Layla Morgan Wilde/ October 29, 2016/ Cat Saturday, Cats, Contests & Giveaways, Feline Fine Art, Holidays/ 55 comments

Cat Day Contest and Black Cats Tell All Book Cover?

We have readers who avoid sharing about giveaways because they think it reduces their chance of winning. NOT THIS TIME. It’s very easy to track who shares what and where and we’re going to reward you for sharing.

It’s Caturday and National Cat Day and we are celebrating with a sneak peek at our Black Cats Tell All book cover and a mega Halloween contest with 5 prizes with 5 winners.  Go get a coffee, this is a long post chock full of goodies.

Say hello to our little book baby.

black cats tell all cover

We need your opinion! This slightly hazy image is still being tweaked. The small font isn’t reading well in a thumbnail. Is there anything that looks off? What do you love or not?

The search for the purrfect cover girl

All fiction and many nonfiction cat books use stock photos for their covers.  These are professional images licensed exclusively or for multiple usage. As beautiful or studio perfect they are, there is a generic quality and a subtle disconnect between the cover and the content. I’m a self-confessed book cover junkie and it took a very special designer to work with me and my exacting ways.

Since Black Cats Tell All: True Tales and Inspiring Images is about real cats, it was critical to select the right cat for the cover. In the early days of the project, I thought we’d go with our “star” contributor, Cole of Cole and Marmalade but it wasn’t fair to the other contributors. Choosing a few cats meant someone would be left out. There were too many to place all of them on the cover. There is nothing worse than a cluttered cover.

Covers sell books and I wanted something clean and light; nothing as obvious as a black cover about black cats. Nothing could be cuter a kitten right? But what kitten? There were all kinds of sweet kitten pics but nothing felt right. They were too big or small, the image resolution poor, a weird angle, no direct gaze. Finally, I found series of adorable shelter kittens on Instagram shot by photographer, Jay Bondelli for RainAZ in Arizona. He sent me a selection of adorable kitten pics but again, the designer tried head shots, sitting, standing, cropped. Was the expression too sweet or too devilish, the eyes too big or too small. The blue back ground had to be removed for our all white background. Any other designer would have throttled me. Thankfully Michael Rohani is talented and patient.

The only kitten who had the “it” factor was Ilsa, sitting splay-legged, head-cocked imploring, “Please open this book and buy it and while you’re at it, adopt a black cat.”  After a slight enhancement (all cover girls are photo-shopped) we had our cover girl.

Going square was a bold choice but it’s going to be image heavy. The delay will be worth it. And we’re going bigger, 8.5 X 8.5. I was worried about someone stealing my idea but not anymore. A labor of love can’t be slapped together in a few weeks. It’s taken months of curating and editing the most diverse and breathtaking images ever seen of black cats and I’m not done yet. After reading hundreds of cat books and photography books, I have a new appreciation for cats, art, books and cat lovers.

Nothing could have prepared me for this transformational journey. I can honestly say it’s changed my life and I’m at a crossroads.

What would you choose: 1, 2 or 3?

In the process of working on the book and juggling more balls than humanly possible, I’m dealing with personal issues. I’m devastated that the book won’t be ready as I’d hoped for Halloween. Our e-commerce shop is not ready either. The book and calendar should be ready in time for holiday gift-giving but it means, we’ve missed the peak marketing time and pre-sale period.

There is a tiny window of time to decide:

1) Go full throttle and have the book on Amazon and a small e-shop with a calendar ready by the end of November.

2) Use Nov. and Dec. to market, focus on pre-sales, reviews, and launch in January. No calendar. No one buys calendars in January. We’d miss the holiday season for all related merchandise.

3) Launch the book in January but the calendar and related products in November. Note: 100% of net profits go to the nonprofit to promote black cat awareness.

Tell us in a comment what number you would choose or privately via email or message  info@catwisdom101.com Thank you!

For your support we’re offering MORE Halloween Treats!

We’re adding more prizes to our custom pet portrait giveaway You can enter at the link or by leaving a comment at this post. Show some love to the mini.house.panthers on Instagram. Momo and Nova are contributors to our book!

black cat luck

halloween_giveaway_catnip

What else could bewitch the fussiest feline but catnip toys from Bewitched Cat Toys  It’s a mystery prize but guaranteed to be spooktacularly100% awesome.

