Saturday, November 16, 2013

THE LEGEND OF LIGHTNING LARRY Struck With a Bolt of Top Ten Success on Amazon

On Saturday, November 2nd, Aaron Shepard's e-book for kids, The Legend of Lightning Larry, hit the number 5 spot in the Children's & Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. During the week when I wasn't looking, Aaron tells me it got as high as number 2. (This morning it's at number 11, and he has another book in the top ten: The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale.) Today we get to hear all about The Legend of Lightning Larry and Aaron's trip to top ten success.

First tell us what your book is about. 

No outlaw could draw as fast as Lightning Larry. But what really terrified those bad men was that peculiar gun of his. It didn't shoot bullets. It shot light. And Larry always aimed for the heart.

Can Larry save the town of Brimstone from Evil-Eye McNeevil's outlaw gang? Find out in this rip-roaring original tale of a gunfighter with a huge smile and a hankering for lemonade.

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

I started selling a number of picture books to traditional publishers, large and small. But for the past 10 years or so I've mostly been self publishing for both children and adults, primarily in print but increasingly in ebook.

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

Probably the biggest factor in my success is that I've completely ignored social media.

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs? 
My target audience for this book -- in the ebook version -- is mostly parents with tablets who are looking for books to read to their kids.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?

I have very mixed feelings about e-publishing. I dislike the compromises I have to make in book design, especially when adapting print editions. On the other hand, the pictures, if done right, can look fabulous. And I can't complain about the readership. Every couple of months, Lightning Larry sells as many copies in ebook as he did in his entire hardcover career with Scribners.

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? Has anything happened that you wouldn’t have predicted? 

For one thing, I was surprised how many grandmothers were buying the book. I wasn't expecting to reach that generation. For another, I was surprised to reach #2 on the Kindle Children's bestseller list!

What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?

I recently published the update to my book "The Business of Writing for Children," Amazon's all-time bestselling children's writing guide, now available in both print and Kindle. And I'm wrapping up an update of the first book in my trilogy about Kindle book formatting, "From Word to Kindle," "Pictures on Kindle," and "HTML Fixes for Kindle."

Time to pull out your Magic 8 Ball: How do you see the world of e-publishing developing for children and young adults over the next 5 years? Do you think it will ever exceed or replace print publishing?

It has already exceeded print publishing for self publishers. In five years? I see the field totally flooded by people who have no clue how to write or illustrate a children's book, making it extremely difficult to find quality self-published books. Actually, that probably won't take five years. ;)

Learn more about Aaron and all of his books at his website.  And don't forget to check the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for all the top tens in the top stores online.