Writing and publishers are like goat’s horns and fences. That’s what I realized today when I was trying to free one of my goats, who had managed to tangle her head in the fence – again.

Unfortunately for Blooma, her horns are shaped to catch on fences when she pulls her head back in.

Fear not, she was fine – just a bruised ego. I think I faired worse seeing as she kept head butting me while I was extricating 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.

My two goats are very different. One is kind of like a picture book (the one who ‘frequently’ gets her head stuck in the fence). She is all naïve excitement – wanting to explore – to find out new things. Her name is Blooma and I rescued her from the abbatoirs.

The other one, Mollie, is dark and brooding – 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 – 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 writers & publishers. But the link is stronger than you think. My point to all this (finally) is that some publishers are a perfect fit for your writing, and some aren’t. Just like some goats – some horns are designed so a goat can put its head through a fence and pull it back without harm – or not 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.

My dark brooding goat can't get these horns through the fence in the first place.

So goat’s horns and fences are like writing and publishers – sometimes the two 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 most importantly, to do your research up front.

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.

I guess the same goes for agents – but that’s a story for another day – might even see if I can bring the rabbits into that one – they love being the centre of attention – and being indoor bunnies, they never get their heads stuck in fences.

So what is this post really about – besides me venting about the goat horn bruises on my stomach? It’s about doing your research and not sending your work out at random. It’s about giving you and your manuscript the best chance of success.

Good luck.




  1. When I do get something finally finished to send out I’ll be sure to remember your goats Blooma and Mollie. Thanks Dee.

  2. I am officially in love with naive Blooma 🙂 She sounds like my sort of goat! Thanks for the reminder – I think goat’s horns and fences will forever be linked to publishing in my mind from this day forth LOL

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