Saturday, September 27, 2014

THE GLASS SENTENCE Keeps Breaking Through to the Top Ten

Our featured author today is S.E Groves. She wrote The Glass Sentence, the first book of what will be the Mapmakers trilogy. On June 27th, it came in at the #10 spot in the Children's and Teen section of the Kobo store. Then it popped back in on July 12th at #5, then resurfaced in the top ten again on August 23rd. 

A combination of adventure, mystery, friendship, history and maps, The Glass Sentence has received rave reviews throughout the summer, from Publishers Weekly to the famous Seattle  librarian Nancy Pearl. It's a treat to be able to feature the story of S.E.'s e-publishing success.

Let's start with a description of The Glass Sentence.

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It is 1892 in Boston. Roughly ninety years earlier, an event occurred separating places from time. Now places are in different time periods. Sophia, a thirteen-year-old living in Boston, is the niece of a famous cartologer - a mapmaker who records and explores the new world. Just as Sophia is learning the art of cartology, her uncle is kidnapped, and she must leave Boston to find him. 

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

My path has been traditional. I worked with an agent who revised this book with me multiple times (she is an editor in her own right). She then shared it with editors in the summer of 2011. When the book was acquired by Sharyn November at Viking that summer, she and I began working on the book. My sense is that this has been a very traditional past.

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

It's a bit of a mystery to me, but apparently this magical thing called "word of mouth" is actually happening. I consider myself a social media amateur, but I have tried to be present on Twitter and Facebook. I recognize that these are wonderful tools for reaching people, but I have never taken to them as a reader/user, so I'm learning. My sense is that meeting with booksellers and librarians has made a huge difference for this book. Penguin Young Readers Group sent me on a dinner tour in June, and I met with booksellers and librarians in various cities. I think their enthusiasm has a lot to do with this book reaching so many readers. I also think that enthusiasm in-house is absolutely vital. Thanks to my editor and others at Viking, this book took off with readers internally, and that, in turn, made all the difference for the next step. 

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

I think of this book as having a couple target audiences. First, young readers in the 9 to 13 age range who like adventures, mysteries, and nerdy things like maps! Second, older readers who find the fantasy or history elements of interest. This is a beautiful book on paper -- Viking has made it a wonderful object. But it's also hefty. And I think the conveniences readers enjoy with any e-book will apply to "The Glass Sentence" as well. I'm betting it's a lot lighter as an e-book than it is as a hardback! 

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

 My writing schedule at the moment looks daunting! I am finishing up revisions of Book 2 of the Mapmakers trilogy, and as soon as I finish I have to move on to Book 3! I try to write for a few hours a day, but I find that time away from actual writing is just as essential - percolating time. 

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

I have mixed feelings about this, as I expect many do. I think e-books specifically do not hurt young readers in the least. On the contrary, I think it's nice to have yet another way to access books. On the other hand, I am wary of their over use in the classroom. I do think that e-readers, and I'm thinking specifically tablets, should not become the sole way of accessing educational materials. It's one thing for e-books to replace paper -- what a delight to get rid of those heavy biology books! But when electronic learning games replace classroom activities and interaction with a computer replaces interaction with classmates, I think tablets and computers become less valuable. Like anything else, they should be an occasional tool rather than an all-encompassing approach.
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Learn more about S.E. Grove at her website or by following her on Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning.

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