Friday, November 20, 2009

Robert the Publisher's Gem of the Day

RtP: When one is undertaking a book contract, one must proceed with great caution. Have you ever seen a raccoon walk? It takes one step forward, then two steps back. Then two steps forward, then one step back. Then it walks sideways. [Visual aid for you] Much can be learned from observing the animal kingdom, you know. They are all parallels for us right here.

[I tend to feel more like this guy here.]

16 comments:

David said...

How do writers fit into this metaphor? Or should I try not to think about that?

Charles Gramlich said...

Cautious is the word for how a racoon walks. Wary maybe.

Kate said...

I don't care how cautious he's being, Moonrat's racoon is interfering with a deer hunter's setup. That is... unsafe.

JES said...

I you can find it, I highly recommend James Thurber's Let Your Mind Alone -- his take on the popular psychologists of the day.

In one of the pieces, JT is reviewing a self-help book whose author describes an indecisive person identified only as "Mr. C." Thurber notes that Mr. C's behavior sounds an awful lot like his neighborhood squirrel, "Mr. S," who when confronted by a gigantic machine rumbling in his direction doesn't just run across the street (or back to the curb, for that matter) but hesitates, wavers, and jumps back and forth before being saved (fingers crossed) by a quick-witted driver.

Ulysses said...

Strangely, I've been checking in occasionally hoping to see a new RTP report. So I'm pleased.

And confused. I have seen a raccoon walk. I have also seen one tip over a garbage can and make off with half a cheese sandwich.

I suspect there's a publishing metaphor in that, but I'm not smart enough to know what it might be.

moonrat said...

au contraire, Ulysses. i fear you may be too smart for your own good.

thepopeofbeers said...

My friend is terrified of raccoons because she believes they can walk on water. I have no reason to doubt her.

Sarita said...

I love 'coons, even though they can and do cause trouble. And, I LOVE the second video showing the 'coon outsmarting humans. :)

Voidwalker said...

That's how my bride-to-be will be walking up the aisle. LOL

Lydia Sharp said...

Was that a jar of peanut butter attached to the line? If so, I totally get why he went to all the trouble.

Lily Cate said...

Ah ha! So this is why publishing moves so slow!

maine character said...

Actually raccoons only walk that way when they feel threatened. Or like when you’re holding out a turkey leg, and they’re like, Ooh, I want that…, but they don’t know if they can trust you.

So yeah, definitely an accurate view of an author looking at a contract. Or at least the wise ones.

Cassandra said...

Yes, there are parallels for us in the animal kingdom. Most recently, I posted a blog about why publishing is like a baby squirrel trying to jump on a wall. You can see it here.

http://camarshall.blogspot.com/2009/11/why-getting-published-is-like-baby.html

It's mostly geared to writers, but I think it can be appreciated by anyone :)

Chris Eldin said...

I love raccoons! Despite my summer "Racky the Rabid Raccoon" story, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for them.
:-)

Stephanie said...

I think he's describing a racoon with distemper...So, publishing is like a sick racoon? That explains a lot :)

Christa said...

Believe it or not, I used to have a pet racoon. A family down the street from where I grew up used to raise them. His name was Ricky. We had a leash to walk him and used a bottle to feed him when he was a baby.

I never remember him walking like the way RtP describes, but they are VERY clean animals. They wash their food before eating. He used to love mini-marshmellows. He'd take one to his water bowl, roll it a bit, then eat it. He did this with all of his food. It was really cute to watch.