Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thanks for stopping by. I'm taking a short break from the blog to celebrate the holidays and enjoy some time off.

My posts will be back on Saturday, January 11th, kicking off the New Year with more interviews from top ten authors of ebooks for children and teens.

In the meantime, you can check the Author List for past interviews. Look for your favorites or catch up on ones you missed.

I hope you have a blessed holiday season!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Marlayna Glynn Brown's Memoir is a Top Ten Hit With Kindle Readers

On November 23rd, author Marlayna Glynn Brown hit the number 7 spot in the Children's and Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store with her memoir, Overlay: The Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas. Overlay is the first book of her completed trilogy. Marlayna is described as "an award-winning, best-selling nomadic memoirist, photographer, actress and yogi." She joins us today to talk about her book, her life, and of course, her e-pub success.

What is your book is about?

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Overlay: A Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas is ultimately a tale of survival. Hailed as the 'best suicide prevention tool ever created,' Overlay tells the story of a young girl's trials during her childhood and teen years growing up in Las Vegas. In an existence fraught with abuse, neglect and challenges, the protagonist manages to draw upon her inner strength and not only survive but build a happy, successful adult life.

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

I published independently after unsuccessfully trying to land an agent after two years of effort. This self-forged path turned out to be ideal as I have total control over my work now, including marketing, sales and promotion.

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

Intense, regular, daily marketing efforts combined with a well-written book. 

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

I promote this book, and my 6 others every single day. I interact on a very personal level with readers on my personal and business facebook pages, as well as by email and Skype. I've met some wonderful new friends this way! I also avail myself of a variety of websites, blogs and such that promote authors. Lastly, I invest in two advertising programs: Bookbub and eReaders - both of which significantly boost sales.

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

I write about 12 hours per day. Right now I am working on three books: a travel memoir about my first six months abroad, a book about the next year spent taking my father's ashes around the world, and my first fiction book: a collection of short stories tied together by a single thread.
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Learn more about Marlayna and her books at her website or by following her on Facebook. And check the latest Kids' EBook Bestsellers List for the top ebooks to load that new ereader or tablet under the tree!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fledging by Nicole Conway: Holding Strong for the Fifth Week in Amazon's Kindle Store

On Saturday, November 9th,  I saw Fledgling, by Nicole Conway hit the number 4 spot in the Children's and Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. Here we are five weeks later and all that time it's been the sitting strong in that number 4 spot! Fledgling is the first book of what Nicole is planning to be a trilogy, called The Dragonrider Chronicles. Let's hear about her book and its e-publishing success.

Nicole, first tell us what Fledgling is about. 

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Jaevid Broadfeather has grown up as a wartime refugee, hiding from the world because of his mixed racial heritage. He feels his future is hopeless, until a chance encounter with a wild dragon lands him in Blybrig Academy—a place usually forbidden to anyone but the rich and royal. But Jaevid’s case is special; no dragon has voluntarily chosen a rider in decades, so the proud riders of Blybrig must begrudgingly let him join their brotherhood despite his bloodline. Lieutenant Sile Derrick, a sternly tempered man with a mysterious past, becomes his instructor and immediately takes a peculiar interest in Jaevid’s future. While struggling through the rigorous physical demands of training, things begin to go awry. Jaevid witnesses the king’s private guards kidnapping Sile in the dead of night. When none of the elder riders are willing to help him, Jaevid begins a dangerous adventure to save his instructor. 

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 4th-9th graders, but I have become aware that a lot more adults are reading my work than I ever expected. Not that this is a bad thing--it was just a surprise! I believe e-format has made my book more readily available for adults looking for something light, fun, and fast-paced to read.

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things?  Has anything happened that you wouldn’t have predicted? 

Everything that has happened with FLEDGLING has been completely unexpected. I anticipated my old fans and readers might pick it up . . . but to be on a bestselling list? That was a complete shock, and I am extremely humbled and grateful. 

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

Right now I'm working on the sequel to FLEDGLING, titled AVIAN. I hope to have it ready for print this summer. I have three volumes planned in all for this series, and am very excited to get them all finished. 

Time to pull out your Magic 8 Ball:  How do you see the world of e-publishing developing for children and young adults over the next 5 years? 

I'm not sure it will ever fully replace print publishing, but I do see e-publishing on the rise. Kids and young adults are so adaptable to new technology, and with e-book apps now available for so many devices, it's become incredibly easy for them to get their hands on new publications. 

