Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ashes, Ashes: A Kindle Bestseller!

Last week Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari hit the number 9 spot in the Children's and YA section of the Amazon Kindle store. Jo joins us today to talk about her book and its journey to the top ten.

First, what's the story of As
hes, Ashes?

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

How did you get published -- traditionally or independently?  Recently or further in the past?

My first book, a middle-grade fantasy, came out in 2006 through a small indie publisher. Unfortunately there were financial troubles and the two sequels I wrote were never published. The idea for Ashes, Ashes came to me out of the blue during a very hot summer, and that book, a YA adventure, garnered me both an agent and a deal with Scholastic who published the book in 2011.

Is your book available in print format? How did your e-book come about?

Ashes, Ashes is available in both print and as an e-book. They came out simultaneously. Scholastic is at the forefront of new electronic media, as far as I am concerned.

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

I was excited to know that my book was available in e-book format. I am still excited about it. A huge chunk of my sales have been electronic and although I personally love holding a thick, heavy book in my hands (I even love the way the paper and ink smell), there's no arguing with the fact that reading a book electronically is easy and fun.

As you got into e-publishing, has anything happened that you wouldn’t have predicted?

I guess I am pretty blown away by how many sales have been electronic, though I shouldn't be as most of my readers are pre-teen, teen and young adult and they are always quicker to embrace new technology.

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? Why or why not? 

I think that e-publishing will probably eventually account for the majority of book sales but print books will be around for a while still. I can see a strong print market in particular for picture books, board books and art/coffee table books. And I think owning a print copy of a much-loved book can't be beat. I still have books in my library from my childhood. That being said though, the convenience of down-loading books, plus the cheaper price, and the ease in which readers can shop from the comfort of their homes all play a part in the rising popularity.

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 pre-teen, teen and young adult and they absolutely the love e-format. It's instant gratification.

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

Scholastic have a great Publicity team so I can't take credit for too much marketing but I do as many appearances and readings as I can. I also lead writing workshops for teens and pre-teens. I have blogged for almost 5 years and I continue to blog 4-6 times a month, and I have pages on Facebook and Twitter.. Also I rarely say 'no' to an interview.

Check this week's new Kids' E-Book Bestseller List for the latest on the greatest in e-format for children and YA!

And stop back on Wednesday when we'll hear from mega-award winning author Lois Lowry.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

E. Van Lowe: Two Books, Top Ten!

E. Van Lowe caught my attention on March 10th with TWO books in Amazon's top ten. First I'm including E's response to my interview request, because it tells you a bit more about him. Then on to the interview....

Thank you so much for wanting me to be a part of your awesome blog. I love writing YA and reaching out to new readers. I am still a bit overwhelmed and humbled that two of my books made the list this week. Don't know if I will ever be on the Best Seller List again, so I am trying to soak it all in......By the way, E is short for Eric. My name is not Evan Lowe. It's E. Van Lowe.

I am lucky enough to have the first two books in my Falling Angels Saga on the list this week. They came in at numbers 8 & 9.

Boyfriend From Hell:

15 year-old Megan Barnett and her single mom, Suze, have a great relationship. They are more than mother and daughter--they are friends. This "friend" relationship takes a blow when Suze decides she wants to start dating, and the handsome and mysterious Armando becomes a part of their lives. There's something strange about Armando. But there's also something strange about the hot new boy in Megan's life--Guy Matson. One of them is the devil, with his eyes set on a new bride.

Earth Angel:

Just because Megan Barnett recently defeated Satan, has a fantastic new best friend, and has won the love of a deliciously handsome angel, doesn't mean her troubles are over. Far from it. For Megan doesn't realize it, but in her possession is a powerful weapon, one sought by both angels and demons and everything in between. They will do ANYTHING to get it.

How did you get published: traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past? 

 My first YA novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, was published by Tor/Teen (a division of Macmillan/St. Martin's Press). When it came time to do my next book they wanted me to go in a different direction. My friend, author Christopher Meeks and I were having a beer one day and he told me he was starting a publishing house. I asked him would he publish me. He read Boyfriend From Hell and the rest is, as they say, history. The house, by the way, is called White Whisker Books. The photo of the cat with the one white whisker on the spine of my books is Chris' cat. You've got to love a guy who names his publishing house after his cat's one white whisker.

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? How did your e-book come about? 

Boyfriend from Hell and Earth Angel are both available in print as well as ebooks. Both versions came out at the same time. Around the end of 2010 I started reading JA Konrath. I knew the ebook revolution was beginning and I wanted to be a part of it. Indie publishers depend on ebooks for their sales so going with White Whisker made total sense for me.

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

I find readers on Twitter. I am a Twitter-holic, so I am on Twitter pretty much all day. I am on Facebook and my Facebook fan page.. I blog about once a week, and I have a website. Many of my new readers, however, come through book bloggers who review my books or host giveaways. Book bloggers are the backbone of the digital age. No more New York Times Best Seller list, now it's people like you ;-)

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

I believe the e-format helps me as an author. While many of my friends cling to paper books, young people (my audience) do not. In this digital age they are the first to adapt to new delivery systems. In fact, from what I've heard, ebooks are encouraging more young people to read. To them, I suppose, they just seem more exciting. As an author this helps because my books can easily be passed around to new readers every day. E-readers are still quite expensive, so it's hard to get many of them in the hands of young people, but as the price comes down, more and more young people will have them. I know schools are already thinking about an all ebook future. I am proud to be at front of the ebook wave.


