Saturday, June 29, 2013

THE TESTING: Three Weeks in the Top Ten!

On June 15th The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau hit the number 3 spot in the Children's section of the Sony Ebookstore. On June 22nd it climbed another notch to the number 2 spot, and this week it's still there! This is the first book in what will be The Testing Trilogy.

Joelle, let's start with finding out about your story. What's your book about?

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THE TESTING - It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.

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

Personally, I think that anything that encourages reading is a good thing. E-book. Print Book. Audio. If it helps get the story to the readers, I am a fan. E-formats have encouraged a lot of people who might not otherwise be readers to pick up a book and read for pleasure--sometimes for the first time in a long while. There is no downside to that.

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

I believe that the e-format is a great supplement to the other reading that children and young adults are doing. As a parent and teacher, I would hate to think of a time when kids don't have bookshelves full of fabulous books in their rooms. The printed book is often wonderful for fueling the imagination. E-book with their ability to create new and exciting additional content that often provides interactive experiences adds a new depth to the story that can push imagination to who new realms. The combination is something truly exciting.

What advantages of e-publishing do you think are most relevant to the children's literature market?

I think that e-reading allows parents to have books available for their children at all times, which is a wonderful thing. Also, the new, interactive pieces that are being added every day to these books provide new experiences that continue to expand kids' minds. I will be fascinated to see how those developments grow and change the way young people think of books and the stories they love. 
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Find out more about Joelle and her books at  her website. She also has a site specifically for The Testing Trilogy where you can read excerpts, view trailers and of course, take tests! And you can follow Joelle on Facebook and Twitter.

The Kids' EBook Bestseller List is updated every Saturday morning. If you (or your kids) need some summer reading, it's the place to go for all the top tens in the top stores!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

SOMEONE ELSE'S FAIRYTALE Brings Top Ten Success to E.M. Tippetts

Last  Saturday, June 15th, author E.M. Tippetts showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List. Her book, Someone Else's Fairy Tale, hit the number 7 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. Emily Tippetts joins us to talk about the e-success of her book, the first o two books in her Fairytale Series. 

First, let's hear what your story is about.

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Hollywood A-lister, Jason Vanderholt, falls for everygirl, Chloe Winters. She becomes the woman every other woman is dying to be, but it just isn't her fairytale. She doesn't even believe in fairytales.

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

I write science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah and have sold short stories to various magazines and anthologies. My first work as E.M. Tippetts was an LDS (Mormon) chick lit book that I sold to a small press in Utah. I decided to take that pen name indie, for the fun of trying the indie route, and Someone Else's Fairytale went live in December 2011. It has since been on the Kindle top 100 twice.

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

My continued study of the market and how bookselling works. When Fairytale first came out, Twitter marketing was very effective, and I got Fairytale to #194 on Amazon this way. Then things changed and it was a combination of factors that got the book to 51st on Amazon the following December: the book was chosen by Amazon for a price promotion, Pixel of Ink featured it, and BookBub gave it a free ad. This last time it climbed the ranks to both the Amazon and Barnes and Noble top 100 lists was when I placed another BookBub ad. Right now those are very effective, and I'll keep watching for the next market shift.

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media. 

I've always used Twitter to meet and engage with people, and that used to sell a lot of books, but no longer (not that I mind, I still like meeting people). I've since become more active on Facebook and started up my own mailing list, but I'm not the sort of person that emails out updates very often. People on the list will hear from me as I build up to another book launch, but I'm pretty quiet otherwise. Mostly, I make myself accessible on social media, if anyone wants to talk to me. I try not to make a pest out of myself!

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

Light romance has an extremely broad target audience and Fairytale has fans aged eleven through ninety-seven. Much to my surprise, quite a few men have read it and left positive reviews, which shows they don't mind the whole world knowing they read it. The logical taget market is women in their early teens through late twenties who are looking for an easy read that isn't pure formula.

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

I thought that, because it was revolutionizing the publishing industry, I wanted to be a part of it, even if I didn't sell any books. I wanted to someday tell younger generations of authors that I was there, participating when the very first indie books cracked the bestseller lists, and I have no regrets whatsoever. It's been a fantastic experience through and through. I even got to draft one of the first ever indie translation deals, which led to Fairytale being translated into German and it *almost* cracked the Amazon.de top 100. It got to #113. But no matter. The German edition book still has its place in history as one of the first of its kind.

