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.