How to Pitch Books to Companion Animal Psychology

Common questions about getting your book featured on Companion Animal Psychology.

A selection of books about dogs, cats, and other animals
A selection of books about dogs, cats, and other animals. Photo: Zazie Todd

By Zazie Todd PhD

These days, I regularly get emails from authors and publicists asking how they can get the Animal Book Club to pick their book. 

There are several ways that books get mentioned on Companion Animal Psychology, so I thought I’d put something here that explains. (This includes a surprise that I’m working on at the moment). These options are for traditionally-published books only. (If your book is self-published, skip to the section on the Animal Books Group).

Most of these options--but not all--are for books about animals. 

The Animal Book Club

The Animal Book Club started in 2016 and since then we’ve read 10 books a year, taking January and July off. We read nonfiction books about animals. Most are science books, but we read memoirs from time to time too. Our readers are around the world, so we prefer books that are available in both North America and the UK. We also prefer it when books are available in different formats, because some members prefer to listen to their books while others prefer to read them in hard copy or electronic version.

Members choose the books. Members also suggest a lot of the books, and I suggest some too of course. What this means, though, is that even if I love your book and think the book club will love it too, I can’t guarantee that it will be chosen. But if your book would be a good fit, I’d like to know about it.

Even if books aren’t picked the first time they are suggested, they can come round to be considered again. We like to read a mix of new books and older books. You can see previous choices on the animal book club page.  

Since Companion Animal Psychology has a commitment to reward-based training methods, one rule for the book club is that we won’t read books that suggest the use of aversive training methods such as prong or shock collars. 

In addition to the members in the group, a lot of people seem to read alongside us, and then sometimes email me their thoughts. 

The Pawsitive Post in Conversation

The Pawsitive Post in Conversation is the podcast associated with Companion Animal Psychology, co-hosted by myself and Kristi Benson. We record about once a month, and we love talking to our favourite authors of books about animals. 

We don’t have guests every episode, and not all of our guests are authors, because we also love talking to scientists and dog trainers and so on. But if we love your book, we’d love to chat to you. 

At the end of every episode, we ask our guest (if we’ve got one) to tell us about what they are currently reading. Then we each share a book that we have recently finished and loved. These can be any books. We never know in advance what will be picked!

You can listen to The Pawsitive Post in Conversation wherever you get your podcasts.

The Writer’s Pet

The Writer’s Pet explores the world of contemporary writers and their companion animals. It ran for a series and then took a break—but is now open for submissions again. Each piece highlights an author and their most recent book. Interview questions ask about the book as well as how the pet influences the author’s writing, whether it’s simply keeping them company at the keyboard or providing important inspiration. 

To be considered for The Writer’s Pet, books don’t have to be about animals. In fact, most of them aren’t. But the author does need to have (or have had) a pet who they would like to talk about. 

You can find out more in the guidelines for The Writer’s Pet.  

Book Round-ups

From time to time, I publish a round-up of the books I’ve been reading lately. They would be any kind of books, not just about animals—just what I’ve been reading. I love putting this kind of post together, but sadly I haven’t had the time to do one for a while.  Maybe that’s my cue to do another one soon, but I can’t make any promises. In any case, these are never books that people have sent me, they are what I’ve found from browsing my local book store or from hearing people’s recommendations on my podcast.

A Surprise

Right now I’m working on something to do with books about animals. I can’t give anything away here, but if you’ve got a book about animals that was out recently, or that will be out later this year, let me know about it. I’ve got a couple of spots for books that are a good fit. 

The Animal Books Group on Facebook

As well as the book club, I run another group on Facebook which is for anyone who wants to chat about books about animals. Authors are allowed to share their interviews and upcoming events at any time, and on the last Sunday of the month they are welcome to post about their book. Traditional and self-published authors are all welcome.

Most members are not authors, but people who love animals and love reading.

Members are encouraged to share news articles, interviews, etc. about books about animals. I share a lot of author interviews in here, insofar as Facebook allows. (Unfortunately these days Facebook does not let Canadians share news articles—yes, it’s ridiculous. But members who aren’t Canadian won’t have this problem). 

Although the book club is for subscribers to my email list, authors don’t have to subscribe to join (though of course you’re very welcome to!). When you ask to join, instead of giving the passcode, tell me you’re an author and the title of your book, and I’ll let you in.

How to pitch your book

I hope this helps to clarify how books get mentioned on Companion Animal Psychology. Feel free to email me about your book if you think it’s a good fit for one of these categories, or simply join the Animal Books group if you’d like. I get a lot of emails and am not able to reply to them all, so having a clear subject line will help me respond to you sooner.

You can contact me on companimalpsych at gmail dot com.

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