(Mainstream Publishing says…) CAT LOVERS DON’T READ BOOKS! presented by NYT bestselling author Gwen Cooper. The path from success in blogging or self-publishing to success in traditional publishing has become narrower in recent years, leaving the substantive cat writer with more hurdles to overcome in trying to write a book that Barnes & Noble might someday carry. We’ll explore various methods for overcoming objections and achieving publication in this session.
Well after the publication of New York Times bestselling titles including “Dewey the Small-Town Library Cat,” “A Street Cat Named Bob,” and “Homer’s Odyssey,” (my own book), there is a general perception within the mainstream publishing industry that, while dogs have richer emotional connections with humans and therefore warrant book-length consideration, cats belong strictly within the realm of viral videos, funny photos, calendars, and the occasional novelty or photo book. Dogs are friends and cats are comedians–or the companions of lonely “misfits”–the thinking goes, and are therefore less appropriate fare for the deeper, more thoughtful consideration routinely accorded dogs (and other companion animals) in print. No fewer than five articles have appeared in the last three years alone in outlets including Slate.com, the Huffington Post, and the New York Times online, arguing that no memoir or legitimate novel with a cat at its center could achieve mainstream success–despite the existence of several books (including those named above) that had already done just that well before these articles were written.
We’ll cover how to construct a compelling, “publisher-savvy” narrative; best practices for writing proposals that will engage literary agents and publishing-house editors; and utilizing social media and hands-on/in-person involvement in the larger cat community in order to establish the kind of compelling platform that will make publishers take notice.