Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bethany Wiggins: SHIFTING into the Kindle Top Ten

On the Kids' EBook Bestseller List for October 19th, I saw a new name: Bethany Wiggins. Her ebook, Shifting, hit the number 8 spot in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of the Amazon Kindle store. She was happy to share about her e-pub experience. Enjoy!
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Let's start with a summary of the Shifting story.

My book is about a girl who has the secret ability to shift into any animal. But what she doesn't know is that a group of Skinwalkers--right out of Navajo Indian legend--knows her secret, and they are hunting her.

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

I didn't originally aspire to be an author. In fact, the career path never even crossed my mind! My sister asked me one day, out of the blue, if I wanted to write a book, so I said yes. And I wrote a book. I wrote four books after that, and got over 200 rejections before I was a decent enough writer to land an agent. The fifth book I wrote is Shifting.

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

I have to thank Amazon for much of my e-book success. They are the ones who selected it to be their "Deal of the Day," which put my e-book in their top 100 bestsellers.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing?

I was thrilled with the thought of e-publishing. My publisher and I both thought it would be great. There seems to be a huge wave of convenient reading rolling over this world, thanks to e-readers, and I am lucky enough to be a part of it. E-readers are just like i-pods--people can store thousands of songs on an i-pod and have their entire music library in their hands at all times, and store thousands of books on their e-readers, and carry their entire library with them at all times. It makes for a lot less clutter, and a ton of convenience.

Is your book available in print format? 

My book is available in print format. Both the e-book and the hard copy were released simultaneously.

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

E-format helps. I have hundreds of readers--e-readers--that would not be reading my book in hard copy. I want my book to reach as wide an audience as possible.
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You can find out more about Bethany and her books at her websiteher blog, or her Goodreads page.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

SLEEP, BIG BEAR, SLEEP Isn't Snoozing in the Kindle Store

Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep, by Maureen Wright hit the Kids' EBook Bestseller List last weekend, taking the number 10 spot in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of the Amazon Kindle store. Maureen joins us to talk about her path to e-book success.

Let's start by hearing what your book is about.

  BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON 
It's time for Big Bear to hibernate, so Old Man Winter keeps telling him: "Sleep, Big Bear, sleep." But Big Bear doesn't hear very well. He thinks Old Man Winter has told him to drive a jeep, to sweep, and to leap. Finally, Old Man Winter finds a noisy way get Big Bear's attention.

How did you get published? And how long ago?

I tried for twenty years to get published with traditional publishers and was met with one rejection letter after another. Finally, Editor, Margery Cuyler of Marshall Cavendish Children's Books took an interest in my writing. During the twenty years of rejection letters, I was very disheartened. But now I am actually grateful that it was a long, hard road for me. It makes a big impact on students when I tell them that I didn't give up after twenty years of failure. If it had been easy for me, I wouldn't have been able to share this life lesson with them: Don't Give Up! My favorite thank you note is from a young boy who wrote, "You taught me to be brave."

What is your target audience? How do you believe the e-format serves their needs?

My target audience is three to eight years. I wish there had been such a thing as e-books when my three sons were little! It would have been very handy to pull a Kindle out of my purse in a busy doctor's office or on long car rides to help keep them entertained. The illustrations on the Kindle are bold and eye-catching. Illustrator, Will Hillenbrand, did an amazing job.

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

Amazon Children's Publishing acquired Marshall Cavendish Children's Books in 2011. I was notified by the publisher that my books would become e-books. I am grateful to have another avenue for book sales. I think e-books will, in turn, increase print book sales because parents/grandparents will see the book on Kindle and want to have the larger version of the beautiful illustrations in a print book. It has been a postive experience for me.


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Maureen has supplied us with this list of her books:

Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep! (2009)
Sneezy the Snowman (2010)
Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze! (2011)
Earth Day, Birthday! (2012)
Barnyard Fun (spring 2013)
Grumpy Groundhog (fall 2013)
Honey, Big Bear, Honey! (TBA)
It's Bedtime! (TBA)

Learn more about her work at her website.

