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cake | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

All of this to say that I’m not as cognizant of big name websites that accept submissions as most bloggers are. Yes, I’ve done my share of that and been published on some, but in general I tend to stay out of the loop. So I’m embarrassed to admit that, when I was jumping around from website to website via links in writers’ bios, I had no idea what BLUNTmoms was when I landed on their site.

LESSON LEARNED #1: Don’t be oblivious to what’s going on in the blogging world. May as well just wear a sign saying “don’t know the scoop, out of the loop.”

As I was looking around the site, trying to get a feel for it, I found a page called “Editorial Standards for Submissions” and checked it out. Yikes, these people are serious. They have strict rules about submission and they set some clear limits complete with dire consequences for noncompliance, including that aforementioned death in a tank of hungry sharks.

Well you know I tend to get my back up when people tell me what to do. Even, apparently, when it’s on their own site and I’m just a visitor. I had no intention of contacting them but when I found, just above the lengthy admonitions about spelling, grammar and punctuation, a rogue apostrophe . . . it was on.

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
Hello Magnolia, Anne, Lynn or Kristen:
I’ve been around the blogging world for a few years but just made my way to your website. I was reading through your “Editorial Standards for Submissions” page and there amongst the expectations, demands, limits and even threats on my life what did I find? Right there in the “revisions” section? An error. Yes, you.

Here it is, in this sentence, the misuse of the apostrophe:
“Requests for revisions – very few of us nail the BLUNTmoms tone and style on the first go, our regular writer’s included.”

Better be more careful. I hear you’ve got a tank of hungry sharks over there.
Karen @Baking In A Tornado

LESSON LEARNED #2: Don’t admit to the editors that you’ve never heard of their site, you idiot.

To: Baking In A Tornado
I’m sure I have NO idea what you are talking about.
(if a misused apostrophe falls and nobody can prove it was ever there, did it actually happen?)
Thanks for letting us know Smarty Pants.

So did I leave well enough alone? Please, do you even know me?

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
Funny, Magnolia, but in this day and age the answer is that it can always be proven. There’s such a thing as a screen shot. I should know, my kids taught me all about it. I can even do it now without them standing behind me giving me instructions and rolling their eyes. Yes, I’m that good.

And “Smarty Pants”? Really? That the best you got? I’ve been called far worse. By my kids. On a regular basis. And one of them has to do it long distance since he’s in college 700 miles away.

Thanks for the laugh, shark bait.

To: Baking In A Tornado
I always start off with barbs that would be gentle enough not to offend the average grade three student. You want to play? Then put your money where your mouth is and submit a post. Let’s see who is shark bait.

LESSON LEARNED #3: Don’t taunt the editor. She might just call your bluff. Idiot.

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
I don’t have anything not previously posted to submit. I do have a post I’m very proud of that not only did well on my blog but on Huffington Post and BlogHer as well. Don’t worry, I’m not sending it in, despite the worrisome rogue apostrophe I was able to clearly decipher your rules about UNIQUE content and all the ways I’d get punished for not following them.

And I wouldn’t send in a post even if I had one. After all, I’m so good at making first impressions I’ve already got one of the editors calling me names. Doesn’t really bode well with that whole “judged by a jury of your peers” thing. Oh, wait, I could writ a “How to Make Friends and Influence People”. Naaa, that kinda thing’s been done. Damn, clearly I would have nailed it.

So good news, I’m not going to be eaten by sharks (although I’m sure to be skewered by my boys, thank you skype)
Bad news: Looks like I may have progressed from Smarty Pants to Scaredy Cat. Looks like my bucket list for today is complete.

Sunday Bucket List:
✔ Progress from Smarty Pants to Scaredy Cat.
✔ Don’t get eaten by sharks, even those ingeniously disguised as editors.

Ha. I’m a success. If only I could convince my boys of that. Now that would take some real writing talent.

LESSON LEARNED #4: Don’t walk away.
LESSON LEARNED #4B: Don’t run away either. Very undignified.

To: Baking In A Tornado
You engaged the shark, and you made an impression. So essentially you paraded around in your speedo but you had a cucumber in it. Upon further inspection it was a disguised bottle cap in there.

I don’t give a crap about your Huff Po stuff or anything else . . . I want your soul.

I think you should write me something that I love and get on BLUNTmoms. Live brave, Chicken Girl.

LESSON LEARNED #5: Lame excuses impress no one.

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
 HOLY CRAP, you didn’t tell me you had cameras in my house.

To Do List:
1. Dispose of Speedo. In a remote location far from home. Discard all cucumbers and bottle caps too, just in case.
2. Have house checked for cameras. See if they can be reverse wired so you can watch those editors feed my fellow bloggers to the sharks.
3. Think about writing something for Magnolia. Be careful. Chances are she’s incognito and her real identity is a Dionaea Muscipuls (google it).
4. Google where to get a replacement soul. Magnolia seems to have her heart set on yours.

I’ll think about writing something. Besides writing posts and developing recipes for my own blog, I run 5 monthly blogger-participation writing challenges and am a contributor to a few different web sites. That keeps me pretty busy.

I need to go into stealth mode and check out your site and see what kinds of articles would be a good fit and then see if I’ve got something in me. I’m not a disciplined writer, I write when stressed and then my pieces sort of pour out of me. I don’t really harness it well.

But I’ve been known to have a banana or two in my speedo from time to time.

Chicken Girl (see, I’m incognito too)

LESSON LEARNED #6: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. If you can’t write what’s needed when it’s needed, keep that banana in your speedo.

To: Baking In A Tornado
We could just turn this whole conversation into a post because we are so fucking hilarious.

Yes, read BLUNTmoms and check out some of our sharper writers and then get your fill of posts about poop. We have very few boundaries.

