Friday, January 7, 2011

Have a Cat-tastic Chat with Guest Blogger: Sparkle the Cat

















Win a copy of Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice from the World's Foremost Feline Columnist & chat with Sparkle about how authors can make the best use out of Social Networking today at the Book Boost!


Here's what Sparkle had to say...



Social Networking for Cat and Human Authors


As you have probably noticed, we cats have pretty much taken over the internet: nearly every day, you come across a funny cat photo or video in your email, or in the news feed of your Facebook page, or just randomly on some website you are visiting. But don't worry, there is room for you humans to get attention for your books. I will tell you a secret: there are so many cat bloggers these days, it is actually very difficult to stand out! But I have managed to do it, and sell copies of my books along the way. I think that if human authors do some of the same things I have, they will be able to use social networking as a great tool to get attention for their books.

Here are my tips:


1. Start your social networking before you write the book. In fact, start it the moment you have a topic you will be writing about. In fact, why aren't you already social networking? I started off on Friendster in 2005. Much to my surprise, there were lots of other cats with profiles there. Then I moved to MySpace, which has even more cats, then to Twitter, where there are at least a couple thousand blogging cats, and then my human set up a Facebook fan page for me. These days, Facebook and Twitter are the places to be for social networking (and Linkedin, if your topic is business related). By the time your book is out, you should already have a solidly-established social network to which you can announce author events, contests, new developments with your book,etc. Make sure you build a network of like-minded souls, who are interested in your topic, or things related to your topic.


2. Set up a fan page for yourself as an author/expert or for your book the moment you know you are writing one! You want to have this page active at least 6 months out from publication so you have time to grow the list of people who "like" you, and generate interest in your book and its topic. You create a Facebook page by logging out of Facebook and going to the home page. Under the sign up form is a link that says, "Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business." You will want to create an "Official" page, not a "Community" page. Once you have created it, you will probably want to set up several tabs in addition to the standard "Wall," "Info" and "Photos." I have tabs for my blog (more on that below), events and a sign-up tab for my newsletter.


3. Link up all your social networking avenues so that they work together. This saves time, and also draws friends from one social network to another. Do you have a blog? (And you should have one that is at least related somehow to your book topic, and your book.) You can use the "Networked Blogs" Facebook app (http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/index.php) to feed your blog posts onto your profile or fan page. You can post Tweets from your Twitter feed with the "Selective Tweets" app (http://apps.facebook.com/selectivetwitter/) - this way, only certain tweets you end with #fb will post to your Facebook page or profile, so you don't needlessly repeat links to blog posts or other tweets that you don't need appearing on Facebook.


4. Are you making an appearance or doing a book signing somewhere? Make sure you create an event page on Facebook. On your Facebook home page, in your upper right hand corner you'll see the Events tab. Click "See all" and that takes you to the page with all the events you've been invited to. At the top of the page you will see a tab that says "Create an Event." Facebook enables you to invite as many of your friends or followers as you want, and you can send them periodic reminders. Make sure you announce your event on Twitter and on your blog too!


This is just the beginning of using social networking to promote your book, but as you can see you can already do a lot. Consider it a way for you human authors to take back a little slice of the internet from us cats.


A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for your tips on social networking, Sparkle. We are not big fans of Facebook and never promote them in any way but we have made a special exception to our rule this one time--only for you. However, we do Twitter and can agree that reaching out to "like minded" mammals is a great way to build a fan base and a following! Please tell us more about your book.

Blurb:


Face it, kitties, your humans can’t help you untangle your problems — especially when they’re usually the ones driving you crazy! But never fear, the world’s foremost feline authority, Sparkle the Cat, is here to solve all of your kitty conundrums. With 70 Q&As, “Sparkle Says” sidebars, and full-color photos throughout, this guide is definitely NOT your usual human-written cat book.

Whether you’re a confused kitty who doesn’t understand why you’re supposed to stay off the couch, a cat who’s furious because the new puppy ate your catnip stash, or a freaked-out feral who wants to return to the wild, Sparkle has the wise — and often hilarious — answers for your woes. And who knows? Humans who read it (with your permission, of course) may even learn something new about the way we behave.


Excerpt:

COUCH CONFLICT


Dear Sparkle,


This human brought me home from the local rescue, so I’m still getting used to things around here. Some of it’s nice—great cat food and a cool cat tree that’s taller than my new human. But there are other things I’m not so sure about, like the ongoing debate my human and I have been having over the couch. For some unknown reason, she wants me to stay off it, but it’s the best perch in the house! It catches the afternoon sun just right, and it’s an even more comfortable place to nap than the cat tree is. I hate to tell my human, but I ain’t giving it up! So how to I make her stop shooing me away every time I try to settle down for a nice, sunny nap?


Signed,


Couch Potato


Dear C. Potato,


When it comes to getting something we really want, we cats will always outlast humans. Trust me, that couch is all yours. But you already know that. You’re going to keep jumping up on it until your human lets you be. It’s a process, and there’s really no way to shorten the time frame. Just keep on doing what you’re doing. Eventually the nagging will stop.

Don’t let this inevitability lure you into complacency, however. Your human will pull a few surprises, but there are always “work-arounds.” If she thinks you will shed on the couch, she might toss a throw over it. This could be a good thing. Throws are comfy, and they also indicate that you’ve won the battle, as long as you lie on them, not the bare couch. If your human worries that you will sharpen your claws on the couch, she may use “Sticky Paws,” a two-sided tape that feels gross under our paws. Don’t step on it! At least not until you’ve rubbed all over it and covered up the stickiness with your fur. Then the Sticky Paws tape will smell like you and let the world know the couch is yours.

