Yesterday I had a conversation with an old friend, a travel writer who was worried about the state of travel publishing. Apparently some guidebook companies are having a tough time keeping up with contemporary technology and are floundering.

I suggested that my friend — let’s call him Karl, since that’s his name — start blogging so that he doesn’t have to depend entirely on conventional publishing.

Recalling my complaints about being bullied by my blog — discussed today at Rescued Insanity, by coincidence — Karl thought this suggestion was a bit ironic.

It’s nice to know your friends are actually listening to you, but don’t you hate it when they remember what you say and throw it back at you?

Why should writers blog?

Nevertheless, I said a few things that were convincing enough for Karl to ask me a few more questions:

  • If you are a writer, it’s a good thing to write on a regular basis, even if you don’t see any money for it.
  • Blogging is a good way to focus on– actually, to figure out — your particular interests without the constraints of  an assigned book or article format.
  • Blogging is a way to get your name out, assuming you get a bit of traffic
  • Blogging is a way to become involved in a community of like-minded people, once you decide what people you like.

Finding Your Niche

I mentioned that Karl was inspired to ask me a few questions. Some were about blogging platforms and domain names (imagine me, knowing more about tech stuff than someone else!). But another was about branding, self identifying — or finding a niche.

“So pets are a niche?” Karl wanted to know. I supposed so, though there are so many people who have pets that it doesn’t seem much of a niche — which suggests “little — to me. Stamps of Poland between 1942 and 1963, say. Now, that would be a niche. Pets? Not so much.

Pet Travel Blogging — Which Niche?

Then I started thinking about pet travel blogging — this being Pet Travel Thursday. Is travel a subcategory of pets? Or is pets a subcategory of travel?

Does it matter? In my case, it’s a way for me to integrate two important elements of my life, Frankie and travel writing.

Pet Travel Book Blogging — Oh, Forget It!

We’re now moving from chicken-and-the-egg territory to Russian doll territory — you know, the little dolls that nest in each other, getting smaller and smaller ad infinitum (well, ad teeny tiny dolls — as opposed to trying to calculate pi down to its last decimal).

Are pet travel books a subcategory of books or are books a subcategory of pet travel?

And, again, does it matter?

I’ve decided it kind of matters since I’m trying to get people to participate in my pet travel book club. A lot of people are interested in pets and in pet travel, but I’m gathering many are too busy to read at this time of year.

So I’m sweetening the pot.

When you read the next book on the list, Following Atticus, you are going to want to buy it as a gift for someone else. I practically guarantee it. So everyone who participates in the book club on December 8 will be eligible to win a signed copy of the book.

By participate, I mean

  • comment about the book in a way that suggests you read the first chapter (or a review on Amazon)
  • answer one of the questions that my guest blogger poses
  • contribute a question to ask the author, Tom Ryan.

That’s right, folks. There’s an advantage to reviewing books by people who are alive — as opposed to, say, John Steinbeck — and I’m excited to report that Tom Ryan has agreed to answer questions.

See, Karl, where else besides a blog could you write a philosophical, meandering post like this and even get a few people to read it?

20 thoughts on “Pet Travel Book Blogging: Niches within Niches”

  1. I think they are sub-categories of both. If you had a Venn diagram where one circle was pets and one circle was travel then pet travel would be the overlapping part of the two circles. As a reader who doesn’t travel much at all but does read travel books I can tell you the problem from my standpoint is commercialism and quality. You don’t get Rebecca West style travel books anymore. Balkan Ghosts was the last one I read that I found really excellent. These days I find so much commercialism on the shelf. I mean they are nice, colorful but they just don’t seem to have the depth, the immersion that used to be there. Maybe I’m not reading the right people but that’s my take on it.

    1. I wish I knew enough about graphics — as opposed to about writing — to draw a Venn diagram everytime I got philosophical. I think it would help me clarify things immensely.

      I have to confess to never having read Rebecca West, but I think John Steinbeck — and Tom Ryan — are both high quality travel writers. Then again, I don’t like the immersion aspect of travel writing. I prefer to form my own impressions of a place. What I like is going somewhere with someone compatible, someone whose take on a lot of different things, not just the place being visited, interests me.

  2. I have been wanting to read Following Atticus and I just can’t seem to find the time! I am definitely with Kristine – feeling more than a little bullied by my blog. Why oh why can’t they invent the 36 hour day AND find a way to keep me awake that long?? I am definitely going to try. I’m going to try HARD to find the time for this.