For all the latest e-format bestsellers for children and young adults, check this week's updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List. And keep coming back -- on Wednesday, our author interview will be with Bethany Wiggins, author of Shifting, and next Saturday it's Gary Paulsen, featuring his book Hatchet. Want a reminder of who's being featured when?  Follow me on Twitter or Facebook!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

THE PERFECT GAME: Perfect for E-Pub Success

Last Saturday, October 13th,  J. Sterling  hit the number 4 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes & Noble Nook store with her e-book The Perfect Game. This week it's risen to number 3, AND it's at number 5 in the Children's and Young Adult section of the Amazon Kindle store! Jenn was "more than happy to participate" in an interview, so here we go...

What's The Perfect Game about? 


He's a game she never intended to play.
And she's the game changer he never knew he needed.

The Perfect Game tells the story of college juniors, Cassie Andrews & Jack Carter. When Cassie meets rising baseball hopeful Jack, she is determined to steer clear of him and his typical cocky attitude. But Jack has other things on his mind... like getting Cassie to give him the time of day.

They're both damaged, filled with mistrust and guarded before they find one another (and themselves) in this emotional journey about love and forgiveness. Strap yourselves for a ride that will not only break your heart, but put it back together.

Sometimes life gets ugly before it gets beautiful...

Tell us about your path to publication: traditional or independent?

Like most self published authors, I TRIED to get published traditionally first. I think it's because we all feel like that's the way to go- that's the way things work- you write a book, you query agents and you attempt to get a bite. All I got were numerous rejection emails. It was completely disheartening, but not enough so that I just gave up and called it a day. THANKFULLY we have options now. Getting that rejection letter doesn't mean our books never see the light of day. So I decided to self publish and it's been amazing!

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

Honestly? Hard.Freaking.Work. There is no magic pill (although it might feel that way sometimes). The Perfect Game is my third novel. I've been working my butt off for about 15 months or so trying to make a name for myself, marketing, promoting, socializing, making friends, meeting other authors, learning to take criticism, seeing the faults in my writing, growing, reading, etc... and of course, trying to write a good book that people would enjoy!

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

For this particular book, my target audience is New Adult/Mature YA. My other books are far tamer and for a younger YA audience. I believe that e-books are the way of our future, much like mp3's have become the way of our music. It's crazy to think how few music stores exist anymore. And it's SAD to think that bookstores are following in their footsteps.

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

I never once thought about the other authors when I first started. I had NO idea how many wonderfully kind, talented, giving and amazing self published authors I would meet. That group of people who choose to build each other up instead of compete with them- it's mind blowing.
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Learn more about J. Sterling and her books by visiting her website and blog, or by following her on Facebook or Twitter.

The Kids' EBook Bestseller List has been updated a bit earlier than usual because I am at the Florida Writers Association conference this weekend. Check out the updated list for the lastest in e-format top tens.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

YA Author Angie Stanton Found Indie Success on Amazon

Angie Stanton joins us today, excited to share about her e-success experience with A Rock and a Hard Place, her second book. On Saturday, it was in the number 9 spot in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of Amazon.

Let's hear what your book is about, Angie.
 Rock and a Hard Place is about Libby, a girl who has suffered great loss and closed herself down. Peter is lead singer for the Band Jamieson who misses a normal life.

One day while watching the Interstate exit for her dad’s long awaited return, Libby’s life is rocked when Peter Jamieson steps off his tour bus and into her life. After a couple chance meetings with Peter, Libby breaks away from her perfect behavior and her life changes course.

Peter longs for normalcy away from the screaming fans who know nothing about the real him. He is amazed to discover Libby has never heard of him or his band. Soon their friendship turns to love. While Peter battles his family's growing interference so he can spend time with Libby, she struggles with her eccentric aunt who turns more bizarre each day.

Their lives are torn apart when Peter's family intrudes and Libby disappears. Peter’s desperate search for her comes up empty. Can they find their way back to each other while the world plots against them?

Rock and a Hard Place shows how a young, hurting girl comes into herself and triumphs over life's circumstances.


How did you get published: traditionally or independently?

I am both traditionally and independently published. My first book, Love 'em or Leave 'em, an adult contemporary romance, was published by Avalon Books. When my second manuscript was ready, a contemporary Young Adult novel, Rock and a Hard Place, neither publishers nor agents were interested in looking at this story. My feeling is that paranormal books had such a strong hold on the industry, that a contemporary story wasn't worth their time.

