Saturday, February 25, 2012

Top Ten's a Cinch for One Inch at a Time

Today our featured book is One Inch at a Time, a picture book that hit the top ten in the "Children and Teens" section of the iBookstore for three weeks in a row, January 21st through February 4th. Both the author, Jean Alexander, AND the illustrator, Mike Gordon are sharing their insights and experience with us today. 

First, tell us what your best selling book is about.

One Inch at a Time is about Winchie, a fun-loving little inchworm who lives a pretty good life in a big elm tree in the meadow, but with his little inchworm body, finds it hard to keep up with his insect friends. Mommy Inchworm gives him good advice: Take it one inch at a time, and there’s nothing you can’t do. Winchie has an adventure that lands him in the world of humans, with all kinds of creatures and creations the likes of which he’s never seen before. It’s scary and he misses his mommy. But he remembers her advice, courageously sets off on his journey home, and has fun adventures along the way--one inch at a time.

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

Mike: I've been illustrating books for publishers over the last twenty-five years--all traditional stuff--and I’ve completed over three hundred children's books that way. Whew!

My personal path to publication is a story in itself, which I’ve started telling on my blog at One Inch at a Time was my first foray into the world of the e-book; and we’ve since added another Winchie book, Perfectly Perfect.

Jean: This is the first book I’ve ever written! I’m an attorney and write 
wills and trusts by day. So creating and publishing One Inch at a Time has been an incredibly fun adventure! 

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

Mike: After so many years working in the traditional publishing industry, I was pretty excited to see what I could do on my own, with totally free creative license. The development of e-books was just the opening I’d been waiting for. My partner, Jean, wrote the book, I illustrated it, and my son, Carl Gordon, formatted it for e-publication—a real family affair. It was a lot of work and a steep learning curve to self-publication, but it was worth it!

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

Our target audience are younger kids and their parents who like to snuggle up together and share a good, wholesome story that’s not only fun, imaginative and heart-warming, but also gives a positive lesson about life. The e-format works great because these moments can happen anywhere, thanks to the mobility of the electronic reader!

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

Initially we didn’t use any marketing at all, other than developing the Breadcrumb Books website as a showcase. We’ve been pleasantly surprised that One Inch has done so well all on its own: It’s consistently been in the top 100 bestselling children’s iBooks, at one time reaching #2 on the list! We are just now exploring the possibilities of social media sites like Facebook, spearheaded by the fabulous Molly Hahn; and may experiment with other marketing strategies as well. We’re just getting started!

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

We put a lot of tender loving care into One Inch at a Time, and it shows. In fact, this little book recently achieved a QED award (“Quality, Excellence, Design”) from Publishing Innovation Awards, their “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for ebooks! It’s a cute story, and the illustrations really bring our little inchworm and his friends to life. There’s a lot for kids to identify with—a strong attachment to mom, feeling small and overwhelmed, finding courage to take on life’s challenges, and achieving success with some good old fashioned hard work. And it’s fun!

We hope everyone else feels so too!

Our website is frequently updated and showcases Mike’s serialized blog titled, “The History of a Self-Made Illustrator”, plus book reviews, comics, tips, and news in the publishing industry.

You can also follow Mike Gordon, Jean Alexander and the Breadcrumb Books team, Molly Hahn, Carl Gordon and Ashley Golden on Twitter.

See this week's Kids' E-Book Bestseller List for more top ten books and authors, and check back on Wednesday when we hear from Mary Hooper, author of At the Sign of the Sugared Plum.