As for direct confrontations with your human (her yelling, that dreaded spray bottle, etc.), just do most of your couch sitting when she isn’t home, but let her catch you often enough to make her realize that the couch is your territory.


NICKNAME NIGHTMARE


Dear Sparkle,


When my human brought me home, she decided to call me Max, which I thought was a fairly decent name. I even come when I hear her say it (usually that means she has some food for me). But now that we’ve been living together for a few months, she has started to call me some wacky versions of my name—Maxie-Boy, Maxie-Baxie, Mad Max, and the worst, Maxie-Boo-Boo-Baby. It’s disgusting, not to mention undignified. I am MAX, M-A-X, no “Boo,” no “Baby,” and I’m only “Mad” Max when she starts messing with my name! How can I keep her from mangling my perfectly decent name?


Signed,


Just Max


Dear Max,


Silly kitty! The answer to your problem is obvious. Every time your human starts mangling your name, make yourself scarce. Only show up when she uses your proper name. You do have to be consistent about this. The big mistake cats make is responding to a nickname at dinnertime or when their humans are being nice to them. Doing this only encourages them to keep using it. If you want to be called Max, then only respond to Max. When your human uses one of those other, unsatisfactory names, walk away, no matter how tempting it is to stick around and be petted, and no matter how hungry you are.

Yes, you may have to miss out on a few dinners while your human wanders around your home, calling out, “Maxie-Boo-Boo-Baby, where are yooouuuu?” but unless you want that as your permanent name, you’d better stay hunkered down in the closet or in the darkest part of the guest room. The penchant for hideous nicknames is almost an addiction with humans, and they even do it to each other. You need to make it 100 percent clear that you don’t play that game, or you’ll be stuck in a never-ending version of it.



Want More Sparkle?


Sparkle is an award-winning author, blogger, advice columnist and supermodel. She is also a cat – a ruddy Somali of champion lineage, in fact, whose father, GC Tajhara’s Miles Davis, was twice on the cover of Cat Fancy. Sparkle’s first book, Dear Sparkle: Advice from One Cat to Another, won the Wild Card category at the 2007 Hollywood Book Festival and honorable mentions in several other contests. She also recently came home with the Pettie Award — the pet blogging equivalent of an Oscar — for Best Cat Blog. Sparkle lives in Los Angeles with two humans, two feline roommates (both rescue cats), and (unfortunately) a dog.

Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice from the World’s Foremost Feline Columnist (Adams Media) is her second book.

You can visit Sparkle’s blog at http://www.sparklecat.com

Pick up your copy of her book today. Click here!


Contest Time:

If you have a cat, or know one, what do you think she would want to ask Sparkle? Leave your kitty's conumdrum in the comments section and Sparkle will randomly pick a winner and announce it, also in the blog's comment section. The winner will get a copy of Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice from the World's Foremost Feline Columnist. Entries must be made within 24 hours of the time the blog entry is posted.

9 comments:

RadoDJGirl said...

Sparkle, I wish I were as famous as meow! How much do your owners brush you out, everyday???

Rose and the Royals said...

Dear Sparkle,

Qm calls me Emo, and that really bothers me! I'm just very sensitive...ummm...well, I DO hang out under QM's duvet during daylight hours, and prefer to take my Tem-tay-shuns in private. What would be your advice for me, do I need therapurry?
Thank you for your guidance!
Princess Marigold, The Princess Emo

Louise's Blog said...

Dear Sparkle
i would like to know how to get as many treats as possible throughout the day? Do you have a strategy that works for you? petie the cat

cswan said...

Can I take my human to training like they take the pup to? They just don't quite understand my commands and need help with meowish. Thanks!

Christopher said...

I like to dress up in people clothes. I also like to walk on a leash. I know this is against everything cats stand for, but I dig it.
Should I seek therapy or should I embrace this alternative lifestyle?

~Christopher

Joann said...

My human found me as a stray, and she kinda thinks I may have been and indoor/outdoor cat--because I keep trying to sneak out the door of our apartment! My human is very careful not to let me get out. But, she kinda senses that I miss the outdoors. So, she took me outside in a kitty harness (and on a leash). I do want to get some fresh air--but I DO NOT like to be on a leash! I just sat on the grass while my dingbat human stood there wondering why I wasn't enjoying myself. Does she think I'm a dog or something? My human cannot let me outside alone, as I was declawed by a previous human of mine and we live in an area with lots of traffic. But...um, I still want some fresh air. Is there a way my human could help me get used to the leash? Or, should she just bring me outside in her arms--but still in the harness and on the leash (in case I try to jump out of her her arms)? I mean, she could just stand there (and make herself useful) while I sit in the grass and breathe in the air. But, it would be nice if we could explore a little bit. Or, is it just best for me to just stay inside altogether?

hmacross said...

Hi Sparkle,
My human doesn't seem to like it when I climb on top of the fridge. She either takes me down, or squirts me with the nasty squirt bottle. Why doesn't she understand that I like to be up high so I can look down on everyone?

Thank you
Shadow

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

I just went to random.org to pick a winner, who was... Shadow, aka hmacross! You do not have a contact on your Blogger profile, so you have until Monday morning at 8 am EST to provide one, so we can get a book out to you, otherwise another winner will be chosen.

hmacross said...

Wow! Thanks Sparkle, I have added my email to by blogger profile