Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jennifer Castle: Award Winning YA Author Finds Even More Success in the Nook Store

Today's featured author is Jennifer Castle, who wrote The Beginning of After. Her book hit the number 4 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store on March 16thNo surprises there, since it's a YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults book! Readers of Nook books obviously agree.

Jennifer, let's hear what The Beginning of After is about.

When Laurel’s family dies in a horrific car accident, she struggles to put her life back together. She is now connected to David Kaufman, who lives down the block, and who lost his mother in the same crash. Both of their lives change—but not in the ways that they thought…"The Beginning of After" blends tragedy with romance, teen angst, and wit to stand as a testament to how people can survive the unthinkable. 

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

My path to publication was quite traditional and relatively smooth -- I got very lucky. It was the writing of the book itself that took many twists and turns over six years. A key point in that journey was participating in the Big Sur Writers Workshop, which is sponsored by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Once I finally had a completed manuscript, I sent it to one of the agents there, Jamie Weiss Chilton, who fell in love with the story, took it on, and guided me through a round of deep revisions. Then it went out on submission to editors, and was eventually acquired by Rosemary Brosnan at HarperCollins Children's. She loves to tell the tale of how she was reading the manuscript on the train home to New Jersey and it made her cry, and knew she had to publish it. Fortunately, the rest of the team at HarperCollins felt strongly about the book and really helped get it into the hands of readers.  

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

Well, HarperCollins is very smart when it comes to marketing, and as we build up to the paperback release of "The Beginning of After," they put the e-book on sale for a period of time. The book has already had great word of mouth, excellent reviews on Barnes and Noble's website, and a few accolades. So whether they were already aware of the book and had it on their "to be read" list, or had just discovered it, I think the $1.99 sale price encouraged readers to snap it up. I really love this strategy and honestly, I was tempted to buy it myself for my own e-reader! 

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

It so totally helps. "The Beginning of After" has always had strong e-book sales, and I take that as a sign that many adults are reading it. Many adults are more comfortable reading YA in general, thanks to e-books. If they're sitting on the subway or in a cafe, nobody has to know they've got a "teen" book on their screen. The option of downloading a free sample of a book onto your reader has also helped people "taste" books risk-free before committing. As a reader, I love having that opportunity, and as an author, it opens up your book's sales potential tremendously.
Learn more about Jennifer Castle and her books at her website, or by following her on  Twitter or  Facebook.

See today's updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List to find more top ten authors for children and young adults! And check back on Wednesday when we'll hear from Kelly Thompson, author of The Girl Who Would Be King.