Saturday, September 29, 2012

Janet Gurtler's I'M NOT HER: A B & N Nook Bestseller!

On September 8th,  I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler hit the number 2 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes & Noble Nook store. Janet kindly agreed to tell us about her successful e-format experience. 

For starters, tell us what your book is about.

I’m Not Her is a story about two sisters who each have a “role” to play in their families. Kristina is the perfect sister but when cancer literally takes her perfection from her, Tess the younger and less visible sister must step up and deal with a shift in their family roles. It’s a book about how our people aren’t always who we think they are. It’s a book about discovering yourself and standing up for what you want. It’s about dealing with change and growing.

How did you get published: Traditionally or independently? 

I have only been traditionally published at this point in my career. I’M NOT HER is published by Sourcebooks Fire. I wrote for about 8 years before my first book got published traditionally.

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

I wish I could say it was my amazing mad skills as a writer and marketer, but honestly I was super fortunate to have Barnes and Nobles select I’M NOT HER as the Nook Deal of the Day! Barnes and Nobles has been really great with my books.

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

As mentioned above, I’ve had great support from Barnes and Nobles in the US and Indigo/Chapters in Canada. Independent stores have also been great about bringing in my books(and ebooks). Sourcebooks is also an amazing publisher who really does try to help authors with their brand building and growing readership.

I am not as skilled at using social media to meet my readers as many other authors I don’t think. I love Facebook and Twitter and try to keep people updated with what I’m doing or what’s happening with the books. There’s a fine line though where promotions starts to feel like bragging and horn blowing and I worry sometimes that I do too much of that.

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

My core readers are of course, teenagers, since I write Young Adult fiction. However I truly think that I’M NOT HER and my new book coming out in October, WHO I KISSED are great reads for mom’s and twenty-something’s too. As Andrew Karre said, teen fiction is about teenagers, but it is meant to be read by everyone. (paraphrasing him)

I love that the e-format reaches a new generation of readers. Less bulk especially when travelling. It’s so much easier to carry a bunch of books on your e-reader of choice.

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

I think e-publishing is fascinating. While I am a true fan of real books, I love the feel, smell and warmth of them, I also love the convenience of e-books. My books are currently e-published by my publisher, Sourcebooks. I have a three book contact to fulfill so I’m pretty focused on those books right now, and Sourcebooks will e-publish them. I would love to look at e-pubbing on my own someday, but for now time-wise, it’s not really possible. I’m glad that the books go on sale periodically, like I’M NOT HER (for $1.99) because I do think that lower price is a great way to get into the e-readers of a totally new audience. I was thrilled when I found out I’M NOT HER went on sale at Nook, and at Amazon!

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? How do you see the world of e-publishing for children within the next 5 years?

I am not sure I can predict this. I’m old enough that I remember cassette tapes and CD’s and never would have thought that they would become obsolete, or pretty close. I think that e-books will continue to grow. I don’t know the stats off the top of my head, but I’m convinced there’s lots and lots of room for growth in the YA market.

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

I think e-formats help. It’s a way to reach readers who may not have access to the books in a traditional way. It’s a way to reach readers who prefer the e-format. I think any way that we can get or keep people reading is a positive thing!

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

This is another great, thought provoking question. I love that you are looking at the e-publishing world and asking great questions that get readers and authors thinking! I think that the loaning of e-books at libraries is fascinating and relevant to the tech savvy kids coming up in the school systems now. They are seeing e-books on their smart boards at schools and are just so much more open to different formats and media. I think e-publishing is something that is necessary in children’s literature, because that is where the children are growing up. 


Learn more about Janet and her books at her websiteher blog or on Facebook.  And learn about more bestselling e-books by checking the Kids' EBook Bestseller List every week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Helen Ketteman: A Monster Success on Amazon

Goodnight, Little Monster by Helen Ketteman hit the number 5 spot in the "Children's & YA" section of the Amazon Kindle store on September 8th. Helen joins us today to tell us all about her book and her path to e-format success.

