Saturday, April 26, 2014

No Smoke and Mirrors: BORN OF ILLUSION Rose to the Top Ten for Teens in the Kindle Store.

On March 29th, Born of Illusion by Teri Brown hit the number 10 spot in the Teen and YA section of the Amazon Kindle store. When I read the blurb of the book, I was intrigued since my husband is professional magician. I had my fingers crossed that Teri would do an interview, and Voila! Here it is!

First, Teri, tell us what your book is about. 

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The unofficial tagline for Born of Illusion is, Is she really Harry Houdini's daughter, or is it just an illusion? Basically, BOI is a fun romp through 1920's New York City about a young woman who is a magician, a performer and a secret psychic.

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

I am traditionally and independently published. My first novel, Read My Lips, was published from Simon Pulse in 2008. There was a long stretch until Born of Illusion came out in 2013. Then I had four books come out in 2013! (I write adult historicals under TJ Brown) I independently published a companion novella to my adult series.

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

It was a Kindle Daily Deal, which made the book sky rocket up to #1 in teen historicals. I think it helped get the book in front of people's faces. 

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

I am on Twitter and Facebook. I did a lot of marketing for Born of Illusion including having a makeup designer design an exclusive eye shadow palette for the book.

Some studies say children reading e-books are reading more, while other studies say they comprehend less of what they read. What’s your opinion or experience? 

I ran a teen book club at a low income community center for several years and my girls all read regular books as none of them had an e-reader at that time. I think that has changed now. I'm not sure why there would be a comprehension difference… reading is reading, right? But I have not seen the studies, so I can't know for sure. 

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

I write YA and adult so my target audience is all over the place. I think as e-readers come down in price and phones get more sophisticated, teens will have more and more access to eBooks. Kids and young adults take very quickly to technology. I don't think they will completely replace hardcopies, but they are definitely a force.

What are you working on now?

I just turned in my third YA book for Balzer+Bray, a book called Velvet Undercover….think spy girls in WW1. I am working on a new YA horror proposal, as well as an adult historical.

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

Oh, I believe it helps. Especially with teens! 
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Learn more about Teri and her books at her website or by following her on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Goodreads.

See the updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for the latest top tens for children and young adults. And stop by every week for more interesting interviews with the authors!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

ARV-3 is AOK #1 According to Kindle Readers

On Saturday, March 22, author Cameo Renae showed up on the Kids' EBook Bestseller List when her book, ARV-3, hit the number 1 spot in the Children's section of the Amazon Kindle store. According to her website, it also got into the top 100 of all books on Amazon at one point!  

Cameo calls her book a YA Post Apocalyptic/Dystopian/Romance novel. It won the Best Dystopian Book Award in the Young Adult & Teen Readers (YATR) Literary Awards for 2013. I'm pleased that she was willing to take the time to share about her book and her e-format success.

Time to pull out your summarizing skills! In a few sentences, tell us what ARV-3 is about.

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A nuclear fallout wiped out every living thing on the planet, except for a few thousand who took shelter in underground bunkers across the globe. Now, after thirteen long years, they were finally able to return to the topside to begin to rebuild. They thought we were alone, but they were wrong.

Before the fallout, scientists had worked on creating an anti-radiation vaccine (ARV). The first two attempts failed, but despite the incomplete tests and results, the government approved and distributed the third serum to the masses in an effort to aid those who had no shelter. It worked, keeping those who remained on the topside alive, but it also altered and mutated them. This new and infectious threat had completely outnumbered the survivors. Now, they not only had to rebuild the planet. They would have to fight for it.

ARV-3 is a story which follows seventeen year old, Abigail Park. It's a story of hope, survival, and love.


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

My writing is done mostly at night, when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet. It's the only time I can think. I usually put in about four hours, or until my eyes start getting heavy. I recently finished and published my third installment in the Hidden Wings Series, which is a Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance. Right now, I have just started working on the 2nd installment of ARV-3.

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?

Oh, I definitely see an improvement. With all the new technology out there, children and adults alike, are able to download and read their books from almost any electronic device, and every year they are becoming more and more complex. But, I doubt that it will ever replace print publishing. There are too many readers who love their print copies. You can't sniff the pages of an eBook. Lol

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

I think the e-format definitely helps authors. Our books can now reach thousands of readers, who have access to our stories through online bookstores. With a click of a few buttons, they can be downloaded and read instantly. It's great. I have a Kindle and absolutely love it. But I also love my signed paperbacks.
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Learn more about Cameo and her books at her website and her blog, or by following her on Facebook  or Twitter. 

Check this week's updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more exciting authors and their bestselling e-books for kids and teens.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

SHADOWS OF THE REALM Moves Into the Top Ten Spotlight

Today we get to hear from Dionne Lister, the author of Shadows of the Realm. On March 22nd,  it hit the #3 spot in the Amazon Kindle Children's section. Shadows of the Realm is the first book in Dionne's "The Circle of Talia" fantasy series. Let's find out about her books and her electronic-format success.

Dionne, first tell us what Shadows of the Realm is about. 

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Bronwyn and Blayke are two teenager realmists studying to become members of The Circle-an elite group of those who can draw power from the Second Realm. Over a thousand years ago, the distant evil cousins of the dragons, the gormons, were banished to Third Realm after a hard-fought war. But now they've found a way back and want to destroy all that Browyn and Blayke hold dear. The realmists and dragons must work together to save their world from impending annihilation. But with Drakon, the dragon god, keeping secrets, and King Edmund's brother betraying them, their chances of survival hang in the balance.

