Saturday, July 28, 2012

In-Depth Interview With Anne Eliot, Amazon Bestselling Author of ALMOST

Every Saturday since July 14th,  Almost by Anne Eliot has been in the top 10 of the "Children's and Young Adult" section of the Amazon Kindle store.

Anne, what is Almost is about?

At a freshman party she doesn't remember...Jess Jordan was almost raped.

Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.

Three years later, Jess still has PTSD but has managed to make everyone believe she's better. Unfortunately, until Jess proves she's back to normal activities, her parents won't discuss college. So, she lands a summer internship and strikes a deal with hockey jock, Gray Porter: He gets $8,000, and she gets a fake boyfriend and a social life.

Jess has no idea Gray signed on for reasons other than money. She also never expects to fall in love. Gray Porter is hiding secrets of his own. About Jess Jordan. About why he's driven to protect her, why he won't cash her checks, or deny her anything she asks.

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

Almost was my third completed 'manuscript'. I did the normal 'go to conferences, pitch the book, send out queries' with no luck.

I did get 'close', numerous requests for 'fulls' followed with, 'we love it, we just don't love-love it'. I did that for seven years and four manuscripts! And then, I gave up the idea of publishing at all. This book was under my bed until the day a beloved cousin appeared with broken ribs and told me a story that was eerily similar to the story in Almost. She'd been 'almost' raped, and now could not get over what had happened to her. She's the one that said I had to publish my book, and so, I pulled it out and decided to go for it.

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

My audience is anyone who loves romance, people who might be suffering from their own PTSD, families who have a daughter who had a similar event, and or school counselors who are helping teens with similar problems. And of course it's for teens that love a good 'book boyfrieend'. I've been told Gray Porter makes people sigh. YAY!

I've been contacted by many siblings and parents who have someone in the family who was raped or almost raped. They tell me this book really helped them understand. More humbling, is when I'm contacted by a person who has rape-related PTSD, or a rape counselor, and they tell me I got it right. The e-format is awesome because it allows people to get the book fast, and read the same day.

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

I was terrified to e-publish. I was even more scared to for my own LLC, but I did it all because without a publishing company behind the book, I found out school libraries would not be able to order the book as in the library arena, self-published books are not often ordered. I still am a little jumpy bout the e-publishing to be honest. Like...I'm sort of afraid to check my reports because I feel like I'm dreaming and I don't want to wake up. I waited so long, and so to find my book moving up the charts like this feels so surreal.

I've always been an girl, so I chose Kindle Direct Publishing as the company to help me publish. I have only wonderful things to say about their customer service, their level of help, kind staff, amazing online explanations and complete hand-holding they did for me. Kindle Direct and are a class act and the customer service is there for you with one phone call or email they answer everything without making you feel like you don't know what you are doing (even though that was the case for me). They want you to succeed because if you do, then they do.

That said, as a writer, is your job to take the time to clean up your book. You must edit, and re-edit and revise the story until it's right. Don't hurry it. Get readers to give you feedback, and then make changes until it's right. This book that takes two days to read, took me two years to write and re-write. And, if you mess up (because I did do a lot of that, then you need to take the hours, the time, or pay an expert to get it right and to fix it. (I also had to do this. It hurt. But I got it done and I learned a lot).

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

I think it's helped me. My book is on Amazon Prime's 'free to Prime members who own Kindle devices' program. It was really important to me that whomever wanted or needed a copy be able to have one. I'm really honored to be in the Kindle Prime program.

E-format attracts dedicated readers. The customers who use are internet users, blog readers, review readers, shoppers that don't get fooled easily. They know what they want, they want the best price, and they usually don't want to waste a lot of time with shopping. The e-book format allows that. These consumers are the people who chew through two books or more in a weekend, and are constantly looking for more. I can only guess, but I think e-publishing allows my book to go to people who are serious about reading and technology. People like me, who love books and don't have a lot of time to waste so therefore they shop on and have a Kindle/kindle reader app so they can just download and 'get to the good stuff' of cracking that new book?

Er...or...I mean 'clicking that new book'!!

What advantages of e-publishing do you think are most relevant to the children’s literature market? 

I'm still waiting to see some of these 'interacitve' books and live graphic novels that I know will be coming out for iPad, Kindle Fire, and the Kindle Reading apps. If this creates life-long readers and a market that is constantly moving ahead to challenge kids and teens to read, I think the e-books will never stop. It's an exciting time for writers and for readers because it seems as though e-publishing has allowed the boundaries to disappear. The sky, the mind and what the readers want to read is now the limit. Though in some cases this has been a shock in what's been published and what does sell, I think it's good. Publishing has been locked down for so many years in what all said people could and could not do because of the system. E-publishing is changing the whole system, the rules and the readers are loving it. I can't wait to see what happens over the next few years. I'm honored and grateful to be a writer and a reader of e-published books.