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

I wouldn't have predicted that, a couple of years in, I'd be someone younger authors ask advice from. Given how new indie publishing is, you don't have to have been doing it all that long to have relatively more experience than everyone else trying it out. I still consider myself a new indie author, but I was well ahead of the big rush to go indie that happened in 2012.

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? How did your e-book come about?

Yes, the book's available in print on demand through CreateSpace. I did that around the same time I released the ebook so that I would have something to sign and give to family and friends. And I've made a little side income through selling it too, but the ebook is where i see the real sales volume. Hence, the ebook was my publishing plan from the beginning. That was a format I could price low and thus reach a wider audience with. 

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? Why or why not? 

I don't think print publishing will ever go away, but e-publishing already had become the market sector with more sales volume. I think this is because the books are so much cheaper, and yet the authors still tend to make more per sale, so it's a win-win. As for whether it will ever catch on with children, that will depend on the availability of e-readers to younger people. Such ereaders would have to be cheaper and more durable, so I think it'll be a while yet before ebooks take over that segment of the market.

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

It only helps authors to have another set of rights and another potential income stream, and because ebooks can be produced with zero marginal cost, this means it's a market outlet accessible to everyone with a computer and the ability to format an ebook (or to pay someone to format it). More people can get published these days, and make their own publishing destiny.

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

It's hard to see how it could hurt any readers. I know there are a lot of people who bemoan the death of the physical book, but I just don't see that ever happening. Paperbacks are still widely available at the same prices as ever, but now it's possible to get ebooks for cheaper, delivered instantaneously to your ereader at any hour. The average ereader owner reads four times as many books as someone without one. While I know there's a lot of prejudice against ebooks for young children, I can't yet tell how much of it is just resistance to change. Parents need to be as diligent as ever to know what it is their kids are reading.

What advantages of e-publishing do you think are most relevant to the children’s literature market?

I think it provides everyone, kids included, with another option. It means parents need to find new ways to be vigilant, but, speaking as a parent, that's inevitable in all types of media consumption. It'll be interesting to see how children's literature changes without publishers being the only parties to decide what books see print; I can't even begin to speculate there!
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Find our more about Emily Tippetts and her books at her website or by following her on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

Check this week's updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for all the best in summer reading!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Star Carrier Series Carried Bill Keith to Three Books in the Top Ten!

Today we get to hear from Bill Keith. Last week his books Singularity, Center of Gravity and Deep Space hit the number 3, 6 and 8 spots in the Children's and Young Adult section of the EBooks.com store. And they're still there this week! This Star Carrier series is written under the pseudonym "Ian Douglas".

    
So far, Bill has seventy-eight novels, ten non-fiction books, and twenty short stories published under a variety of pen names. He says there are more on the way, ranging from science fiction to action-adventure to military technothrillers. When he's not writing, he has designed forty games and game modules, and he's an artist. What a delight to hear from such a talented guy! 

First, let's hear what your books are about. 

The Star Carrier series, which so far includes the titles Earth Strike, Center of Gravity, Singularity, and Deep Space, examines our relationship with our technology against the backdrop of an ongoing war against a more advanced alien galactic civilization. Special attention is given to a concept called the Technological Singularity--a point in the relatively near future when our rapidly escalating technology--and our connections with it--will accelerate so swiftly that the very definition of what it means to be "human" will change completely, passing utterly beyond our current comprehension. One of the main characters, Trevor Gray, comes from a culture with little in the way of electronic technology, and through his eyes we learn about technology and the Singularity, about the nature of intelligence, and ultimately about our place in the evolution of the universe.

At least two more Star Carrier novels are currently in the works after these first four. 

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

I actually started out in 1979 as an illustrator for various science fiction role-playing games, including Traveler and BattleTech. While working as a freelancer for game companies such as the old GDW and FASA, I had the opportunity to begin writing, first, game scenarios and supplements, and, later, full-length novels, including the very first three BattleTech novels published by FASA.


At that time, the "traditional" path to SF publishing meant selling short fiction to the various SF magazines--Analog, Asimov's, and the like--and then later, once the author is known, coming out with a novel. I took the independent path, through game-related fiction, writing six game tie-ins before being picked up by a New York publisher--Berkley--to do an action-adventure series with science-fictional elements. That was thirty years ago, and I've been writing ever since... over a hundred published titles so far. (See photo of me and a few of my books to the right.) 

