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.

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.

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!