Guidelines for The Writer’s Pet

Would you like to be featured on The Writer’s Pet?

How to submit your book to The Writer's Pet, illustrated by a bookstore cat
A bookstore cat in Istanbul. Photo: Art-Milan/Shutterstock

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Charles Dickens had his pet raven, Grip; Ernest Hemingway had many polydactyl cats; Virginia Woolf had a cocker spaniel called Pinka; and Alice Walker keeps pet chickens. Authors love their pets, but how do they influence their writing? The Writer’s Pet explores the world of contemporary writers and their companion animals.

The Writer’s Pet features authors, their pet, and of course, their latest book. You can learn more about the inspiration for the series in my post Introducing the Writer's Pet. If you would like to be included, here are the guidelines.

Traditionally published books only. Books must be available in Canada, as that is where Companion Animal Psychology is based. As our readership also includes many Americans and Brits, it’s a bonus if the book is available in those markets too.

Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, YA, MG, and children’s literature are all welcome. Self-help books, faith books, and academic texts are not included.

Here at Companion Animal Psychology we believe we all benefit from diversity and inclusion. We welcome books by authors from under-represented minorities, including BAME/BIPOC authors, and books that will appeal to a diverse readership. Books that support positive conversations around diversity and inclusion are especially welcome. 

Companion Animal Psychology is a community of animal lovers, so please bear that in mind. Books that feature animal cruelty, aversive training methods (including shock collars), or other poor treatment of animals are not a good fit, although there are exceptions (e.g. a book about developments in animal welfare or the history of humane societies could still be a fit).

Your book does not have to be about, or even include, any animals. Animal lovers read all kinds of books.

We prefer books that are beautifully written, funny, humane, inspiring, multicultural, scientific, socially critical, thoughtful, and/or uplifting. We’re open to suggestions.

Books that are chilling, dark, devastating, haunting, or miserable are less likely to be a good fit. Life is hard for everyone at the moment and working with animals can sometimes mean seeing things you’d rather not, so unless there’s an uplifting resolution or it deals with important social justice issues, it’s not for us. 

Back catalogue books are fine so long as they are still in print. If the author has a more recent book though, we’d rather consider that one.

To get a sense of the kind of books Zazie likes, you can always check out her previous reading lists: summer reading 2020, animal books December 2019, summer reading 2019, summer reading 2018.

As for pets, any kind of pet that is legal where the author lives is okay with us. No shock collars or prong collars; if a photo shows your dog wearing something that might be mistaken for a shock collar (e.g. GPS tracker) please explain. Also, no docked tails or cropped ears (those procedures are illegal here), unless the dog is a rescue and came that way (in which case again please explain). 

If you think your book is a good fit, we would love to hear from you. You (or your publicist) can email Zazie on companimalpsych at gmail dot com. Please put The Writer’s Pet in the subject line so that your email does not end up in the spam folder. It's even better if your first sentence mentions you've read these guidelines.

If your book is being published in 2021, it's not too early to get in touch.

Note for publicists: Companion Animal Psychology is consistently ranked in the top million websites and has over 50k unique visitors every month. We also have an email subscriber list of over 4,000 animal lovers. 

General note: BAME = Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (British terminology); BIPOC = Black and Indigenous People of Colour (American terminology). 

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband and two cats.

Useful links:

Support Companion Animal Psychology with a donation via debit, credit, or Paypal