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

I definitely think e-format helps authors, especially new ones like myself who can't seem to get a foot in the door with the "big dogs." At least, it's certainly helped me. My experience has been that people are generally a lot more willing to take a chance on reading an e-book that costs only a fraction of what a printed book would cost them in a retail store. It makes them more willing and likely to try out books by authors they haven't heard of before. 
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Learn more about Nicole and FLEDGLING at her website, or by following her at the Fledgling Facebook page and on Twitter.  And have a look at the updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List where you'll find Fledging still in the number 4 spot, along with many other top ten books.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Luen Yang: 3 Weeks in the Top 10!

On Saturday,  Nov 16th American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List, taking the number 4 spot in the Children's and Young Adult section of the EBooks.com store. Here we are, two weeks later, and it's still there!

American Born Chinese is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring and a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. And now, in 2013, it has found success once again, this time in electronic format.  Author Gene Luen Yang joins us today to share his experience, insights and opinions. 

First, Gene, tell us what your book is about.

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American Born Chinese is a graphic novel about the Asian American experience. The book is made up of three separate story lines. In the first, the Monkey King, hero of ancient China, fights for his place among the gods. The second follows Jin Wang, a young Chinese American boy, as he adjusts to a predominantly white community. The final story line stars Cousin Chin-Kee, the embodiment of the negative Asian stereotype.

Tell us briefly about your path to publication: Traditional or independent?


American Born Chinese started off as a self-published book. And when I say self-published, I mean very self-published. I would finish writing and drawing a chapter, photocopy it, staple the photocopies into books, and hand-sell them to local stores and at local comic book conventions. Eventually, I signed on with First Second Books, who put it out as a full-color graphic novel, both digitally and in print.

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

I have a website at geneluenyang.com. I'm also on Twitter and Facebook.

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

The e-format is just incredibly convenient. Reading devices are generally lighter than print books, and you can buy new content at any time, day or night. And especially for research - the ability to digitally search a book is essential. I do much of my reading digitally.

That said, I still love the traditional print book. I think the "object-ness" of the traditional book is becoming more important. A book's design elements - things like the font and the cover and even the paper stock - are an even bigger, more important part of the storytelling than they were before. The physical book itself isn't just a conduit of content, it's an active participant in the narrative.

Ultimately, I think digital and print can coexist harmoniously. They serve different needs.

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

My publisher set up the e-book version of American Born Chinese. I was very excited about it! I love having my story available in as many formats as possible.

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?


I spend every other day working on books. Right now, I'm looking forward to the publication of The Shadow Hero, a graphic novel written by me and drawn by Sonny Liew. Sonny Liew are reviving a forgotten American superhero from the 1940's called the Green Turtle. The Green Turtle was created by Chu Hing, one of the first Asian Americans working in the American comics industry. Rumor is that Hing wanted the Green Turtle to be a Chinese American, but his publishers wouldn't let him. Hing reacted by composing the pages of his comic so that we never get a good glimpse of the Green Turtle's face. He always either has his back turned or his face hidden by shadow. Supposedly, Hing did this so that he could imagine his hero as he originally intended, as a Chinese American. 

Sonny and I are telling the story of how the Green Turtle became the Green Turtle.
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Find out more about Gene and his books at his website, or by following him on Facebook or Twitter.

And as always, the Kids' EBook Bestseller List has been updated with all the latest top tens in the top online stores. Have a look for some new favorites!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

SNUG AS A BUG by Amy E. Imbody Finds New Success in Kindle Format

On October 26th Snug as a Bug, a rhyming bedtime story by Amy E. Imbody, hit the number 10 spot in the Children's and Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. Snug as a Bug has been around for over a decade. It won the International Reading Association's "Children's Choice Award" in 2002. It has appeared in full picture book format, two "I Can Read" formats, including the bilingual Snug as a Bug/Arropadito y a gusto "I Can Read/ Yo se leer" format plus of course, Kindle format where it achieved top ten success. Amy joins us today to talk about her book's electronic success--which she nearly missed!

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

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Snug as a Bug is about the hilarious "time-for-bed" conversation between a sensible child and his whimsical mom. To her list of whacky suggestions (beginning with "Would you like to sleep like a snug little snail curled up in the garden pail?") his patient answer is: "Dear Mother, I know this seems wild. But really, I just want to sleep like a child!" 

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Was it your idea or your publisher’s? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it? 
 
Oh, I nearly missed the boat altogether on e-publishing! When the contract came for inclusion of the e-publishing of Snug, I thought, "Right. Who in the world is going to be interested in an easy reader on an iPad?!" So you see, I was clueless. I'm just glad that I managed to sign and return the contract!
 

