How Kiwi Kids Read Kiwi Books came about

Like many ideas — some good, some not so good — the idea of creating an online community devoted to New Zealand authors writing books for children and teens turned up in the middle of the night.

Snuggled up in bed on a frosty Central Otago night, I was thinking of ways I could connect with more book buyers and readers in New Zealand. You see, I wrote a fantasy novel for 8-12 year olds called Lily and the Unicorn King and published it in 2019.  I’m an indie publisher — a self published author if you prefer that term — and the reality of being an indie author is you have just as much work to do learning how to market and distribute your own book as you do in writing and editing it!

I love being an indie author and being part of an ever-growing community of indie authors in New Zealand and around the world. In the NZ Indie Authors Facebook group, I’d seen the question again and again — how do we get our books in front of Kiwi readers and book buyers?

Most of us have our books available on Amazon and other big global online retailers like Book Depository (also owned by Amazon). That is all well and fine for reaching overseas readers, but shipping costs make it expensive for Kiwis to buy our paperbacks via these outlets and have them delivered in New Zealand.

What if, I asked myself, there was a website which linked Kiwi authors and readers more easily? What if the Kiwi authors could send out their own books directly to the readers, eliminating storage and freight costs? What if Kiwi authors could earn more of the sale price of each book because the website was more focused on creating a great community of Kiwi writers and readers than just making a profit?

I asked two successful indie author friends in Australia. They asked how quickly could I get the Kiwi version working and start on an Australian one!

I asked a Kiwi author friend. She sent the cover of her debut book right away so I could load it on the not-yet-created website. I asked a couple of very successful indie Kiwi authors. Two said yes. One said she was more focused on the bigger global markets. All good.

I pestered my web guy with ideas on how the website would work. I discussed it endlessly with my husband who offered good suggestions on technical stuff to nut out. The friend who sent her book cover became a much-valued sounding board as I worked through all the details on what Kiwi Kids Read Kiwi Books would offer authors, what book buyers would need to know and many, many other things. I am forever grateful to Donna for her time and enthusiasm for this concept, and the potential it has as an online community which offers Kiwi kids of all ages the opportunity to read more books written by New Zealanders.

I am also grateful you have found this website. I hope you and the young Kiwis you’re buying books for enjoy the books you find here.

Happy reading, Kiwis!

Cheers, Kate

Kate Gordon, indie author and founder of Kiwi Kids Read Kiwi Books
Boy reading a book