The very potent, organic handmade in Illinois catnip toys are popular with many of my famous cat pals on Instagram. Gigi, the owner/designer and I have dished long and hard about the catnip and cat toy biz and I respect her long history. She’s not fancy but real. I’ve been concerned about cat toy safety lately and value Gigi’s input. Follow her on Instagram @bewitchedcattoys

If you missed our fab post about catios, by check it out. Not only does Yasaar Nakchbendi of Chirpy Cats have a green thumb, she is a talented illustrator.  We’re over the moon with her black cat illustration she created for us and you could win a your own  8 X 10 copy! She’ll sign, add your cat’s name and ship it anywhere in the world.  It will be available for purchase soon. Visit ChirpyCats or follow her on  Instagram at Chirpycats

black_cat_art_quote

I stumbled on yet another talented artist Pania Brown from New Zealand who loves cats on Instagram.

You have to love an artist who describes herself this way: “Hi. I’m Pania Brown the person behind Pania Brown Artworks. That’s me in the picture with my cat (and muse, Dexter). In reality, I’m older than that with more wrinkles, but I get to draw myself however I wish! In reality Dexter does sit on the daffodils – and anything else he can find!”

I adore our readers down under like Kiwi Marjorie aka @DashKitten and our book contributors like Merlin_the_exotic. Ya got love those plump cheeks or the stunning Cleo from our friend Bev aka @fozziemum

We’ll be featuring Pania’s literary cat art soon. All her art is really affordable.  It’s not easy making a living as an artist (we can’t all be Simon’s Cat with millions of followers.) There are so many deserving artists, I love to shine a light on lesser known ones. I love her cat lady header on Facebook Go follow her on Instagram at @buzzington_If you’re #100 tag me @catwisdom101 

Wouldn’t you love to win a copy of this art nouveau style work? Pania will customize if you like with your cat’s name or a quote and send a high res. quality image digitally.

cat_art_nouveau_paniabrown

halloween_cartoon_cat_paniabrown

For bonus chances to win a surprise prize, post photos of your cat dressed up for Halloween for real or photo-edited at our Cat Wisdom 101 Facebook page or black cats only to our Black Cats Tell All community page.

For the first time in almost six years of blogging, we’re doing a free consultation GIVEAWAY.

This is the shortest giveaway we’ve ever done:1 DAY Only. The person who shares this post to the most places, and most frequesnly  Facebook groups, Pinterest pages, Twitter tags, Instagram reposts of any of graphics using the hashtag #blackcatstellall will win an hour consult with me, Layla. It’s open to anyone over age 18 anywhere in the world. You can ask me anything about your cats, my work with celebrity cats and influencers, pet industry consulting, blogging or coaching insights about your life with a astro/numero/tarot reading.

My fee is $200 per hour.  $125 for 1/2 hour. My rates are going up in 2017 but bookings made before Dec.31 will be honored at the previous rate. Sorry, there are no openings until the last week of December.  Many of my clients are overseas and I am only available between 3 pm and 1am ET. To schedule a time, email info@catwisdom101.com.

FTC disclaimer: No purchase necessary to enter the giveaway or contest. There are no affiliate links and CaWisdom 101 received no fee for this post Our opinions remain 100% our own. We only share information about products we feel are of interest and benefit to our readers.
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55 Comments

  1. 1 or 3. Sorry so late in responding. Been crazy busy.

  2. Love the cover! I choose option number 2. Can’t wait to read it!

  3. Hello Layla,
    Many thanks for your e-mail up-date and all the enticing information. You are awesome and the results look gorgeous. Hats off to you! I’ve read your e-mail and the other comments, and tend to agree with most points. Love the cover girl. Love the bold beveled font for the main title and subtitle, perhaps not “bevel” the smaller type. For release timing I prefer option #1, but trust any choice you make. Even if the calendar isn’t available until January – *I* will buy at least one if not several as gifts! above all, take care of yourself and your health first and foremost, then make decisions based on what scheduling works best for you. I am personally grateful that this wonderful book will happen, thanks to you. Warmest regards to you!

    1. Hi Denise, thank you! It’s so nice to hear from you. I appreciate your support.

  4. The cover is wonderful, Layla. I think #3 is your best option.

    1. Kevin, thanks and that’s a good one xoxox

  5. These are excellent. I am always amazed at how much the world loves cats — in a way, not amazed, since the cat is the most obvious choice for love — cuteness, intelligence, devotion, depth of emotion — but that it has taken the world hundreds of years post-middle ages to recognize this.

    1. True, but what #? xoxo

  6. The book cover looks fabulous and as for publication, don’t rush, better to do the other things first and lead up to the book, a lot of little teasers leading to the main event.

