Saturday, November 22, 2014

Psion Beta: A Favorite with Kindle Kids

Psion Beta by Jacob Gowans rose to the #9 spot in the Children's section of the Amazon Kindle store on September 20th. This book is the first of four books in his Psion series, and according to his blog, he's working on the fifth book, due out in 2015. Jacob joins us today to talk about his e-pub experience.

First, Jacob, what is your book about?


Psion Beta is about Sammy, a 14-year-old fugitive, who accidentally discovers he has the powers of a Psion.

After being plucked off the streets, he is thrust into the rigorously-disciplined environment of Psion Beta headquarters. As a new Beta, Sammy must hone his newfound abilities using holographic fighting simulations, stealth training missions, and complex war games. His fellow trainees are other kids competing to prove their worth so they can graduate and contribute to the war effort.

But the stifling competition at headquarters isolates Sammy from his peers. Learning to use his incredible powers is difficult enough, but when things go horribly wrong on a routine training mission, he must rely on the other Betas to stay alive.


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

I am both self-published and traditionally published. I self-published five books before one of them was noticed by a publisher and picked up. It was republished only three weeks ago. It's been an exciting experience, and I definitely recommend people consider both options because they both have their plusses and minuses.

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

The key to success in self publishing is three things: 1. Writing stories with high marketability well. 2. Having multiple books available for readers to buy. 3. Discounting your books heavily every few weeks to spread the word.

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 ages 12 and up. The e-format works well for teens and adults who want to read on their devices. Not as much for middle grade and early-age readers. Teens are into devices like tablets and want to read books on them. I am very happy about the success of the e-book.

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

Initially, I felt that I was "resigned" to self-publishing. This was in the early days of doing so, in 2010. However, self-publishing is now a booming industry. It's nothing to be ashamed of and people can do very well in it. I was nervous and excited to self-publish, and things started slowly. Now that I've done it, I have no hesitancy to do it again if needed.

What does your writing schedule look like?

I am a full time dentist, four days a week, so I write on the weekends and evenings. Some days I have a bit of time during the work day, but nothing I can count on. I try to write about 10K words a week, but I don't always succeed. My goal is to someday write full time or at least 4 days a week.

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?

I think e-books are the future and that we'll see less and less print publishing. I think it's okay that this is happening. People can buy books at less of a cost and publishers will find new, exciting ways to incorporate media into e-novels like sound effects, short films, and other ways to dramatize the novel reading experience.
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Learn more about Jacob and his books at his website & blog, or by following him on Facebook  or 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 D.J. MacHale.

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, November 15, 2014

GIRL ON A WIRE: A Top Ten Hit With Kindle Teens for Four Weeks

On September 6th Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond hit the number 3 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. Gwenda's book continued to hover in the top ten for three more weeks. She joins us today to talk about her e-pub success with Girl on a Wire.

First, please tell us what your book is about.

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Girl on a Wire is about Jules Maroni, a sixteen-year-old daredevil high wire walker from a legendary circus family. The Maronis have fallen on hard times despite being world-class performers. When they get a chance to join the Cirque American, a show seeking to return the big top tent circus to its place of glamour and glory, Jules forces the family to take it--but things become more complicated once she gets there. Old, possibly magical items believed to possess unlucky magic begin to turn up, and she must team up with Remy Garcia, the son of a rival circus family, to find the culprit before tragedy strikes. It sits at the intersection of many of my obsessions--the circus, high wire walking, girl daredevils, classic screwball comedies (particularly the memorable heroines and romances between equals in the best ones), multi-generational family mysteries.

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

I think it's a very exciting time in the world of books. Digital publishing has opened up so many opportunities for authors, whether traditional, indie published, or both. Every new path to readers is good for writers, in my view. I've been very lucky in that the imprint team at Skyscape, my publisher for Girl on a Wire, has been behind the book every step of the way. I was absolutely thrilled when they told me that the book had been selected as a Kindle First pick for September, because I knew it would help me reach not just readers of my first two books, but hopefully a whole bunch of new ones who might not necessarily find the book otherwise. It's a little surreal to see if bounce around the upper reaches of the e-charts this month.

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

My writing schedule changes depending on what stage I'm in. At the moment, I'm doing some last edits on my next book, Lois Lane: Fallout, putting the iconic Superman character front and center of a young adult novel. It'll be out in May. Such a fun project and an honor to get to do. I'm really excited to share it with everyone. And my husband and I are also finishing up a children's novel we've been writing together. So what that boils down to is thinking about both stories a lot of the time, and working on them a lot of the time. In the midst of launching Girl on a Wire. Whee!

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?

Again, such an exciting time in publishing. It's impossible to deny that e-books are growing--and will continue to do so, I believe--for YA readers, though I suspect most of the growth so far has been in adults who read YA. I don't think that print books for children and YAs will ever go away. At least, I hope not! I believe there is plenty of room for print and e to coexist, especially in this part of the market, but that e-books also provide a real opportunity to reach people who might not wander into the YA section of a bookstore (fewer all the time, but I think still an issue for some) or who are more likely to take a chance on a new-to-them author at a probably lower price in e-book. I also think we'll continue to see a rise of teens reading in many formats, including on their phones or tablets, etc. Personally, I'm also waiting for the first book that truly uses technology in a transformative way that enhances the story experience. I don't think we've seen that yet.

