Is Children’s Publishing Racist? Yes!

dogs story time

I’d like to take a break from writing about Cody and Sierra to discuss something that’s annoyed us for awhile.  You see for the last few years I’ve been working my a$# off trying to get a children’s book deal with the Singing Dogs.  I’ve written the story, done some basic graphic work, written and rewritten a query letter many times, and sent a nicely written proposal to countless children’s book agents and children’s publishers.  I have yet to get a serious response or even an email reply.  (Well… at least not from anyone that seemed legitimate.)

While I understand children’s publishing is hard and probably the most competitive niche in book publishing, I seriously don’t think it should be this difficult considering all of the positive Press and appearances the Singing Dogs and their videos have had.  We were on Anderson Cooper, The Today Show, Good Morning America, HuffPo, MSN, etc.  Doesn’t the book publishing industry appreciate when people have already had some free publicity?  I’d assume this makes marketing books easier.

Also take into account I’m an accredited auto journalist with the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) and the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA).  I’m not bragging these are just the facts.  I co-founded and run a successful car news website that posts stories daily.  I’m used to writing a lot and I’m an auto writer that knows how to deal with public relations professionals.  (This is not always pleasant in case you are wondering.)  While automotive journalism isn’t a field that necessarily goes hand-in-hand with a children’s book about two singing dogs, it shows I like to write and love it.  I’ve made it clear that I’m open and can write many more children’s books regarding dogs and Cody and Sierra if there was a demand.  This is something book agents definitely want to know before they get into business with you.

Honestly… we can’t imagine who wouldn’t want to read a book about two singing dogs?  Since they are real dogs it’s a great for a book tour for promotion.  I know Sierra and Cody would be game for it even if traveling with them can be a challenge.

What’s the deal?  I’m going to ask a simple question, “Is children’s publishing racist?”  I’ve come to the conclusion that children’s publishing is very racist and the numbers are pretty startling when it comes to minorities.

According to a study by a major university out of 5,000 children’s books that came from traditional publishers last year apparently only 257 were by people of color.  (This means Asians/Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans.)  See the chart below which goes back to 2002.

children's publishing minoritiesMy math is is not that good, ok I’m terrible since I am a writer, but that is a pretty small percentage considering the demographics of today are quickly changing.  Especially in the United States where most publishing houses are based.

From what I can tell and from what I’ve read it seems the publishing industry largely favors white women authors that are 30+ years old.  I actually sort of understand this as they want to target people they know will buy and can relate to.  They also probably want to use author’s that have kids in the demographic they want to market books to.  I don’t have kids (at least any I know about), I’m obviously not a women, and I’m not white.  These are apparently three strikes against me that doesn’t work for children’s publishing since children’s book agents and children’s book publishers are racist.

I know this is the same situation countless authors that are trying to break into traditional publishing are facing, whatever their ethnic or racial background.  I just can’t help the feeling that a little bit of racism is at play with children’s publishing.  It just seems publishers and agents don’t believe we are worth the time to even respond to because Sierra and Cody’s owner doesn’t fit into their traditional author image.  Since I am an minority and my skin color doesn’t work with what a book agent or publisher feels they can sell, we get rejected and don’t’ receive any reply’s.

I can’t imagine any other explanation why we wouldn’t have gotten serious responses at this point, considering all the work we have done and publicity we’ve had.  Children’s publishing is racist and is not going to change anytime soon from what I can tell.

If you have an opinion about racism and children’s publishing with regard to minorities,  we’d love to hear it.

I always encourage people to leave comments and share thoughts and opinions and don’t always mind anonymity but will not allow it for this post.  For the comments here if you claim you are from a children’s publishing house, a book agent, or author and want to defend your racist mentality, that’s fine with me.  You MUST leave you real name though and not hide behind a handle or some other fake email account.  

Is the Vet Scale Wrong?

Last week we took Cody to the Vet for a check-up and to get two shots he was overdue for.  What do they do at the vet which strikes feat into normally calm dog owners?  Weigh your dog.