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? Has anything happened that you wouldn’t have predicted? 

As you might guess from my previous answer, the whole shebang has been wholly unexpected! When Snug hit the top ten in Kindle sales for Children/YA, I didn't even know it until you contacted me. That morning, I said to my husband: Guess what Snug did while I wasn't looking? Ha! 

Is your book available in print format? How did your e-book come about?
 
Snug as a Bug was originally a print hardcover full blown picture book, released in 2001. This is by far my own favorite version of the book, for its language as well as its visual aesthetic. It is a gorgeous book, maximizing illustrator Mike Gordon's hilarious two-page spreads - and was honored to receive the International Reading Association's "Children's Choice Award" the following year. Then Zonderkidz re-released it in the "I Can Read" format you see in the e-book. Its next resurrection was as a bilingual (English/Spanish) "I Can Read/Yo se' leer!" version which I'd love to see in e-book format as so many more children would be able to access and enjoy it. Finally, I am experimenting with self-publishing for Kindle of K-3 lesson plans for teachers and home schooling parents - This little book is jam-packed full of academic content to explore as part of a thematic unit. For example, at Lorien Wood School in Vienna, VA, where I am Head of School, Snug is part of a thematic unit for K and 1st graders on the topic of "Sleep, Rest, and Sabbath in God's World." Children use the book as a starting point to learn all about what happens while we are sleeping, about animals that hibernate, about habitats, about various kinds of "sabbath."


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

OH, I certainly hope not! There is nothing like holding a "real" book, turning its "real" pages, feeling its heft in your hands. But e-publishing has made some kinds of access much more possible for some children, and their little brothers and sisters cannot tear the pages! As a parent (and now I am a grandparent!) I would happily supply to my children - a hundred times! - a beloved print book that is accidentally "injured" by too much love, before I would consider replacing it altogether with only an e-print version. That's my own old-fashioned bias speaking!
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Find more fascinating authors at the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List, updated every Saturday with the top tens from the top stores. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

THE LEGEND OF LIGHTNING LARRY Struck With a Bolt of Top Ten Success on Amazon

On Saturday, November 2nd, Aaron Shepard's e-book for kids, The Legend of Lightning Larry, hit the number 5 spot in the Children's & Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. During the week when I wasn't looking, Aaron tells me it got as high as number 2. (This morning it's at number 11, and he has another book in the top ten: The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale.) Today we get to hear all about The Legend of Lightning Larry and Aaron's trip to top ten success.

First tell us what your book is about. 


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No outlaw could draw as fast as Lightning Larry. But what really terrified those bad men was that peculiar gun of his. It didn't shoot bullets. It shot light. And Larry always aimed for the heart.

Can Larry save the town of Brimstone from Evil-Eye McNeevil's outlaw gang? Find out in this rip-roaring original tale of a gunfighter with a huge smile and a hankering for lemonade.
 

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

I started selling a number of picture books to traditional publishers, large and small. But for the past 10 years or so I've mostly been self publishing for both children and adults, primarily in print but increasingly in ebook.
 

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

Probably the biggest factor in my success is that I've completely ignored social media.
 

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs? 
 
My target audience for this book -- in the ebook version -- is mostly parents with tablets who are looking for books to read to their kids.
 

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

I have very mixed feelings about e-publishing. I dislike the compromises I have to make in book design, especially when adapting print editions. On the other hand, the pictures, if done right, can look fabulous. And I can't complain about the readership. Every couple of months, Lightning Larry sells as many copies in ebook as he did in his entire hardcover career with Scribners.
 

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? Has anything happened that you wouldn’t have predicted? 

For one thing, I was surprised how many grandmothers were buying the book. I wasn't expecting to reach that generation. For another, I was surprised to reach #2 on the Kindle Children's bestseller list!
 

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

I recently published the update to my book "The Business of Writing for Children," Amazon's all-time bestselling children's writing guide, now available in both print and Kindle. And I'm wrapping up an update of the first book in my trilogy about Kindle book formatting, "From Word to Kindle," "Pictures on Kindle," and "HTML Fixes for Kindle."


Time to pull out your Magic 8 Ball: How do you see the world of e-publishing developing for children and young adults over the next 5 years? Do you think it will ever exceed or replace print publishing?

It has already exceeded print publishing for self publishers. In five years? I see the field totally flooded by people who have no clue how to write or illustrate a children's book, making it extremely difficult to find quality self-published books. Actually, that probably won't take five years. ;)
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Learn more about Aaron and all of his books at his website.  And don't forget to check the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for all the top tens in the top stores online.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

EVERTASTER: Kids With Kindles are Gobbling It Up!