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

My book is about a little monster going through his bedtime routine, as most young children do. And, like many young children (myself included, when I was little), he is afraid there is something scary under his bed. The routine he goes through with Mama monster is soothing and reassuring, and eventually he settles in for a good night's sleep.

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

I have been writing for around 27 years, and got published the old-fashioned way - through form rejections, "good" rejections, until I finally emerged from the slush pile.

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

I think just getting the word out about the book, and good reviews from traditional review sources and readers who post on their own blogs and on Amazon.

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

My marketing skills are less than wonderful. I have a web page, at, which needs updating for my new books. The web page talks not only about my author visits and my books, but it also has a nice section on writing, which is geared for young writers and also for teachers who work on writing with young children. I have done marketing to librarians at library conventions, and through my author visits, teachers have spread the word about me and my books. I also have a page on facebook, and when a new book comes out, I do post a photo of the cover. That's about it.

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

Obviously, my main target audience is young children, my readers, and I think the Ebooks are good for that audience, since these youngsters are growing up with computers. However, since some of my target audiences don't read yet, and since they normally don't choose their own books, I need to target thir parents as well.

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

I grew up with "real" books, and am still quite a fan of those! I enjoy the feel of a book in my hand, of turning the pages, the smell of a book. So I was not sure about Ebooks when they first came out. I was afraid they would be too much like the videos children watch so much, and that children wouldn't come to love books as people of my generation did. BUT...I realize things are changing. Kids today grow up with smart phones and computers, so reading an Ebook (or having it read to them by an adult) probably feels pretty normal to them. Too, I know that books themselves are not going to disappear altogether - at least not for a VERY long time. (I HOPE!)

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

All of my books are - or have been (some are out of print) - available in print. I publish through well-known children's book publishers, and many of the contracts I signed early on didn't even make reference to Ebooks, because there was no such thing at that time. I have never published a book that is only available as an Ebook, though this could possibly be something that would happen in the future, as printed books get more and more expensive. I do believe that public libraries and school libraries will still buy printed books, even though they may also purchase some Ebooks.

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing?  How do you see the world of e-publishing for children within the next 5 years?

I don't know. I personally hope not. I don't see a lot of change in the next 5 years in the world of E-publishing, except that probably more and more books will be available in this format. I hope the quality of children's books doesn't go down, because children deserve the best in books if we are to create a lifelong love of reading and learning.

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

It helps in a way, in that perhaps the author's book can get into more households, since Ebooks are less expensive. But I also think the royalty system will have to change for the authors. Authors make very little on Ebook purchases, even with lots of sales, and while it's not about the money for most of us, we do have to survive and make some kind of a living.

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

I think if an Ebook is read to a young child by an adult, Mom or Dad, Grandma, whoever, then the shared experience can be similar to sharing a printed book. However, I do worry about Ebooks where there's the option of having the books read by the computer, and adding lots of interactive stuff, because to me, then the "book" starts to become similar in feel to a video game, and then it seems to me that the wonderful experience of reading and sharing a story is lost.

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

I think more people can afford to buy books and so books may become more widely known because of this. And, if Ebooks get children excited about books, then that's a good thing.


Check back on Saturday for the latest and greatest Top Tens on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Otto Goes To School -- And To The Top Ten

September: It's the traditional back to school month, not just for kids but also for Otto the dog. Author and illustrator Todd Parr joins us today to talk about the e-book success of Otto Goes To School.  On September 1st it hit the number 3 spot in the Kids section of the Barnes & Noble Nook store, and the following week it arose to number 2.  He generously answered almost every question I sent him. Enjoy!

Todd, tell us what your book is about.

After a breakfast of juice, cereal, and a banana split, Otto goes to school for the first time, where he makes new friends and learns how to wag his tail without knocking things over.

What was your path to publication: Traditional or independent? How long ago?

Traditional. OTTO GOES TO SCHOOL was part of an original 5 book series launched in 2003.

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

Redesign, redesigned icon, colors and a simple read.

How are people finding out about your book?

Repeat buyer of my other books. Facebook, Twitter and my web site

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

3-6 year olds.  Very well as long as it's on a color device.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? 

I was very excited, not to replace the actual book, but to give more options on how people get their content.