E also has a
book trailer that covers both Boyfriend from Hell and Earth Angel.

For more great books and interesting authors, check this week's Kids' E-Book Bestseller List.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dinosaurs Love Being Number One

On March 10th, Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman hit the number one spot in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble e-book store. Claire joins us today to talk about her book.

Claire, let's start with a summary of Dinosaurs Love Underpants.

This book explains how dinosaurs became extinct. Basically they were all wiped out because of.....underpants!!!! Obviously this is a very serious book and not at all silly!!!

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

I began writing after joining a creative writing class over 15 years ago. I still go to the same class each week - it's a great place to share ideas and writing thoughts. I never planned to become a writer - it just happened by chance. I'm so glad it did.

I got published by perserverance. I sent lots and lots of story ideas to various publishers, and they were all rejected, but I got good feedback from the editors. I took note of what they said, and re-wrote accordingly. Eventually after nearly 2 years, my first picture book text was accepted.

I tried for an agent at first, but it is hard for an unpublished author to get representation. I now find I don't need an agent and prefer to work alone.

Which came first -- the print version of your book, or the electronic version?

Print came first - the e-book version was the result of the demands for new media versions.

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? Why or why not?

I really hope that e-publishing won't take over print publishing. There is nothing more special than the feeling of opening a brand new book (or an old well thumbed copy) and turning the pages and holding the book in your hands. Not to mention owning a lovely bookshelf of your favourite books.

E-publishing is great - but it doesn't offer the hands on experince in my opinion.

Learn more about Claire and her books at her website,  her blog, or by following her on Twitter.  And check out the latest bestsellers for kids, updated every Saturday morning.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Latest News on E-Books

I received some very interesting Google alerts this week, so let’s take a brief break from author interviews and see what’s happening in e-format world.  

First, we have news from the Financial Times’ Digital Media Conference which was held in London last week. Of course, one of the panel discussions focused on “The eBook (r)evolution”.

Kobo CEO Michel Serbinis shared that eReading is growing ‘faster than expected’ on a month-on-month basis, and the growth is spreading from the US and Canada, where it first started, into western Europe. But he stressed that there is a profound difference in usage between dedicated eReaders and tablets. Check out his interesting quote:

“The people buying these devices (eReaders) are reading more frequently than those with tablets. They read for longer sessions and are more committed”, said Serbinis. “We definitely see tablets as for casual readers.” You can read the whole article here.

Specific to the children’s genre, Scholastic has announced it is digitalizing much of its list and is releasing an e-reading app called “Storia”. The app will include a large e-bookstore and it helps kids read e-books based on their reading level. Expected release date is sometime in the fall of this year. Read the full story here. 

(Is it me, or does it seem like the traditional publishing houses continue to be extremely sluggish in their response to the opportunities of e-format?) 

Over in the UK, The Daily Mail reports print book sales are seriously slumping as the e-format becomes more and more popular. In the first eight weeks of 2012, Britons bought 7.6million printed novels - almost two-and-a-half million fewer than books bought in the same period in 2011.

The slump (which does not include non-fiction and children's books) coincides with a jump in sales of e-readers. When sales of children's books and non-fiction are included, the number of books sold in the UK fell by 4.7million to 25million during the eight-week period. Of course, this has sparked fears over the future of Britain's book shops. The article states that book sellers have taken £28million less than they did a year ago. Here's the link to read the full report.

And this is right in line with a recent blog post from my fav marketing guru, Seth Godin. He wrote, “More and more, bookstores are turning into places where books go to die. Without active promotion, and even better, an easy way for the idea to reach people who don’t hang out in bookstores, it’s difficult for a book to catch on.”

Check this week's Kids' E-Book Bestseller List for the last top ten books in the the most popular e-stores.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oppression: Making a Big Impression!

Today we get to hear from Jessica Therrien, author of Oppression. Her book hit the number 7 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook bookstore last week, and this week it rose to number six. Oppression is book one of Jessica's paranormal romance/adventure series, Children of the Gods. Looks like the series is off to a super start

First, what's the story of Oppression?

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Among so many of her kind, she should not be very remarkable--except for the prophecy. Some believe she will put an end to traditions, safeguarded by violence, which have oppressed her people for centuries. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning--and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.

Tell us about your path to publication.

I found my publisher at the Southern California Writers Conference last year. They are a mid-sized publishing house out of Los Angeles.

Is your book available in print format? How did your e-book come about?
Yes, my book is available in both print and e-book format. Both were released at the same time. My publisher took care of creating the e-book so I'm not sure about the details.

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?
Since my novel is a Young Adult novel, the e-book is a great way to reach them. The younger generations gravitate toward technology.