Apparently the verdict with Cody wasn’t good at the last vet appointment.  He weighs 58 pounds which is a 6 pound increase the last time we were at the vet.  Since this is a pretty significant weight gain for a medium sized dog this led us to ask, “Is the Vet scale wrong?”  We couldn’t believe that Cody has gained 6 pounds since our last vet visit.  He doesn’t look that much heavier and he hasn’t been running or exercising any less.  This just didn’t seem feasible to us.   We were curios, does the vet calibrate the vet scale?  Yup, apparently every week.  Mmmm, is it the vet scale really old?  We were told only a few years old.

We then started to analyze what we were feeding Cody and Sierra.  Since both of them had been having stomach “issues” we’ve been feeding both dogs chicken and rice.  The thing is we didn’t really stop with the chicken and rice and have been giving Cody rice for quite awhile.  Hey both the Singing Dogs seem to enjoy it so we didn’t think it was bad for them.  Could rice really cause a 6 pound increase in a dog in a couple months though?

Cody’s got to look good for Summer (just like us).  :)  So we are going to try to start walking and making sure his diet is a little more balanced.

We still believe the vet scale is wrong though.  It’s gotta be, right?

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The Singing Dogs won’t Be attending BlogPaws this Year

blogpaws

We’ve gotten some emails and questions about whether the Singing Dogs and I will be attending BlogPaws 2014 next month in Las Vegas.  Unfortunately the answer is ,”No” we won’t be.

While I could definitely go myself without Cody and Sierra, and obviously it would fun to go to Las Vegas, it doesn’t make sense for us to attend this year.   At last year’s BlogPaws in Tysons Corner, Virginia we made a lot of great connections and had a lot of fun.  I was totally blown away by all of the pet products and services and the whole online and offline community there is centered around pets.   We even won a Bissell Spotbot which has come in handy several times.

I know I would probably have a good time at BlogPaws this year.  The issue is most of the people attending BlogPaws from our experience last year have vastly different goals.

Some might be wondering what the ultimate goals are for the Singing Dogs?  We’d like to see Cody and Sierra or their videos on a commercial or used in a movie or TV show.  Especially since both Cody and Sierra are good looking dogs. :)

We did actually have an offer from a company called Viral Spiral to license our videos.  However they were clear they don’t promote the videos.  They just wait until companies come to them and they have a stockpile of funny clips a company can use for a commercial.  From exchanging with the Viral Spiral representative they do not promote the videos in front of companies at all.  I found this a bit odd and they didn’t want to talk with me on the phone so we passed. 

Also we’d like to publish a children’s book series about the Singing Dogs.  Since the dogs are real, and when you pet Cody it’s like petting a stuffed animal, I don’t see why a publisher wouldn’t want to market children’s books about the Singing Dogs.  We’ve had a really hard time trying to find an book agent though.  Little did we know that children’s book publishing is the most competitive publishing industry niche. :(

Most people that attend BlogPaws are thinking of catching small fish.  Basically what I am saying is we are working on catching a big fish or whale.  I don’t just want to do sponsored article posts or whatever.  I’m sure they are a lot of big dreamers at BlogPaws too but most of the conference is catered to people who are just starting out or don’t have that much knowledge.

Also I’ve been active in the private BlogPaws community and people don’t seem to appreciate advice.  Well at least advice we leave.  We’ve answered question about Worpdress, SEO (search engine optimization), monetization, and basic things regarding starting and running a website.  When I do answer questions here and there people don’t seem to notice or care.  We are happy to give advice but it really only makes sense when people genuinely appreciate an answer.  Everyone in the forum really just seems interested in discussing social media too.  This is fine but but we not that interested in just social media talk.  It is called “BlogPaws” right?

To accomplish our goals we will probably have to go to different conferences and conventions outside of BlogPaws.  (Hence attending Affiliate Summit last Summer.)  Since we have limited funds we have to pick and choose.  If we had a movie deal or a company sponsored our trip we’d probably would have attended this year. :)

If you are looking for connections in the pet industry BlogPaws is a conference we’d recommend you attend.  I’ve been asked about BlogPaws a few times and have actually recommended it to several people.  We don’t’ see it benefiting us this year though.