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

That I don't like my recorded voice in reading the books.

Is your book available in print format? 

It is being re-released in print format as part of the Early Reader Program. The book has been reformatted a bit for that. 

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

No. I think there is room for both. Two different experiences. I see it as much more interactive.

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

Not sure? In my case, I believe it has helped me. 

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

Interactive books that engage kids to read and make it fun.

Learn more about Todd and his books by using the links I included above.

Check back on Wednesday for a visit with Helen Ketteman, the author of Goodnight, Little Monster, an Amazon Kindle bestseller. And don't forget to have a look at today's updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more Top Ten e-books.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Molly McAdams Took A Chance on E-Publishing . . . And Won!

I'm pleased to feature indie author Molly McAdams, whose e-book Taking Chances shot to the top ten right out of the gate. On the September 8th Kids' E-Book Bestseller List, her book was in the #8 spot in the "Children's and YA" section of the Amazon Kindle store AND it was also #1 (!!!!) in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. Last Saturday, September 15th, it climbed to #4 in Amazon and held on the the #1 spot in B & N. Wow! Let's hear her amazing story.....

In a few sentences, tell us what your book is about.

Taking Chances is about a girl, Harper, that has grown up with her career Marine father. After being sheltered her entire life, she's going away to college across the country and for the first time she has freedom. She's introduced to parties, guys, feminine clothing and love from a family like she's never had. She quickly falls in love with two guys, and is torn between the deep love she has for her boyfriend and the underlying chemistry she has for her roommate's brother. But Harper's decisions and actions will ultimately change everyone's lives in a way no one is expecting.

How did your book get published?

I actively started writing five books at the beginning of this year, mostly to get all the stories floating around in my head out; it wasn't until I finished one of them, Taking Chances, that I started thinking about publishing. I figured this was a hobby of mine, and I enjoyed what I was doing so I may as well publish it on my own. I copyrighted my book after editing and a week and a half ago (ed. late August) uploaded it through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I hadn't ever considered publishing with an actual publishing house, and for now I'm having fun doing it on my own, but I hope some day to have my books picked up.

How are people finding out about your book?

I haven't marketed at all, really it's social media and word of mouth. Goodreads, Facebook, and book reviewers have been amazing! Without those three things, I seriously doubt any of this would be happening for Taking Chances right now.

Is your book available in print format? 

Not yet, but I hope to start having it available within the year! I know people love actual books (I do too!) But I also know that e-readers are huge for so many different reasons right now and I think e-books will definitely always be my favorite way of going. It's very easy to publish for e-readers, it's free and people can download them in an instant. Who doesn't love that? :)

Want to learn more about Molly? Visit her website and blog, her GoodReads author page, her Facebook Author page, her regular Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter.

And if you haven't yet, check out this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more great books.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Love The Nightlife: In Print, On TV and Now an E-Book Bestseller

Today's interview is with Tish Rabe, author of I Love the Nightlife which features that oh-so-famous Cat In The Hat. The Nook version of her book hit the number 3 spot in the Barnes & Noble Kids' section on August 18th, and we get to hear all about it!

First, what's the story? 

In I Love the Nightlife, the Cat, Nick and Sally travel at night to the forest of Wagamaroo to find the Cat's lost hat and meet lots of nocturnal animals. They try owl goggles to try to see at night like an owl can, they try bat ears to see if they can hear the hat (even bats can't do that!) then try opossum noses to smell the hat (the Cat admits it's one of his oldest hats and it is a bit stinky!) They finally find it and all the animals come to say goodbye. The Cat whisks them home in the Thinga-ma-jigger so they can get some sleep!

How did you get published? And how long ago?

I wrote my first children's book for Sesame Street in 1985. It was called Bert and the Broken Teapot and was based on something that really happened to me when I was seven and my cat knocked over my mother's antique teapot. Her words to me "I love you more than any teapot" were key to the story and I used them in the book. I have been writing children's books, television scripts and children's songs ever since and to date have written 135 children's books! In 1996 I submitted a rhyming book to Random House which they decided not to publish, but I was given the honor of writing a new line of Cat in the Hat books, The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library and have written 16 titles for this book series. In 2010 a television series based on the books The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That premiered on PBS Kids.