I'm still waiting.

Want to know more about Anne and her books? Check her website.
Anne was so excited to do this interview, she answered EVERY question I sent her instead of three to five of her choice. You can click here for the full length version.

And don’t forget to check this week’s Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more super books and authors!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Vincent Brothers: Abbi Glines' Ticket to the Top Ten

Today's interview features The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines. It's the second book in her Vincent Boys series, and on June 30th it hit the number 9 spot in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of the Amazon store.

Abbi, tell us about  The Vincent Brothers.  

He may have given her up without a fight, but Sawyer Vincent is far from over losing the girl he’s loved all of his life. Instead of giving up his best friend and the girl he thought he’d spend forever with, he gave Ashton and his brother Beau his blessing. However, adjusting to seeing Ashton wrapped up in Beau’s arms isn’t easy. Complicating everything even more, Ashton’s cousin Lana is in town for the summer. Sweet, kind, soft-spoken Lana, who gets under his skin. Just being near her makes him forget all about Ashton and his broken heart. Lana is everything he wanted Ashton to be except she isn’t Ashton. She lacks the backbone to stand up for herself and confidence that Ashton wears like a crown.

Lana McDaniel has lived her life in her cousin's shadow. While Lana struggled with her grades no matter how hard she tried, her mother praised Ashton's intelligence. She hadn’t been blessed with Ashton’s blond hair and flawless skin, but that didn't keep her mother from lamenting her naturally red hair and freckles. But none of that would have mattered if Ashton hadn’t always had Sawyer Vincent wrapped around her finger -- the only boy Lana wanted. Once Ashton let Sawyer go, Lana had been so sure that he’d move on. Determined to make Sawyer finally see her, she'd talked her mother into letting her spend the summer with Ashton. But Sawyer is still in love with Ashton, and Lana isn’t going to be anyone's rebound girl. No matter how yummy Sawyer Vincent’s kisses taste.

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

The Vincent Brothers is the sequel to The Vincent Boys. Although, The Vincent Boys never quite reached the top #100 it did hang around the #200s for a very long time. I believe The Vincent Brothers got readers that both loved and hated The Vincent Boys. Most readers that disliked The Vincent Boys disliked it because of the fact Sawyer was cheated on by the two people he loved most. They couldn’t see his wrong in the situation. The cheating was just too big of thing for them to accept. So, in The Vincent Brothers it’s Sawyer’s turn to “speak” and they get into his head. It also helps that he gets the girl in this one.

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

Twitter is my friend. I can talk with readers and I believe that helps a lot. Also, word of mouth. Goodreads, Facebook, and just readers tweeting about it draws interest. I don’t have any one specific thing that I think helps me market. Except girls can’t really resist a sexy southern boy with a truck ;)

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

HELPS! The world is being taken over by ereaders and iPhones. My target audience is young adult readers and if this age range doesn’t have an ereader, they have an iPhone.

There are lots of ways to learn more about Abbi and her books. Check her website and blog or follow her on Twitter.  She has two Facebook pages: one for her Existence Trilogy and of course, one for The Vincent Boys series. And she's on Goodreads.

Check this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more interesting authors who've found success in e-publishing.

And guess what?  This is my 100th post!!!  Yes, ever since November of 2010 I've been featuring the top selling authors and the latest news in e-books for children and young adults. I love highlighting these fantastic authors and I think e-publishing is making this the best time ever to be an author. So keep coming back! You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Party Day: Partying On For The Third Week in the Top Five

For three weeks now Party Day by Laurie Berkner has been sitting in the top 5 in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. Laurie is not only an author, but also a successful children's recording artist. I contacted Laurie to find more about her successful book.

Let's find out first what your book is about.

Party Day is based on the title track from The Laurie Berkner Band’s 2011 DVD, Party Day! (Two Tomatoes Records/Razor & Tie). In Party Day, a merry bunch of insects get together for an all-day beach celebration. They play instruments, dance, build sand castles, tell stories and watch the waves until the sun goes down. Julia Woolf's colorful and fun illustrations made it easy to capture visually what I wanted to express in the song; the joy of being with friends and never wanting a perfect day to end.

How did you get published: traditionally or independently?

I had previously released two book-with-CDs on Scholastic’s Orchard Books imprint, both of which were based on a single song. The first was in 2004; the second in 2007.

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

Barnes & Noble gets a strong response with their e-newsletter and they have featured it prominently on their website. The person in our office who handles social media has done a great job of getting the word out on Facebook.

