Saturday, May 3, 2014

TIMEBOUND: Spending Plenty of Time in the Top Ten for Kindle Teens.

On April 5th, Timebound by Rysa Walker hit the number 8 spot in the Teens & YA section of the Amazon Kindle store. Five weeks later and it's still in the top ten, taking the number 6 spot today!  

Timebound is the first book in Rysa's CHRONOS Files series, with book #2 expected to be out by October of this year. It was the 2013 Winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in the Young Adult Fiction category AND it was the Grand Prize Winner! Rysa joins us today to tell all about her book and its success in electronic format.

First, what's the story of Timebound?

If not for the odd blue medallion around her neck, sixteen-year old Kate would simply cease to be. And if she cannot learn to use that medallion to prevent her grandmother's murder at the 1893 World's Fair, billions of people will meet an identical fate at the hands of the Cyrists, a time-traveling cult planning a drastic form of environmental defense. With so many lives at stake, Kate has no choice. But changing the timeline is not without cost. Kate will remember the past few months with the guy she loves, but when he looks at her, he'll see a total stranger. 

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

Timebound was originally self-published (as Time's Twisted Arrow) in October 2012. It did okay, but the book really took off after I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. In June, 2013, the book won both the YA and, thanks to the online voters, the Grand Prize, which led to a publishing contract with a $50,000 advance on royalties. That allowed me to quit the day job (teaching college online) and focus on my writing. Timebound was then republished by Skyscape with a new title and cover in January 2014, but it was also selected as a Kindle First selection for December. That meant that thousands of ebook readers were able to access the book a month in advance and this resulted in a large number of reviews--over 2000 now-- and I think that's something that many readers look for before taking a chance on a debut author. 

How are people finding out about your book?

Skyscape is an imprint of Amazon Publishing, which means that I have a top notch marketing team to help me reach readers. The contest and Kindle First placement have definitely helped people find Timebound, but nothing can substitute for a good story that can be appreciated by both young adults and older readers who haven't lost touch with their sense of wonder. I think the majority of my readers to this point have been adults--but many of them are passing the book along to the younger readers in their lives. Word of mouth has also been important and I'm active on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. 

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 14 and up, but I've gotten positive responses from readers as young as ten and as old as eighty-four, both male and female. Timebound doesn't have much adult language and the romance sections are fairly tame, so younger teens aren't a problem in that respect. Two of my beta-readers are middle school students, actually, but preteens who aren't advanced readers would probably find it a bit challenging. We've had a lot of cross-over from adult readers who enjoy light science fiction and historical fiction, and I think that's been instrumental in our success so far. Basically, anyone who can follow "Doctor Who" without getting a headache from the "wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff" will probably enjoy Timebound. 

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing?

I have been a Kindle user for several years and I rarely read print books. I often joke that the Kindle may have the been the result of a deal between my adolescent self and the devil, because I would probably have sold my soul as a twelve-year-old for a device that let me download a new book instantly. I lived ten miles from the nearest library (which was and still is sorely underfunded) and thirty miles from a bookstore. My kids read almost exclusively on their devices, and so I am a strong supporter of the ebook format. The self-published version of Timebound was published first as an ebook and the vast majority of my sales before and after ABNA [Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award] have been ebook. To be honest, I would never sign with a publisher of YA books that emphasized print sales over ebooks or who put ebooks at the same price as print, because I don't believe that company will be around for the long haul.

What are you working on now?

Timebound is part of a series (The CHRONOS Files). I'm working on editing the second book (Time's Edge) which will come out in October, and also putting the final touches on an e-only CHRONOS novella planned for early summer. The third book and a second novella will follow a similar schedule for 2015. So, a very busy couple of years ahead!
Find out more about Rysa and her books at her website and her  CHRONOS Files blog, or by following her on Facebook or Twitter.  See the updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. 

Want a sneak preview of the rest of the authors I'm featuring for the next few weeks? Check out my latest newsletter. You can sign up HERE to get the newsletter and stay up to date with the blog and my books.