Back on September 21st, Evertaster by Adam Glendon Sidwell hit the number 3 spot in the Children's and Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. Adam has had a full schedule since then, including a book tour. But he didn't forget my request for an interview, and he's here today to share about his e-pub success.

Let's start with a description of your story, Evertaster. 


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When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.

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

I don't think anyone's reading my tweets, but if they do, they'd find out that Evertaster can make them happy! I get connected to a lot of people on Facebook and in person at signings, and that's really great, because with social media, we can continue that conversation further, and we can be friends. I like to hear what the kids think about my books, and also meet them later again at signings. Kids sometimes get so nervous, when their parent nudges them up to the signing table. But they always have fun once they've got a signed book in hand.

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? How did your e-book come about? 


My book is also available in print. When it first launched, Evertaster claimed a spot on the top 100 Overall Bestseller List for print books. The ebook came shortly thereafter, through the efforts of Trident Media Group, the Agency that represents me.

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


I'm not sure yet about that. So far, I sell about 10 print books for every one of my ebooks. Perhaps as e-readers are passed down to kids in greater numbers, we'll see a shift in that. For me, I like the idea of being able to post links to youtube videos inside my books, or even to that one gif of the two legged horse if I feel like it.
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Find out more about Adam and his books at the Evertaster website or by following him on Facebook. And you can find more top ten authors for children and young adults on this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A DAWN MOST WICKED by Susan Dennard: Week 4 in the Top 10

A Dawn Most Wicked by Susan Dennard first showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List on September 28th. It was in the number 10 spot in the Childrens' & Young Adult section of the EBooks.com store. By October 12th it rose to number 4 and today it's still in that prestigious spot.
 

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Susan joins today and says, "A Dawn Most Wicked is a prequel to the Something Strange and Deadly series, which follows a team of young ghost fighters in Victorian America." The first book in the series, Something Strange and Deadly, is her debut novel, published by Harper Teen.

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


My path to publication was traditional. I wrote a book, revised it until my eyes bled, signed with a literary agent, and then sold my series to HarperCollins in 2010. It was--and still is--a total dream come true.

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

I honestly have no idea! I wasn't even aware of its status, and I was so excited to learn this! My only guess is that, as my series grows, more people are curious about what happened before and are investing in the prequel e-novella. 

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

On the one hand, the e-format is great because it gets my books out there to people who might not have a library or bookstore nearby. It also allows a lot of international readers to pick up my book. BUT, the downside is that piracy is a huge problem. My book and many others gets downloaded illegally all the time, and though I realize many of the people who pirate my book would never have bought the book, there are still many who would've wanted to know "what happens next" badly enough to have paid the few dollars it cost for the e-version. Ultimately, writing is a Real Job and authors can't do it if they aren't making enough money to survive on. 

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? How did your e-book come about?

The e-novella is not available in print at this time, but the series (Something Strange and Deadly) is available in hardcover/paperback. I wrote the series first and then decided to do the prequel tale as a sort of fun extra for fans of the series.

Thanks so much for the interview!
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Learn more about Susan at her website, and more about her series at the Something Strange and Deadly website. You can also follow her on Facebook or on Twitter.

And don't forget to check the updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for the latest top tens in the top stores. I'm at the Florida Writers Association annual conference all weekend, and due to the schedule, I compiled the chart late Friday night instead of Saturday morning. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

THROUGH THE ZOMBIE GLASS: Through to the B & N Top Ten!

Gena Showalter's Through the Zombie Glass first showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List on September 28th. That's when it reached the #7 spot in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. It's the second book in the White Rabbit Chronicles. Gena has published dozens of books and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

Gina, let's start with a summary of what
Through the Zombie Glass is about.

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Forget blood and brains. These zombies hunger for human souls. After a z-attack, strange things happen to slayer Ali Bell. She hears whispers of the dead, sees mirrors come to life, and feels a terrible darkness blooming inside her. And though he wasn’t bitten, bad boy Cole Holland, the object of her desire, is changing too. She needs time to find a cure, but the clock is ticking…

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

Through the Zombie Glass is available in both print and e-book, and the two versions were released at the same time. That way, people could get the version they preferred without having to wait!

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

I think word of mouth is key, no matter what the format. And having an awesome cover doesn't hurt.

