Podenco Friends: together we can!

img_3211I must admit to having felt a bit nervous about visiting the “Paws in the Park” event at Detling, near my home at the weekend. I went there to meet the people behind Podenco Friends as part of my research towards my potential next e-book, and online edition of “Tales of Mel” by Rafael Sainz, and I had already decided that I needed to include some of those organisations who help to rescue abandoned dogs and give them a new home.
Is it just me, or are Podencos among the most sympathetic and endearing dogs around? The Podenco Friends stand seemed to be populated by lovely members of the breed and very down-to-earth owners, and I had a chat with Beverley Farmer, the founder of the organisation:
“It all started thirteen years ago, we went to a little local rescue home. There was a little Podenco in there and she was a bag of nerves: so thin. We took her and it was a baptism of fire. She is like a Podenco Ibicenco but a very small one – she would not meet breed standard. She was just hard work, and then a few years later we acquired another – a Podenco Andaluz, and he was completely the opposite, completely laid back and a very easy-going temperament.”
Clearly smitten, Bev started doing obedience classes and agility with the dog, because she thought it would be a good way to promote the breed. Then a rescue Association contacted her and asked her to foster a dog, and that was how it really started. She took “one or two” into the house. “I feel that I have a great affinity with them,” she insists, “you have to understand that they are not ordinary dogs.”
She began to take on more and more dogs, realised that she needed more space, and rented a battered old finch out in the middle of nowhere with no mains water.  just started from there. People started approaching her through Facebook: “I never asked anybody – they all came to me, they just came to me and offered help.”
She posted photographs online photographs helped. They caught people’s eye, and more and more people became involved. Americans contacted her, and he team started exporting them to the USA, with the aim of expanding the limited American gene pool, and then Canada came on board as well
There is a team here in the UK now, and one in Holland, but Bev is keen to point out that the organisation is very restricted as to which companies it can send dogs to – there has to be a backup network within the country before she will consider exporting dogs there.
Our conversation went on for longer than I have space for here, but I have to say that I was very impressed with the organisation and their love for the dogs that are such a feature of Spanish tradition. If you wish to find out more, feel free to visit the organisation’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PodencoFriends. Thanks Bev, for a fascinating chat.

Sorry, no Paper

As most of you will now know, my first book has appeared in the past few days on the digital shelves of all leading e-book sellers. I would like to thank everybody who has had a look, downloaded the preview, or bought a copy of the book. Many people have been asking me: “where is the paper back version?”
I’m sorry to say that at the moment, there isn’t one. While I was getting my book ready for publication, I thought long and hard about how best to publish. Although the advantages of a paper edition are obvious (and at least I would then have a copy on my bookshelf), publishing digitally gives me the scope to issue updates, and maybe new additions, as I experiment with various ways of presenting my work digitally.
Another point to consider is that my audience is geographically widespread, but digitally literate. There are probably a few thousand people who may be interested (I hope there are anyway) in buying a copy of the book, but they are spread all over the planet, and I couldn’t really see that publishing a paperback book would reach my audience quite so well.
I did consider going down the J.K. Rowling route, i.e. sending off samples and letters to hundreds of terrestrial publishers, getting hundreds of rejection letters back, and then following any feedback given and re-submitting until somebody gives in and publishes it, but I’m not very good at that sort of thing.
Publishing my book digitally means that there are no rejection letters – but no helpful marketing division, to tell people about the book and get them interested. I have to do it all myself, and I think it’s more fun than the rejection letter route.

Among other things, I am now forced to come to terms with Twitter. I have had an account for some time now, but never really understood how to use it. Now it occurs to me that 140 characters is very useful if you are trying to keep up an online presence at odd moments in the day whilst doing a “proper” job. I have already set up a group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/119624571822712/), which you are all welcome to join, I have a Twitter handle (#dondayesta), my blog (www.doncandrews.com), and I shall be getting the message out in all sorts of other ways. I’m looking forward to it, and the positivity of trying all sorts of different things and seeing which work.
So I’m sorry if you would prefer a paperback version of the book. I do sympathise. There is something about paper and words on it that is reassuringly permanent compared to the ephemeral collection of marks and squiggles on the screen that disappears the moment the computer is switched off, or the hard drive dies, or any of the other misfortunes that happen to computers.
Now that I have an actual book online, and one that I think looks pretty presentable. I may even try sending the links to paper publishers and see what happens.

I have already spent quite a lot of my life doing the paper publishing experience, and although I quite enjoyed that, there is something much more exciting about stepping out into a new way of doing things. So: my apologies to those of you who like paper. If any of you know any publishers please ask them to get in touch with me – I would still be interested in hearing from them, but for now I am enjoying exploring the digital world.

As always, please feel free to leave your comments below.