Almost every single page in each book is adjusted to its location in some way, but the number of ways in which they differ depends upon the story in question:
* Some titles have a number of completely bespoke verses written for each location. For example “Halloween Scare” has two unique rhyming verses per location (that’s over 156 unique rhymes, written in addition to the main storyline and each with a local theme! See the “Halloween Scare book page for examples”).
* There is a good amount of localized artwork within each book. Lots of cityscapes and local landmarks are included where possible, and on top of that there are many smaller tweaks such as localized pictures on the walls, local signpost text etc
* There are numerous tweaks throughout the text, usually the insertion of local places. It’s always a balancing act between mentioning local places and what I refer to as “name-stuffing” (i.e. forcing names into a story for the sake of it, often at the expense of the story being told). We strive to ensure place-names feel like they belong in the story naturally, and we usually include eight to twelve locations within a city or State.
The books are published in multiple countries, so no one site lists them all. Currently one of the easiest ways to check if a book is available for your location is to go to Amazon.com (or Amazon.co.uk /Amazon.ca / etc) and do a quick search for part of the book title:
e.g. searching for “A Halloween Scare in” on Amazon.com will bring up almost all of the 78 titles available in the US
If you still can’t find your book you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help!
Every title has a generic version, often called “My House”, so for example Halloween Scare has a version called “A Halloween Scare at My House” which is not set in any particular location.
Alternatively you can always write and request that we print it – all requests are given due consideration, so if we get enough requests you may see it on the shelves the following year. Email: email@example.com
This would be fantastic. Unfortunately two things prevent it from happening:
a) It would mean coming up with over 70 unique stories per series every couple of years. I’m reasonably prolific but even I’m not sure I could manage that anytime soon ????
b) from the publisher’s perspective it’s not possible to produce a completely bespoke, full-colour, hardback book and keep the price low because the costs of printing, illustration, writing, editing & distribution would outweigh anything that could possibly be recouped when selling in such low volumes.
Yes. Sourcebooks (who deal with the US side of publishing and distribution) have a range called “Put Me in the Story”. You can find some of my books there, available to customise further.
This is a question I get asked rather a lot, and initially I did it out of my own pocket, but unfortunately that’s become untenable, especially because most requests come from the US and I’m currently in the UK. Postage is the killer cost – it costs more to post the book that the book itself costs to buy! Also for me to acquire a US version of the book means ordering it from the US, so that costs me more than it would cost you too.
However, if you want to post me a book with a return envelope, then I’m sure I can do it!
I believe it’s all in the execution. There are certainly many location-based books out there that are gimmicky, but WE try to do things differently.
Our core aim is to tell a great story, and only then to set that story in a location that the reader/listener will be familiar with. Not any old story will do! Each story is written with localization in mind from the outset.
The fantastic ratings and reviews our books receive are hopefully testament to the work we put in. Due to the nature of the books reviews are often spread out over many titles, but just go to Amazon, search for part of a title like “a Halloween Scare in” then have a look for yourself! And as long as people enjoy what we do, it’s reason enough to do it.
Yes, I’ve done a number of Skype calls with the US and they are fun. I’ve only done a couple of public appearances as an author, bur you can always ask 🙂