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Join 27,000 fans and get the latest news on the Casey Grimes books and insider tips on how to survive a monster attack. Get some cool freebies for joining too, like insider guides to the novels and an exclusive short story, Remember To Stay Dangerous. Yes, it's all totally free and kid-friendly!

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Casey Grimes could use your help...

Updated: May 27


Hey,


By this time I expected to be telling you our first audiobook was done or that I’d started writing Casey Grimes 5.


Instead…I’m giving you a surprise look into the life of an indie author. Yeah, you guessed it. That author is me. 


If you’ve been on our secret mailing list a while, you may be familiar with the story behind the Casey Grimes books. If not, let’s catch you up: I’m a dad and author who started writing novels a decade ago. My goal was to write books my kids would love reading, and to my delight, I succeeded. Fist pump!


Other people loved the books too. They won fiction contests and a couple international awards, Reader’s Choice and Wishing Shelf—where the winners are chosen by kids. In fact, the stories created so much buzz, I just knew I’d land a rock star agent and sign with a big press like HarperCollins or Penguin. 


Instead…all the agents said, “Sorry, not interested.” Eventually I learned the big agents and publishers were looking for certain kinds of stories—written by certain kinds of people. And without getting into the details, my stories weren’t the right kind of story—and I was not the right kind of person.


In case you don’t know, I am a married guy with a bunch of kids. I like hiking, pickup basketball and barbecue. I wear jeans and a t-shirt whenever possible, and I think kids’ books should have adventure, danger, and important battles. I think they should have courage, tenacity, and hope—not some agent’s cultural agenda. I love writing this kind of story, even though some people think they are old fashioned.


People like me make book agents yawn and roll their eyes.


It took me a while to figure that out—about a thousand “Nos” from agents, actually. But after I spent some time feeling bad, I decided to try and get Casey Grimes published on my own. After all, I already knew kids loved the stories. 


Beginning in 2020, I started learning how to publish books. I created our family business, Lion & Co Press, to the cheers of my wife and kiddos. The Mostly Invisible Boy entered the world. Just as important, I started learning how to market the books so people could find them. 


In 2022 and 2023 the series really took off. We sold over a hundred thousand copies and people wrote so many kind reviews that I’m still not caught up. In fact, when I post reader notes on Facebook, I’m a year behind.


We also have thousands of Casey Grimes fans on this mailing list. Maybe you’re one of them. And that’s good news—even great news. But you know the bad news is coming, so…


Here it is. Since I’m an indie author without a huge industry backing me, we have to use advertising to sell the books. That works fine…until the ads stop working. 


That’s what happened a couple months ago. Our Facebook ads crashed, and they kept crashing. No one at Facebook can explain it. But when the ads crash, there are no new readers. When there are no new readers, the author—that’s me—stops making money. 


So here at Lion & Co, we’re in a tough spot. I’m in the process of rebuilding the Lion & Co ads. We’re hoping and praying the rebuild will work. 


If the new ads do work…we can get back to work on the audiobook and Casey Grimes #5. We’ll start looking for ways to help people hear about the books without Facebook. Because if Facebook can ruin your business at any time, that’s pretty scary. 


If the ads don’t recover, well…Casey Grimes will have to retire. I’ll need to get a different job.


So now you know why Casey Grimes is in trouble. If you love the books, this might come as a shock. It feels like a shock to me as I write this. So we’ll both take a moment to grab a deep breath. 


Deep breath. In, out.


However. The Casey Grimes books are about danger. They’re about getting up when you get knocked down. Confronting monsters, even Hyena Toads and Jactyls. They’re set in an alternate USA where monsters stalk the suburbs and kids patrol the treetops and battles are as common as breakfast. 


So we’re also going to fight to keep the Casey Grimes books coming. Today, we’re doing that by offering a limited number of signed books—stamped with the glorious Lion & Co logo. It’s a lot of extra work for us, but we think it’s worth it. 


Obviously, you can’t buy these anywhere else. And you can pay what you want.


Seriously. Want to pay the minimum? Ok. Want to pay more? Also fine. You can get a great deal on a special edition book—or make it a fundraiser to keep Casey and Gloria and their friends running through Sylvan Woods. Either one is ok.


Of course, I want to keep the adventures coming. I love writing the stories. I’ve put my heart into them. My family has too. And these characters have a lot left to do. 


More classes to survive

More secret shortcuts to discover

More awkward, funny conversations to have

More plots to unearth

More mysteries to solve

More monsters to confront

More disasters to avert

More battles to win

More adventures…


Can we beat Facebook—and the people who don’t care about this kind of story—and keep the Casey Grimes world alive? I’ll give it my best shot, I promise. If you want to fight too, here’s your chance. 



You can order one book at a time or the entire set. 


If you’d like to choose one or a few titles, you can do that here. Follow the simple directions to choose the books you want.


If you’d like every book so far, all signed and stamped, you can click here to do that


If you want to look at both options, they’re listed in the Paperbacks section of my author store at store.ajvanderhorst.com.


Ok, that’s it for now. Questions? Send me a note and I’ll get back to you. Do you have an idea on how we could introduce more people to Casey Grimes without Facebook? I’d love to hear about that. 


Let’s see if we can win this fight.

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The Sylvan Spy

by AJ Vanderhorst

 

Join 27,000 fans and get the latest news on the Casey Grimes books and insider tips on how to survive a monster attack. Get some cool freebies for joining too, like insider's guides to the novels and an exclusive short story, Remember To Stay Dangerous. Yes, it's all totally free and kid-friendly!

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