Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Horrible Harry: 25 Years Old and Going Strong in E-Format

For much of December and straight through to January 5th, author Suzy Kline stayed in the top ten of the "Children and Young Adult" section with her e-book, Horrible Harry and the Holidaze. Suzy joins us today to share about her path to e-pub success. 

Suzy, first tell us what Horrible Harry and the Holidaze is about.

Room 3B shares their special winter holidays - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings' Day, and the Korean New Year. Everyone is in a festive mood except Harry. He's not interested in the holidays, the new student, or even the new class pet. What's bothering Harry? Can anything shake him out of his daze?

One note about the selection of holidays. I love the mail that I get from readers. And I got one from a boy who asked why I didn't include a Muslim holiday in my Holidaze book. Although he liked the story, he was disappointed there wasn't one included. I wrote back and told him how much I appreciated his thoughtful letter. Since ZuZu joined Harry's class (he's from Lebanon) and is a Muslim, I very much wanted to include Ramadan. However when I researched the holiday I discovered that Eid al- Fitr was celebrated in August. Now I'm planning to include it when Room 3B celebrates summer holidays.
The story (in Horrible Harry and the Holidaze) is also about Harry coming to terms with his granddad living in Shady Pines (a nursing home.) He used to live with Harry.

The "seed" for this story came from the 7 years I visited my mom in a nursing home. Many times I would bring my young grandchildren to visit her and the joy they brought her was amazing. I wanted readers to see how Harry's visits made an important difference, and that his close relationship with his granddad continues despite the changes aging brings.

Regarding the questions about "E Books"...
I'm no doubt the last person to ask. I am delighted that readers are enjoying Harry stories online, but it all happened without any of my doing. It's part of my two book contracts now and I welcome the addition of E Book editions. Harry stories are first published in hardbound books, then a year later, paperback. E Books are launched simultaneously with hardbound editions.

What's most important to me is that children are reading! That's exciting! When I was visiting a school recently, a student came rushing up to me saying , "I loved Horrible Harry and the Scarlet Scissors!" And I said, "Wow! That book just came out- how did you get it so fast?" And he said. "Easy! I read it online!"

One of your questions was about the advantages of e-publishing and that encounter I just described with the boy in the hallway answers it better than I could.

I don't have much to do with the marketing of my books. My publisher handles that.

I do know that Horrible Harry has been in second and third grade now for 25 years so 2013 is Harry's Silver Anniversary! The first book was Horrible Harry in Room 2B in 1988.

I'm just very thankful that children are still reading about Horrible Harry whether it's from a library book, paperback, hardbound book, or E book.

Get to know more about Suzy and her books by visiting her website.