Saturday, May 26, 2012

Epic Fail: An Epic Success in the iBookstore

Today we get to visit with Claire LeZebnik. Her e-book, Epic Fail, hit the number 10 spot in the Children and Teens section of the iBookstore last week. 

Let's hear what Epic Fail is about.

Four sisters move to the west side of LA and go to a new school where many of the other students are shockingly rich and spoiled. When the oldest sister falls in love, the second oldest one, Elise, is forced to spend time with the new beau's best friend, who instantly strikes her as stand-offish and even rude. When she finds out that Derek's parents are famous movie stars, she writes him off, assuming he's just a self-centered jerk, but eventually learns she may have judged him too hastily . . .

It's a light, fun, romantic read--and is very loosely based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? 

Yes, Epic Fail is available in print. It was published in both print and electronically simultaneously--it's simply how HarperTeen chose to put it out there, which I'm thrilled about: I want to be available to as many readers as possible!

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

I have to admit, I've always been a little scared of what e-books mean to publishing in general. I grew up in awe of writers who had ACTUAL BOOKS PUBLISHED. And I still feel amazed and delighted when I see one of my books in a bookstore. I don't ever want to lose the beauty and tactile satisfaction of a bound book, and there's been a lot of talk about whether books in print will still be around in a few more decades. But as a reader, I appreciate the immediacy and simplicity of e-books. I own a Kindle, but don't use it very often--just for those times when I'm desperate to read a sequel or a book that I can't find nearby. I still mostly buy real books and so does my family.

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

It's interesting. I've published five novels for adults and one for teens (my second YA is due out in February of 2013). I see a huge difference in those two markets. My adult sales were all about the print books and hoping people would find them in stores. But EPIC FAIL has sold very well in e-book from the beginning--the sales were fairly even, I believe, in both print and electronic forms--and then when they temporarily lowered the price, it soared in the e-book format. I think the younger generation is much more comfortable reading online. My own kids still prefer real books, but I've noticed they watch TV and movies on computers, in a way I just don't, so I think the trend is definitely toward living your life online and that includes reading and watching. I think publishing electronically is important if you're targeting readers under thirty.

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

Epic Fail came out a while ago--back in August 2011--so it's pretty thrilling to see that it's still selling so well. It was holding pretty steady, but then got a nice big bump from the publisher's decision to reduce the e-book price for a limited time only (about four weeks). We only have a week left with the reduced price, but I'm hoping that the extra attention that the promotion brought will continue to bring readers to the book.

Get to know more about Claire LaZebnik and her books by visiting her website or by following her on Facebook.

See this week's Kids' Ebook Bestseller List for all the top ebooks for children and young adults!