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


The e-format helps, no question! It’s instant gratification at its finest.
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Learn more about Gena and her books (she writes for adults too) by visiting her website or by following her on Facebook or Twitter. And you can find more fantastic authors for children and young adults at the
Kids' EBook Bestseller List. It's updated every Saturday morning with the latest top tens in the top stores. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

BORN TO FIGHT: Born to Be a Kindle Best Seller!

Today's featured author is Tara Brown, bestselling author of Paranormal Romance, Post Apocalyptic, Contemporary, Romance, and Fantasy novels. Last Saturday, her book Born To Fight hit the number 4 spot in the Children's and Teen section of Amazon's Kindle store. It is Tara's second book in The Born Trilogy. (Please be aware that this is a New Adult book with a mature content warning.)

Tara very generously answered ALL of my questions, so we get to hear the full story about her interesting path to e-pub success!

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

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Born is about a girl who has been alone in a dangerous world for a decade. She has a pet wolf and a bad attitude and almost no conscience. She is suddenly joined, or invaded, by a family who work their way into her heart and her life. Of course, just as she has something to lose, the fight for her life begins. 

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

My path to publication was more like accidentally falling off a cliff and landing on a path and then staggering down it blindly. I randomly published a few books after reading some indie books and thinking there was almost no editing or formating or anything done to them. I thought, jeesh, I can do that. I was wrong... The few books I had read were under fire for not having proper editing and formatting. By the time I figured it out I had six books published and was desperately trying to catch up and make them better, all while still publishing the books I had coming out. It took us a while to get it all figured out. I went indie from the start, only ever entering contests to have a critique by a small publishing house. The whole thing blew up last spring. I went from hardly selling to best selling. So now I am thinking I may look into a house, I know I need an agent but I'm so busy that trying to write to them is not a priority compared to the next book. One day I imagine I will be traditionally published. 

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

Luck, is that a factor? I think I have very visual storytelling so that appeals to a large market. I also have very loyal fans and I have to say, they do all the work for me. 

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

I believe it is word of mouth as I do almost no PR or media work. 

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

Readers, hahaha. I am a random author. I like to say diverse but it could very well be schizo. I write for every reading level beyond young children. My 12 year old reads my YA and I just got a wonderful letter from a 63 year old lady, who I have to email later today, who loves my books!!

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

I thought what a wonderful opportunity to start off publishing books and learning the ropes. I am my publisher so it was all me. I was all the above, scared and excited and nervous and optimistic. I never imagined it would be where it is now. It's a full time job for three people, minimum. That's crazy. My thoughts now, 21 books later, are exactly the same as they were for the first book. I don't sleep for a week when a book releases. I harass the hell out of my beta team. I am a psycho about it. It works out though because I only have a couple days to stress before I have to start on the next book publishing. Once I am in the next book I don't have time to be a psycho. 

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? Has anything happened that you wouldn’t have predicted? 

Yes, wow. There is a lot of support, as long as you don't expect anyone to do your job for you, from fellow authors and bloggers and reviewers. But it's confusing at the beginning and a little guidance is nice. I know I have emailed someone like say, Shelly Crane a few times and been like yo, what should I do. She has been brilliant and friendly and really helped me. Same as Totallybooked Blog. I don't make any career choices without asking them first hahaha. I will have to put them on the payroll soon. I didn't realize the author world would be like any other job. You have your awesome people, your needy people, your negative people. It is varied, like an office. I will say, the people who keep their head down and work hard, do well. The people who focus on the negativity have a hard time finding success. But I also never knew there were so many amazing people who would help you because they believe in you. I never predicted any of this. I sort thought I would publish a couple books and have fun with it. It has blown up into something amazing and awesome and that is entirely because of the wonderful support I have. I am blessed and grateful.  

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? How did your e-book come about? 

They are all available in print now. I have actually got preorder with Amazon now, which as an indie is HUGE. So Createspace is working with me to get my paperbacks on preorder as well. That is so amazing. Indies rarely get the chance to do it so I am grateful to Amazon for taking a chance on this indie. The ebooks came first. One mountain at a time lol.  

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? Why or why not? How do you see the world of e-publishing for children within the next 5 years? 

Absolutely. I love paperback books but the economy isn't there for them. People cannot afford to spend the money they used to, not when a viable and economical choice, like ebooks, is available. Everything in the world costs so much, so getting an ebook for $1.99 really makes reading possible for everyone. I like that. I would say the future will be the reversal of how it used to be. Paperbacks will be the vanity press and ebooks will be the common way of publishing.
 

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

No, not at all. I love ebooks. I love that I can let people in the low income bracket read my books for .99 cents or free.

