Saturday, March 30, 2013

Yellow Star: Shooting to New Heights in E-Book Format

I first saw Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List four weeks ago, on March 9th, when it hit the #5 spot in Amazon's "Childrens and Young Adult" section. It got as high as #1 last Saturday, and today it's still sitting nicely at #2. And as you can see at Jennifer's website, Yellow Star has received quite a few honors, awards and starred reviews. Jennifer joins us today to tell us about her book and her successful e-pub experience.

Tell us what your book is about.

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“Yellow Star” is the true story of my Aunt Sylvia, who was one of only twelve children to survive the Lodz Ghetto during the Holocaust. Her story is a stunning look through a child’s eyes at the daily life, the heartbreak, and the miracles that took place in Lodz, Poland in World War II.

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 anyone who is interested in the Holocaust, WWII, or anyone who wants to be blown away by an incredible, TRUE story. The e-format works, because it allows a huge number of readers – of all ages and locations – to have the opportunity to learn about “Yellow Star” and to decide if it is a good read for them, their kids and/or friends.

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

As my books became e-books, I have discovered how much fun the online reading community is! Getting immediate feedback, responding to readers’ e-mails, and having my book covers and reviews show up in unexpected places has made being an author more interesting and enjoyable than ever!

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 do not think e-publishing will take over print publishing. Just as TV didn’t “kill off” radio, I believe that e-books and books can co-exist. There’s a place for both, and there are readers for all kinds of media.

I have to say, my favorite places are libraries and bookstores so I’m rooting for them to be around a long time. But books are meant to be read, and technology has just given us more choices of formats in which we can read them. 

I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to predict that the world of e-publishing for children will grow considerably in the next five years. And, as an author/e-author, I feel very lucky to be part of it!
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Learn more about Jennifer Roy and her books at her website. And have a look at today's Kids' EBook Bestseller List for the latest top tens in e-format for children and young adults. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: Four Weeks in the Sony Top Ten

On February 23rd, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List taking the #8 spot in Children's section of the Sony EBookstore. Then it proceeded to stay in the top ten for three more weeks. This book has also been a New York Times bestseller. Marissa joins us today to talk about Scarlet, which is book two in her Lunar Chronicles series. 

First, tell us what your book is about.

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The Lunar Chronicles are fairy tale retellings set in the distant future. The series began with CINDER, in which Cinderella was re-imagined as a teenage cyborg with a mysterious past. In SCARLET, we meet my version of Little Red Riding Hood, who must join forces with a street fighter named Wolf to track down her missing grandmother.

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

Yes, both of my novels were published in both print and e-book format (and also audiobook) concurrently. I'm published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint under Macmillan, and to my knowledge they release all of their YA books in both formats. In this day and age, I think publishers are realizing that they would be ignoring a large percentage of the book-buying population if they ignored e-books.

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

I'd expected my books to be in e-format since I received my book deal, as I've been aware for some years that this was a growing market. I think it's wonderful. While I of course support booksellers - particularly local, independent booksellers - I think it's important for books to be available to readers in whatever format they can get it in. I'm an advocate for reading, period, and am glad that today's readers have so many choices for receiving their favorite books.

I've also noticed that many fans will begin by reading the e-book and then, if they love it, also buy the print book to have for display. What writer doesn't love that?

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

I can't imagine how it would hurt. It allows for a fast and convenient way to buy books that interest us, and in the end, it's the words combined with imagination that create the reading experience. Yes, there is a tactile element involved with reading a print book, but I think e-books are just one more way to enjoy the act of storytelling.
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Find out more about Marissa and her books at her website where you'll find her blog and the chance to sign up for her newsletter and giveaways. You can also follow her on Twitter, on her author Facebook page or on her Lunar Chronicles Facebook page.

As usual, the Kids' EBook Bestseller List has been updated this morning with all the latest e-format top tens. Check it out!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Orphaned Worlds: Top Ten on EBooks.com

Last Saturday The Orphaned Worlds by Michael Cobley hit the number 10 spot in the Children's and Young Adult section of the EBooks.com store, AND it's still there today! The Orphaned Worlds is Mike's second book in his "Humanity's Fire" trilogy. He joins us today to share about his books and thoughts about e-publishing.

Mike, let's start with a description of your book.