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media. 
I blog at my website at I also use Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads to get the word out about my book. My virtual launch party and blog tour (hosted on my blog) were very instrumental in acquiring readers.

[The blog tour is happening now! Check in at Jessica's site for special offers and contests.]

See this week's updated Kids' E-Book Bestseller List for more authors, more books, and more great reading!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

There Was An Old Monkey Who Climbed to the Top Ten

Last Saturday There Was an Old Monkey Who Swallowed a Frog hit the number 10 spot in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of the Amazon Kindle bookstore. Author Jennifer Ward joins us to talk about her e-book success.  

First let's find out what the book is about.

There Was an Old Monkey Who Swallowed a Frog is a silly translation of the traditional children's song, I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. My version features a monkey as a main character, and he eats his way through a rainforest. I have written several adaptations of the traditional song with various characters, including, There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea, There Was an Odd Princess Who Swallowed a Pea, and the forthcoming, There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish.

How did you get published: Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past?

My path to publication is a bit remarkable in that I was traditionally published by the first publisher I sent my manuscript to - you don't hear about that too often in this business, but it does happen. I was so "green" at the time, I didn't realize how fortunate I was. My first children's book,Way Out in the Desert, (1998) is still in print and still going strong. All of my books are traditionally published, and I have been writing for fourteen years with fifteen books published so far, and four additional books in production at present.

Is your book available in print format? How did your e-book come about?

Yes, There Was an Old Monkey is available in print format, which is the original format of this book. The e-format came about per the publisher's interest in making it available as an e-book, so presently the book is available as both an e-book or in print format. I am pretty sure all of my books are available as e-books, and most publishers are working hard to have their entire lists made availalbe in e- format, as it is a large - and growing- portion of the reader market.

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? Has anything happened that you wouldn’t have predicted?

At this point I consider e-publishing a new frontier, and I am riding the trail just like everyone else, tyring to navigate my way along as I go. I am really curious to see what percentage of the book market will entail e-books, say, ten years from now - especially for children's picture books.

How do you see the world of e-publishing for children within the next 5 years?

During the next five years, I imagine a larger portion of the young reading market, children ages 4 - 8, will desire books in e-format vs. traditional print format. I believe this because it will be the format they are familiar with due to the fact that their parents use the technology in-home. I believe this is a trend that will continue to grow for years and years to come. I have already experienced this when I visit schools to read my books. Young children in grades 1 and 2 will inquire as to whether my books are available as e-books. I do hope that traditionally printed books will always have a place in a child's home, and in libraries and classrooms. There are sensory elements and cognitive elements that children engage with when reading a traditional book that aren't stimulated when reading in e-format, such as the physical aspect of fingering and turning each page.

Happy reading, everyone!

Learn more about Jennifer Ward at her website or by following her on Facebook.

Visit this week's Kids' E-Book Bestseller List to see the top ten books for Kids and YA in the web's most popular e-book stores!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dan Gutman's Book Goes Berserk in the iBookstore

Dan Gutman is the award-winning author of middle grade books, especially known for his series My Weird School, My Weird School Daze, and My Weirder School. They feature the Ella Mentry School where all the adults are insane and the children are normal. There are currently over thirty Weird School books, and a few weeks ago, Mr. Burke is Berserk!, hit the number 8 spot in the "Children and Teens" section of the iBookstore.

Dan, tell us about the story of Mr. Burke is Berserk!

Mr. Burke--the Ella Mentry School groundskeeper--discovers gold in the playground. Naturally, all the grownups get gold fever. Everyone is wearing overalls, pushing wheelbarrows, and shouting "Yee ha!" The male teachers suddenly have beards. There's a duel involving cell phones. Kids love to read about grownups doing dumb things.

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

I was born in a log cabin and used to write by candlelight with a piece of chalk on a shovel. Oh, sorry, I misunderstood the question. Traditional. "Mr. Burke Is Berserk!" is the 37th book in my "My Weird School" series. The series started in 2004 and a new one comes out every three months.

Is your book available in print format?

I believe the print and e-book came out simultaneously. I don't know if all the books in the series are available as e-books, but a lot of them are.

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? Why or why not?
Dan Gutman at a
"marshmallow farm"

One sure way to screw up, I have discovered, is to try to predict the future. I have no idea if print books will disappear one day, but it's obvious that e-publishing is growing fast. I'd guess that five years from now, every household will have at least one e-reader. Hopefully, books will not go away. I've got a lot of bookshelves in my house, and they'd look pretty weird empty.

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

"My Weird School" is aimed at grades 1-3, while "The Genius Files" and my baseball card adventure series are for grades 3 and up. I'm seeing kids of ALL ages reading e-books, and I think it's great. It doesn't matter to me if kids read my books off a page or off a screen. As long as they read them.

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

The publisher is spreading the word with their "My Weird Classroom Club", but I also blatantly plug my books on my Facbook fan page, Twitter,  and my own website.  I wish I had time to hit the blogs, but I just don't.

Dan's websites are full of entertaining info about him and his many books. Be sure to visit!

Check this week's Kids' E-Book Bestseller List for more interesting authors and their amazing e-books. I see some new names this week!