Following James Russell’s visit last Term, Mrs Kewish has shared an exciting announcement about the upcoming release of the 5th and final book in the Dragon Defenders Book series. For more information please check out www.dragonbrothersbooks.com.
July 24th Press Release:
Kiwi self-published children’s book phenomenon eyes grand finale with over 45k sales in NZ
The Dragon Defenders – Book Five: The Grand Opening (launching August 7, 2020) is the fifth and final instalment in the best-selling Dragon Defenders junior novel series.
It bookends one of New Zealand’s most successful self-publishing stories, with sales of over 45,000 copies of The Dragon Defenders series in New Zealand – all run out of a garage in Mangere Bridge, Auckland.
Created by author and publisher James Russell, the junior novels have gained a loyal following with their combination of fast-paced plots and the integration of digital technology in the form of augmented reality content accessible via an app downloaded onto a tablet or phone.
Readers download the free AR Reads app on their device, point it at certain pages throughout the book and watch them come alive. Digital content is a mixture of 3D or 2D animations, videos, audio files and code-cracking animations.
“The augmented reality content in the books has proven to be a big draw for children – and particularly for those who might be a bit reluctant – but not at the expense of good old-fashioned reading,” says Russell. “It’s not a game, but rather another element, or a complement to the story.”
Examples might include a code being revealed before the reader’s eyes via the app, or a video rant from the book’s bad guy – The Pitbull – featuring Russell himself. “I needed someone scary looking, reliable and inexpensive,” he says.
The Dragon Defenders series is one of just a handful of books worldwide using this technology.
The books are the highest-ranked junior novel series by a Kiwi author on the current Whitcoulls Kids Top 50 list, voted for by over 15,000 New Zealanders each year.
“The books’ success has blown me away,” says Russell, “especially as, being an indie publisher, I have very little budget to work with. Essentially their success is down to word-of-mouth.”
The first book in The Dragon Defenders series has been published in the Czech Republic, and the entire series is set to be published in Turkey this year.
Russell’s earlier series, The Dragon Brothers trilogy of picture books for readers aged three to seven years old, has been published in eight countries.