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

No, it makes it accessible for all levels of income and kids are kids. My kids, like all kids, are addicted to electronics and where one will read anything and love it, the other will not. The eldest reads paperbacks, ebooks, the back of a cereal box, she doesn't care. The other however, has not caught the reading bug. So before she is allowed to game on her ipad she has to read for 20 minutes. If she gets bored of a book it is so easy to snag a new one off of Amazon and start. Kids don't have to wait for their parents to go to the bookstore to get the next book. So before the kids lose interest in the series or forget they were liking a book, it's ordered and on the Kindle or iPad or Nook or Kobo or ereader. It keeps books current in their minds.

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

For me it is price. Being able to price lower makes reading more accessible.
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You can find out more about Tara Brown at her Amazon Author page or her blog, or by following her on  Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer reading on a Nook, her books are available on the Barnes & Noble website.

Check this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten authors in electronic format. You might find a new favorite!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

DON'T TURN AROUND: Three Weeks in the Nook Top Ten For Teens

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon first showed up in the top ten for Teens in the  Barnes & Noble Nook store on August 3rd. The following week it was still there, and last weekend it was back again. This is the first book in Michelle's Persefone trilogy, and the 2nd book, Don't Look Now, was just released last month.

First, Michelle, tell us a little about your book.

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DON’T TURN AROUND is being pitched as “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets The Bourne Identity,” which perfectly sums it up for me. I’m a huge fan of both of those books, so I can’t imagine higher praise! 

(Michelle has a great description of the book, along with a book trailer, at her website.)

Tell us briefly about your path to publication: Traditional or independent?

I actually have a series of four “adult” novels with a different publisher, and a standalone YA novel (STRANGELETS) with SoHo Teen. I’ve always been traditionally published, but when I was starting out, that was really the only option. 


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

HarperTeen has been doing a fantastic promotion for the series, gearing up for the release of the second book in the trilogy (DON’T LOOK NOW, which comes out in a couple of weeks!) They’ve really been working their social media networks and blog contacts. 

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

DON’T TURN AROUND was selected for several high school summer reading lists because YALSA picked it as one of the best YA novels of the year, and Texas, Florida, and Maryland all added it to their state reading recommendations. From there, it kind of snowballed; it was a Kirkus pick for 2012, was nominated for a Thriller Award and a Black Eyed Susan Award, was an IndieNext pick, and was chosen by Entertainment Weekly Magazine as a hot teen read. I’m active on tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc; but in the end, I think that having the series selected for those lists made all the difference.

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

My favorite Amazon review so far was, “I am a senior and I say this book is great for any age.” Honestly, the story isn’t any different from what I’d write for adults; the only change is that my main characters are a bit younger. I always tell people that if they enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent, they’ll probably like this trilogy too.

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

Helps, definitely. Thanks to eReaders, there’s really no such thing as going out of print any more. It’s difficult to find copies of three of my adult novels in print; but they’re all instantly available as eBooks. For a writer, that makes an enormous difference.

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


I think that anything that gets people reading is a good thing. I bounce back and forth between reading on my Kindle and reading print books, depending on what I have on my TBR shelf. And I probably end up buying twice as many books a year, just because it’s so easy. I also have a lot of friends who were dropped by their traditional publishers, but have found a niche self-publishing. As far as I’m concerned, it’s win-win.
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Learn more about Michelle and her books by visiting the links I've included above. And have a look at this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List. You might find some new favorites!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Catherine Ryan Hyde on BECOMING CHLOE And Becoming An EBook Bestseller.

Catherine Ryan Hyde has written 22 published and forthcoming books, but we're going to focus on one--Becoming Chloe.  For two weeks in early August it held the number 9 spot in the Children's and Young Adult section of EBooks.com. She joins us today to share her thoughts on her success in e-publishing.
 

First, Catherine, tell us what Becoming Chloe is about.

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Jordan is a 17-year-old boy who’s been reduced to squatting in a cellar in New York City. We find out later that his father beat him and forced him out of the house when he found out Jordan was gay. In that cellar he meets Chloe, and 18-year-old girl who fell through the cracks of the child protective system. She seems developmentally disabled, but Jordan eventually learns that her out-of-touch, childlike nature is something she’s taken on to shield herself from her traumatic reality. They stay together, and protect each other, but as Chloe becomes safer and more comfortable in Jordan’s care, her defenses begin to drop away. She becomes deeply depressed. So he takes her on the trip of a lifetime, traveling across the country in an old truck, hitchhiking, by bicycle and by bus. The idea is to prove to Chloe that it’s a beautiful world, even though Jordan isn’t sure he believes it himself.