Is your book available in printed format?

I Love the Nightlife is a "spin-off" book based on a script from the television series and was first produced in printed format complete with glow-in-the-dark stickers! After the success of the show, the editors at Random House decided to make these books available in e-format.

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

I think anything we all can do to keep kids reading and writing is a positive thing. Whether they are holding a book or reading it on an e-reader, the important thing is to promote literacy any way we can. We are competing with so many other activities kids are involved with, if it's easier for them to read in e-format than to carry a book around- I say go for it! The only disadvantage I see is some of these books come with fun "add-ons" , stickers, 3 D glasses, etc. that can't be duplicated in e-readers.

How are people finding out about your book?

Random House has done a terrific job in promoting my books via their website  and the web site for the TV show on PBS Kids. My own web site gets a lot of activity and I try to keep it up to date with my upcoming school author visits, etc. I love going to classrooms across the country to get kids excited about reading and writing and that's especially fun around Read Across America week which coincides with Dr. Seuss's birthday, March 2nd. I am already set to travel to Nevada and Texas this year as well as doing appearances near my homes in New York City and Mystic, Connecticut. It is wonderful to see the kids get so excited about the books and I always end by asking them to join me in my Reading and Writing Song: (to the tune of "Down by the Station")

Reading and writing
both are so exciting
read a book or write a story
start right NOW!

Find all the top bestselling e-books for kids and young adults at this weeks' Kids' E-Book Bestseller List. And stop back on Wednesday when we'll hear from Molly McAdams, talking about her e-book success with Taking Chances.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted To Be In a Best Seller

Last Saturday, Frank Was A Monster Who Wanted To Dance hit the number 10 spot in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of Amazon. Author and illustrator Keith Graves joins us to talk about the experience and success of having Frank in electronic format. He answered every one of my questions, so you're sure to learn quite a bit from him!

First, tell us what your book is about.

FRANK WAS A MONSTER WHO WANTED TO DANCE tells the story of Frank the monster, who, after watching an episode of Soul Train, is inspired to shake a leg himself. What better place to let it all hang out than the Royal Ballet? Frank's dance begins well, but, alas, monsters aren't exactly built for dancing. Despite some major problems involving his brain and several other body parts, Frank is unstoppable! Told in simple rhymes and illustrated in rich colors, it's a book that young readers scream for over and over.

How and when did this book first get published?

FRANK was published by Chronicle books in 1999. It was my first book as an author and illustrator.

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

Clearly the key to FRANK's success is that his brain falls out. I should have made that happen in all my books.

How are people finding out about your book?

One mom tells another mom, one kid tells another kid. Cool librarians read it at story time. Reviewers say nice things in newspapers, radio, tv, and blogs. Very old-school process.

What is your target audience, and  how do you believe the electronic format serves their needs?

My target audience is basically human beings. They seem to like my books best. And boy do those creatures love their e-thingies. Anything 'e' is fab with the humans.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Was it your idea or your publisher’s?

These days all my books are published as regular books that you can pile up on your shelf as well as ebooks for those handy DEVICES. That's just how it works now. I am ok with ebooks, they're handy, as long as they still make the other kind as well. I really like books as actual objects.

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things?

I'm mostly into regular books as an author/illustrator. Ebooks have not led to amazing discoveries as of yet for me. I'm open to it, though.

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing?

Unfortunately I think ebooks will spell the end for actual BOOK books eventually. But not for a while yet. Yay!

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

It helps in some ways, hurts in others. Some people buy ebooks who don't like the other kind, but then, they're way cheaper, so it makes it harder for authors to make a living. Unless people buy both. A mixed bag.

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

I don't know, but I sure like the experience of a real book. I like ebooks, too, I admit it, but I worry about the future of illustration for books if all books are the e kind. The temptation to do the art quickly and electronically will be great, and the truth is that technique is rarely on a level with the best traditional illustration. I'm a dinosaur, so sue me.

