Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Weekend (Marketing) Tricks and (Freebie) Treats From James Patterson

James Patterson, the hugely successful bestselling author, celebrated Halloween by offering a free look at the first 21 chapters of Witch & Wizard: The Gift,  from the team of Patterson and Ned Rust.  The complete book, available now for pre-order at $9.99, is set to deliver on December 23.
The Gift continues the saga, begun in Witch & Wizard ($9.99), of the adventures of Wisty and Whit Allgood.  They discovered their magical powers in the first book, when arrested by guards of the New Order.  Reviews were very mixed by Library Journal and Booklist, and 194 "citizen reviewers" on Amazon awarded the book only a shade over 2 stars out of 5.  The blurb for the book says it's aimed at young adults in grades 5 to 9.

Wisty, 15 in the first book and Whit, then 18, are now leaders of the Resistance trying to save kids from the Order in Witch & Wizard:  The Gift, advancing the series for young adult readers.

Patterson seems to be advancing on all fronts and genres--young adult, younger adult, and adult--these days.

Patterson's Maximum Ride Series, for a slightly older young adult audience,  features genetically altered kids who are part bird and have wings.  The series includes 6 books so far.  The most recent is Fang, which the book blurb says is for ages 7 and up, but which Library Journal pegs for youth in grades 7 to 10.  Your Planet iPad reporter is many years beyond grade 10 but still in the age "7 and up" group, and enjoys Maximum Ride.

There's something amiss with the information on a next item in the series, Angel: A Maximim Ride Novel.  Angel published as an ebook and a hardcover in 2005 according to its Amazon page.  With reviews that read as if the upcoming release is an audio book, but text indicating it is a new ebook, the situation is not clear. What  seems to be an ebook re-release will be ready for download on Feb . 14, 2011.  Oddly, the upcoming release seems to be the same book as the first in the series, also called The Angel Experiment,  published in 2005 for the Kindle.  Perhaps there is bonus material, or another reason for the new release that hasn't been spelled out yet.

Kids and adults flock to Patterson.  He received the Children's Choice Book Award for 2010 as author of the year.  The award is given by the Children's Book Council, a non-profit organization of children's book publishers.

From the adult point of view, Patterson was honored by Amazon last week as the second author to sell over 1 million books in the Kindle Store.  Stieg Larsson was first.

Also last week, Patterson began "giving away" the first 30 chapters of his latest novel about popular character Alex Cross.  Cross Fire releases in full, at $15.11, on November 15. It can be pre-ordered now.

Patterson is a force of nature in book authoring, with over 205 million copies sold during his career.  He's blazing new trails in ebook marketing with "freemium" chunks of books handed out soon before the release of the full--and often quite pricey--versions.   His stats on Amazon are not impressive, they're overwhelming:
     *72 ebooks in the Kindle Store
     *95 hardcover editions
   *105 paperbacks
     *70 audio books
     *64 editions in “school and library” bindings
     *64 editions in large print. (Of course, on the iPad and Kindle, all 72 ebooks come in “large print" editions because text size is selected by the reader.)

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