Paws Corner

Hooray! My book sucks

The very first Amazon user review of Fighting Fleas is in, and it ain’t pretty. It’s not horrible, either — in fact, it’s enlightening, and I’ll tell you why.

First off, it’s a one-star review. That’s always bad, right? And it’s clear the reader hated the book. That should make me angry. I should be shaking my fist at the sky screaming “they just don’t understand me!” or calling the reviewer names and wondering if he or she just drank a cup of stupid this morning. But I’m not. Not because I’m a Pollyanna, glass-is-half-full type, but because this review seemed pretty honest and frankly, helpful.

“If you are a fan of chemicals and pesticides then this book is for you. I was hoping to find natural and healthy ways to control fleas,” the reviewer wrote. Sounds harsh, but the fact is, the reviewer purchased my book looking specifically for natural alternatives to the flea sprays, shampoos, collars and other chemical treatments. And she (or he) didn’t get the information she was looking for.

“…however it is clear that the author is not a fan and does not recommend any of them,” the reviewer continues. “She actually points out the dangers of the least toxic solutions while touting the benefits of poisons.”

That’s an interesting statement. I’d hoped to give a balanced view of both natural vs. chemical treatments, but for this reader, it wasn’t balanced at all. And it raises questions about what exactly readers are looking for. Is it a good idea to present two opposing alternatives in one book? Is it better marketing to stick to one or the other–a book that only covers natural flea treatment, for example? There are actually quite a few on shelves already, meaning there probably is a bigger market for natural-only treatments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Those of you who visit the website have probably been thinking lately, what’s up with the site? It’s got a very generic look at the moment. is in the midst of a slight technical meltdown. As a result of that, and just a lot of months of frustration in trying to manage its CMS, will soon be sporting an updated design and a new back end.

Basically, I’ll be shifting the site from a Joomla platform to a WordPress platform. This is a bit of an undertaking and some of the old content may be lost in the process, so I’m taking my time and making sure everything is backed up, accessible, and can be loaded into the brand-new platform without any glitches.

Why the shift? When first went live, true content management systems were expensive, custom-made, and out of reach to most small businesses and individuals. The choice was either a blog, or a static HTML site. The blogging format wasn’t a direction I wanted to go in at the time. But then open source CMS entered the picture: Drupal and Joomla (Mambo, at the time). With just a little technical knowledge and enough time on one’s hands, an effective CMS could be built relatively quickly. I sat down, compared the two, and went with Joomla. The learning curve wasn’t as steep as Drupal’s–the hardest part for me was designing a functional template, not figuring out the CMS. So while Drupal in my opinion was and is vastly more flexible for developers than Joomla, my goal at the time was to get a CMS-driven website up quickly.

Joomla was in a great position at the time to grab small business owners like myself who had almost no web budget, and did a great job of it. Its community was enthusiastic–I attended at least two of the New England region Joomla workshops in the past four years. But I think the competition has caught up, finally. Read the rest of this entry »

Download Fighting Fleas today for free

Recently, I published my first book, Fighting Fleas, which is exactly what the title says it’s about. If you’re dealing with a pet that has fleas, this book can help. It’s practical advice combined with clips from several years’ worth of my advice columns on ridding pets of fleas.

It’s short and sweet. I didn’t want readers to had to wade through chapter after chapter of detailed scientific data about fleas. Having dealt with this problem myself, I know you just want to know what to do, how, and when. And you want to know if any of the flea treatments out there might harm a pet. Fighting Fleas gets straight into it, so you can get the information you need fast and get rid of those fleas.

Today, September 26, I’m offering Fighting Fleas as a free Kindle download over at Head over a download a copy today!

If you miss this promotion, don’t fret! I’ll be offering free downloads again in the very near future. And if you’re a Kindle Prime member, you can borrow Fighting Fleas for free at any time.

So give it a try today for free! I hope you like it. If you have ideas for a new book, or suggestions or comments about Fighting Fleas, feel free to leave them here, or write a review over on Amazon.