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Do Not Open This Book
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About the Author

Andy Lee (Author) Hamish and Andy are an Australian comedy duo formed in 2003 by Hamish Blake and Andy Lee. They currently host the radio program Hamish and Andy for the Drive Home, which airs nationally on the Hit Network. They are most well known for their successful drive-time radio show, 'The Hamish & Andy Show' and their smash- hit Nine Network series 'Hamish & Andy's Gap Year'. Heath McKenzie (Illustrator) Much loved Australian illustrator, Heath McKenzie has truly brought Andy Lee's monster character to life! Heath McKenzie lives in Melbourne and has published over 100 titles, having worked with clients worldwide. Heath has published books with Scholastic, Penguin, The Five Mile Press, Walker Books, Random House, Black Dog, and many more.

Reviews

'A marketer's dream': Andy Lee's kids' book crashes website, sells 40,000 in two days A website crash isn't something you'd usually welcome, but for small independent children's book publisher Lake Press it was a sign of triumph. The company's bandwidth was flooded after the surprise release of a children's book from the radio personality and comedian Andy Lee, who co-hosts the radio show Hamish & Andy with Hamish Blake. Titled Do Not Open This Book, it has sold approximately 40,000 copies since Lee announced it on radio on Wednesday evening. Illustrated by Heath McKenzie, the book was conceived by Lee as a surprise giftfor his sister Alex Miles for her son's first birthday. Miles is a children's book author in her own right, penning eight novels in the Zac Power series under the pseudonym HI Larry. Lee originally intended to make only a single copy of the book, which he told Fairfax on Thursday that he wrote during a plane trip: "When you don't think something is going to be published you have less worry about it," he said. But after he handed it over to the publisher, they recommended a wider release. Overnight success of this kind is rare for a children's book author in Australia - according to the Australian Society of Authors chief executive, Juliet Rogers, most would be lucky to see a first print run of 3000. Lee's book, on the other hand, had a starting print run of 60,000, even with a moratorium - imposed by Lee - on any pre-publicity. "It's a marketer's dream," Rogers said, explaining how difficult it was for most authors to break into the Australian market. "Children's publishing has had a bit of a renaissance in the last couple of years so it's not been any worse [than other genres]," she said. "But it's always tough." The Lake Press spokeswoman Sarah Ryan told Guardian Australia that the publishing company welcomed the boon brought by such a big name. "It's great for us," she said. "We're a small children's book publisher and it means we get exposure and means our books can be distributed more widely. "It's a great book on its own merits," she continued. "It's not just a good book because Andy Lee wrote it." The challenge to sell a book will always be harder for unknown names, but Rogers didn't fear a backlash from disgruntled authors: "On the whole, this is a very generous-hearted industry," she said. -- Stephanie Convery * The Guardian (online) *

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