In Book 1, Seeds of Earth, Darien - a lost Human colony world (consisting of the desendants of Scots, Russians and Scandinavians) - was rediscovered, far from Earth and found themselves caught up in political intrigues which resulted in their occupation by a vast alien empire. Also, it turns out that an ancient mysterious device is buried near the main colony settlements, and is reawakening. 

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In book 2, The Orphaned Worlds, the reader discovers more about another two longlost human colony worlds, settled at the same time as Darien, and their fates become entwined with that of Darien. Also, we learn that another creature, immeasurably old, called the Godhead, has been manipulating the situation from its stronghold far down in the layered depths of hyperspace. There are rescues, battles, betrayals, vast interstellar vistas, and pursuits down into hyperspace.

How did you first get published? Was it traditionally or independently?

I started writing in my early 20s, and got my first short stories published in the British SF small press back in 1986, all charmingly pre-digital! My first professional sale was to a paperback SF anthology called Other Edens 2, and my first novel sale was the Shadowkings trilogy to Simon & Schuster UK back in 2000.  

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?

I don't really have a target audience in mind when I plot out and write: I haven't written anything depicting graphic sex thus far - not that I`m against it, as it just doesn't fit with what I want to do, and in any case I sometimes feel that a sex scene can act as a kind of blaring fog horn blotting out other aspects of the narrative. I do use some swear words but very sparingly - again, I`m not against their use, and plausibility demands their consideration since there are moments in life where an angry expletive is appropriate. But overuse dulls the effect, hence the infrequent use. As for how ebooks work for an audience of readers - I think a lot of it comes down to convenience.

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

I was and remain ambivalent about e-publishing. For me, a print book is an existing, real-world object; it is its own thing, rather than just one amongst a spectrum of digital entertainment products. Of course, I say this from my perspective, that of the generation of writers that got into writing and publishing as technology first introduced desktop publishing, then moved to the digitisation of information. The new generation of young scamps will be growing up with the digital landscape as a natural given, just the backdrop which is interwoven with all they know. I was keen for my books to appear in ebook format, though, since I didnt want to miss out on widening the audience for my work. Thus far, all my books have appeared in print format first, although there is now available an ebook version of my short story collection, Iron Mosaic, which has several additional stories which the print edition didnt have. 

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

I am concerned about the effect of online interactivity in general, since much PR and other forms of propaganda have mutated to fit the 1/2/3 click mentality of surfing impatience. The sense is that advertising ideology perceives the audience in certain ways and pushes publicity methods to take advantage of that perceived audience behaviour. But I think that it is the shape and impact and subtext of advertising, whether online or on small/big screen, which alters audience behaviour, which deforms modes of thinking into impulse purchases, keying into emotional responses rather than intellectual, reasoned responses. These are the doubts I have with respect to online commercial culture, and it seems to me that children/young adults are wide open to this.
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Find out more about Mike and his books at his website or by following him on Facebook. You might also enjoy seeing his book trailer for the Humanity's Fire series.

See today's Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten authors and their books for children and young adults. There's always someone new on the list!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

From Karleen: Squeezing in a Post Between Authors

The response from authors to my interview requests for the Kids' EBook Besteller blog has been so positive that I’ve often posted twice a week just to keep up and get their book info out in a timely manner. But another result has been that I haven’t had a chance to do a post of my own in a very long time. Today I'm taking the reins to say "Hi!" and update you on some behind-the-scenes topics.

The blog has been running since November, 2010 and as far as I know it is still the only multi-store bestseller list of e-books for children and young adults. (The New York Times has not yet broken out e-books for kids/YA into a separate list. They are just lumped into the general  “fiction e-books” category.) I am delighted to bring this information to you every week, and I love singing the praises of these authors who are finding success in e-publishing.

The publishing industry continues to change fast. When I started this blog, the Borders stores were closing. Now Barnes and Noble is in the news, reporting significant losses, reduction of their Nook program, and stores closing. I live in Florida’s most densely populated county, yet I need to drive over 20 minutes to get to my nearest bookstore, a B & N. Once that closes, my other options will be two small indie stores each over 45 minutes away. This reflects the huge changes in how we buy books.

