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!