Sunday, November 15, 2009

Donkeys and the Publishing Business

Okay, I promised you a post on how owning donkeys prepares you for the publishing business. And if you are just a little bit sharp, you might have guessed that both are SLOW AS MOLASSES!
But wait. There's more. Much more. First, a primer on donkeys.

Donkeys have a bad rap for being stubborn. Slow, stubborn, and some people even say ornery. But as someone who has owned and raised lots of donkeys, I feel compelled to say that donkeys are not mean, and neither are they stubborn.

Donkeys are some of the sweetest animals on earth. If you treat them right, using patience and kindness, they will do almost anything for you. (Hopefully like agents and editors).

Donkeys come by the reputation for stubbornness in comparison to their equine cousin, the horse. Horses and donkeys are similar in many ways, but their response to an unknown or uncomfortable situation is different. Horses often have a nervous, skittery flight reaction when they see something new. Donkeys, on the other hand, have a freeze reaction to new things. They stop, think, and process everything before deciding which way to go. Basically, the donkey takes its time and thinks things through. So I ask you, which is smarter, the horse or the donkey? Trust me, it's the latter.

Okay, back to the publication business. How many of you have waited eons for a response, running to the mailbox or frantically checking your email after sending off your manuscript/query/1st three chapters/ proposal to some editor/agent/publishing house? Are you driving your mail person nuts? Have you developed carpal tunnel from pressing the send/receive button every 5 seconds? Here's some advice. Go spend time around some donkeys, and learn to develop PATIENCE.
Yes, dear reader, Patience is the magical trait needed for success in the publishing business. (Well, a modicum of talent and luck help also).

It may take months for your query to be answered, months for a decision to be made by a publishing house, and then if you are lucky enough to finally get something accepted, more months of polishing, waiting on editors, waiting on cover art, waiting on . . . well you get the idea.

And pushing things is just not the answer.

PATIENCE is a good trait to have in life anyway. From standing in line at the grocery store (or waiting to get your swine flu shot) to the behemoth slowness of the publishing industry, it is best not to let it get you down. Breathe. Write something new. Be like a donkey. Realize that everything happens in it's own sweet time.

If you want to know more about donkeys, here are some GREAT donkey sites:

And stay tuned, right here, for a guest blog by author Alison Hart, featuring a giveaway of her latest book - a horse story!


Monica said...

Hee hee, this post was adorable!

Bonus, it cracked me up that you likened Jo to a donkey. (LOL, Jo, we adore you and promise to treat you right!)

As my day job, I teach preschool. And three year olds? Yep, they just like donkeys. And with patience and kindness (an unflappable quick wit helps too), they are the most loving little things on earth.

So yep, you and me? After donkeys and children? We've so got this business in the bag.

Joanna said...

Um, you're lucky I happen to love donkeys or I might have taken offense :)

Linda Benson said...

haha. No offense intended. Donkey hugs to you both!