Today I launched three books at once on Amazon Kindle Store. This sounds like a grandiose statement to make but the truth is that these books have been in various stages of production for about the past five years.
I wrote these books with a certain reader in mind – the reluctant junior reader (ages 8-12), mainly boys, although the books would appeal to girls as well. I wanted them to be fast-paced so that the reader has to turn the page to find out what happens next, short so that the reader wasn’t too intimidated by the number of pages/word count, but by the time they’ve read three then they will have read almost 100,000 words. The idea is to engage the competent but reluctant reader who is so easily tempted by the electronic media available to him/her.
In writing this series I was heavily influenced by Enid Blyton for one, having read most of The Secret Seven and the Famous Five books as child. I still have a tatty 1959 edition of Secret Seven Fireworks on my bookshelf! Recently the influence has been Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz. When creating Jason Shaw I knew I didn’t want another boy spy but a boy detective.
The decision to base the book in America was not to capture US sales (although it does help) but to take advantage of all the story opportunities that exist in such a big country as the USA. Anything is possible! I’m sorry, but New Zealand is too much like a sleepy village to provide story lines for a young boy detective. Child Services would be in as soon as we finished the first story!
The decision to launch all three books at once was a conscious one. I was going to stagger the launch of the books, staring with Book 1 Speed in January and launching the following two, Velocity and Maneuvers a few months apart thereafter but after meeting Joanna Penn, who advised me to launch all three at once even if it meant holding off launching Book 1 in January as I planned. The reason, she explained, was that readers don’t want to wait for the next book in the series but want to binge read, much like people these days are binge-watching TV series these days.
So I held off and while books 2 and 3 were being edited, I researched my best launch strategies. I read “How to Supercharge your Kindle Sales” by Nick Stephenson and started to formulate my launch strategy around keywords and Amazon categories. I can’t claim to have got it right and only time will show whether I have or haven’t but at least I was able to put in best practice from the get-go instead of reverting back to change metadata or keywords on existing books.
With each book I write and each book I publish I learn new things and as writers in this digital age it’s become more important to stay abreast of these numerous challenges and opportunities. It’s both exciting and scary but the only way to do it is to just do it! A certain sport apparel manufacturer certainly has that one right. So go ahead, just do it!