The reason I indie published was out of sheer frustration. No one would look at Rock and a Hard Place. I hoped that someone might discover the book and enjoy it. To my total shock and delight, it quickly found an audience and has remained on Amazon best seller lists for the past 16 months.

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.
Amazon's reviews, sales rankings and recommended book lists is what I attribute to spreading the word most efficiently. I also have a blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.. I'm not very active on Twitter.
 

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?
The target audience for my Young Adult books is 12 and up. I have both young readers and adult readers. This book seems to speak to all generations. Rock and a Hard Place is a sweet book with no graphic sex, drugs or drinking. It is appropriate for young readers.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?
Initially, I was against e-publishing. Silly me. Now I realize it has given so many authors a vehicle to share their work. There are far more amazing stories than publishers are able to publish. In addition, publishers decide what books are put on the market. They have a narrow focus, designed to make money.

So, yes, I am a tremendous fan of e-publishing. However, I feel traditional publishing will always be important and always have a place.

Is your book available in print format?


Yes, Rock and a Hard Place is also available in print format, but e-book format came first.
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Learn more about Angie and her books at the links I provided above. And stop back on Saturday to see another interview and the updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List.  Need a reminder? Follow me on Twitter or Facebook!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

J.K. Rowling: Returning to Kid Lit?

No Kids' EBook Bestseller List would be complete without a Harry Potter book popping up from time to time. I've seen Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and The Complete Harry Potter E-book Collection on my chart. As I do with every author that shows up on the list, I dug around on the internet for some contact information and actually found J.K. Rowling's agency. I sent an interview request,and received a lovely response with kind words about the blog and apologies that Ms. Rowling didn't have the time, given her many commitments. 
 
Alas, no interview. But feast your eyes on this, dear readers. Yesterday J.K. Rowling spoke to over one million fans in a live webcast through Scholastic Inc. This 50 minute broadcast reached nearly a million students around the world and it's been posted at the Scholastic website. Here's the link so you can watch it!

Perhaps the most exciting part is her admission that she will most likely be returning to children's literature for her next project. (She has made it clear in the past that the Harry Potter series is finished, so any new work will likely be a different story line.) So perhaps we'll see more of her books on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List. And who knows? Maybe someday I'll get that interview. A girl can dream!
 
Read more about the Scholastic webcast at Sony.BroadcastNewsroom.com and at the Good EReader Blog.

And check today's updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List to see all the TopTens in the top stores. Not only has it been updated with the latest bestsellers, but I've also added a new store to the mix -- EBooks.com. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Kissing Hand Shot Straight to the Top in E-Format!

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn was on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List for three weeks in a row in late August and early September. Audrey's book reached the number 3 spot, the number 2 spot, and yes, the number ONE spot in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store.  Let's hear all about it.

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

The Kissing Hand is a book about Chester Raccoon who is about to start school and is suffering from separation anxiety from his mother Mrs. Raccoon. To help her tiny cub, Mrs. Raccoon tells him the story of The Kissing Hand and kisses the center of his palm. She tells him that whenever he feels lonely and needs a little loving from home, just press his hand to his cheek and think, “Mommy loves you.” On the way to night school, Chester Raccoon surprises his mother with a Kissing Hand of her own.

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

My path to publication was very unconventional and unusual, to say the 
least; but not less difficult once getting started. I wrote a manuscript as a Christmas gift for the actors, dancers, backstage geniuses, teachers, and friends involved in my theater career in New York and Washington, D.C. in the later 1960’s. In 1970 I received a phone call that a publisher wanted to publisher my book. I asked them what book and they thought they had the wrong number. They asked my name and told me the name of the book, which just happened to be the name of my manuscript. To this day, I have no idea who sent it in. No one has ever come forth. The name of the book is Happy Apple Told Me.
What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now?

I truly believe that the subject matter of The Kissing Hand and its leading characters is the reason it has become the popular book, and now e-book, that it has become. Separation anxiety is a problem, not just for very young child, but for children of all ages and for many adults. It is not just the little ones who suffer from separation when they are dropped off at school; it is very often the parent. It was for me.
What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?

