Saturday, October 25, 2014

THE WARRIOR HEIR: A Top Ten for Teens in the Kindle Store

On August 30th, The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima hit the number 3 spot in the Children's section of the Amazon Kindle store. Cinda is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, and she has won a wide variety of awards for her books. The Warrior Heir is the first book of five in The Heir Chronicles series. 

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First, please tell us what your book is about.

The Heir Chronicles are a quintet of contemporary fantasy novels for teens involving five magical guilds: Warriors, Wizards, Sorcerers, Seers, and Enchanters, collectively known as the Weir. The five guilds hide in plain sight all over the world, although their interguild struggles sometimes spill into the public view. Wizards are the most powerful of the guilds, and have reigned over the others for centuries. This is the story of how all that changed. The Enchanter Heir and The Sorcerer Heir are two late additions to the series, focusing on a group of guild members whose magical powers have been damaged by a magical catastrophe. They are magical mutants, in a way, who persist as shades when they die. Sort of X-Men meets The Walking Dead.



Tell us about your path to publication: Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past?

All of my novels have been published by Hyperion, a traditional publisher. My forthcoming novel, The Sorcerer Heir, is my ninth. I've been publishing a book a year since 2006. In addition to the five Heir Chronicles novels, I've published a high fantasy quartet known as the Seven Realms series. For me, finding the right agent was the key to attracting the notice of a publisher.

What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now?

The Warrior Heir has been a steady seller since it launched in 2006. As the first novel in the series, sales jump whenever a new installment in the series is released. It didn't hurt that the ebook went on temporary sale last week to promote the launch of The Sorcerer Heir. That's a great thing about ebooks--they make it possible to run a promotion like that.

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?

My primary audience is teens, but I also have many adult readers. While more and more teens have access to e-readers and smart phones, I suspect that a portion of my ebook sales go to adults. The great thing about ebooks is that they are so accessible. A reader who finishes one book in a series doesn't have to wait to get hold of the next one.


What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?

I'm excited about any format that gets books into the hands of readers. I read mostly print novels myself, because I spend a lot of time in bookstores. But I'm happy to read e-books, audio books, print books--just keep 'em coming.

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

Right now I'm working on new novels set in the Seven Realms world. On a normal day, I generally write until mid afternoon, then have lunch and begin working on emails and business. I think it is important for all writers to determine their best writing time and do what they can to spend it writing.

Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts you as an author? How?

The only possible harm I see is the potential for increased piracy by people who fail to realize that what they are stealing is the work that we authors do. That has value, whether you can hold it in your hand or not. Otherwise, it's all good. 

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Learn more about Cinda and her books by visiting her website or by following her on FacebookTwitter, or Goodreads.
 
See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning. And check back next week when my featured author will be Charlie Holmberg.

Want a sneak preview of the rest of the authors I'm featuring for the next few weeks? You can sign up HERE to get my newsletter and stay up to date with the blog and my books.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

THE ORDER OF THE UNICORN: Top Ten for Kobo.com Kids

The Order of the Unicorn, by Suzanne Selfors, hit the number 5 spot in the Kids & Teen section of the Kobo.com store on August 23rd. It's book #4 in her Imaginary Veterinary series. Suzanne is an award winning author with over 20 books written for children and teens. Today she joins us to share about her e-publishing success.

First please tell us what your book is about.
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The Order of the Unicorn is about two kids who get to be apprentices to a veterinarian who takes care of imaginary creatures.

Tell us about your path to publication: Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past?

Thus far, I've been traditionally published by Little,Brown, Walker, and Harper Collins. I started writing in 2002 and my first book hit the shelves in 2007. While I can understand the desire to publish independently, I'm very happy with the traditional model and have no plans to self-publish at this time.

What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now?

Well, I'm really not sure. This is the fourth book in a series and each book has been available in both print and e format. Perhaps it's the amazing cover, illustrated by Dan Santat. You can't discount a great cover! 

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

I create an enewsletter that I send to my mailing list--people who've signed up through my website. I use Facebook and just began using Twitter a few weeks ago. I attend library conferences and do lots of school visits each year. My publishers do the rest.
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Learn more about Suzanne and her books by visiting her at her website or following her on Facebook or on Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning. And check back next week when my featured author will be Cinda Williams Chima.

Want a sneak preview of the rest of the authors I'm featuring for the next few weeks? You can sign up HERE to get my newsletter and stay up to date with the blog and my books.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kindle Kids Truly Love THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP

Kathi Appelt showed up on my radar on August 2nd, when her book The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp hit the #8 spot in the Children's section of the Amazon Kindle store. Kathi is the author of over twenty books, ranging from picture books through to young adult. She has won many national and state awards for her writing, too many to list here. You can see her press page for full details.