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

I started out in 1991 publishing short fiction in literary and small circulation magazines, because I couldn’t get agents or editors to look at my novels. My first published book was Funerals for Horses (definitely not for children or teens) in 1997. I started out traditionally published. I published two books with tiny Russian Hill Press (now defunct), three with Simon & Schuster, including Pay It Forward, which was adapted for film. I published two books with Doubleday, and five YA novels with Knopf Books for Young Readers. My newer novels we sold directly to Transworld UK (Random House Group) but still couldn’t find a US publisher for them. So I started to bring them out independently in the U.S. Now I’m an Amazon Publishing author as well. Which I think makes me about as “hybrid” as an author can get.

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

Although many of my books are not suitable for young readers, the majority of them (I have 23 published and forthcoming) are for anyone from readers in their teens through adults of any age. I base this on feedback from my readers. I don’t know that authors are always the best ones to judge.

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

No, I don’t think ebooks will ever completely run pbooks (physical books) out of business. I’m old enough to remember when people said the same thing about audio, which at the time was called books on tape. It was supposed to kill the book as we know it. Kind of funny in retrospect. I think ebooks are just another great new way to read, one I suspect younger readers will eagerly embrace, as they tend not to be threatened by technology. I do see a time where ebooks are the mainstream, and pbooks more off the beaten path. When the car was invented it quickly overtook horses as the main mode of transportation. But there are still horses in the world for anyone who wants one. 

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

It has helped me tremendously. Easily 95% or more of my new readers are Kindle readers. Amazon Publishing has been great, and Amazon as a bookseller has given authors great new tools to promote their books directly to readers. It revived my career at a time when traditional publishing was not interested in me, and therefore my sales were low. I owe a lot to ebooks. My independent books are mostly available in print-on-demand paperbacks as well, because I know some of my readers don’t embrace ebook technology, and I don’t want them to feel locked out. But I sell paperbacks in the tens, and ebooks in the thousands. So the new technology has been a boon to my career, and brought my work to literally hundreds of thousands of new readers.
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Visit Catherine's website, her Amazon author page or her Bookstore on Red Room. And don't forget to stop by often for more interviews with successful e-book authors for children and young adults who hit the Kids' EBook Bestseller List.  You can also click on the Author Index tab to access over one hundred previous interviews. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sharon Draper: Two Books, Top Ten, Two Weeks in a Row.

Sharon M. Draper is an award-winning (and prolific) author. She's also an educator, speaker, poet and National Teacher of the Year. On July 27th, her book Out of My Mind hit the number 2 spot in the Children's and Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. The following week, on August 3, Copper Sun was #10 in the Juvenile section of EBooks.com. Today we'll focus on Out of My Mind.

First, tell us what your book is about.

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 In Out of my Mind, I have created a character who speaks for all of us, even though she cannot say a word. Melody has cerebral palsy, but she dares anyone to feel sorry for her. She understands her limitations, yet strives each day to reach beyond those limits. She can’t walk, can’t talk, can’t even go to the bathroom by herself. Yet she has a brilliant mind, a photographic memory, and dreams and desires of any of child her age. Her struggles and successes will both surprise and enchant the reader.

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

Out of my Mind is my thirtieth book. I have been very blessed. But I guess you can say it has taken me twenty years to become an overnight success! My first book, Tears of a Tiger, was rejected by twenty-four publishers. I had sent the manuscript to 25 publishers. The very last response was a yes! And it was Simon and Schuster. That was back in 1994. I've been writing and sharing books every since.

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

I think the world of readers is changing. Most of my books are written for young people--teens and tweens--and those are the ones who most embrace the world of computers and smart devices and non-print communication. So they, of course, would be the ones to gravitate to ebooks and ereaders. I'm so glad the book is available in that format for them.

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

I've got a website I am in the process of re-doing it this summer, partly because I like to keep it fresh and current, and partly because the communication platforms have change so drastically. For example, my site could not be opened on my own iPad and other smart devcies. Hopefully, in the fall it will shine! I'm also on Facebook and Twitter..

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

I am very excited about e-publishing. I guess I'm considered "old school" (LOL). I remember typewriters and writing with actual pen and pencil (gasp) on long yellow legal pads. I remember when it was a rare oddity to have a computer at a school and when movies were shown on an old-fashioned sixteen millimeter projector. We listened to music on a record player. There was no such thing as a cell phone or a microwave or an ipad or ipod. And certainly no e-readers. There was no e-anything! But I embraced every change, bought every new device, and kept up with every advancement. So, yes, I'm ready for e-publishing, and for whatever comes next as well!