    1. Thanks Basil, yes teasers are good and rushing is not 🙂 xoxo

  7. I think you have the perfect cover kitten to counteract all the bad black cat lore.
    I’d go with #3 so that you don’t have to stress. A calendar the following year will extend the life of the book.
    xxoo

    1. Maggie, thanks for your good sense honed by publishing experience. Much appreciated! xoxo

  8. Ilsa is so cute and just purrfect for the cover.

    I’d say go with your gut feeling on the book launch. Go with #3 if that’s what you feel is right and release the calendars, etc next month.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

    1. Thanks Athena! Yes, I always trust my gut. It’s useful to see the options and comments in print.

  9. Oh and fab links too for some talented folks there indeed!

  10. Well Ilsa is just adorable..that pose is a heart tugger for sure..i am always worried over small font but it’s the headline that grabs first along with the image and then people look further..i think #1 if you can if not then you must do what health and heart dictate you do..i have assumed holiday markets to be in full swing for myself and found i was wrong ..good books sell..for all occasions..so do what you feel is most appropriate 🙂 love Fozziemum and Cleo xx

    1. Thanks Bev, and good points xoxox

  11. I love the cover! Ilsa is a purrfect kitty for a covergirl. I actually like the fonts too, I think the photo and the title draws attention to it, so I wouldn’t worry about the small fonts. You can’t write everything in big fonts on a cover.
    I’d choose option one, but only if everything can be done in time and you won’t think what could I have done with a little bit more time, so only if you can be absolutely happy with the book as it is. If you have secont thoughts, then take your time.

  12. I love the cover! Ilsa is a purrfect kitty for a covergirl. I actually like the fonts too, I think the photo and the title draws attention to it, so I wouldn’t worry about the small fonts. You can’t write everything in big fonts on a cover.
    I’d choose option one, but only if everything can be done in time and you won’t think what could I have done with a little bit more time, so only if you can be absolutely happy with the book as it is. If you have secont thoughts, than take your time.

    1. Thanks so much! Most artists think they could always do better. No matter how long I take, I’ll find ways to perfect it. I’ll have to be brutally honest and do what my heart says and not a perfectionist head 🙂

  13. Hi Layla
    I love the black kitten and the book cover. I think wait until next year to launch. Don’t be pressured. Especially if it doesn’t feel right.
    Thanks also for the article. I love it. Everyone I know loves it. You must have used CGI trickery on the Mucha image it looks amazing!
    Also the craft show today went ok. Considering I live in a small town it was good exposure.
    I think somewhere today I lost a message from you regarding upcoming article so please excuse me and resend. Via Facebook messenger is best for me.
    Once again thank you for finding me. I feel quite special.
    Pania

    1. Hi Pania, thanks for your lovely work and good wishes. I just did a little photo edit 🙂 Congrats on your show! Onwards and I’ll be in touch soon.

  14. OK I can see the advantages of 1) you get a share of the Christmas market, which is the year’s biggest BUT this means a lot of work for you.

    Do you think the book is ready? Would you be happy to launch it ‘now’. Your work has been immense and your cover is a delight.

    Here’s a thought. A tutor I worked with once, when talking about a work of art, or a creation. She said, you want the initial impact, then you want them to be drawn in to see further details. Maybe the further detail in this case is the smaller text. You can’t have everything in BLOCK CAPITALS SO ITS EASY!! (if you get my drift)

    Christmas would get a LOT of sales but your judgement is rock solid – you go with that.

    1. Marjorie, great questions and food for thought. It’s about weighing pros and cons now xoxox

  15. 1 is my choice. I think Ilsa is the most adorable black kitten for the cover. You picked well Layla. I look forward to reading it whenever it is released. I am so excited about this project.

    1. Cynthia, thanks. Ilsa is a cutie. Thanks for your support xoxox

  16. I would love to see you go with #1 if it is at all possible. I like the cover and how you decided to go with it.

  17. I really like your little model, she is perfect. That little Catt head tilt has melted many hearts.
    Personally, I would ge with choice #3. You could focus on calendars, get your feet wet, and the concentrate on the book later plus have a whole lot more buzz via folks spreading the word for you. Let us work for you.
    I am afraid I can not do instagram… if you can, offer more options? Some of us have a chrome extension, and although we can comment, and see and follow we cant post, as we dont have devices that work on it.
    You can count on me to help you promote when you are ready!

  18. Such a beautiful cover and cover model. The title Black Cats looks embossed. I’d never tell anyone to go full throttle unless their heart and health were into it. Best of luck with the book.

