How Your Cat Will Sell Your Writing

Right now, you are calling me crazy! RIGHT? A CAT… a feline…selling your books, stories, and all else you may put on paper (or keyboard).

You can use your cat to advertise your books!

See the photo to the left? This is my cat, Lucy and she is what I call my “spokescat” for my novels. I have also written and had published, several books on the care of cats, so it’s natural for me to “use” my cats in this way.

Why cats? Well, everyone loves cute kitties on the internet. Cat pictures and videos are extremely popular and draw people’s attention. So, you too can draw attention not only to your cute cat (the cuter your cat the better. Kittens are ideal), but to your book(s) at the same time. Here’s a few tips:

  1. A good camera or cell phone. As a photographer as well as a writer, I can get some pretty nice pictures of my cat (I almost always use Lucy, though I have 9 cats. Lucy is the ham) with my professional camera, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer. You can use your Smartphone. The better the camera on your cell phone, the better the picture. The LG G5 has a nice camera with manual settings. If you know how to use manual settings, this is a great choice so you can adjust the brightness, coloration, etc.
  2. Find the best location.  I like to take photos either in front of a window where there’s a nice artistic reflection, a mirror for the same reason, or somewhere with a nice, uncluttered background. The most important thing to remember is background!! You want your subjects (cat and book) to stand out. Don’t place your scene somewhere that will distract from your subject.
  3.  Marketing. Keep in mind, the purpose for all of this is marketing! It’s great to have fun, but in the long haul you want to be sure whomever is looking at your photo will find your BOOK attractive (it’s great for the cat to be attractive, but it’s the BOOK you are selling).
  4.  Art. Yes, this is a way to advertise, but you want people to stop and pay attention to your photo! Try to make it as artistic as possible.

    If you have a camera or even a phone that allows “depth of field” you can create some cool ads.

Take look at this photo. This book has been on the top seller list on Amazon, and has also won an award. Though I used my professional camera to make it appear more artistic, I also threw in the logos of its winnings. In this photo the cat is focussed and the book (which was behind her) is blurred, yet you can still clearly see the title. “Depth of field,” in the absolute plainest sense, means that whatever is closest to you is clear and farthest away is blurred. It gives an almost 3D effect and gives your photo more professionalism.

 

I hope you find these tips helpful. I will have more coming up. I like to use my photography along with my writing to advertise my book.

Just remember, the cat you use matters as well. If you have only one cat, you haven’t much of a choice. But, if like me, you have a house full, use the cutest and/or the most responsive and easy to work with cat.

 

NOTE:  This is IMPORTANT. NEVER force your cat to do anything he/she doesn’t want to do. If your cat seems agitated, give up. Soometimes the use of treats can help. Make the sessions short. And ALWAYS be patient with your kitty!!

www.christinechurch.net

Author:

Sands of Time, Fate of the True Vampires, Book One
The Early Scrolls, Book Two

Beyond Every Mirror, Book One
Anachronistic Dimensions Trilogy


Cat in the Book and the Birth of a Novel

If your cats are as much family to you as my cats are to me, and you’re writing a book, even a fiction novel, you can put your cats into your book as characters. Anne Rice put her dog Mojo in several of her vampire books as her character Lestat’s companion. George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) even wrote his turtles into one of his books. It’s not strange, nor is it corny. So, if you’re thinking about adding your favorite feline into a novel, go right ahead. I actually placed several of my cats, a dog who passed on and my horse into my latest novel, Beyond Every Mirror.

When I wrote the story (which began as a short story) in 1980 (yes, 1980)… I was a young teen in school. I sat in the back of the class and wrote many short stories. This one in particular, however, remained within my heart and was very special. It never left me, so 16 years later, I turned it into a novel. In the novel version, I wrote in my cat Sammy, my favorite cat at the time. I love all my cats, but sometimes one cat in particular holds a bit of a special place just above the others. For me this was my Sammy.

Sammy

Sammy was the first of my own cats to put into a novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also placed my Doberman at the time, Dillinger. I loved horses, so I added a horse, though back then I did not own a horse yet, so I made one up. I took one of my favorite breeds, an Andalusian (black rather than the typical white), and named him Camelot.

Unfortunately, the first few drafts of my novel went nowhere and the book ended up in a drawer (so to speak). I had pitched the novel at conferences I attended in the 1990’s and early 2000’s but the cross-genre (fantasy-romance) did not yet exist, and no one was willing to put their money on a newbie author in a genre that was not there.