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

Epublishing makes it easy for librarians and parents to get content for their various devices. It's easier for librarians to present the story to an audience on a large screen, than by holding the book up and flipping pages. 

You can learn more about Keith and his books at his website. And have a look at this week's Kids' E-Book Bestseller List where there's always something new in the top ten!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nina Berry's OTHERKIN -- 3 Weeks, Top 10!

For the past three weeks, Otherkin by Nina Berry has been sitting steady in the number 8 spot in the Children's section of the Sony E-Bookstore. Nina's here today to share her thoughts on the e-format success of her book.

First, we want to know what Otherkin is about.

Sixteen-year-old Desdemona Gray doesn’t even bother with crushes on cute boys now that she’s forced to wear a hard plastic back brace all day. What guy would want to literally have to knock on a girl to be let in? So she squashes down every impossible desire until an uber-awkward brush with a boy brings out all her frustration and she changes…into a tiger. In that bewildering moment, she is captured by Ximon, the leader of a fanatical group hell-bent on wiping out the five remaining tribes of shape-shifters, known as the otherkin.

With help from a handsome, mysterious fellow captive named Caleb, she escapes and goes on the run, finding allies and learning the truth behind the legends of wizards and were-creatures. Then Ximon goes too far, and Dez must tap into all her buried desires to find her inner tiger and save herself, her new friends, and the boy she loves.

How did you get published: Traditionally or independently? Recently or further in the past?

I went a more traditional route, and did it a bit later in life than most. I've been writing stories since I was four, but it took me awhile to realize that I wanted to write for teens because those are the kind of books that meant the most to me. I also figured out that I needed to write things that were close to me, emotionally, as well as entertaining. So first I wrote a YA thriller that got a lot of nice rejections from agents. While that was going on, I wrote Otherkin. I had a back brace as a teen, so it was easy to tap into the emotions that went with that, and then a challenge to be real on the page about those emotions. With Otherkin I snagged my fabulous agent, Tamar Rydzinski, and she got me a deal for a series at KTeen pretty quickly after that. It's been an amazing rollercoaster ride since then! Book 2, titled Othermoon, will be out February of 2012, with another in the series planned for after that.

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

If I knew, I'd try to replicate it for every e-format, and in print as well! But my guess is that it's a combination of being the right genre and the right price at the right time.

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

I've been involved on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging for years now. I started well before I ever sold a book, out of a desire to see how these things worked and to get the most out of them. And I think they're invaluable. I do twitter chats, email interviews, and post the latest news on both my personal and professional Facebook pages. I follow people on twitter and Tumblr that I am truly interested in, and I love pinning gorgeous or funny things up on Pinterest. The internet is a reflection of the world - it's a rich stew of fabulous, tasty things, and social media is a great way to sample and savor whatever interests you. I wince when I see people on Twitter where every tweet is a hard sell for their book/record/film/whatever. It's not about that. Yes, you're going to mention those things, but you better have something else to offer. Writers have an advantage since it's a written medium, so show off your writing skills, give the tweets your "voice." It's fun!

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

My book's available in both print and e-book, and I'm glad about that. As a reader, I like to have choice, so as a writer I want my readers to have choice. The decision wasn't mine, it was my publisher's. But to be honest, I assumed it would come out in all available formats, and they delivered! KTeen/Kensington is even starting up an e-only line of books. Given the growing e-format market, that makes a lot of sense, and I like that they are out there, not just trying to keep up, but helping to set the trends.

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

I think it helps every author, including me. If you can get a book easily and quickly into the hands of a reader, that facilitates reading. The more reading going on, the better it is for me and all the other writers out there. As a reader I love the instant gratification of starting to read a book a minute after seeing it online. Also, I have way too many print books crammed into bookshelves in my apartment already. Doesn't mean I won't buy more hard copies, because I love those too. But e-format books are so much easier to store and access than print books. I no longer have to worry about storage space, or fitting books into my luggage when I travel, and neither does anyone else with an e-reader. The easier it is to read books, the more people will read. And that benefits everyone.


Find out more about Nina and her books at  her website, or by following her on Twitter and Facebook.

And don't forget to check this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List for all the top tens for children and young adults.