Welcome to Podcast Episode 53: From Instagram Famous Dog to Children’s Book Star with Lisa Shawver of One Up Max Adventure Series. On this episode, I’m talking to a dog mom who started her pup’s social media accounts just a few years ago on a whim, grew them to 50,000 followers on Instagram and over 80,000 on Facebook! Now she’s come out with a children’s book inspired by her dog Max and his adventures. She explains how she self publishes the book using Amazon print on demand.

From Instagram Famous Dog to Children’s Book Star

Lisa Shawver is a former Olympic athlete who now helps others achieve Olympic level success through mentoring, business coaching and motivational speaking. She is a former middle school administrator and has been a teacher for over 17 years and is currently teaching at-risk high school students. She recently began writing children’s books inspired by her dog Max. Her first book in the One Up Max Adventure series is available now on Amazon.

(00:00) Intro
(00:29) Introducing Lisa Shawver of One Up Max Adventure Series
(01:58) The backstory of how Max come into Lisa’s life
(06:37) What inspired Lisa to start a social media account for Max
(08:59) How Lisa started to grow Max’s Social Media Accounts
(14:31) Learn the process of self-publishing a book
(26:18) Favorite apps and resources
(30:41) Where to find Lisa Shawver


TORI: How old did Max come into your life?

Lisa: We used to have some rental properties where I’m from in Stockton and in Lodi. One of our tenants was moving and while they were checking out there was the crate. And there was Max with this little baby monkey toy. Our tenants asked me if we could take them. And we said “yeah, we’ll take him.” I was extremely panicked because we have a lot of rescue animals and cats are in the house. I immediately called some friends to ask if anyone needed a dog. Someone said their mom would love to take him, but the day she was supposed to pick him up, she never made it. Once that happened, I knew he was ours. We just fell in love with him and couldn’t let him go.

TORI: When did you decide to start a social media presence for him?

Lisa: We started about three and a half years ago. I think I was on Southwest Airlines or something and I saw Tuna Melt My Heart in their magazine. They had an article in there about her and Tuna and I thought Max is cute. We could do that because when we drive down the street or just sit at a stoplight, everyone just smiles at Max. Or they’ll roll their windows down and say, “What’s his name?” So I just wanted to share him with everybody. So that’s when I started with Instagram.

TORI: How did you start to grow Max’s social media accounts?

Lisa: I started googling because I’m a Google person. I admit it. I researched and looked up articles. Then all the sudden Max’s account showed up on a Reddit thread and he blew up. Then we got featured a lot in Instagram’s discovery section and then it starts to really snowball. After that, I read about how you have to start liking a lot of people so I just spent my summer break manually growing his audience. I liked all over the place! My poor little thumbs almost broke off! Instagram used to think I was a bot I was so fast. I would get a warning and not be able to be on Instagram for 24 hours. I had to make it happen before I went back to school!

TORI: How did you come up with the idea? Why did you want to write children’s books and how, how did you even get started in making it?

Lisa: Well I would get a ton of social media followers wanting to share about Max. And a small detail about me is that I currently am an independent study teacher in high school, but I also have a little creative side to me. So I just thought of a little series about Max. I decided to name it Adventures of One Up Max: Runic and the Crystal Cave. Right around that same time, I found a new mentor who was pushing me more toward entrepreneurship and speaking. And from there, I met somebody else and then I met another editor and got so many ideas. And from her, I was meeting with a publisher. I just kept meeting people who aligned with my mission which made it easy to continue with.

TORI: What are you favorite apps and resources?

Lisa: Usually, I do post from Instagram and I push it to Twitter. But with Facebook and Instagram algorithms, it’s better when you post from inside the platforms. So you have to be careful on the third party apps that you use. Also for just basic photo editing, I use Snapseed. I also use Pixart if I want to put a bunny ears on him or something. In some of the apps themselves, they’ll have goodies or toys that you can add, but some look totally cartoonish. However, some actually looked pretty real if you pick the right ones. And then Boomerang, of course for scheduling emails for later.



Website – One Up Max
Website – Lisa Shawver


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