My target audience was originally set for children ages five through 
eight but has proven to be appropriate for everyone from newborns to youngsters leaving for college. Most children are introduced to my books when they first enter school when they hear The Kissing Hand, but several books, such as Chester Raccoon and The Big Bad Bully and A Kiss Goodbye carry them through the fourth grade or older. I believe that my book Chester Raccoon and The Acorn Full of Memories in which Mrs. Raccoon helps Chester and the forest of young animals deal with the death of a schoolmate should be in every school, home, library, nook, kindle, and funeral home in the country. It is enormously gentle and helpful to begin a discussion between an adult and a child about death and making memories.

I was initially against all e-books when it came to children’s books. 
Children are already too tied to e-games, e-movies, and the cyber world as a whole. All children deserve to know the feeling of making a best friend that lives between the pages of a book that he or she can run to at any time and know that they will be there no matter what to comfort them, entertain them, and secure them into knowing that some things will always stay the same. A book is forever and there is nothing like the artwork and the phrasing in the big pages of a children’s book where the drawings are in proportion to the big people across the room. But.., teachers and students have recently made me aware that children who were once non-readers have become avid readers because of e-books, and that literacy has increased greatly because of e-books as well. If this is the case, I think it is wonderful. As for hearing myself read the nook version of the book; that pleases me.
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To learn more about Audrey Penn and her books (The Kissing Hand is part of a series) visit her website.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Indie Author and Illustrator Donny Yankellow Found E-Success in the iBookstore

Looking For a Dinosaur, by Donny Yankellow showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List two weeks in a row in September by hitting the  top ten in the "Children and Teens" section of the iBookstore. Donny has taken the time to tell us about his successful e-publishing experience. 

First let's hear about the story of Looking For a Dinosaur.



The book is about a young boy who goes to the zoo in search of a dinosaur. As he goes through the zoo he wonders about what the dinosaur might eat, what it does for fun, and where it might live. Does he find what he's looking for? That's revealed at the end of the book.

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

From day one it was featured on the main "Children's and Teens" page in iTunes as a new release and a picture book. I have to thank someone at Apple for that one. I think that helped get it the exposure it needed. It quickly got into the top 100 and rose from there. Again-more exposure as it hit the top ten chart and stayed there. As sales grew so did the reviews and ratings in iTunes which always helps. If it wasn't viewable on that main page I think it would have gotten lost among the thousands of other books for sale. Plus, it is about dinosaurs, which is a very popular subject with kids.

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

I have a website (www.hedgehogalley.com and the domain www.lookingforadinsoaur.com which links to a page on that site about the book), word of mouth through friends and family, and twitter. I am also fortunate to have access to a big audience at MyMac.com, which is a website I write for. My fellow writers there have helped to promote the book on their podcasts and twitter, and I was able to write an article about the process of creating the book which also helped promote it. Also, as I mentioned earlier it has been gett some great exposure on the main "Childrens and Teens" section of iTunes.

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

Since I am a self publisher, e-publishing was the cheapest format to go. I can't really afford to self publish in printed format and I knew print-on-demand would result in an expensive book price. I knew through e-books I could control the pricing and keep it low enough to hopefully get some sales.

Is your book available in print format? 

Unfortunately, no. I tried a print on demand site and was not happy with the results so I pulled it. I also did not like the price I would have to charge. I would love to find a traditional publisher, but for now it is just in iTunes as an eBook.

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

Personally, it is a help to me. Without e-publishing I would not have the book out there at an affordable price and I don't think it would be as successful as it has been. I don't even know if I would have made the book. When I made the book the goal was start as an ebook and go from there.

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

It allows authors and author/illustrators (like myself) to get our work out there at a relatively inexpensive cost. This lets parents have access to a lot more quality books that they might not have had access to otherwise. It also opens up the book to a much bigger audience that can make a purchase in a store which is open 24/7. It also allows for more interactive features in a book to further engage kids. Maybe one day I'll explore that route.
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Donny added the following notes so you can learn more:

My websites ares www.hedgehogalley.com and www.lookingforadinosaur.com. Twitter: @rtteachr  
A follow-up book is already in the works and I hope to have it out by the end of the year or sooner. I have also illustrated 4 other ebooks for author Mark Creech. All are $.99 and available in iTunes as well.

Find all the latest bestselling e-books for kids and young adults at this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List

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!