Finally, after quite a few years, not only did the genre finally come into the marketplace, but it was growing by leaps and bounds. It was time to “dust off” Beyond Every Mirror and do a re-write, then try again. I attended a writer’s conference and spoke with an agent and an editor, who both showed quite a bit of interest in the book. But I wanted to re-work it first. It was so old and outdated and I needed to bring up to the times.

Enter Phase Three of this book’s life. I pretty much rewrote the entire book! My writing skills had grown massively during this time and I knew what I wanted to do to change the book around. By this time, both Sammy and Dillinger had long passed on, and I wanted to put my present kitties into the book, the last Doberman I had (who was extraordinarily unique) and of course, my horse!

I placed many cats, not just one, into the book. Sammy was still there, of course, but my kitten Lucy and several of my other precious felines made their way into the pages of this novel. Though I still kept Camelot in the book, I knew by this time that keeping one horse is almost an impossibility (and to a herd animal, cruel in some ways), so I gave Camelot an elder horse friend… My elder Paint, Kobeejo!

Kobeejo

My registered Paint horse, Kobeejo, was added to the book, as a companion to an imaginary horse that made it into the first drafts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book is finally complete, all animals accounted for, and I am doing a once-more read-over, then printing a B&W draft to send to friends, media and others in order to get blurbs and opinions before I send the manuscript off to the agent and editor who had asked for it originally. You can sometimes find adventures of the animals within the main character’s blog, Dane’s Dark Myst.

So, don’t be afraid to “write what you know” and add your pets to your books. It may help keep them immortalized.

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The Whole Truth

Whenever anyone asks me how I got my first book published, and I relay to them the story, they are amazed. The truth of the matter is, it took me years of rejections, sending out, getting the same replies, trying different things, rewriting and more before I was miraculously accepted…

 I am not telling you this to try and discourage you, but I have to be honest. If your heart is not in it and you don’t plan to persevere, chances are you won’t get very far (unless you are one of the lucky few who seem to “make it” overnight). And the market is harder today than it was in 1997 when my first book was accepted.  Let me tell you what happened.

I had written a book on the care of cats…indoor cats to be exact, and I was sending it out to agents and editors. I knew nothing about publishing a book and the proposal I was mailing out was lame to say the least; skimpy, with little
information except a half a page about the book, some marketing ideas, my bio (which at the time was sparse) and a chapter by chapter outline. Back then there was really no such thing as e-mail queries. It was all done through “snail mail.”

I had a few nibbles, one in the form of an agent who said if I made a few of her suggested changes she would “see” if she could find someone who might be interested. Apparently she mentioned it briefly when she was having lunch with an editor about another project. There
was no enthusiasm there, so she sent me a letter saying “thanks but no thanks,” as well as the usual response of; “There are already too many cat care books on the market.” (But mine was different, I thought for the umpteenth time, it was about the care of INDOOR cats, which at the time was very rare). She had been one of the last on my list that accepted such a book, so I put the manuscript away… for a time.

Several years later, I was speaking to a friend and asked her if her editor might like my book. She said it would be ok to use her name in sending it to her editor. And so off it went. Months went by and I heard nothing, so I contacted my friend. “She moved to another publishing
house,” my friend told me. Nice, I thought, just leave and never bother responding.

I contacted the editor via e-mail at her new House and she told me she had to pass on my book. “There are too many cat care books on the market,” I was told. Ugh! So, I asked her if she thought the editor that had taken her old position might be interested. Her reply was a pretty definite no. Thus, I decided not to query this new editor.

The very next day I received a snail mail letter in the mail. It was in a familiar #10 envelope… a self addressed stamped envelope as is typical to send to an editor for a reply to your query. I opened it up, curious, as I didn’t remember having anything out there at the
time. You could have knocked me over with a feather! It was from the new editor that I had decided not to query. She had found my proposal in the previous editor’s rejection pile and thought the market most definitely needed a book on indoor cats (out of 200 rejections in that slush pile, she chose two books to accept; mine and a pen pal of mine at the time, who wrote a book on stray cats).


A year later that book was published in hard cover, was a best seller in Great Britain and led me to many more books and publishing projects. And to top it off, the old editor came back, for a different position, to the publishing house.  I met her when I went down to NYC to have lunch with “my” editor! She admitted she was wrong to reject my book.

So, the moral to the story is, you never know! Don’t take rejection personally. Just because one or even ten editors and agents say no to your project doesn’t mean it’s not good. It means either they don’t see the market potential (which is what happened in my case), they are
swamped and your manuscript simply doesn’t spark enough enthusiasm for them to take it on, or they simply have a different taste.

Remember, editors and agents are people too. As you won’t like every novel you read, even if it’s good writing, neither will they.