I have your number chicken girl, so I will harangue you until I get some BLUNTmoms gold from you.

LESSON LEARNED #7: Reread rule #5. I repeat: lame excuses impress no one.

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
Color me forewarned.

OR you could turn this whole conversation into a post after all and we could call it good. But then I suppose you’d accuse me of sneaking my banana in the back door . . .

Did I take my second chance to leave well enough alone? You know the answer to that. The only thing I hate more than being told what to do is being taunted with a challenge.

She got into my head. She was haunting me, dammit. Two days later when I wrote a piece for my blog, even though I wasn’t sure it was a fit for her site, I literally felt compelled to send it.

LESSON LEARNED #8: If you’ve been given a chance, don’t blow it on a piece you’re unsure is a good fit. And if you do, don’t admit it. 

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
Hello again Magnolia, it’s me Smarty Pants. No, that’s not right, I’d progressed to Chicken Little. Wrong again, that’s the whole “sky is falling” thing. Chicken Girl. That’s it. It’s me, Chicken Girl.

You, Woman Who Will Not Be Denied, really got into my head. I don’t really know if I love you or hate you for pushing and mocking and challenging me to write something but I guess that remains to be seen.

I’ve attached a post that I wrote today. You said you wanted my soul. I don’t know about my soul, but this one has my heart. And, as it turns out, my blood. It may not be a good fit, but I have less control over what comes out of my head than I’d like to admit. Anyway, I have no fear that you’ll be the first to tell me. Probably graphically and with a new nickname for me to live down. I’d like to say “be gentle” but we both know that’s not gonna happen.

Putting on kevlar. That works for sharks as well as bullets, right?
 Chicken Girl

Did it get published? Actually. . . yes! Would I do it again? Nope (liar, liar, pants on fire). Well, not that way anyway because, honestly, that could have gone all kinds of bad in so many ways. But I said that I continue to write for the escape and the challenge and the fun and the connections and I sure got all of those. And 8 valuable lessons too.

So there you have it. What not to do when you want to get published.

You’re welcome.
 Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


PS: Thank you, Magnolia, for a fun Sunday afternoon of taunts, barbs and laughs. And for giving me permission to use your emails in this post. I owe you one. ❤

PPS: Go read my post Ancestry: Do you Really Want to Know who you are? on BLUNTmoms. And you’d best leave me a comment over there or I may have to feed you to the sharks. And they’re way hungrier now that I escaped.

Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cake
Printable Recipe
1 ½ stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 (3 oz ) box of vanilla pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ stick butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 – 5 TBSP half and half
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 baking pan.
*Beat the 1 ½ sticks of butter with the sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla and last the flour, pudding mix, salt and baking powder.
*Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Cool completely.
*Beat the remaining ¾ stick of butter and cream cheese until smooth. On the lowest setting at first, beat in 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar. Once well incorporated, beat in the vanilla and 2 TBSP half and half.
*Again on the lowest setting until incorporated, beat in the other 1 ½ cups powdered sugar. Once smooth, adjust the consistency by beating in up to another 3 TBSP of half and half a little at a time.
*Spread frosting onto completely cooled cake.


  1. Hilarious!! Only you could accidentally get published!!!! Love it!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

  2. "...sneaking my banana in the back door..."? I'm not going to touch that one.

    Once upon a time, I did get lucky & was able to write for a great group news blog but, other than that, I'm the same. I'm oblivious & I don't "network" my blog or push to get myself published all over. The only difference is, unlike your posts that go viral, all of my posts are a nice, smooth vanilla flavor. I think therein lies the source of my problem when it comes to internet fame.

    1. I think your posts are great, Vinny, and I'm crazy jealous of your artistic abilities.

  3. Love this post and now going to check out Bluntmom. Never heard of them, and I'm a proud Smarty Pants.

    1. Yes, hope you check out my post there. Happy to know another Smarty Pants, we need to stick together.

  4. I can't imagine ANYONE else doing this or being published after that exchange. The reasons I adore you grow with every post/day. XOXO

  5. Sounds like my Sundays... only with my children and husband than a stranger. Heading over to check out the piece now!

    1. I have to admit it was a unique Sunday for me, but it really was fun {{she say, knowing her piece hadn't been rejected}}.

  6. Well, I see who Bobe left her brass balls too! OMG! I can't believe you did that, but I love the fact that you did. I never submit my work anywhere either. I don't know if it's nerves, but I'm more like you, I'm just not that aware of any. I mean I read them when someone I know has something published there like you did. I've been on HuffPo, but they sent me an email I didn't submit to them. I live in this little cocoon whether by time constraints or from fear of rejection I just don't know. I never think there is anything I write that anybody would want! Congratulations! The conversation alone had me cracking up, but I also enjoyed the ancestry story. I am actually doing something different and the whole month of May I'm doing a theme around the 30th anniversary of my dad's death.

    1. You need to be more confident, Rena, your heart is in all of your posts.
      I'll look forward to reading your May series.

  7. This is great! Nice job in insulting them enough to break them down and accept you. This is how a lot of guys meet girls in bars nowadays. It's called the "neg approach" where a dude will talk negative smack at a girl in a flirty way, and she likes it. Don't know why it works but it does I guess because people like others with a bit of a backbone and sass.

    1. HA, I'm right on target with the cool kids. Who knew?

  8. OMG yes, pure Karen style...publishing numerous emails about getting published. LOL great post!

  9. Funny stuff and now I want cake it looks like nice cake

    1. It was a very nice cake, and easy to make. Hope you try it.

  10. This whole exchange is priceless!! I love it! Good for you!!

  11. You definitely did it your way...and it sounds like it worked out perfectly ❤

    1. Yes, fortunately no enemies were made along the way.


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