This week I will publish my first new book since going live with Who Chains You Publishing last month. I feel simply giddy with excitement!
Yes, I’m excited for me (because it’s FUN!), but I’m even MORE excited for my author, who’s waited six long years for me to fulfill my promise to her.
Before opening shop I reworked four of the books I’d published while CEO of Dogs Deserve Better into second editions, giving them updated titles, covers, and interiors. If you’ve never read these books, I hope you’ll consider adding these newest editions to your collection.
I enjoyed bringing these titles up to date, but in the last week I got to experience the real joy I’ve been seeking—helping authors in the animal rights and rescue movements feel heard, validated, and supported in their written expressions for the animals.
I first ‘met’ author Maggie Couch online in 2010, when she sent me (at Dogs Deserve Better) her children’s story with this note: “Will you please consider the attached children’s story I wrote for DDB? I believe it is a good and powerful story and would make an excellent illustrated book for children. I do not know of any illustrator and do not know how to proceed to submit the story to a publisher.
Instead of having the story sit lonely in a desk drawer, I would like to donate it to DDB and hope that someone in your organization will see merit in it and perhaps get it published so it may make a difference and compel children to act kindly toward dogs.
The story is narrated by a kind, wise owl who observes from his perch high in a tree. The dog is a typical DDB type of throw-away backyard dog on a chain. I worked hard on this story and believe that with good illustrations, it really could make a difference to dogs like the dear one in the story.”
At the time I told Maggie that YES, I’d love to print her book (with her getting a share of sales, of course!), but we had just begun putting out Rocky Shepheard’s A Doggie Hero is Born first edition, and it would be awhile before I got to hers. She was excited, and assured me she’d wait.
Unfortunately, her time never came while I was with Dogs Deserve Better. The next year we ended up buying Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, and to say the next four years were a wild ride would be putting it mildly. I never got back to doing ANY kind of publishing after Rocky’s book.
During that time, though, I often thought of Maggie, and my promise to her to put out her book. I had failed in that promise.
When I decided to start Who Chains You Publishing, my first act was tracking down Maggie to see if she was still seeking a publisher for her book; if so, would she forgive me for not following through and allow me to publish her book now?
I found her, and she was delighted! She wrote, “Tami, I am so happy you have written to me. I would love it dearly if you were able to get the book illustrated and published. Thank you so much for liking my story. If YOU like it, then I am honored indeed.
I so hope the book will be published and read by at least one child or adult who will be moved by it, moved to become an activist and fight for those dear, trusting, sentient beings who cannot speak for themselves.”
And so, in just a few short days, I will finally be able to fulfill my promise to Maggie— and she can fulfill the promise she made to the chained dogs to speak on their behalf.
[Update, the book is now available. To buy, visit these links for paperback or Kindle/KindleUnlimited options. Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue]
And that fills my heart.
I have a 25 year history in graphic design and publishing; when I left Dogs Deserve Better, I pondered how I could still serve the movement even if I’m no longer on the front lines.
One of the many things I learned from leading Dogs Deserve Better is that you need to work with your strengths. When I put people in positions that suited them, they thrived; but when I put people in positions that went against their inborn strengths they failed.
My strengths are a willingness to take a strong stand against cruelty, and an ability to design and publish books and marketing materials. It only makes sense for me to combine those two strengths to serve the movement that I love.
People like Maggie in our movement want to contribute. They want to raise their voices on behalf of the animals, and they want to be heard. I can help with that.
There are animal cruelty cases I’ve seen in the past few years that are just book-worthy, and these activists stories and struggles will never be published by a mainstream publisher. BUT I WILL DO IT. I will publish your books.
I will support those currently on the front lines by putting out their stories about the unbelievable cruelty they themselves have faced for standing for the animals.
I will support those on the front lines by putting out books that I know can help them. Books that confront the bullies, (and hopefully give US a laugh at their expense, finally); books that help activists and rescuers do our jobs; books that combine all our short stories on any relevant topic into one coherent publication.
To make our collective voices heard, I need your input.
Be part of the solution, and raise the roof for the animals. I have so many ideas for titles that will help all activists and rescuers, but I need your stories to bring them to fruition.
Here are the topics I’m seeking your input for—AND I’m open to your ideas:
Funny Rescue Stories
Activist Arrest Stories
Bullies of Animal Rescue
Your Biggest Regret in Rescue
Crazy Beeyotches of Animal Rescue
Your Biggest Sacrifice for the Animals
Attacked by your Rescue Animal
Rescue: The River of Deceit
Staying Positive in a World Full of Pain
Your Best Vegan Recipe
Are You Just “Too Sensitive?”
My Favorite Rescue of All Time
Dog Chaining Douches
Am I Vegan Enough?
I Won a Law for the Animals
I hope if you’ve been embroiled in a lawsuit or court case surrounding your work for the animals, or you’ve been on the front lines and suffering for the animals, you will write a book about it, and bring it to me so I can help you get it out into the world.
No valid publisher charges an author to be published. If Who Chains You publishes your book, there is never any upfront cost to you. We either make money together or don’t make money together, but either way we will get your story out into the world.
To submit either a short story for a compilation topic, OR submit your book for consideration, visit our website at http://www.whochainsyou.com/submissions.html.
The animals need our voices—we can raise them, make a difference, and leave footprints for future generations. Together.
—Tamira Ci Thayne, Publisher, Who Chains You Books