    1. Thanks CK. It does look embossed. Is that pleasing or not? Yup, hear and health must be in tandem.

  19. I think #3 but would be fine with whichever option works best for you.

    1. Bonnie, thanks for your support 🙂

  20. Love the cover, it is purrfect! I would say #1 and go full throttle if possible otherwise #3.

  21. We love the book cover! Ilsa is purrrrrfect! As far as marketing the book, all the options have advantages and disadvantages, option #2 is good…you would still get a good number of Christmas pre-sales. And there’s always ways to market the other merchandise after the first of the year…though you’re right, a calendar may have to wait until later in the year. But wouldn’t that give you more time instead of trying to rush everything for the end of this year? Just our 2 cents for what it’s worth.

    1. Thanks Sue, marketing will be year round. All feedback is gold xox. Rushing is never good 🙂

  22. I am partial to #3….January launch on the book……..use late year to market etc and to sell products (calendars)

    1. Thanks Caren, I’m leaning towards it xoxox. You know how I’m feeling.

  23. Love the choice of model, with her friendly sweet little head tilt. I thing the book cover layout is great and goes with the square format. It would be nice to go with option one. But if it’s not possible, option 3 is not a complete loss, as you will still have all the products out there.

    Thanks for featuring our artwork, I love all the other gems too. You were not joking when you said this post is chock full of goodies! ?

    1. Thanks so much for feedback for your lovely art work!

  24. Okay, here are my human’s thoughts about the book promotion, release, calendar and such:

    1. The cover – is there a drop shadow or outer glow? I don’t think you need it against a white background. Also don’t bevel the font – it’s not as attractive in smaller formats, like what you see on Amazon’s mobile site. Simpler is always better.

    2. This late in the season, here is how my human would market: mostly your #2 choice: release the book in January (which is actually a good month for non-traditionally published books). Do presales and promotion in November and December.

    As for related products, market them when book sales are good, use momentum. Market for the book all year, and then do a 2018 calendar for release in September 2017 – that way it’s not only timely but it doubles as a marketing tool for your book for next year’s holiday season. So yes, do a calendar, just not THIS year.

    3. Make sure your contributors are on board for promotion and keep in touch with them about it.

    1. Yes, I see that there might be a glow filter or bevel of some sort in the fonts. I agree too, that those don’t translate too well in a thumbnail. So a clear crisp flat font would wor better for readability. Keep the font though, but clear the filters. ?

      1. The glow filter looks great in actual size but not so much in the thumbnail. It’s a hard compromise.

    2. Thanks Janiss.
      1) Agreed about simple. Its a balance of visuals both digital and actual.
      2) The designer suggested a January release which would mean a 2017 calendar is possible but not on Amazon.
      3) Most of the contributors are on board and backers are getting a report today.

  25. Ilsa is so cute, she’s perfect for the book cover ! We’re so excited about the Black Cats Tell All adventure ! Holiday season is a great opportunity for selling the book, so we would say : go full throttle if it is possible. Purrs

    1. Thanks guys xox I’m a full throttle kind of person but not so sure this time, given my current health.

  26. We are not sure which option we would choose as they all have advantages and drawbacks, we trust you to know which one will be best.

    1. Yes, they do have pros and cons. Putting it out there for feedback will help with clarity.

  27. Sorry, my posting finger had a spasm. Go full throttle if it means no sacrifice in quality. The holiday season makes a huge market and a big opportunity to get your book and merchandise out.

    1. Agreed about holiday market. Going full throttle would be a huge sacrifice for my health but quality, less so.

  28. Go full throttle if no sacrifice

  29. We furgots to say HAPPY NATIONAL CAT DAY!!!!!!
    Luvs
    Skeeter & Izzy and the whole Gang >^..^<

  30. Ilsa is PURRFECT!!!!!! We are sooooooooooo excited about EVERYTHING!!!
    The delays are killing us but we know that it has to be the best and it WILL be worth every second of wait time!!!!
    The giveaway is too furbulous for purrs!We don’t do all of the social media stuff but we share your site with everyone that we know via email and good old fashioned word of mouth MOL!
    You could go full tilt with everything and capture the market for the holidays this year and then do a second run starting in January 2017 adding more as the year goes on?

    We just know that we are going to get the most furbulous book in the world!!!
    Luvs, cheers and kitty kisses
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo & the Angels >^..^^..^<~

    1. Thanks guys! I believe it will be furboulous too xoxo If the book is out, it’s out. There are only about 6 weeks for a book launch to make an impact. This subject is evergreen and will have sales all year but the first weeks are critical.

  31. Everything is absolutely incredible! Such a wonderful and fun contest. I’m glad the book is coming along and the cover is fabulous. Ilsa is definitely a perfect choice with a perfect pose. Thank you so much for the sneak peek!

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