I had the honor of meeting Kathi and hearing her speak at the 2011 Highlights Writers Workshop, so I was especially delighted when she answered my request for an interview. Enjoy! 

Tell us what The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp  is about.

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A swamp is a hard place to love. It’s filled with all sort of biting critters and stinging vines. But it’s also the home to thousands of species who need its tall trees and slow-moving bayous to make their nests and raise their babies. Our swamp, the Sugar Man Swamp, also the home of a mysterious creature known as . . .yes . . . the Sugar Man, is under attack. It’s up to the raccoon brothers, Bingo and J’miah, to stop a family of marauding feral hogs from mucking up the sugar cane that grows in abundance. And it’s up to 12 year old Chap Brayburn to stop a greedy developer from turning the whole thing into a theme park. Will they succeed? Will the Sugar Man wake up? Read it to find out.
 

How did you get published: Traditionally or independently?
 
Traditional.


What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now?
I attribute enthusiasm for the book to all those librarians who have championed it, along with booksellers and others.


How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

I have a Facebook page, and a website: kathiappelt.com.  

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?

My ideal audience is between 7 and 12 I’d say. However, I hope I’ve spun a tale that anyone would enjoy, not matter what their age. 


What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?

I’m enthusiastic about e publishing. While there’s hardly anything I love more than a beautiful bound book, I appreciate any form of media that gets my work into the hands of my young audience. 


As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things?

I’m not sure I’ve been in it long enough to say.

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

I made a commitment years ago to always write at least 5 minutes each day. I’ve never broken that commitment.

As we speak, I’m in the early stages of a new young adult novel. Well, I think it’s going to be young adult. I’m not sure yet. 


Time to pull out your Magic 8 Ball: How do you see the world of e-publishing developing for children and young adults over the next 5 years?

Gosh, I have no idea. I never thought we’d be where we are today in e-publishing, so no telling what we’ll see in five years. 
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Learn more about Kathi and her books at her website or by following her on Facebook or on Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning.

Want a sneak preview of the rest of the authors I'm featuring for the next few weeks? You can sign up HERE to get my newsletter and stay up to date with the blog and my books.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Kobo Kids Devoured MY ZOMBIE HAMSTER

My Zombie Hamster by Havelock McCreely hit the number 9 spot in the Kids and Teen section of the Kobo.com store on August 2nd. Havelock joins us today to tell about his path into the top ten. 

First, please tell us what My Zombie Hamster is about.

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It's about Matt Hunter, a kid expecting the latest in computer game peripherals for Christmas, who instead gets saddled with a hamster called Snuffles. Who dies. Then turns into a zombie. (The Anti-Snuffles.) Anti Snuffles tries to take over the town by turning all the other pets into zombies and recruiting them into his zombie army. Matt and his best friend, a girl called Charlie, have to stop them before the outbreak is traced back to Matt's family. 

Tell us about your path to publication: Traditional or independent?

Traditional in this case. Nothing against indie, but I don't think MG sells well without the strong backing of a good publisher like Egmont. 


What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now?

The humor and the heart. I love comedy, and I love writing it, but you need a little heart as well. Something (or someone) for the readers to identify with. 


How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

So far it seems to be word of mouth and sites like EbookBestseller. I do have a Twitter account (H_McCreely) and have it open all day, so if anyone wants to come over for a chat I'll be there. 

Some studies say children reading e-books are reading more, while other studies say they comprehend less of what they read. What’s your opinion or experience?

I think anything that gets kids reading is a good thing. I don't know the study itself, but I don't really see how kids would be comprehending less of what they read. Reading is reading. 


What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?

I've always been excited about e-publishing. It's a new arena for writers to break into. I find myself reading more and more on my e-reader nowadays. About 90% of my purchases are e-books. 

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

I'm a night owl myself. So I work from about 1 in the afternoon, then carry on on-and-off till about two in the morning. I'm going to be doing edits on the second Zombie Hamster book soon. Write now I'm planning out some new ideas. We'll see how they turn out though. :-) 

Time to pull out your Magic 8 Ball: How do you see the world of e-publishing developing for children and young adults over the next 5 years? Do you think it will ever exceed or replace print publishing?

Mmm... hard one. I don't think so. I think it will even out. I still think kids prefer the feel or real books, and parents still prefer buying real books for their kids. That might change, but I think it will take longer than 5 years. 

Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts you as an author? How?

Helps. Definitely. The ease of instant purchase is a huge benefit.
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Learn more about Havelock McCreely by following him on  Twitter or on Facebook


See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning.

