Saturday, September 17, 2011

E-Books: A Grimm Reality?

Earlier this week I contacted author Michael Buckley about The Problem Child, from his Sisters Grimm series. The Problem Child was number 2 in the MobiPocket store last week and this week.  Unlike most of the authors I've featured, Michael told me, "My experience with e-books and social media is pretty limited."  For the most part, he said, his strategy is "get out and meet the people." Let's see what he has to add to the e-format conversation!

We'll get started with a synopsis of The Problem Child. 

The Problem Child is the 3rd book in the Sisters Grimm series and continues Sabrina and Daphne's efforts to find their parents in the mysterious town of Ferryport Landing where fairy tales still live. In this one they come face to face with a villain they never expected - Little Red Riding Hood, who along with her pet Jabberwocky, may be the last obstacle in recovering Mom and Dad. Unfortunately, Red's appearance also draws out a deep, dark family secret.

You can see Micheal explain more about the series on his book trailer.

Is your book also in print format? Which was first, and how do our sales compare between the two formats?

All my books are available in both paper and electronic versions. Paper was first but electronic wasn't far behind. My publisher isn't against electronic formats but they want to do it carefully so that it makes strong business sense. So far, a lot of electronic sales in this industry aren't what I'd call great business strategies. At this point, most of my sales come from traditional book stores but we are doing more interesting things. I just recorded tracks for an enhanced version of my other series, NERDS.

What were your initial thoughts on e-publishing? And have those thoughts changed now that you've done it? 

E-publishing was my publisher's idea. I think like a lot of writers I'm hesitant, even slightly terrified of e-publishing, especially when you look at how it affected the music industry. On one hand I'm very eager to get my work into as many hands as possible but on the other hand I want it all to be fair. Books don't come out of thin air. They take a lot of effort to write and if it's not something a person can make a living at then no one is going to do it. Right now, e-publishing is controlled by two major corporations who want to set prices and shove everyone around. I worry about a future when they begin to dictate what can be written and how much it can be sold for.

And finally, tell us how your readers are finding out about your books. 

To be totally honest, I'm not really finding my audience on-line. They're generally 8-12 yrs old and most don't have e-readers or spend much time on facebook. As with most things, the best marketing campaign you can have is to actually meet your fans face to face. I still do a tremendous number of book store events and school presentations. That personal contact with a reader goes a long, long way and they share those experiences with their friends and word spreads. I do have a Twitter page and a Facebook fan page where people can interact with me but again, nothing beats a smile from a real person.


You can also visit Michael's website and check his schedule to see if he's coming to a city near you. See this week's Kids' Ebook Bestseller List for more great authors and their popular books.