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

Our audience is mostly preschool through kindergarten. The e-format in this case works well for them because they don’t need to know how to read yet and it is easy to manipulate. Even very young children can use their fingers to play music and animations, as well as participate in fun “drag and drop” and “find and touch” activities. The full song with lyrics is also included, which enhances the experience.

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

I loved the idea of turning my song into an animated story, and I was excited about the way that this interactive format could enhance the reading experience for young children. My biggest concern was how to make it fun without it losing the feel of it being a book. Everyone who helped me on the project was so talented that this ended up not being an issue at all. I’m very happy with the way it turned out

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

The book is not available in print format. The DVD came first, and then Barnes & Noble expressed interest in turning the title track into an exclusive NOOK Kids e-book. Party Day is both NOOK Kids’ and my first-ever original NOOK Kids Read and Play™ book.
Learn more about Laurie and the Laurie Berkner Band at her website, her Facebook page and her blog.

This week's Kids' Ebook Bestseller List features at least six authors that we haven't seen before. Exciting! Check it out for all the lastest top tens for children and young adults!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Year We Disappeared Appeared in the Top Ten!

Last Saturday The Year We Disappeared hit the number 8 spot in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of the Amazon store. Written by Cylin Busby and her dad, John Busby, it's a compelling memoir, and I believe it may be the first memoir ever to hit the Kids' Ebook Bestseller list. It certainly is the first to be featured in an interview. Let's hear all about it.

First, Cylin, tell us what your book is about.

THE YEAR WE DISAPPEARED is a true-crime memoir, co-written with my police officer father. The book recalls the events of 1979, when my father was shot and our family had to be protected around the clock from his assailants. We were later relocated and lived in hiding for five years. 

Tell us about your path to publication: traditional or independent?
My path to publication for this book was fairly traditional--I submitted the manuscript to my agent, then to the publisher. But one thing that was not traditional: I thought this book would be published for adults, however an editor at Bloomsbury saw the potential for it to be published as a young adult book with adult crossover, so we went that route, and I'm glad we did.

What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now?
The book was published in hardcover in 2008, and did not go into ebook until 2010 or 2011--so the paperback had already become available. I think there is a demand for ebooks and the "instant" nature of getting a book in that format that made this book popular when it became an ebook. Also, Amazon did a price promotion for a few days, and the fact that this book is considered a good "beach read"contributed to good summer sales.

How are people finding out about your book?
A few factors helped readers find out about our book: first, good reviews and starred reviews help bring readers, second our story was featured on national television in 2009 on the show "48 Hours" and that helped drive sales.

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?
Teens and adults are our target audience, and I do feel that the e-book works well for that audience because most of them have a device (kindle, iPad) that they can use to read. For younger readers, middle school and elementary school, I don't think ebooks work as well and they might still be better served by "traditional" books.

Learn more about Cylin and her writing at
her website. And as always, the Kids' Ebook Bestseller List has been updated this morning with all the latest top tens in e-format.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

E-Readers for Kids -- New Products to Consider

Usually here at, the focus is on the authors and their e-books that have made it on to my weekly bestseller list.. But today let's talk about the e-readers.

Young adults are reading these books in a variety of ways -- on their phones, their laptops, their tablets, and perhaps on a designated e-reader. What about younger kids? Do you cringe when you five-year old wants to use your iPad to read a book while drinking juice or eating something sticky? While your Kindle Fire is durable enough to throw in your purse with your keys (as stated in the promo film), can it hande a fall from your eight-year old's tree house?

If you're tired of lending out your e-reader or tablet with fear and trepidation, have a look at some of the new gadgets designed specifically with kids in mind. 

For the little tykes, check out the VTech InnoTab 2. From the looks of it, I'm thinking with would appeal to the 5-and-under crowd, although they are saying it's for kids up to age 9. Priced at $79.99, it offers a variety of functions. "The device is packed with various multimedia features including a photo viewer, MP3 player, video player, and an ebook reader. A microphone, a rotatable camera and a tilt sensor add creative dimensions to the device."

Once kids hit school age, they'll want something that looks less like a toy. Gajah has a new soon-to-be released e-reader made for children. It's actually touted as a tablet and it features a sleeker look that will appeal to the kindergarten-and-up group. This one's still "under development" so be on the lookout for more details and a price at their website.

My fav for school-aged kids is the Vinci Tab II. The price is steeper at $169, but again this is a tablet, not just an e-reader. The nice aspect, in my opinion, is that it looks more like a tablet and less like a toy, a feature that I'm sure will appeal to kids aged 6 and over.

I'm sure as we get closer to the holiday season, more companies will be releasing their latest innovations for this fast-growing market of e-reader technology for children. To keep up, you can always check the news feed to the left of this post for the latest news in the e-book world for children and young adults.