The subtext of Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter, the thing that I hope children will ‘get’ while they’re enjoying the story is that they’re capable of more than adults, usually, think they are. I feel like kids thoughts, feelings and opinions are often overlooked, because they’re young. They lack experience, right? How can they know? And yet still, sometimes, they do.
I was told, as I was working on Alfie, that I was unlikely to get published unless I made Alfie a lot older. 14. Not because there was anything wrong with the story I had written, but because publishers want to maximise the profit on a book, and they believe that kids only want to read books about characters that are older than them, and 14 is older than all the kids in the 9-12-year-old age group; therefore, maximum profit. When I asked the kids, though? They didn’t care so much how old the character was, they just wanted an exciting story.
So it made sense to me, that when I was asking for reviews of Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter, that I asked kids. No, they might not be the ones who order the stock in a book shops, or decide what the local library are spending their precious resources on, but those people should be listening to them, the readers, not market forces. My first priority in marketing Shape Shifter was to compile a list of kid bloggers, and approach them for reviews.
Today, the first blogger review was published. Mika, a 12 year old who blogs as Sci-Fi Pie wrote me a great review. It’s full of the sorts of things a reviewer would love to hear; ‘a protagonist that everyone can identify with’, ‘it’s funny, exciting and full of suspense when it needs to be’ and ‘I’d recommend this book to any young readers’.
I think, though, that the part that makes me happiest is when Mika says that Alfie’s choices, ‘perfectly shows the difference between how a child would think and how an adult would think in this situation’.
I didn’t write this book for adults. I didn’t write this book for a demographic. I didn’t write this book to maximise profits.
I wrote this book for kids.