Mail from readers

Do You Have to Have an Agent to Sell a Book?

From the mailbag: Sue writes: Is it necessary to have an agent to sell a book? I’m having trouble finding one to take me on, so I was wondering if I could just try to sell my novel by myself? What do you think of self-publishing?

Dear Sue, there aren’t many publishing houses that accept unagented submissions anymore. Certainly, none of the major houses do. That said, there are still some small houses that will let a writer submit without an agent.

In order to find which ones do, get the current Writer’s Market. Here, you’ll find all the listings and contact information not only for […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:48-04:00December 13th, 2007|On Writing, The Mail Bag|8 Comments

Dog Lovers and Others

From the mail bag: Kevin writes, I love dogs and live with a partner who doesn’t. She merely tolerates them because she loves me. I’m wondering how you and Andrew work out ways to keep everybody happy.

Dear Kevin: I was born with an affinity for dogs, and was permitted to have dogs from an early age. Andrew was never allowed to have pets growing up. So he’s never had the experience of being changed by a dog’s love. I already had a dog when I married Andrew. Kiera-1 and I came as a package deal, and she softened him up quite a bit.

For as much as he loves Kiera (especially–she’s […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:53-04:00July 16th, 2007|.My Dogs and Me, The Mail Bag|7 Comments

Has It Always Been So Peachy

From the mailbag: Samantha writes: You and Caitlin seem to have quite an amazing relationship. Has it always been so peachy? Don’t you ever lose your cool?

Dear Samantha: Like Kiera, my daughter came into my life to slap me upside the head and wake me up out of any sleep-walking through life I might have been inclined to do. From the very beginning, Cait has had a way of getting and holding my attention. Right from the emergency C-section, after a very long labor, through the first six weeks while we waited to find out if she was permanently deaf. It was a wake-up call a minute.

Putting all that excitement […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:54-04:00June 5th, 2007|.Cait and Me, The Mail Bag|7 Comments

Does Cait Read Your Blog?

From the Mail Bag: Several people have asked if Cait reads my blog.

The short answer is: No she doesn’t.

Cait knows I write a blog as part of my writing work, and that sometimes I write about her and her dad. But she thinks it’s mostly all about the dogs, and she doesn’t have any desire to read about them.

I also don’t want her reading the blog. If she did, I’ve no doubt she’d go theatrical on me, trying to be funny or clever or whatever to see if she could get me to write about those things. She’s a very normal kid and I want to make sure she stays that way.

When she’s older, and/or when I no longer blog, […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:56-04:00March 8th, 2007|.Cait and Me, The Mail Bag|8 Comments

How to Break into Magazines

From the Mail Bag: Kate writes: I’d like to start writing nonfiction, human interest stories, emphasizing topics such as dogs and life with dogs, health and psychology. I’d like to start with articles (magazine, newspaper or both) and eventually work towards a book. I have done a few small human interest pieces for the newspaper at the University where I currently work and also back when I was in college. Any advice you’d have to share would be appreciated.

Dear Kate: The truth about the writing biz is that it’s easier to get published if you’ve already been published. It’s harder for new-comers to break in. The new writers who will succeed are the ones who […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:57-04:00March 1st, 2007|On Writing, The Mail Bag|1 Comment

Jon Katz, Dog Trainer or Trouble for Dogs

From the mail bag: Allie asks: Just wondering. What do you think of Jon Katz? As a person, a writer, and now a trainer?

Dear Allie, I can’t comment on Katz as a person; I’ve never met the man. And I know all too well how it can be hazardous to draw conclusions about someone who writes about pieces of his or her life. As a reader, it’s easy to think you know the whole person, when you really only know the small portrait they’ve painted.

I’ve read a couple of Katz’s books; he can tell a good story. Though I find some of the topics he writes about, and the way in which he writes about them maddening. For instance, I […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:59-04:00January 18th, 2007|Dog Training, Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|5 Comments