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Thoughty Thursday: Are We There Yet?

by | Apr 14, 2011 | Uncategorized | 10 comments

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Funny how things that used to be a VERY-BIG-DEAL suddenly become a so-what issue. Stay with me here, but it seems that the whole Conventional vs Natural  vet medicine argument looks a whole lot like Traditional vs Indy pub discussions. Gets ya wantin’ to show your big-dawg teeth, don’t it?

I remember–(OMG, I’m channeling my grandma!)–when “holistic medicine” was woo-woo WAY-OUT-THERE on the fringes stuff that old-wives told tales about but was discounted by all the savvy scientific in-the-know types. I was a skeptic while researching holistic aka wholistic aka natural aka complementary aka new age, aka “WOO WOO” medicine for pets. Hell, they couldn’t even decide what to call it, so how could anyone take it seriously?

But slowly, steadily as I talked to these “fringe vets” about why they did what they did, the lightbulb went off. These weren’t crackpots…okay, some were pretty out there…but for the most part they’d practiced conventional Western vet care for many years. And simply got fed up when failed protocols frustrated pet owners leading to early pet death. Instead of quitting, or doing the same-old that didn’t work, these pioneers went a-lookin’ for answers, from the past, into the future, sideways and downstream every which way. While I don’t buy into every single “natural” trend, I know they have their place and offer great benefits to pets and owners.

Golly-gee-willikers, but for us writers that sounds awfully familiar. I was die-hard Tradional Publishing for 20 years, raising skeptic’s questions and pitying those souls who “resorted” to self publishing aka vanity printing. But slowly, steadily as I talked to these “fringe writers” about why they did what they did, turns out most aren’t crackpots. (Note: I said “most!”). They’d tried the conventional route, many were widely pub’d like Bob Mayer, and JA Konrath and Barry Eisler and too many others to list–and they’d simply got fed up when failed protocols frustrated copyright owners–the authors–leading to early book death. So instead of continuing on a flawed path, these pioneers snatched the reins.

Me, too–although I’m not in their league. Yet. Working on it.

And just like in the “old days” when natural vet medicine was fringe and marginalized, the Indies are being treated like yapping Chihuahuas nipping at the heels of conventional publishing. Am I wrong here? Hellooooo, when did exploration and finding creative ways to help pets–or authors–become forbidden?

Toy dogs don’t get the same respect as the big dawgs. But we’re sparkly bitches, no matter the size, with big-dawg (and cat) attitude that deserves to earn and learn on the same !#$%^&*()_+! playing field.

Vet medicine seems to’ve traveled further along that path. Even ten years ago, using herbs, home prepared foods, acupuncture and nutriceuticals was suspect. Today, old fashioned “natural healing” is the new cutting edge and veterinary medicine has gone back to the past to treat and cure pets. Pet food companies slap NATURAL on the labels, pharmaceutical research explores herbs for cancer therapy, and nutriceuticals that change gene expression wow us with healing power.

”Dr.

Dr. Shawn Messonnier was the “natural vet” when it wasn’t kewl. He explains the concept and why he decided to expand his practice to include holistic treatments in my latest Pet Peeves radio show. Today we call it “integrative medicine” or “complementary care” because it works best alongside conventional “Western” therapies and offer pets the best of all possible worlds. The latest Pet Peeves radio show features Natural Medicine & Veterinary Care with Dr. Shawn including his most recent book Unexpected Miracles: Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets.

And who’d a thunk it? Just discovered my out-of-print book New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats –the book that changed my mind about vet care–has been fairy-godmother’d Kindle-ized by the publisher. Gonna have to check my contract and see what royalties I’ve got coming.

I’ve no doubt that the “new age” publishing will also become integrative and complementary. We’re coming closer but not there yet. How do I know this? Because the little dogs and big dogs are still “baptizing” and marking territory–and because the hardcover book is priced $2 cheaper than the Kindle version. Uh…hello?

What do y’all think? “Daddy, are we there yet? . . .” in either vet medicine or publishing?

 

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways! Hint: Pet Care in the New Century includes “cutting edge” medicine from both sides of the holistic/western med exam table.

10 Comments

  1. Angela/Curiocat

    On the natural vet/physician front I don’t think it will ever be mainstream but on the other hand people are more open minded. Do you know of something more natural to treat hyper thyroidism in cats? The treatments I’ve read about sound horrible and the thought of submitting my cat to it is upsetting.

    Reply
    • amyshojai

      Angela, there are three treatment options for hyperthyroid cats. Surgery can be pretty intense. Medication–pilling the cat or smearing on a transdermal gel on the inside the ear can work, but is a lifetime treatment. Radioactive iodine therapy is the most effective treatment. Sounds scarier than it is. My book COMPLETE CARE FOR YOUR AGING CAT features an old cat that successfully went through the therapy. There really aren’t any specific “holistic” treatments for this. It’s harder on us pet parents than the cat, because the cat must be hospitalized and quarantined for a while. Ya know, that’s a great future “Ask Amy” question.

