Last month, on June 22, Partials by Dan Wells showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List when it hit the number 9 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. This is the first book in Dan's Partials series, so we hope to see more of this series in the top ten in the months to come. Dan has taken the time to tell us all about his book and his experience with e-publishing.
First let's find out what your book is about.
Humans built the Partials, a species of artificial people, to serve as supersoldiers and end an unwinnable war, but the Partials turned on their creators, and a disease was released that ended the entire world. Eleven years years later, a survivor named Kira Walker tries desperately to cure the plague and rebuild civilization before the Partials--or the humans themselves--rise up and finish what they started.
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 "people who like to read the same kind of stuff that I do," which in this case is science fiction, adventure, and hard choices about doing the right thing. PARTIALS is officially a YA book, but I don't think anyone really considers YA to be solely for teens--a few elitist book critics notwithstanding--so I just write whatever I think is awesome, and do what I can to help the audience that agrees with me to find my books, whether they're teens or adults or SF fans or romance fans or men or women or whoever. The e-format works well for this audience partly because of the suggestion system ("if you liked A, you'll like B"), but mostly because the instant nature of ebook purchasing makes word of mouth so much more powerful than it ever has been before. Read a good review or a book blog, and decide you want to try the book? There's the link right there; you can buy it, download it, and start reading it in seconds. People share what they like on twitter and facebook, they send each other samples, they email each other recommendations, and this works because you know your friends better than I do, and they trust you more than they trust me, and the Internet makes it so incredibly easy to share what we like.
Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? How did your e-book come about?
The book was released in print and ebook (and audio) more or less right at the same time, because that's pretty standard procedure these days for a publisher like HarperCollins. As wonderful as ebook is for some people, print is still equally wonderful for others, and if you can do both you'd be foolish not to--that's basically chopping off a portion of your audience, and I can't think of a compelling reason to make my books harder for people to get.
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 desperately hope that ebooks do not kill paper books completely, at least not until e-readers are so mind-bogglingly common that literally everyone in the world has credible access to them. In the world we currently live in, saying that print books should disappear is like saying that poor people should not be allowed to read; print books are still cheaper to buy, easier to maintain, harder to destroy, simpler to distribute, and don't need to be charged, and until that changes they will invariably be a better choice for most libraries, public schools, underprivileged areas, and developing nations. Those of us in the position to debate the merits of one format over the other need to realize that this is a pretty awesome privilege, and we'd be better served by doing what we can to give others the same opportunities.
What advantages of e-publishing do you think are most relevant to the children’s literature market?
I suspect that as ebooks and electronic formats continue to grow, they'll eventually stop trying to recreate the experience of reading a print book and become their own thing--I don't know exactly what they'll become, and I don't think anyone else in the industry really does, either, but the opportunities for evolution are too many to ignore. Ebooks will change, and it will be teens and children who spearhead that change because they're encountering these new formats without all the baggage that keeps adults stuck to the past. We read an ebook and say "I miss the feel of paper;" kids read an ebook and say "why doesn't this do anything when I touch it?" The children's literature market will be the proving ground for the future of a new medium.
Find out more about Dan and his books at his website, his blog, or by following him on Twitter or Facebook.
As usual, the Kids' EBook Bestseller List has been updated with all the latest top tens. Check it out for some great summertime reading -- for "kids" of all ages!