Saturday, November 12, 2011

Annie Fox: Is E-Format Her Friend? YES!

On October 15th, Are You My Friend? by Annie Fox, illustrated by Eli Noyes, hit the number 3 spot in the iBookstore. Annie's here to tell us all about her e-experience with this book.

What's the story of Are You My Friend?

Raymond Alligator is a super smart, super shy 5-year-old who feels left out when big sister Sheila has a friend over. He and his teddy bear are tighter than tight, but lately Raymond’s wondering if he needs someone else to be his friend. Making a new friend sounds like a great idea but, well, it can also be kinda scary. Are You My Friend? is a story with heart and mind that helps 4-8 yr olds think about feelings and friendships in new ways that include standing up for yourself and stepping outside your comfort zone to make a new friend.

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

Our target audience is 4-8 year olds. In our case, since our ebook includes Read-to-Me narration with synchronized text highlighting, it provides a language rich listening environment as well as helping kids build a sight vocabulary, both of which contribute to learning to read.

Is your book available in print format?

No, just in digital form. It is an original digital storybook, though we're exploring the possibility of bringing it into paper book form as well.

Here's a peek inside!
Tell us about your path to publication.

Because of our extensive backgrounds in writing for kids and in computer game design for kids and adults, we created the content and did the production ourselves. From there we published it directly in the iBookstore. Are You My Friend? is first in the Raymond and Sheila Stories series. For this one (and the others that follow) the plan is to create them first as Read-it-to-Me iBooks and then as other digital versions with additional interactivity, and some with less interactivity for those e-readers that can’t handle the ePub3 format yet.

How are people finding out about your book?

We’re using social media, including Twitter and Facebook, but the most successful way we’ve found of getting the word out is by having it reviewed on as many websites and blogs as possible. The challenge is that there just aren’t many (any?) websites dedicated to reviewing iBooks for kids. But since we’ve also published a graphic novel book app this year (Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential graphic novel) , we’re finding the relationships we created with many of the app reviewers is helping us open the door to their reviewing our iBooks as well. For most of these sites, our iBook is the first one they’ve looked at, so we’re breaking a lot of new ground here.

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

Learn more about Annie and
 her books at 
her website.
Definitely helps. It gives us the freedom to create our books exactly as we've envisioned them. We're thrilled with the creative autonomy and don't for one minute miss having some acquisitions editor say “Gee, we really love this manuscript, but we already have a book similar to it in our catalog. Sorry.”

Do you think the e-format helps or hurts your readers? How?

It helps them in many ways. Because ebooks are generally much less expensive than paper books, a family can afford to buy many more of them. And because they’re in digital form, the child can have an entire library with her while going on long car trips...

Many thanks to Annie for the interesting interview! As usual, I've included her links so you can learn more! 

This week's Kids' E-book Bestseller List shows Christopher Paolini taking the number one spots by storm with his book, Inheritance! He hit the TOP in Amazon Children's and YA, Barnes and Noble Teens, iBooks Children and Teens AND Sony Children's sections. Hmm...I wonder if there's any chance of an interview?  I'll see what I can do!