"How I Got Published" -- Josh Dean, Author of SHOW DOG

Josh Dean is the author of SHOW DOG: THE CHARMED LIFE AND TRYING TIMES OF A NEAR-PERFECT PUREBRED (February 2012, It Books), a book praised by USA Today, The Guardian, and many more. Josh is a writer whose work has appeared in GQ, Outside, Men's Journal, Rolling Stone, Inc., ESPN the Magazine, and many others. He is almost certainly the first person in history to play in both the WEPA Elephant Polo World Championships and the Quidditch World Cup. (Sadly, his teams won neither.) Josh lives in Brooklyn and the Catskill Mountains of New York with his wife and son. He will hopefully not be dog-less for much longer. GIVEAWAY: Josh is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: AnnieMac won.)
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In preparation for my forthcoming humor book, Red Dog / Blue Dog: When Pooches Get Political (Running Press, July 2012), I will be featuring interviews with other dog book writers each week. It's very exciting to shine light on books from other writers who also share a love for canines.

This week it's Josh Dean, author of SHOW DOG: THE CHARMED LIFE AND TRYING TIMES OF A NEAR-PERFECT PUREBRED (February 2012, It Books), a book praised by USA Today, The Guardian, and many more. Josh is a writer whose work has appeared in GQ, Outside, Men's Journal, Rolling Stone, Inc., ESPN the Magazine, and many others. He is almost certainly the first person in history to play in both the WEPA Elephant Polo World Championships and the Quidditch World Cup. (Sadly, his teams won neither.) Josh lives in Brooklyn and the Catskill Mountains of New York with his wife and son. He will hopefully not be dog-less for much longer.

GIVEAWAY: Josh is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: AnnieMac won.)

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Currently own dogs? Tell us their names, breeds and one amusing fact per dog.

Actually, no. As I wrote in my bio, I’m a dog person without a dog. I’m desperate for one, and my two-year-old adores them, but I travel quite a bit for work and until he’s a bit older and is a bit more self-sufficient — meaning my wife won’t have to stress over both dog and child every time I’m gone — we’ll just make do with all the neighborhood dogs we play with in the park most mornings.

What is your book about?

It’s basically a year in the life of one particular show dog, with all sorts of digressions about dogs and humans and the lives we live together. Lots of people said nice things about it. Maybe the best and most apt was Craig Wilson at USA Today: “The literary answer to that laugh-out-loud movie Best in Show.”

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s an idea that was gestating in my brain for years. I think it probably dates back originally to Best in Show, honestly. I’m a journalist who loves subcultures and colorful characters and I guess I just knew that the true story of America’s dog shows would be nearly as fun and entertaining as that film. And it was.

What kind of writing, if any, were you doing before the book?

I’m a magazine writer, and have been for more than a decade. I was also an editor, and my last full-time job was as Deputy Editor of Men’s Journal, a magazine I left in 2005. I also co-launched the dearly departed and much-beloved PLAY, the NY Times Sports Magazine, and I guess if I had to pigeon-hole myself I exist mostly in the men’s and sports writing world. That said, I write about many things – travel, people, cars, business, even some science. The smartest thing I ever did was choose to not specialize in any one topic. Life is far more interesting when you bounce around.

What has been the biggest surprise or learning experience you’ve seen through the process of seeing your book(s) get published?

It’s an exciting and mysterious business that is far more frustrating and confounding than I thought. Even though everyone told me that the onus of PR and marketing today falls on the writer, I think I still wasn’t prepared for the extent to which that is true. It really is on you to make your book successful – to find your audience and activate them.

Tell me about a fun moment or proud experience you’ve had with your book and readers since the book was published.

I love that we authors are so accessible today. Any happy (or mad) reader can find us easily online and reach out – and that’s been fun, to hear from readers who enjoyed the book. The feedback is so immediate, and you can have interactions that I think make readers happy too. I know many of them seemed to be surprised that I would reply – but I try to write back to everyone. When you spend two years of your life on something, it’s nice to know that your work is appreciated.

What are you doing to reach out to readers and dog enthusiasts?

I maintain a Facebook page for Jack, the show dog at the center of my book. Technically, it’s his page, but it’s actually me, and I’m trying to grow an audience there. I also started a blog related to the book, and I’m experimenting now with making appearances at dog shows. I did one in Louisville, and that was great. Next up is Harrisburg. I think I’ll try to do one every six weeks or so. Reaching dog book readers outside of the show world has been more difficult. I feel like the book still isn’t as widely known as it should be. If you like dogs, you’ll love this book, I promise.

Favorite of these dog movies? --- “Best in Show,” “101 Dalmatians,” “The Shaggy Dog.”

Ha, that’s easy. Best in Show.

Where can people find you on the Internet?

I’m at www.joshdean.com. The book is www.showdogthebook.com. The book’s blog is www.showdogthebook.blogspot.com. And on Facebook, you can “like” Jack The Show Dog.

What’s next up for you, writing-wise?

My primary job is still and probably always will be magazine writing. I’m working on a story for ESPN about a legendary player who was in the process reviving the Welsh national soccer team when he committed suicide last November, and two different business features for Inc. I’m also in the early stages of what I hope will be a pretty ambitious story about the destruction and rebuilding of a small town in the Catskills that was devastated by floods caused by Hurricane Irene. I’m also looking for my next book. Got any ideas?

GIVEAWAY: Josh is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: AnnieMac won.)

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