Want a sneak preview of the rest of the authors I'm featuring for the next few weeks? You can sign up HERE to get my newsletter and stay up to date with the blog and my books.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

THE GLASS SENTENCE Keeps Breaking Through to the Top Ten

Our featured author today is S.E Groves. She wrote The Glass Sentence, the first book of what will be the Mapmakers trilogy. On June 27th, it came in at the #10 spot in the Children's and Teen section of the Kobo store. Then it popped back in on July 12th at #5, then resurfaced in the top ten again on August 23rd. 

A combination of adventure, mystery, friendship, history and maps, The Glass Sentence has received rave reviews throughout the summer, from Publishers Weekly to the famous Seattle  librarian Nancy Pearl. It's a treat to be able to feature the story of S.E.'s e-publishing success.

Let's start with a description of The Glass Sentence.

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It is 1892 in Boston. Roughly ninety years earlier, an event occurred separating places from time. Now places are in different time periods. Sophia, a thirteen-year-old living in Boston, is the niece of a famous cartologer - a mapmaker who records and explores the new world. Just as Sophia is learning the art of cartology, her uncle is kidnapped, and she must leave Boston to find him. 

Tell us briefly about your path to publication: Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past?

My path has been traditional. I worked with an agent who revised this book with me multiple times (she is an editor in her own right). She then shared it with editors in the summer of 2011. When the book was acquired by Sharyn November at Viking that summer, she and I began working on the book. My sense is that this has been a very traditional past.

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

It's a bit of a mystery to me, but apparently this magical thing called "word of mouth" is actually happening. I consider myself a social media amateur, but I have tried to be present on Twitter and Facebook. I recognize that these are wonderful tools for reaching people, but I have never taken to them as a reader/user, so I'm learning. My sense is that meeting with booksellers and librarians has made a huge difference for this book. Penguin Young Readers Group sent me on a dinner tour in June, and I met with booksellers and librarians in various cities. I think their enthusiasm has a lot to do with this book reaching so many readers. I also think that enthusiasm in-house is absolutely vital. Thanks to my editor and others at Viking, this book took off with readers internally, and that, in turn, made all the difference for the next step. 

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?

I think of this book as having a couple target audiences. First, young readers in the 9 to 13 age range who like adventures, mysteries, and nerdy things like maps! Second, older readers who find the fantasy or history elements of interest. This is a beautiful book on paper -- Viking has made it a wonderful object. But it's also hefty. And I think the conveniences readers enjoy with any e-book will apply to "The Glass Sentence" as well. I'm betting it's a lot lighter as an e-book than it is as a hardback! 

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

 My writing schedule at the moment looks daunting! I am finishing up revisions of Book 2 of the Mapmakers trilogy, and as soon as I finish I have to move on to Book 3! I try to write for a few hours a day, but I find that time away from actual writing is just as essential - percolating time. 

Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts your readers, specifically children and/or young adults? How? 

I have mixed feelings about this, as I expect many do. I think e-books specifically do not hurt young readers in the least. On the contrary, I think it's nice to have yet another way to access books. On the other hand, I am wary of their over use in the classroom. I do think that e-readers, and I'm thinking specifically tablets, should not become the sole way of accessing educational materials. It's one thing for e-books to replace paper -- what a delight to get rid of those heavy biology books! But when electronic learning games replace classroom activities and interaction with a computer replaces interaction with classmates, I think tablets and computers become less valuable. Like anything else, they should be an occasional tool rather than an all-encompassing approach.
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Learn more about S.E. Grove at her website or by following her on Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning.

Want a sneak preview of the rest of the authors I'm featuring for the next few weeks? You can sign up HERE to get my newsletter and stay up to date with the blog and my books.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kindle Teens Kept AS RED AS BLOOD in the Top Ten for Three Weeks

Today's featured author is Salla Simukka. She wrote As Red As Blood, which rose to the top ten for Teens in the Kindle store, staying there for three weeks in July. It got as high as the #2 spot on July 18th. This book is the first one in Salla's Snow White Trilogy.  

Salla is an award winning author in her homeland of Finland, having won the Topelius prize for two other books she wrote. The Topelius is  Finland’s oldest prize in recognition of the best Finnish book for children and young people. She has also won the Finland Prize, which is awarded in recognition of a significant career in arts, an exceptional artistic achievement, or a promising breakthrough.

Welcome, Salla. First, tell us what your book is about.

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As Red as Blood is an YA thriller about 17-year-old Lumikki Andersson, who goes to a high school of performing arts. She has made it a rule to stay out of things that do not involve her. However, the rule is put to the test on leap day when she finds washed five hundred euro notes hung to dry in her school’s darkroom. Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events and faces life-threatening situations on the run from Russian and Estonian criminals. It’s the coldest winter in Finland in decades; the streets of Tampere are frozen and white with snow. And nothing is as red against white snow as blood. 

