Whilst working on the first chapters of my memoirs, I have found it difficult to resist the temptation to check out my competition in the cat blogger market. I naively thought this would be a helpful part of my 'research and development' phase, but as any as-yet-unpublished author will tell you, there is nothing more likely to awaken your own insecurities as a writer than reading the work of your rivals.
Rather alarmingly, I have discovered that being a cat who writes is not, in fact, unusual. In the blogosphere, it seems that there is hardly a cat out there who does NOT write. Who knew there was so much literary talent among the cat population? I certainly didn't.
A fact that I am unable to ignore is that most of these cats live in the US. Maybe it's something they put in the water over there, but these cats know a thing or two about self-publicity. They don't just have cats with blogs, they have award ceremonies for cats with blogs: http://dogtime.com/sparkle-cat-petties-best-cat-blog-winner-interview.html
And they have weekend conferences for cats with blogs, where cats can discuss the merits of different blog layouts, or share tips on how to get published: http://www.catwriters.org/annual-info.html
What have we got here in the UK for ambitious cat writers like myself? Anwers on a postcard, if you can think of any. I can't.
Of course the most elite band within the cat blogging community (the Kitterati, you could say) are the cats who have achieved the elusive status of published author. It goes without saying that this is the holy grail for most cat bloggers. But what is it that sets the bona-fide authors apart the amateur cat bloggers? While I write my own memoirs this is the million-dollar question I must keep in mind.
These published cats fill their blog posts with updates about their hectic schedules involving book signings, awards ceremonies, and positions on bestseller lists. Not for them the blogs posts about the mundanities of everyday life in a small town. Their (thousands of) followers would expect more than details of who they met at the park, where they spent the night, or what they had for breakfast.
Another alarming trend I have noticed among the Kitterati is that they all seem to have some special talent or skill (in addition to their aptitude for writing, of course). They are supermodels, or actors, or have special healing powers. Some of them have overcome the adversity of a physical disability. How can a common-or-garden moggy such as myself compete with cats like these?
But then maybe this is my innate English reserve speaking. Perhaps I need to find some of that famous American 'can-do' spirit. As someone once said, your only obstacle to success is yourself (or something like that, I can't be bothered to google it for accuracy. Let's just attribute it to Oprah - it sounds like something she might say).
The simple fact of the matter is that, in order to achieve the global media domination I crave, I am going to have to do what the Spice Girls never managed: I am going to have to crack the US market. And for me that means playing those American cats at their own game. Or perhaps more accurately, holding onto their (coat-)tails and hoping that some of their success rubs off on me.
So, for now, my marketing strategy is to make nice with the Americans. I will have to hope that some of my self-deprecating English charm can be conveyed through my writing (and all Americans love an English accent, right?) I will be like the Ricky Gervais of the cat world - you'll think I'm a bit kooky, but loveable and funny nonetheless, and before you know it I'll have taken over your airwaves and you'll be sick of the sight of me.
Sounds like a plan to me.