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

I firmly believe that my professionalism and hard work has put my ebook where it is now. I made sure to get the most amazing cover I could (I've always loved fantasy covers that tell a story), and my book has been edited and polished. I guess I can't leave out that I promote it on social media every day.

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

Initially I wasn't sure how popular it would be, but when I realised how many people read ebooks and how accessible it was, I jumped at the chance. I was definitely excited and hopeful when I first pushed the 'publish' button on my first ebook. E-publishing has created an incredible opportunity for readers to access books - anytime, anywhere - and it's given authors a way to directly access readers. It's such a relief that traditional publishers aren't the only ones who get a say in what is available to read now. There is such a wonderful diversity to what readers can access now, and that is all thanks to e-publishing.

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

Nothing unexpected as far as the publishing process, but personally, I've had so many exciting things happen that I could have only dreamed about. I've spoken at the Sydney Writers Festival, attended book signings, had my book reach the #1 spot on ibooks and amazon. The other thing I've discovered that I didn't expect, is how supportive other writers are. Authors are such a helpful, generous group of people and I've made some life-long friends because of e-publishing.

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

My writing schedule can be all over the place, depending on what else I have on (I also work as an editor and copywriter and am finishing a creative writing degree). Last year I released two books and I plan to release two more this year. I'm currently writing the third and last book in The Circle of Talia series. At the moment I'm writing a minimum of 1000 words a day so I can meet my June editing target and July release date. There isn't a specific time of day that I write - morning or night works for me. I'm also writing a standalone fantasy which I hope to release next year, and a woman's fiction that will also be released towards the end of this year. 

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?

Ha, this is such a tricky question. I think the world of e-publishing will continue to grow, with more younger people using e-reading devices to read books. With children immersed more and more in technology every day, it will likely exceed print publishing for non-picture books until the technology improves (picture books are still nicer, in my opinion, in print). I don't think it will ever replace print publishing because physical books look good on shelves and feel good in the hand, although I've been wrong before :). As long as young children's books are printed, the children will carry an affinity to print books into their older years, so I think print books will stay around, but in a reduced capacity. 
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Find out more about Dionne and her books at  her blog, by following her on Twitter or by liking her on her Dionne Lister Facebook page. Check the latest updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten authors for children and teens!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Kindle Kids are Fired Up Over HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS

On March 22nd, Merrie Haskell hit the number 2 spot in the Children's section of the Amazon Kindle store with her book Handbook for Dragon Slayers. Written for middle grade readers, it's a historical fantasy and it recently won the Schneider Family Book Award (Middle Grades). Merrie joins us today to talk about her book and its e-format success.

First, please tell us what your book is about.

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Handbook for Dragon Slayers is about a princess who, for a variety of reasons, really doesn't feel she fits in with the people she's going to rule someday. Her dad died in the Crusades, she has a clubfoot that some people think is a sign of evil, and she's a bit isolated and prickly. So when the chance to run away from home presents itself, she takes it. She runs off with her two best friends, who want to be dragon slayers. She doesn't feel she's physically up to being a dragon slayer, so she comes along as their biographer and researcher until she can get to a nunnery that will take her in. Along the way, the Wild Hunt, an evil prince, and a few dragons interfere with her plans...

How did you get published: traditionally or independently? Recently or further in the past? 

Traditional, and fairly recently--my first book came out in 2011. Which feels like a billion years in many ways! But is really not that long. Of course, the book that came out in 2011 (The Princess Curse) was first written in 2008, so it feels even longer. I started writing when I was a young kid, and submitted a few short stories, poems, and novels to various publishers and contests over the years, but I would say I was not at all rigorous or persistent about it until I was 27. I started out writing short stories for the extremely vital short story science fiction and fantasy scene, getting published in places like Asimov's and Strange Horizons. When I sat down to REALLY and TRULY write a novel, no-this-time-I'm-finishing-it, I wrote a query letter and got a literary agent in the entirely boring and straightforward way.

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

My writing schedule, when I'm on target, is 8pm to 10pm weeknights (after work! I work in an amazing, enormous academic research library by day), and then usually write four or five hours a day on weekends as well. When I'm on contract and pushing my deadline, more like 7-11pm and all day all weekend! Right now, I am writing a book proposal, and am not entirely sure how to describe it at the moment. I am terrible at talking about what I'm working on! It's my single worst feature as a writer--people always want to know what you're writing, and I hem and haw and stumble and just ultimately say, "Look over there!" and run in the other direction. Once I have a first draft down, I can talk quite freely, but until then... Fortunately, I can say that my next book, The Castle Behind Thorns, is out on May 27th, and it's about blacksmithing and astronomy and evil countesses and ruined castles. And thorns.

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? 

I do think that as tablets and e-textbooks get integrated into school curricula, we'll see much more e-book pleasure reading among kids: devices will be more readily available to them, perhaps will be subsidized by schools or loaned out during the school year. I work in a library, and e-book loaning and licensing rights are of primary concern to us right now--of course, I work in a university library, and our students are a bit older than my writing's target demographic, but many of the issues are the same. It's a weird paradox, being on both the library side and the publishing side of this equation, though my heart falls on the library side. I would like to see more liberal loaning policies! I think the liberality of policies and the way devices may or may not disseminate into school-age populations through schools and libraries will determine a lot of the changes in the next 5 years; I think either way, we will see a generation that is format-agnostic, and will really not care, format-wise, how they consume books.
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Find out more about Merrie and her books  at her website or by following her on Facebook,  Twitter or Pinterest. And check this week's updated Kids' EBook Bestseller List for the latest top tens in electronic format for children and teens.