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

Well... I write about what I like and what interests me, and hope that the passion shows through in the writing. The stories tend to be fast-paced... but I've had a lot of feedback from fans who tell me they really like how I use and explain the science, which I try to keep both accurate and unobtrusive. I even had a fan letter last week from a real-world astrophysicist, who can't read most modern SF because of the bad science... but he enjoyed Star Carrier!

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

I don't use social media, and leave the marketing to the publishers. I tend to let my work speak for itself... a strategy that must be working, since Center of Gravity hit the New York Times Best Seller list last year, something almost unheard of for a military SF novel!

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 everyone who is interested in science and technology, in our relationship to our quickly changing technology, and in Humankind's future as we become a mature species expanding out into the universe. Age doesn't matter; the first SF-military adventure novel I ever read blew me away when I was 10, and now, at 63, I still can't get enough of it.

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

I was initially skeptical. The e-format, I felt, would never replace the printed page, and people would always prefer the look and feel of a print-on-paper book. I had no problem with e-publishing, as such; I simply felt it would be little more than a toy for a long time to come. I did not choose to enter the world of e-publishing; that was done by my publisher. My royalties--the payment I get for each book sold--have increased tremendously, however, thanks to my e-book sales, and I've received many, many fan letters from people wondering when various titles would appear in electronic form.

I now believe that the electronic format--or something closely related--will replace paper at some point... though probably not until we hit the Technological Singularity, maybe in a century or so. Until then, I, at least, will prefer traditional books. 

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? How did your e-book come about?

I write all of my books for print format. When I started off writing novels, in the early 1980s, there was no electronic media, and print books were the only game in town. The publisher, by contractual agreement, releases them now in electronic format if and when they feel the need later. Doing so was their marketing decision... and, judging from the sales, quite a good one.

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?

As stated above, I do believe e-publishing may eventually replace printed media entirely, but I don't see that happening for many decades yet. The one factor that might accelerate this process would be the financial failure, on a large scale, of print-media companies and bookstores--such as the late, lamented Borders, under pressure from corporate giants like Amazon. If enough such companies go under in the current economy, it might turn out that such businesses simply become economically nonviable. On the other hand, new technologies such as print-on-demand may extend the life of traditional books. I hope so. My house is filled with paper books... and they never need batteries or an Internet connection.

Within the next five years, I expect to see pretty much more of the same... with more and newer technologies bringing a wider variety of books and stories to kids, but no major changes to the market as a whole.
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Explore Bill's website to learn more about him and his his books. And check the updated Kids' EBook Best seller List for more fascinating authors and their latest work in e-format! 

Want to keep up with all the interviews? Follow me on Facebook or on Twitter.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Anatomy of a Best Seller: Daria Snadowsky Tells All

Today we have a double-header! Author Daria Snadowsky had two books on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List last week. Anatomy of a Boyfriend and Anatomy of a Single Girl hit the number 2 and 3 spots respectively in the Children's and Teen section of the EBooks.com store. And this week, they've both bumped up a notch to take the number 1 and 2 spots! Daria's here to tell us about her books and her success in electronic format.

First let's hear what your books are about. 

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Inspired by Judy Blume’s Forever…, the ANATOMY books are all about firsts: First love, first time, first heartbreak, all set against the backdrop of graduating from high school and transitioning to college. Through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Dominique, we see how relationships can be both emotionally euphoric and devastating, and physically exhilarating and awkward. Even though young love is wonderful and fun, it presents extremely serious choices.

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

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The target audience are girls ages 14 to 19. For those who own e-readers or have library access to computers, the e-format works great, especially since most e-reader platforms permit e-book lending. And for those who prefer reading hardcopies, they can usually find the book either at their local library or through interlibrary loan.

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? How did your e-book come about?

ANATOMY OF A BOYFRIEND first came out only as a hardcover. The following year the publisher released it as a paperback and as an e-book. But by the time ANATOMY OF A SINGLE GIRL was released, e-books were more prevalent, so the publisher decided to release it as an e-book the same day as the hardcover. The paperback will be published next year.

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 think e-publishing is already taking over print publishing. Accessing e-books is just so much quicker and more convenient than trekking to a bookstore. As for children’s publishing, I have to imagine more e-books will incorporate animation to supplement the text and illustrations. After all, children’s e-books have to compete with pop-ups and scratch-and-sniff books.

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

I think the e-format can only help any author’s books find an audience, especially now that so many people do their reading on tablets. The only real pitfall of e-books is that they’re more vulnerable to being pirated and distributed for free online.

