Wednesday, May 2, 2012

7 Weeks at Number 1: Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Since mid-March Infamous:Chronicles of Nick has been in the number one spot in the Children's section of the Sony e-bookstore. Author Sherrilyn Kenyon joins us today with unique insights on her e-format success. 

Sherrilyn, tell us what your book is about.

Go to school. Get good grades. Stay out of trouble. That’s the mandate for most kids. But Nick Gautier isn’t the average teenager. He’s a boy with a destiny not even he fully understands. And his first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him.

He’s learned to annihilate zombies and raise the dead, divination and clairvoyance, so why is learning to drive such a difficulty? But that isn’t the primary skill he has to master. Survival is. And in order to survive, his next lesson makes all the others pale in comparison. He is on the brink of becoming either the greatest hero mankind has ever known. Or he’ll be the one who ends the world. With enemies new and old gathering forces, he will have to call on every part of himself to fight or he’ll lose everyone he cares about.

Even himself.

How did you first get published -- traditional or independent?

Unfortunately, there is no brief way to talk about my path to publication. It was a very long, hard road. I'm living proof of "if at first you don't succeed, keep trying no matter what."

Is your book available in print format? 

It's available in all formats. Print, electronic and audio.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? 

I was the very first New York published author who pubbed an e-book back in the mid 1990's when no one had ever heard of them. As a major techno-junkie, I've always believed in them and have embraced them. I was also one of the first web designers in the country so the internet and I have a long history together.

Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts your readers, specifically children and/or young adults? How?

There is a real disadvantage that is becoming evident now. As everyone is moving rapidly to the digital readers and bookstores are closing, publishers are no longer touring authors and readers are no longer able to meet authors the way they used to. Nor will there be midnight launch parties in the future for book releases as we've had in the past; at least not physical ones in a store.

It's very sad. I loved touring and meeting the readers and talking to them. But there are so few physical stores left and those left aren't as enthused about hosting authors like they used to as it's expensive for them to do so and they now lose a lot of money whenever they hold an event. Used to, people would always buy at least one copy of a new book whenever they came to the store for a signing. Now, readers are bringing ereaders to be signed and they're not buying any books at the store itself. They might browse the bookstore shelves, but once they find a book they like, they turn on the ereader and download it while in the store and a lot of times they're not downloading from the store company that is hosting the event. So the stores, which in many cases are barely making ends meet, lose too much money to host an event. One of the things that saddens me is when I was a young girl, we used to go to record stores and meet bands. Big name bands. Whenever they had a new album out and they were touring, they'd pop in to record stores and sign for fans. That stopped a long time ago when the last record store closed. That's the unfortunate thing about digital and that's where bookstores are headed.

Yes, fans can still talk to us online, but it's not the same as face to face. You can't shake a fan's hand on a computer, or physically hug them, and you can't have the same direct communication with them as you do in person. And especially with younger readers who want to be writers. Writers can tell a reader a lot more in person than they can writing online. It takes a lot more time to type it all out than it does to speak it. And when you have a lot of fans online, you don't always see their questions. We got upwards of 4000 questions in a day from FB, MySpace, Twitter, email, interviewers, publishers, etc. There's only so many hours in a day that we can even begin to answer them. And the questions and posts come so fast and furious that it's easy to miss a few, unfortunately.

That's the major drawback. But the upside is that now readers, especially if they're not in a major city, have access to a lot more books. So as with most things in life, you have the good and the bad.


Get to know more about Sherrilyn Kenyon at her website, her Facebook page and by following her on Twitter.