Anyway for those of you attending BlogPaws in Las Vegas I hope you have a great time.

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A Nice Spring Day Again

It was finally a nice Spring day again… shockingly.  It was a nice 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit but there was a nice light breeze.

The dogs seemed to enjoy the weather and we had a nice long walk today.  On the walk we saw a ton of runners and people doing yardwork on our walk.  We took them to Sherwood Gardens which was teaming with people.  We saw other dogs, people doing Yoga, someone playing a recorder, people reading books, and kids playing,  It was quite an active place and we were surprised by how busy it was.  We realized since it is was Easter Weekend some people are maybe trying to enjoy themselves.  It could have just been the nice weather as well.

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Sierra at home while Cody goes to the Vet

Yesterday Cody had to go to the Vet to get two shots.  We usually take both dogs since it’s fun to have a dog pal at the Veterinarian’s office for moral support.  In addition the dogs don’t really like getting left behind.

Instead of taking Sierra to the vet with Cody though we decided that she would stay at the house.  Cody went to the vet by himself.  We realized if the dogs are going to catch something from another dog it’s a lot more likely when you go to the vet, where they are likely to be sick dogs, rather than at a dog park or walking them around.  (This is true of humans as well.)   Also it’s a lot less hassle only taking one medium-sized dog in the car rather than two.  Sierra tends to be a menace in the car and whine doing the dog version of, “Are we there yet?”

Generally I think it worked out pretty well.  Sierra got extra playtime at the house while Cody went to the vet and got some nice treats.  Sierra was unhappy and dejected when Cody was getting his harness and into the car without her but she’s a big girl so she was fine.

How do other people with multiple dogs (or pets) handle vet appointments?  Do you go to the vet’s office and only take one dog at a time?  Are you like us and feel bad about only taking the dog that needs shots or a check-up?

Wet Rainy Day makes Cody not Want to Play

cody raincoatToday was a really wet and rainy day.  Unsure of where Spring went but Winter was definitely trying to clay it’s way back.  It wasn’t just Spring showers though as later in the day, probably aroudn 3-4pm the temperature started to drop rapidly.  Right now as I’m writing this it is about 36 degrees, according the computer, outside but if you went out it feels colder because it is so wet.

Even though it’s cold and rainy as most dog owners know… you still have to walk dogs so they can do their “business.”  Today like other days we decided it would be best to use our dog raincoats to save ourselves time from cleaning up wet dogs when we got back from a walk.  I’ve documented before how both dogs hate wearing dog raincoats though.

I put Cody’s raincoat on, which I could tell he wasn’t happy about, but assumed he would get used to after awhile.  I then started getting ready to outside, putting on boots, getting a raincoat on and then I took a look at Cody.  He hadn’t moved at all from where I put the dog raincoat on him and he just looked quite sad.  I reassured him, “Cody you look good! You look like a rescue dog.”  (I mean a dog that rescues people and not a dog that needs rescuing.) He didn’t seem convinced as he just kept looking embarrased.  Admittedly I did take a picture of him which seemed to add insult to injury as Cody flet wearing the dog raincoat was pretty terrible.  I’m sure he thought, “Yeah right I look like a rescue dog, your taking pictures and smiling.”

I tried to get Cody to move from his position by pushing him and pulling him.  It was no use since his embarrassment ran deep and he was staying put.  “I’m not going outside like this!” is what he seemed to say.  To get him to the front door I took off the raintcoat temporarily and he seemed very happy about not having the raincoat on.  Of course I put it back on him before we went out for a walk.

Sierra seems to feel embarrassed by her red dog raincoat but she doesn’t have expressions like Cody does.  She usually just tries to run away.

How do you deal with wet dogs on a rainy day?  Have any similar stories you want to share?

As for the bad weather today we can only hope that April showers bring May flowers.