Saturday, January 29, 2011

Valuable Help for Authors Plus Another Freebie

On my bestseller list last week I noticed Karen McQuestion, an author I had not seen before. Her book, Favorite, hit the #9 spot on Amazon.

Coincidentally, my Google Alerts led me to Karen’s blog posting, "Do Kids Read E-Books?" I highly recommend it if you’re an author wondering about e-publishing vs. trying the traditional route with an agent and publisher.

On Karen's website she says, “After years of trying to get published traditionally, I self-published my books on Amazon's Kindle in 2009. Sales were great, and as a result, I now have five books (paperback and e-book) coming out under the AmazonEncore imprint, and one novel, A Scattered Life, optioned for film.” 

In the blog post, Karen shares her success story in detail, complete with her Kindle sales statistics. Plus check out the 29 comments, many from authors who have been on the fence whether to publish in e-format or try the traditional route. Seems like many are convinced to start as an e-book, thanks to all the info Karen shared.

Her media page is also a rich resource, especially the “ABC World News Now” link and her interview on J.A. Konrath’s blog. Enjoy – you’ll learn a lot!

Reaper by Rachel Vincent has been a solid contender on my bestseller list in 2010, hitting the #1 spot on BooksOnBoard for nine weeks in a row, and coming back to that position last week and this week. Good news -- Reaper is currently available in Kindle format for FREE. I’m sure this is a limited time offer, so if you’re interested don’t delay!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Follow-up, Nook News and a Freebie

Following up on last week’s post, I e-mailed Margi Preus and confirmed that her Newbery Honor book, Heart of a Samurai, is not currently available in e-book format. She promised to update me on that when she had more info.

Moving on to other news . . .

Last month Barnes & Noble, home of the color Nook, released a free app for the iPad called “Nook Kids for iPad.” Barnes and Noble claims to have the “largest and growing” collection of children’s digital picture books.*

At the B and N website, they have Nook downloads for other devices: iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Blackberry and Mac, but the Nook Kids app is only available for the iPad. I'm guessing this is because both the Nook and the iPad have two features in common. First is color, essential for children’s picture books. And the second is the touch technology that allows you to turn the pages by swiping your finger across the screen instead of by pushing a button as it is on the Kindle and other e-readers. This same touch technology also allows you to use the interactive features the Nook incorporates into some of their e-books.

At Christmas-time I downloaded Duck and Goose, It’s Time for Christmas by Tad Hill onto my Kindle. Although the pictures are clear, there’s no color (BORING) and it only shows one page at a time. 

Conclusion? If you’re interested in writing/reading/buying picture books and want an e-reader, either an iPad or a Nook are your best choices at this point.

And speaking of my Kindle, if you have one you can download a whopping 21 chapters of James Patterson's The Gift for free, for a limited time. That book has been on my bestseller list for several weeks.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

And The Winner Is . . .

On Monday, January 10th, The Newbery Medal winner and the four Newbery Honor books were announced at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in San Diego. The award is given annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Of course the first question that popped into my mind was, “How many of those five books are now in e-book format?” The answer is four.

The Newbery Medal winner Clare Vanderpool for Moon over Manifest, available as a hardback, paperback and e-book. As far as I can tell (or I should say ‘as far as I can google’) one of the Honor Books, Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, is not available in an e-book format. The other three Honor Books are. They are Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, and Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm.

Many other prestigious prizes are given at the ALA conference. I’ve put a link to the full article at the end of this post.*

Of course we suspect that e-book sales are growing exponentially. Here’s a brief update as of the end of November from Publishers Weekly.**

E-book sales in November rose 129.7%, to $46.6 million, from the 14 publishers who report results to the Association of American Publishers’ monthly sales report. The gain was below the year-to-date average which has e-book sales ahead 165.6% through November, but was better than the 112.4% increase reported in October when e-book sales were $40.7 million. The $165.6% increase in the first 11 months of 2010 put e-book sales from the 14 companies at $391.9 million. With one month to go in 2010, it looks like e-books and downloadable audio will be the only trade segments to posts gains in the year with sales down in all the print segments at the publishers that report to the AAP; the mass market segment has the largest decline at 14.0%.

I was going to interpret and summarize that for you, but I didn’t want to risk getting it wrong.

Check out this week's best seller list. Amanda Hocking is dominating Amazon’s list with six books in the top ten. And I see more picture books on Barnes and Noble’s Kids list than I have before, thanks to the interactive color Nook. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

James Patterson -- Children's Author?

On my way home from work on Friday, I was thinking about what to post this week.  I was thrilled to see my February Success Magazine in the mailbox, and even more so when I saw one of the articles featured on the cover, "James Patterson -- 56 Best-Sellers and Counting."

James Patterson's book Cross Fire showed up on my Kids E-book Bestseller list back on November 20th, in the #8 spot for (even though it is NOT a kid's book.) Then I didn't see anything from him for a few weeks before he came back on December 18th showing up four times on my list, with Witch and Wizard and Witch and Wizard: The Gift.  These have been going strong on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Sony e-book sites.  

So what caused James Patterson to start writing books for children? His son! In the Success article, he says, "As I have watched him in school and watched him learn how to read and not be terribly interested in books at first, that was part of it."  The article says the other part was his "growing awareness that millions of kids have never read a book they liked."

The result? Not only is he writing children's books that are best sellers, but he also has a website,, designed to "help adults find books that kids are more likely to enjoy." It features book lists for all ages of kids, as well as many other valuable resources. I got lost in it for quite awhile and I think you'll enjoy it too.

For the New Year, I was hoping to update the stores on my bestseller list, adding the new Google ebook store and the Apple iBook store. However, the Google store is so new, they don't have a way to sort by bestsellers yet. I'll be checking back with them from time to time to see when that will change. And the Apple store is only accessable through an app for use on iPhones, the iPod Touch, and the iPad.*  I don't have any of those at this point. That, too, may change.

But for now, I'm adding Borders to my list. Like Barnes and Noble, Borders has two lists: Kids and Teens. To make room for them, I'm dropping and Their lists don't change much from week to week, indicating to me that either they aren't selling much or they aren't updating their stats very often. I want to endeavor to use the most popular, mainstream e-book store sites so my bestseller lists are a fairly accurate picture of what's happening with e-books in the children's fiction genre.  Check out the new list.

*Read about the current situation with Apple's iBookstore in this Publishers Weekly article.