Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ingrid Law Has the Savvy to Hit the Kindle Top Ten For Kids!

On September 15th, Savvy by Ingrid Law reached the number 5 spot in the "Children's & Young Adult" section of the Amazon Kindle store. So of course I contacted her! We don't get to hear from many authors for middle grade readers. (Mostly picture books and YA books make it onto the Kids' EBook Bestseller List.)  I'm delighted to feature her today, and I hope this will be the first of many MG books featured here as electronic publishing continues to grow in popularity for all ages.  

Ingrid, what's the story of Savvy?

Mibs Beaumontis about to become a teenager. As if that weren’t scary enough, thirteen is when a Beaumont’s savvy strikes--a larger than life talent to call one's own. And with one brother who causes hurricanes and another who creates electricity, Mibs's birthday promises to be thrilling. But just before her big day, Poppa is in a terrible accident and Mibs’s dreams of X-ray vision disappear like a flash of her brother’s lightning: All she wants now is a savvy that will save Poppa. Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want... but sometimes we do get what we need.

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

I wrote for nearly 20 years without ever trying to publish. Five years ago, I finally decided to start submitting my work to agents. I got the usual round of rejections on my first attempts but was inspired when several agents told me they liked my writing and invited me to submit future projects. That was when I wrote Savvy and found success. Literary agent Dan Lazar, of Writers House, snapped the manuscript up, signing me as his client in less than a week. I did two revisions for Dan in two weeks, then he began pitching the book to editors. I was over the moon when Dial Books for Young Readers (a division of Penguin Young Readers Group) made me an offer in partnership with Walden Media. Walden Media optioned the film rights thirty days later. The rest, as they say, is history.

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

My target audience is primarily middle grade readers, 8-13 year olds, but I’ve had readers write to me who have been as young as 6, and as old as 83. I am only guessing, but I suspect that a large percentage of my e-book sales are to adults who want to read aloud to their kids. I’m always so happy when parents select my book as their family’s read-aloud. I don’t care if they are reading from paper, or from an e-reader. Besides, I know first hand that a backlit e-reader makes it easier to read to kids at night—they make it so much easier to see if you want to turn out the light! The down-side is that there is no physical collection of books on a shelf to look at and say: We've read all those! I still have books from my youth, ones with my name scrawled inside the cover. I've read some of those books to my own child. Will e-books ever get passed down through generations? We can only wait and see what happens next.

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? Has anything happened that you would not have predicted?

I’ve learned that one cannot sign an e-reader—author book signings could become a thing of the past! What will an author appearance look like in twenty years? Will they be electronic too? Many authors already do Skype visits... but meeting readers face to face is a completely different experience.

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 do see the publishing industry changing--everything's in flux--but for the moment children’s books still see higher sales as traditionally bound books than as e-books. I’m in wait-and-see mode right now, I won't try to predict anything, but I am glad my book is available in a variety of formats.

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

For me, it’s all about access. I want to see a future in which stories are always easily accessible to children. Having traveled quite a bit since the publication of my first book, I’ve seen that there are still children in this country who have never owned a book of their own. I’d hate to live in a world that has only e-books in it. If a family is unable to buy a book for their child, how likely is it that that child would get a hold of an e-reader? On the flip-side, e-readers provide accessibility to other types of communities, and can even encourage reluctant readers who find reading easier when they can control the font size of what they are reading, or interact with a story in a new way. The more options the better! We need to keep rich and active storytelling alive.
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Would you like to learn more about Igrid Law and her books? You can visit her website, check out her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

Stop back on Saturday for an interview with picture book author and illustrator Donny Yankellow. You'll also be able to see latest 
Kids' EBook Bestseller List -- it's updated every Saturday morning with the top tens for kids and young adults, from the internet's most popular e-bookstores. Till then, happy reading!