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? Has anything happened that you wouldn’t have predicted?

I guess the unexpected part was the success and the increased vastness of the audience. I've received emails from readers all over the world who have read Out of my Mind and loved the book. Those readers might not have found the book in their local bookstore. But through their various digital devices, they can access the book with just a fingertip I like that.

Is your book available in print format?

Yes, Out of my Mind is available in print, as are all of my books. I am very proud to say that Out of my Mind has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for almost a whole year! What a blessing!

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

Like I said, I'm old school. I never want to lose books. I love the smell of a book in my hand, the feel of a page as I turn it, the memories evoked by a glance at the cover. I don't want to lose libraries and bookstores. They are vital to our sense of connection and community. I love sitting in a library and inhaling all the knowledge there as I peruse a real book. I love sitting in a bookstore surrounded by real books as I read on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I think traditional print books will always be around. I think the two formats can co-exist. They must. Both are essential.

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

I really don't know enough yet to answer that question. But a thirteen-year-old aspiring writer once said to me, "I want to be a writer when I grow up. Will there still be books? Will people still read?" She could see the changes and wasn't sure how she would fit into the future. I told her, "There will always be a need for stories to be told, and a need for a person to write those stories. So yes, you can be a writer. The format may change, but the need for knowledge and literary involvement will never go away."

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

I have a five year old grandson who can find things on his iPad that I cannot. He helps me when I get stuck! He reads traditional books as well as ebooks. Instead of using paper and pencil materials, he learns numbers and letters and colors and such on various e-devices. He is comfortable with both worlds. He will grow up knowing and using both. I imagine most kids of his generation will do the same. 
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Find out even more about Sharon and her books at her website or by following her  on Facebook.

And you can find more fantastic e-book authors at the updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jack D. Albrecht and Ashley Delay Found Magical Success With THE WAND-MAKER'S DEBATE.

Today we have twice as much wisdom to share about ebook success. Co-authors Jack D. Albrecht Jr. and Ashley Delay wrote The Wand-Maker's Debate, the first book in their Osric's Wand series. On August 3rd, it hit the number 9 spot in the Children's and Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store.

The second book, High-Wizard's Hunt, is also available. Jack says, "We are currently working on the third book in the series. We expect there to be many more in the world of Archana, but the story tends to write itself, so we can't give you a definite count as of yet. Keep watching the website for updates on the progress of the series!" 

OK, so back to the bestseller...

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In a few sentences, tell us what The Wand-Maker's Debate is about.

In a world of magic, why wouldn’t animals speak? Archana is a world much like our own; however our renaissance came in the form of science, theirs is one of magic. Disease was our catalyst, and war will be theirs. 

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

A lot of hard work, and a whole lot of help from fans. It is not surprising to say that independent authors have less resources than the big publishing houses, but we have some very motivated readers who have given us a great deal of exposure. 

Outside of our fan base, we have located two very good promotional sites that can help any author. The Indie Book Collective has classes as well as promotions that gave us most of our success. The classes are mandatory for new authors to their promotions, and we can honestly say that we would not have been half as successful if we hadn't taken them. The promotions require a great deal of personal sacrifice, as well as an understanding that what they say is never intended to do anything other than help you in your publishing journey. Because of them, we had our first book cover completely redesigned and paid to have professional editing done on our books. We hit a best seller list shortly after, and we have been gaining ground ever since. 

Another great avenue for authors to gain exposure is through BookBub.com, they have some great advertising campaigns at an affordable price. 

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

We like to think of our books as having a very broad base audience. We have the old wize man, who also happens to be quite grumpy, as well as the cute kid who always seems to break the tension at the right moment, and has a way of seeing things in ways nobody else does.

 With that being said, most of our marketing lends to a younger audience and most of our readership is mid-twenty women. So, it is really hard to nail down a specific age group. But our advertising is doing well, so we would have to call it YA fantasy by the strength of the evidence. 

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

We tend to think that e-format is the way the world is moving. We don't think it will ever eliminate paperbacks, but more eBooks are sold everyday already. We love a paperback ourselves, but it does appear that the future will have a lot less dead trees than the past has. We have yet to really explore electronics in our schools in any more than a rudimentary class, so we should all ask ourselves that question on a daily basis. Whether of not it is a good thing, only time will tell.
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Follow Jack, Ashley and their books on Facebook, Twitter, or the Osric's Wand website.
And stop back on Saturday when the Kids' EBook Bestseller List will be updated with all the latest top tens from the top stores.