Looking ahead, I see plenty of room for middle grade books on the Kids Ebook Bestseller list. Right now it’s dominated by picture books and young adult novels. Plenty of parents are reading to their small children on their tablet, e-reader or smart phone, and loads of teens are reading on devices as well. I believe the age of ownership of such devices will keep falling and the MG market is full of opportunity for the author seeking to e-publish as more and more kids in that age bracket get their own tablets or e-readers. Rick Riordan has been the most prominent MG author, and Jeff Kinney is now showing up more. But other than that, the MG sector has room for growth in the ebook market.(Hurrah! Because that's what I write!)
 
Moving forward, I’d love to hear from you. Each author I contact gets to choose between three to five questions from a list of ten. Are there questions you would like to see answered regarding e-books for children and young adults? Throw me some suggestions, and I'll see if I can use them to freshen up the list.

So far I’ve featured interviews with over 90 authors. Check out the list! There are some that I’d love to feature, but either I can’t find contact information for them, or they have not answered my emails. Here’s my current wish list: A.J. Cosmo, Stephen Chbosky, Kelly Mooney, Meredith Badger, Jeff Kinney, Pittacus Lore, R.J. Palacio, Noah Child and any of the three authors who represent the "Erin Hunter" name. If you have a connection to any of these authors, let them know about my blog and if they are interested in an interview, they can contact me at Info (at) KidsEbookBestsellers (dot) com.

Keep coming back to visit. The Kids' EBook Bestseller List is updated every Saturday morning. And there are always interesting authors to hear from, sharing their successful experience with e-publishing. You can keep up with me, the blog, my books and all the latest news in e-publishing for kids and YA by following me on Twitter or on Facebook.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mrs. Dole Is In Control of the #6 Spot on EBooks.com

Hurrah! Last week Dan Gutman was back on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List so I contacted him to see if I could feature him again.  Almost exactly a year ago (March 3rd, 2012) Dan visited us with an interview about his book Mr. Burke Is Berserk!, Book #4 in his "My Weirder School" series. Today, he's back to talk about Mrs. Dole Is Out of Control, the first book in his "My Weird School Daze" series. Last Saturday and again today it's #6 in the "Children's and Young Adult" section of EBooks.com. 

Dan, tell us what Mrs. Dole Is Out of Control is about.  

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A.J. and the gang are graduating! But the out-of-control PTA president is turning the whole thing into a huge ceremony complete with fireworks, a petting zoo, and a flyover by the Blue Angels! Is moving up to third grade such a big deal? And what could possibly go wrong?

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing?

Well, I guess I'm somewhat of a purist when it comes to most things. My feeling was that the paper book had served us pretty well for five hundred years or so, and there was no reason to do anything differently.

Was it your idea or your publisher’s?

I'm not sure. After the Mac was introduced and desktop publishing arrived, everybody pretty much knew e-books were on the horizon. It was a question of how long it would take, how good they would be, how much they would cost, how hard it would be to use them, and things like that.

Were you hesitant?

Yes.

Excited?

Yes. I may be a purist, but at the same time I do get excited by new technology and what it is capable of. I think I was very lucky to be living in a time when I could witness the birth of the personal computer, VCR, CD, DVD, the Internet, digital cameras, cable TV, cell phones, iPods, and so many other cool things.  


Apprehensive?

Yes.

Optimistic?

Yes. And scared, too. Because any new technology is usually hard to use and I'm not a techie at all. I remember HATING the VCR, because I couldn't even figure out how to set the clock on the thing, much less program it to tape a TV show when I wasn't home. Now I have a DVR, and I record everything in sight effortlessly.

Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?

Oh yeah. I must confess that I actually prefer to read books off a screen, because I like to blow the type up big and flip through pages quickly.

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

It's too soon to tell. I just got my first royalty check for an e-book TODAY. Ask me in five years.

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


I believe it is great for reluctant readers, for the same reason that I like to read off a screen. A big page full of tiny type is intimidating to a lot of kids. People with short attention spans (like me) find it easier to read when we only see a small part of the page at one time. 
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You can learn more about Dan and his many books at the "My Weird Classroom Club" website from his publisher HarperCollins, at Dan's own website or by following him on his Facebook fan page or on Twitter.

And have a look at today's Kids' EBook Bestseller List where you'll find all the top authors for children and young adults.