When I was a little girl, the popular neighborhood game was “Cowboys and Indians.” Some of the kids had cap pistols. They were the cowboys. My mother drew the line on guns, so that meant I had to be an Indian, which suited me fine. I tamed my long, curly hair into braids and made a bow out of a small curved branch and a piece of string. My arrows were straight sticks notched at one end to fit onto the string. My targets, ideally, would have been the cowboys, but again my mother drew the line. I was forbidden to shoot at live people, so I drew a circle on a tree with a piece of white chalk and put a big round dot in the center.
I spent days aiming at that circle. It wasn’t easy at first because I didn’t know how to handle the bow, and my arrows kept dropping to the ground before I could pull back on the string and let them fly. Quite simply, I didn’t know what I was doing. But I kept at it. I practiced until I knew the feel of the wood, the strength of the string. I broke a couple of bows in the process, but at last I was able to shoot an arrow at the target and get inside the white circle. One day I hit the bull’s eye and felt like I had discovered gold!
It seems to me that targeting a publisher is a lot like learning to shoot an arrow. You have to study your target, know as much as possible about your tools and your ability, then aim carefully and let fly!
I’m going to play Cowboys and Indians for the month of January. The circle on the tree will be filled with publishers. If I shoot enough queries at my target, I have a good chance of finally hitting a bull’s eye. If I don’t, I’ll draw another circle and try again. Any game worth playing involves keeping score — so I will keep records of where the queries go and which ones hit the target.
Tune in on January 27 to see how well I played the game.
Submitted by Marilyn Donahue