  3. I am still laughing, you write with so much humor! Karl must be made from stone if he can resists an argument like this.
    btw. Following Atticus arrived today – got it from amazon germany just around the corner – I am reading and getting ready … Niche or not, it works for me 🙂

    1. Thanks, Leo — you made my day, even if Karl decides I have no credibility.

      I’m very glad you got Following Atticus so easily and look forward to know what you think.

  4. I love it…and the “nichier” the better! Lots of people can–and do–write about pets. Many write about dogs. Some even write about travels with dogs. But to drill down even further makes your content much more meaningful. Maybe I’m biased because what we’re doing at Wag is based on the same principles. But that’s what the long tail is good at–connecting people with the narrow little things they’re nuts about. Looking forward to the discussion about Following Atticus…

    1. I’ll be interested in learning more about Wag when it launches. And I’m glad you’ll be participating in the Following Atticus chat.

  5. People who travel with cats–now that’s a niche!

    I’m still trying to get my hands on Following Atticus. My book budget is slim right now so I was hoping to get it from the library and I can’t seem to get it on interlibrary loan because it’s too new. Grrr.

    If I can’t read it, I’ll still follow along on the discussion. I was really interested in reading this one.

    1. And books about people who travel with cats — fuggedaboudit!

      Do participate in the discussion, even if you can’t get hold of the book in time; I’m sure there’ll be a lot to discuss that doesn’t depend on close textual (or any) reading! That way you’ll be eligible to win a copy.

  6. Dang -the whole “Travels with Charlie” thing went right over my head. I will see if our library has Atticus since I want to try to win a signed copy :). I am not a traveling person (though have done some) but I do enjoy having new book genres opened to me so will jump on the wagon for Dec. 8 – better get it on my calendar. My most unexpected genre was submarines; after reading “Run Silent, Run Deep ” in jr. high, I was gung ho!

    1. In many ways, this is less of a travel book than an inspirational “overcoming of obstacles” book, and dog as inspiration book, although there are quite a few excursions. Hope you manage to get hold of a copy.

  7. I tried to read Travels with Charley, but after forcing myself to read about 1/3 of it, I just couldn’t go on.

    I think it must be that when I read Steinbeck years ago I found his books so depressing (like dragging me down to the depths of despair depressing – I never found the uplifting part) and something about “Travels” just seemed to tap into that memory (although, the book itself doesn’t seem depressing)

    So, I’m sorry, I had every intention of participating in the discussion, but just never finished the book.

    I’ll do better with Following Atticus and I’m looking forward to it.

    1. Thanks for coming by and explaining. My own memory of Steinbeck’s books being depressing kept me from reading Travels with Charley until recently. You’re always welcome to come by and participate in the discussion, even if you don’t finish the book. But I do hope you enjoy Following Atticus.

  8. Hey Edie,

    I recently started a blog of my own to assist dog owners and no-kill dog organizations to be able to make a real difference in the lives of dogs. So I can appreciate the value of a well written article like this. I would recommend all pet enthusiast to consider what is written here and use it as a guide to begin your very own works.

  9. Are we pet bloggers or travel bloggers … it’s a question I’ve pondered on occasion. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m both. Traveling with pets requires a bit more dedication because it takes some additional planning, but more and more people are doing it. If we are a niche, we are definitely a growing one! One thing I would share with Karl is that, though we sometimes feel bullied by our blogs, the connections and opportunities to share our experiences are addictive. I don’t know if I would enjoy my travels as much if I weren’t able to share them on the blog.

    I am purchasing Travels With Atticus right now. Hopefully the upcoming holiday will result in some downtime for pleasure reading!

    1. Good points, Amy — I agree about the addictive nature of interacting with other people who have shared interests. It’s difficult to understand just how supportive a blogging community can be until you’re are part of one.

      Hope you enjoy Following Atticus!

  10. So did you convince him?

    Thanks for the link. I am still trying to figure everything out but it seems to me you have defeated that bully pretty soundly. The thing is, even when I try to step away for a break, I still find myself planning future posts or researching different ideas. Blogging is insidious that way. It weaves into your routine so you can’t remember a time without it.

    I can’t wait to get started on the next book!

    1. I’m not sure! I thought I gave it a good shot, though.

      I have NOT completely defeated that bully, though sometimes he — sorry, I tend to think of bullies as male — backs off. But I’ll let you (and anyone who reads the comments) in on a secret. Amy and I are going to do the Pet Blogger’s Challenge again, so I can complain all about it in public.

      I hope you enjoy Following Atticus. Here’s another secret. I haven’t finished it yet! My friend who is doing the review was so enthusiastic I just turned it over to her.

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