Nikki Attree, co-author of the dog-perspective memoir Nobody’s Poodle, is originally from the UK. Since moving to Tenerife of the Canary Islands, she’s been producing calendars and educational poster campaigns to help local animal rescue centers.
Nikki also runs Wooftastic Books, a web site that features dog-friendly authors and books in a wide selection of genres, from memoirs, to children’s books, to non-fiction and fiction – the unifying theme of all the books featured being DOGS in all their glory.
We interviewed Nikki to learn more about her and her mission.
1. Where did the inspiration to start Wooftastic Books come from?
The idea came about as we (myself and my husband) were thinking of ways of marketing our own book, Nobody’s Poodle, and we realized that perhaps if we pooled resources with other authors we might reach a wider audience. So we set up the website WooftasticBooks.com to promote authors and books that feature dogs in an ethical way.
Our aim is to get together a group of authors online to collaborate on promoting their books and to tap into the huge potential market of dog-lovers worldwide. It’s open to any author with a wooftastic dog book, whether written to inform, educate or entertain; factual or fiction; for children or adults.
Membership is free and all that we ask is that our authors agree to the principle of pooling resources to promote ethical dog books, and will help to spread the word via their own networks. As you might expect, once the site was up and running we had a lot of requests from authors wanting to join, but not all of them fully got the idea of reciprocal promotion, or the importance of social networking, so occasionally I have to remove a book if I see that an author isn’t pulling their weight, so to speak!
As the site starts to generate more interest and traffic we’re hoping for wooftastic media coverage, best seller rankings, block buster movie deals, dog biscuits for life sponsorship … The sky’s the limit. 🙂
2. Can you tell us more about the community of authors on Wooftastic Books?
It’s a very international community. Authors come from all over the world: UK, USA, South Africa, and we ourselves are based in the Canary Islands, Spain. Their books are the result of the authors’ experiences with dogs in many different ways: helping in refuges, being a search-and-rescue team member, running educational programs, and even rescuing dogs from war zones.
From canine celebrities such as Uggie — star of multiple-award-winning movie The Artist, Haatchi (hero of the hugely popular Haatchi and Little B), to real-life stories of rescuing dogs from Afghanistan’s killing fields, these books are all, in their own way, about our special relationship with man’s best friend.
3. How did you come up with Nobody’s Poodle and the heroic Gizmo?
Well Gizmo is a Labradoodle that we adopted from a local rescue center here in Tenerife, and Nobody’s Poodle is his story. He’s really more street Doodle than swanky Poodle, and he’s very much his own dog. He’s all about standing up for the underdog, and it gets him into a fair few scrapes on the mean streets of Costa del Scorchio.
I am involved with helping the refuges here and Gizmo became the poster pooch for (local dog rescue) Accion-del-Sol’s educational program. This involved visiting local schools, telling the children about the plight of stray mutts in Tenerife, and teaching them how to look after their pets properly. Before you could say “wag a tail” he’d been signed up by one of the local newspapers, Island Connections, to be their intrepid news hound – doggedly sniffing out the breaking news and giving the pooch perspective in his regular column “Life According to Gizmo (It’s a Dog’s Life)” and this gave us the idea for a book.
4. What advice would you give to pet lovers who want to break into books?
Don’t expect to earn a lot of money from your book. Do it for love, not money. Make writing a passion. There will be readers for your book, but to reach them, you should expect to spend many hours marketing it, so engage in that passionately as well.
Many authors now self-publish, as we have done with Nobody’s Poodle. This is a wonderful way to get your book out there, and it does give you total control of the book, the marketing, and in fact a higher portion of the royalties. Of course you don’t have the back-up of a publisher to help with editing, designing and producing the book or marketing it. Having said that, I have seen many published authors complain about their publisher’s lack of interest in promoting their books, so even if you do manage to find a publisher, I don’t think you can just sit back and wait for them to make you the next best seller. You still have to be very pro-active in bringing your book to your readers’ attention and selling it.
Anyhow most of the authors on wooftasticbooks are not concerned with sales or being a famous author; they just love writing. Saying that, one of the authors on wooftasticbooks is an international best-selling writer.Wendy Holden has written Uggie the Artist and Haatchi and Little B, and she obviously makes a very good living. However, most have other employment and what they do have all in common is a love of dogs, which shows through their writing.
5. Finally, what are you working on now?
Well besides my ongoing promotional work for the local animal refuges and Wooftastic Books, we are working on our next novel, Somebody’s Doodle. Gizmo appears in it, but not this time as the narrator. It’s more of a comedy crime thriller about a bungled dognapping set in North London (rather than Tenerife) and the human characters are as, if not more important, than the dogs. I felt it was important to move on from purely dog stories. After all, how many ways are there of describing the world from dog’s point of view?
Thank you Nikki, for all you do for dog-book lovers the world over! For the dog in your life, sign up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more and register at PetPlus.com.