Saturday, February 2, 2013

Good News for GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: It's a Kindle Best Seller!

On January 19th Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack hit the number 5 spot in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of the Amazon Kindle store. Let's hear Jeff's insights on electronic publishing and his e-book success.

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

Good News Bad News is about two friends who go on a picnic. The rabbit, an optimist, sees everything that happens as good news. The mouse, a pessimist, sees everything as bad news. One outrageous event connects to the next, until it's impossible to tell who has the right attitude. Their friendship is put to the test as each struggles to understand the other's point of view.

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

I wrote and illustrated my own book in 1998 and showed it to a dozen publishers. It didn't get published, but it helped me get work illustrating other authors' books. The first two came out in 2003. Gradually, my own books started getting published beginning with Hush Little Polar Bear in 2008. I've written and/or illustrated 25 books in the past 10 years. You can find them on my website:

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

I think the book has done well because it has something valuable to say about the nature of friendship and our ability to choose our attitudes and reactions to events. It says it in a simple and entertaining way that people of all ages can relate to. As a result, it was selected for Amazon's Kids' Kindle Daily Deal.

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

The print format came first. I designed my book to be a 3-dimensional object with 9 x 9 inch printed pages. I created the illustrations in mixed media, and sent the final images in a digital format after checking it against several rounds of printed proofs. Together with my editor and designer, I carefully considered the way the front and back jacket, the end papers, and the end flaps would enhance the story. The books are beautifully bound and printed on heavy stock.

I don't know how the e-book came about. Someone else was in charge of that.

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?

I doubt it will completely take over printed picture books. I look to other forms of entertainment for clues about the future of picture books.

For example, digital media eliminated inferior music formats like 8-tracks and cassettes, but it never completely got rid of vinyl because enough people value the good sound quality and the large artwork.

Personally, I enjoy printed picture books more than e-books because they are usually bigger and come in a variety of shapes. I also like holding books and being surrounded by piles and shelves of them. It has nothing to do with convenience or cost. Just feeling.

In five years, there will be even more competing entertainment options for kids. I'm sure E-books will be one of those options.

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

Since I've designed all of my picture books for print, the e-book format has not yet affected the way I write or draw. But I plan to consider the format when I design my next chapter book. If there's an interesting and meaningful way I can use it to help tell my story, I'll give it a shot. But I'm not sure how I'll autograph it at a school visit.

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

The format neither helps nor hurts anyone. Even though I prefer printed books, I don't think the format is as important as the content. Ultimately, the responsibility rests with parents, teachers, and librarians to discover quality books and introduce kids to meaningful ideas regardless of how they are packaged.

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

Here's one relevant advantage I can think of: If a teacher downloads an e-book, maybe they could project it onto a big screen so that it's easier for their entire class to read along with them.

As Jeff mentioned, you can learn more about him and his books at his website. I thought the 20 Questions page was especially interesting. You can also follow him on Twitter @jeffmackbooks. 

See today's updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors for children and young adults. There's always someone new showing up. Thanks for stopping by today!