It has been a year since my first published novel hit bookstores online and in the local BookPeople bookstore here in Austin (the largest bookstore in all of Texas I might add). The book has generated a lot of questions and interest, to my surprise. I wrote the book because people would always be curious what it is like to pet sit so much and I wanted to reveal the truth. I never expected the positive feedback I’ve received. There are still moments when I’ve second-guessed being so honest with my writing. Read on for the answers to the most asked questions in the year since publishing my nonfiction memoir about pet sitting.
Was everything in the book real, seriously did all of that really happen?
Every single story was true. That said, as with any good work of nonfiction, there are embellishments made to make some sections flow better or be well rounded. To protect privacy and identities some details were changed. I can honestly say that the very worst/craziest stories had little to no embellishments at all. One story I even had to leave out major details because it was already too crazy. It is true what they say: Truth is Stranger than Fiction.
Chapter 4 was crazy! Why didn’t you get the police involved?
I get this question a lot and I will try to answer without spoilers. I used to watch a lot of COPS on TV years ago. I picked up on the fact that if you have no evidence than it is just your word against theirs. The police would have no reason to believe me. I had no contract and the clients were MIA, so I was at a brick wall. I knew that she worked at the legal bar association, so I figured they’d certainly believe her over some kid like me. I am also an optimistic person and I felt the situation would work out if I just held on and tried not to lose my mind. That whole situation was truly traumatizing.
What was your favorite chapter? Least?
I loved writing chapter 9 (Illegals in the Backyard), it reminds me of all of the interesting neighbors of clients I have encountered while pet sitting throughout the years.
The worst chapter is a tie between chapters 3, 4, 5 and 7. I had a difficult time writing those chapters and feeling the negative feelings and anxiety all over again.
Did any of your clients discover that they were in your book?
Yes, I told a few of them and they were good sports. Some of the worst stories though, those clients will probably never know because I’ve lost contact with them (and for good reason).
Why is there no audiobook?
I thought about doing an audiobook a lot. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it so I even went as far as having folks audition on ACX. After feeling creepy about hearing my words read back to me I decided that I’d have to be the one doing the reading since they are my personal stories. I did some research and renting or setting up a studio was not cheap! Then there is the added headache of strict audio submissions guidelines – I didn’t want to complete the whole thing only to have the audio publishers reject it due to technicalities. It seemed very pricey and risky. I’d still love to record an audiobook of it though. A $700 donation would make it happen, just sayin’.
“You should turn the book into a movie!”
Yes, a screenplay is definitely on my radar. I can see the movie being a hit comedy in my head. I can visualize all the scenes. There’d have to be some added element to the story, like a love interest or some sort of major conflict that works out in the end. These ideas are in my head. One day…
What is selling better – eBook or paperback?
Paperback actually sold better last year, this year the eBook is selling better. Paperback is $10.99 in all stores online and land; the eBook I reduced to $5.99 from the initial $7.99.
So are you a millionaire now that you published a book?
Haha! It is amazing how many people think that publishing a book, whether traditionally published or self-published, creates sudden riches. Far from it. I profit less than $5 per book. That is on par with what most authors make except for famous authors like JK Rowling or Stephen King who make a lot more.
How many books have you sold?
I haven’t sold enough to break even on the costs of self-publishing, I’ll just say that! I could make more if I marketed the book more, but I decided not to put a ton of money into the marketing. I’ve sold books each month since my book was published a year ago so that is exciting!
How much did it cost you to self-publish?
After hiring editors, beta readers, designers, fees, etc. my costs were about $1700 which is significantly less than many self-published authors with a paperback and eBook published.
How long did the book take you to write?
It took a couple months to write and a couple months to get fully edited and beta read. Then the formatting and design took a few weeks. All in, it took almost 6 months from start to publish date.
Will you publish a volume #2?
No, there probably won’t be a volume two because mistakes and unfortunate events I have at this stage of my pet sitting career are few and far between, and thank gosh! I think I paid my dues!
That said, I had a new client last Fall where I definitely thought “this situation could have ended up in my book”. The client was extremely mistrusting and I was pretty sure I was on secret surveillance the entire time because they’d call or text each time I was away from the house for longer than two hours, no joke. They took advantage of my kindness (extra feeding tasks they imposed were not in the contract). They offended me with their prejudiced and judgmental words and were ungrateful, persnickety assholes. Yeah, I said it. I typically attract like-minded people, those with the same chill vibe as myself, but those clients were a direct referral from a friend of mine who obviously didn’t know them well. Ugh.
Have you lost any clients since the book went public? Has there been any backlash?
To be honest, I have not heard from a few clients since publishing my book. That could be due to the book or other reasons, who knows? I don’t assume the book turned anyone off that much, but if it did then that is a risk I was willing to take to get my true stories out there.
Ironically, the only negativity I’ve encountered surrounding the book was from fellow pet sitters from a national pet sitters group I am involved in online. A few of them posted hateful reviews on my book before even purchasing or reading it! One even went so far as to post a negative review on my FB business page. I was astonished. Apparently, they were upset that I am contributing to the “bad rap that pet sitters already get.” Really? Do we? People think highly of pet sitters in my circles.
Pet sitting is just like car mechanics – there are some good and some bad, but at the end of the day people need both and will continue to use various providers until they find the right fit. I’d have never have published the book if I thought it would hurt pet sitters. That is nonsense. I knew it might hurt my business personally, and only. That was a risk I was willing to take. Not everyone is brave enough to be truthful and people love to shame others for those truths. It is very unfortunate.
Do you know who purchases your books?
I wish I did, but no, I receive absolutely no information from BookPeople, Amazon or any of the other big box online book retailers in regards to who purchased or what location they are in. The only way I can ever get a hint of who may have purchased is if they review my book online and their username happens to be their real name. Otherwise I have no clue!
You can check out my book here on Amazon.
Any more questions for me? Feel free to contact me here.