Tell us briefly about your path to publication: Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past?

My path to publication was quite traditional. In 1999 when I was 18 years old I participated in a contest for young adult books. The biggest publisher in Finland was looking for new and fresh writer voices. I wrote a novel that was to be my first published book - even if it took three years from the first version to the final book. So my first novel came out 2002 and since then I have written thirteen novels for young adults. But the Snow White Trilogy (As Red as Blood, As White as Snow and As Black as Ebony) is the first one to be translated to other languages. And at this moment the rights of the trilogy have been sold to 43 territories... 

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

Of course the marketing is mainly done by the different publishers all over the world but readers can find me in Facebook and read about my work on my website.

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?

My target audience is anyone interested in thrillers, crime fiction, YA fiction and fairytale elements in language and style. I do believe that the story adjusts well to the e-format because the chapters are quite short and the story is exciting. 

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?

 I have always thought that a format is just a format. To read an e-book is no different from reading a paper one. It is the story that matters. But I must admit that I myself am an old-fashioned book lover: I love the smell of paper and the feel of a book. If my publisher would have suggested to publish the book only in e-format, I might have hesitated. But now that As Red as Blood will also be published in paper, I'm very excited of all the formats. Which ever way the book reaches the readers is a great way.
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In addition to the links Salla provided above, you can also follow her on  Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning. This week's list has has several new authors that I haven't seen in the e-book top ten before. Of course, I'll be contacting them this week for interviews!

Want a sneak preview of the rest of the authors I'm featuring for the next few weeks? You can sign up HERE to get my newsletter and stay up to date with the blog and my books.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

MAYBE ONE DAY by Melissa Kantor is a Top Ten Teen Favorite on Kindle

On Saturday, May 17th, Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor hit the number 10 spot in the YA & Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. Melissa joins us today to share some of her insights on her writing and e-publishing success.

First, let's hear what your book is about.

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Maybe One Day tells the story of Olivia and Zoe, two best friends since forever. When they are cut from their professional ballet school, they think it's the worst thing that will ever happen to them. But then Olivia is diagnosed with leukemia. The book is the story of Olivia's illness, but more than anything, it's the story of Olivia and Zoe's friendship. My hope is that anyone who reads the book will think of her best friend in high school and feel like I've captured that amazing, intense, beautiful relationship. 

Some studies say children reading e-books are reading more, while other studies say they comprehend less of what they read. What’s your opinion or experience?

In addition to being a writer, I'm also an English teacher. And I'd have to say that kids who read assigned books as e-books definitely seem to retain less of what they've read. But in terms of reading for pleasure, when my students and I talk about books we're reading, I have no sense that the kids who read an e-book have less command of the book. We're all trading favorite scenes and characters and it seems like everyone remembers everything just fine! 

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

I do a lot of writing in the summer, which is when I really have blocks of uninterrupted time. So I usually spend the winter and spring outlining and then I write like crazy in summer. Fall's when I take my editors comments and revise. Right now, I'm just finishing the final, final, final edits on my upcoming book Better Than Perfect. It's about a girl who has the perfect life…until she doesn't. I wanted to write about someone who followed the rules because I think when you're a good girl, you're being good because you expect to get a certain kind of reward, and maybe that reward isn't quite what you'd hoped. Maybe it's more important to be happy than to be perfect.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it? 

This is a bit embarrassing, but I've never read an e-book. I've seen people's nooks and kindles, but I haven't tried to navigate one. So I had no strong feelings about it when my publisher told me there would be an e-book of Maybe One Day. It was almost like they were saying, "We're also going to be publishing your book on Mars." Um, okay. I do think that it's probably a good thing because there are a lot of readers who want to read an e-book, and it would be crazy to deny them the opportunity to read Maybe One Day.

Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts you as an author? How?

I believe that anything that puts books into the hands of readers is good. The most important thing in terms of whether it's good for writers is if writers negotiate good, fair contracts around e-rights. I worry sometimes about some of the bells and whistles in e-books: links and things that I imagine interrupt the experience of just reading. But I am probably being old fashioned. After all, what's the difference between a link and a footnote?
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Find out more about Mellisa Kantor and her books by visiting her website  or by following her on Facebook or Twitter.  You can read a two chapter excerpt of Maybe One Day at her site.


See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning. This week's list has has several new authors that I haven't seen in the e-book top ten before. Of course, I'll be contacting them this week for interviews!

Want a sneak preview of the rest of the authors I'm featuring for the next few weeks? You can sign up HERE to get my newsletter and stay up to date with the blog and my books.