      Reply
  2. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    Amy,

    I’ve been running the numbers for the last six months. Besides writing a novel, I’m also an analyst who makes predictions based on numbers and patterns. I have a mild case of Aspergers Syndrome, which means that I’m really good at spotting patterns.

    Without going into details, about 24 months ago I noticed some shifts in technology companies. I started to follow them, and about 18 months ago I came to the conclusion that Microsoft would be bankrupt by the fall of 2014 (so switch to a Mac – now).

    Other things moved. The IPhone, the Kindle, the Nook, the Android phone, the IPad, the Android tablet…

    All of a sudden the nonexistent e-book market exists and writers are making a living out of it. The switch from LP Vinyl to Cassette tapes was gradual, as was the switch to Compact Disc. The switch from VHS to DVD was fairly quick. The switch from DVD to BluRay has stopped dead.

    Music has moved to electronic delivery (Itunes, Amazon). Video is moving to electronic delivery (ITunes, Netflix). Books are behind video. I don’t know how much, the pace of change is accelerating, and guessing timing on stuff like this is difficult, especially when the world’s biggest economy is in a depression. But read this:

    http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/04/guest-post-by-bob-mayer.html

    He’s convinced. And he’s a big time pro.

    As to book stores, there’s always going to be a place for the specialty store. It’s just that a lot of their business will be internet order, and less will be walk in. After all, your book store in New York, can service customers in Japan quite easily with Fedex.

    Wayne

    PS: Another advantage of doing it all yourself which I didn’t mention above is worldwide release on the same day, something that the corporate world seems incapable of doing.

    Reply
    • amyshojai

      Uhm, yes, I’m working with Bob Mayer. He’s the one brought out my backlist. *s*

      Reply
    • Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

      Sorry – at the top it says six months – that’s when I realized that the numbers I was tracking also affected books. I was originally only interested in computers. Aspergers affected Geek. Of course I’m into Computers. I have two laptops (1 Mac, 1 Acer running Linux), two Desktops (both running Linux), an IPad, and an IPhone.

      Reply
  3. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    Amy,

    I’ve predicted that brick and mortar book stores won’t exist in five years. The economics just don’t favor their existence. Just as they don’t favor the existence of traditional publishers.

    Consider Amazon/IBooks. You go direct, sell the book to your customers for $3.00, you get $2.10 (70%). The customer get’s one heck of a deal, you get one heck of a deal (at 25% royalty your publisher would have to sell the book for $8.40 for you to get $2.10 per copy), and everyone buy the publisher wins.

    You are going to see author communities starting up, with authors bartering things that were traditionally done by publishers such as proof reading, editing, and maybe even art (if someone has the talent) like Web Literate Canada.

    It’s an exciting time to be an author.

    Wayne

    Reply
    • amyshojai

      Hi Wayne,

      Don’t know about the book stores going away–but they will have to rethink the biz model. Rather than the humongous book store giants, I predict it’ll be the smaller boutique-style stores that serve a niche readership. Perhaps something like what Starbucks has gone to, more of a community-service enterprise. It’ll be interesting to see what ultimately shakes out. Thanks for stopping by…the WebLiterateCanada looks interesting.

      Reply
  4. Gloria Oliver

    I think the whole issue is still in growing pains and won’t stop anytime soon. Worse, there’s middle rung that’s getting squashed between Big Publishing and Self-Published as if there’s only black and white.

    This would be the smaller publishers who actually still weed out manuscripts, do edits, the whole nine yards, just in a smaller scale. They pay the authors quarterly/bi-annually, but don’t give advances, some even use book makers with POD machines to cut down on storage costs from arge print runs that are needed.

    But those on that level tend to be shunted with self-pubbers as if they were the same thing and not something in between. I’m one of them, so have felt the push. Yet both the publishers I currently have books with have great reputations out in the publishing field. What I like even better, is that though the distribution for the trade paperbacks might not be as large (are in B&N databases and others, just not at the brick store) is that ebook editions are also part of the contract. Giving more means to please readers.

    This topic should be hot for sometime. Though some changes are slowly coming down the pike. Interesting times that’s for sure. 🙂

    Reply
    • amyshojai

      Gloria, I’m in the same boat paddling along with you. My books were originally pub’d by the Big 6, but then once out of print I kindle-ized the backlist. And since then I’ve worked with a small independent publisher to bring ’em back in POD and other Ebook formats. So I’m a mutt, a three-legged hybrid with a paw in each camp. And wagging as fast as I can!

      Reply
  5. amyshojai

    Just checked my contract and royalty statement for New Choice in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats….contract says author gets 25% royalty. Book is ranked #5 on Kindle “Pet Care/Health” so it IS selling.

    Nary a single mention on the royalty statement about Ebook sales, though.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mind Sieve 4/25/11 « Gloria Oliver - [...] Shojai does a comparison between veterinary medicine and publishing. Pretty cool comparison [...]
  2. Thoughty Thursday: Roses, Armadillos & Publishing « Amy Shojai's Blog - [...] been thinking a lot lately about being a chameleon writer. I’m a speaker at the OWFI Annual Writer’s Conference…

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