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

E-books tend to be cheaper than hardcopy books, so that’s fabulous for young adults whose only pocket money may come from an afterschool job. Anything that increases access to books is a positive.
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Find out more about Daria and her her books at her website, or by following her on Facebook or Twitter. You can even play the Build Your Own Boyfriend game!

Don't forget to check this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List to see Daria in that oh-so-hot top spot, and to find more super books for your tablet!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

WHERE I BELONG Obviously Belongs in the Nook Top Ten!


Today's featured author is Gwendolyn Heasley. Her book WHERE I BELONG first showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List on May 18th, when it hit the number 4 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. The next week, on May 25th, it climbed another notch to number 3. WHERE I BELONG is her first novel, making her success even more impressive!. Read on to find out all about Gwendolyn and her path to the top ten.

First let's hear about your story. What is WHERE I BELONG about?


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After Manhattanite Corrinne Corcoran’s father looses his big-to-do job in the recession, she and her little brother Tripp move to Broken Spoke, Texas to live with their estranged grandparents. Initially, Corrinne spends her time trying to plot and scheme her way back to her old life, the one she thinks she should still be living. But with the help of a cute boy and new friend, Corrinne begins to realize that maybe her life before the recession wasn’t as perfect as she thought.

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

Traditional. I wrote Where I Belong in the midst of the recession. It was published in January of 2011.

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

Where I Belong is set against the backdrop of the recession and I think we’re all still grappling with how the recession changed and continues to change the way we live—and think. Because of this, I think readers—especially teens—are looking for narratives that grapple with it. Plus, Corrinne might be initially a bit unlikeable, but she’s funny and real, which I think readers love.

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

I’ve been lucky that Amazon and Barnes & Noble have put my book on my promotion. I think that’s definitely helped draw crowds. But I also try to use Twitter and Facebook to promote. I also visit schools and bookstores too! I think in-person marketing is still necessary. Most importantly, I respond to all fan mail immediately. I write for my readers and it’s important that I care for them first.

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

My novel is YA although I know plenty of adults have read it as well. I think teens like the instant access of e-books and e-readers. I also think e-book pricing is more reasonable for teens, especially when e-books go on promotion. (Where I Belong is currently $1.99 for a few more days.)  

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

Before Where I Belong was published, I had never used an e-reader. I wasn’t against them, but I was stuck in my old habits. Now, I read almost exclusively on my iPad. I was initially excited that Where I Belong was available as an e-book, however, three years later, I feel even more strongly about the future and importance of e-books. Where I Belong has sold very strongly in the electronic format and I’m very appreciative of that fact.

And how great is it to be able to access a new book with the touch of your fingers? E-books are as easy (although more expensive) than turning on the TV.

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why?

Where I Belong was released in print and electronic at the same time. The sequel to Where I Belong, however, will be released only as an e-book. It will published by HarperTeen’s new digital only line! Kind of neat huh? It shows how e-books are becoming more and more important.

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? How do you see the world of e-publishing for children within the next 5 years?

I think there will always be a need for print books. Some people like collecting physical books and I think it’s important that libraries always have print books. (Not everyone can afford e-readers, no matter how cheap they get.) Plus, some people just like print better. I do think that e-books will keep becoming more and more popular, especially because of their pricing. In the next 5 years, I think more e-books will be sold than regular books. I also think more and more books will have prequels or sequels that are available exclusively as e-books.

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

On one hand, there are so many e-books to choose from, especially with the continued popularity and rise in self-publishing. Sometimes, I think it feels like overload. It’s almost harder to get your e-book noticed than your traditional print book. But overall, I’m very happy that my book is available as an e-book and believe e-books can only help me. (I’m also pro-self publishing. While I believe I will always continue to be traditionally published as long as a publisher will have me, I see nothing wrong with people putting their art into the world to share. I think it’s wonderful.)

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

I think it helps them. Teens spend so much time online and they expect everything to happen quickly. Most teens probably don’t have the time (or want to spend the time) to go to a bookstore or a library. I think e-books encourage reading for tech savvy teens and that’s great. I wish I had e-books as a teen!

What advantages of e-publishing do you think are most relevant to the children’s literature market?

I think it’s cost effective and time effective. I think those are both two great things that readers are looking for! 
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Find out more about  Gwendolyn Heasley and her books at her website and blog or by following her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

And check the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more summertime (or anytime) reading.