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

I'm a minor twitter addict--I love the conversation of it, and how effortlessly it can connect people. So, I can be found at @gwenda, likely tweeting way too much. I also maintain a more or less up-to-date blog at my website, and I can be found on Tumblr reblogging old Hollywood and comics and literary stuff. I don't really think of any of that as marketing, just places I talk about things that are important to me...which happens to include my books. ;-)
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Find out more about Gwenda and her books by checking out all  the links she provided above in the last paragraph.


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 Jacob Gowans.

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, November 8, 2014

39 CLUES: COUNTDOWN -- Unstoppable on its Rise to #1 for Kobo Kids

Today we get to hear from Natalie Standiford, author of The 39 Clues: Countdown. It's book 3 in the Unstoppable series for middle grade readers. (So far there are four Unstoppable books, each written by a different author.)
  
On September 6th, Natalie's book hit the number 1 spot in the Kids and Teen section of the Kobo.com store. Let's hear all about her path to e-pub success. 

Natalie, what is your book about?

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THE 39 CLUES: COUNTDOWN is the third book in the Unstoppable series. Relentless media tycoon and presidential candidate J. Rutherford Pierce has Amy and Dan Cahill on the run as they search the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal for a crucial ingredient needed to counteract Pierce's power. When Dan's life is in danger, Amy does the unthinkable to save him--and now the clock is running out for both of them.

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

My first book was published in 1987, so my road to publication started a long time ago! Soon after graduating from college I landed a job as an editorial assistant in the children's book division of Random House. I started writing licensed character books in-house, as all the assistants did. I published my first book, THE BEST LITTLE MONKEYS IN THE WORLD, while working at Random House. Working in publishing was a big advantage, because it taught me how the industry works and because I knew lots of editors. That's one way to go about getting published, but it's not for everyone, obviously.

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

The 39 Clues series is "multi-platform," meaning the books are paired with a strong online component of games, message boards, and so on. I think that helps make e-books a natural format for the series.

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

Each 39 Clues book comes with collectible cards relating to the books which also send readers to a web site, the39clues.scholastic.com . The site keeps readers coming back with games, message boards, news of the series, and so on. Scholastic has created a community of 39 Clues readers through the internet, which is great for marketing. I also tweet news about the series and post information on Facebook and on my web site, www.nataliestandiford.com. 

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

I try to write every day, usually in the morning until mid-afternoon. I write on weekends too. I often get more writing done on weekends because there are fewer distractions.

Right now I'm working on a new middle grade novel. It's in the early stages, too soon to say much about it, but if I stick to my schedule it should be published in 2016. 
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Find out more about Natalie and her books at her website, or by following her 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. And check back next week when my featured author will be Gwenda Bond.

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, November 1, 2014

THE PAPER MAGICIAN: Seven Weeks in the Top Ten for Kindle Teens

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg was released on September 1st. The following Saturday when I compiled Kids' EBook Bestseller List it was already in the #7 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. And it continued to stay in the top ten for six more weeks!

This book is the first in Charlie's Paper Magician series, and the second book is due for release on Tuesday, November 4th. The title is The Glass Magician.

Charlie, tell us what your book is about.

The Paper Magician is about a recent graduate from a rigorous magic prep school who winds up in an unwanted apprenticeship enchanting paper. Just as she starts to like her tutor, however, his heart gets literally ripped out and she has to get it back before his paper replacement fails.

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


The #1 factor is the fact that The Paper Magician was a Kindle First selection for August 2014. That helped immensely. Letting people download the book for free (or discounted if they didn’t have Amazon Prime) got the book into a lot more hands, in and out of my target audience. It got the word spreading!

#2 is probably the promotional emails Amazon sends out multiple times a month. I’ve received several that had The Paper Magician at the top of the fantasy listing. The book is also currently an ad on Kindle.

#3 is likely Twitter. Twitter encompasses a wide range of people, and the hashtags let me reach out to even more.  

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

My schedule is a little off the wall. I write when the baby sleeps, which usually means an hour or so in the morning, and an hour or so in the afternoon. The longer the nap, the more productive I am!

Right now I’m working on an adult romantic fantasy currently titled Charms of the Soothsayer, which is basically a love triangle between a diviner, a gorgon, and a eunuch. 

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?

I think it will continue to expand, especially with the growing use of tablets. It’s a great way for kids especially to interact with technology without playing a video game.

In the next five years, no, I don’t think ebooks will supersede print publishing. I hope they never do—there’s something special about paper books. That, and you never have to worry about the battery on a paperback going dead. ;)
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Learn more about Charlie and  her books  by visiting her website or by following her on Goodreads or Twitter. Also check out her blog post about the release of The Glass Magician, which includes a giveaway on Goodreads!


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 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.