Comparing Publishers & Manuscripts to Goats Horns & Fences

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Dee White
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Joined: October 4th, 2010, 5:12 pm

Comparing Publishers & Manuscripts to Goats Horns & Fences

Post by Dee White » October 4th, 2010, 5:26 pm


Recently as I tried to free my goat Blooma from a wire fence I realized that publishers and manuscripts are like goats horns and fences. They don’t always go together.

Blooma’s horns are flat and perfectly shaped for catching on wire. My other goat Molly has a fearsome pair that wouldn’t fit through any fence.

My two goats are very different. Blooma is a picture book. She is all naïve excitement, always wanting to explore and find out new things. I rescued her from the abattoirs and she has an innocent zest for living.

The other goat Molly is dark and brooding like a YA novel. She came to us because her owners were tragically killed in a car accident. She is my muse, the strong silent type, the one who watches while others take the risk and then ponders whether it’s worth doing herself.

At this moment, you are probably wondering what obscure connection I am going to draw between goat’s horns & fences, and publishers & manuscripts. But the link is stronger than you think. Some publishers are a perfect fit for your writing, and some aren’t. Just like goats – some horns are designed so a goat can put its head through a fence and pull it back without harm – others don’t fit through the fence in the first place. Other horns, like Blooma’s, slant back in such a way that they get caught on the top wire every time.

By the way, Blooma was fine after her ordeal, just a bruised ego. I think I faired worse seeing as she kept head butting me while I was trying to extricate her horns from the wire. And why did she have her head through the fence in the first place? Because of course, the grass is ‘always greener’ on the other side.

But seriously, like goat’s horns and fences, sometimes publishers and manuscripts just don’t go together. That’s why, one publisher will love your book, and one won’t. That’s why it’s important not to be put off by rejections – and to do your research up front so you know which publisher you should be sending your work to.

Think about the sort of book you are writing. Who are you writing it for? What kind of story is it? Browse through your local bookshop, and on websites to find the company that publishes the sort of thing you write. Participate in writing forums and twitter chat rooms and follow publishers on twitter (in a professional, non-stalking way of course). Subscribe to the great agent and publisher blogs out there that give you up-to-date insights on what’s being published where.

So what is this post really about, besides me venting about the goat horn bruises on my stomach? It’s about learning about the world of books and publishing that you are entering/have entered. It’s about doing your research and not sending your work out at random. It’s about finding the best ‘fit’ for your writing genre and style. It’s about giving you and your manuscript the best chance of success.

Dee White

Posts: 9
Joined: October 5th, 2010, 4:42 pm

Re: Comparing Publishers & Manuscripts to Goats Horns & Fences

Post by MsBrouhaha » October 7th, 2010, 6:56 am

This was spectacularly left field but I liked it anyway :)

Posts: 10
Joined: December 18th, 2009, 11:11 am

Re: Comparing Publishers & Manuscripts to Goats Horns & Fences

Post by hartjohnson » October 7th, 2010, 8:25 am

Ha! I love these: can find a writing analogy in anything... goats in particular please me... mehehehehehe

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