Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sean Fay-Wolfe: Quest for the Top Ten with QUEST FOR JUSTICE

On October 24th Quest for Justice by Sean Fay-Wolfe hit the number 4 spot in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. Quest for Justice is book 1 of 3 in the The Elementia Chronicles series unofficial Minecraft-fan adventure books. Sean says, "The story stays true to the game while being packed with action and adventure."

First, please tell us what your book is about.


Quest for Justice takes place in an online Minecraft world called Elementia. A new player named Stan2012 joins the game, with no idea how to play. He makes some new friends travels to a village where he learns in a boot-camp-style program how to play the game from the older players. However, he soon realizes that many of the older players don't want any more new players to join Elementia, because they want to keep the few remaining resources around the server's capitol, Element City, for themselves. When the King of Elementia passes a law banishing all new players from the city, Stan and his friends set out on a journey across the world of Minecraft to fight back against him. They learn how to play the game as they look for resources and raise an army, meeting many colorful characters on the way, all in the name of bringing justice and balance to Elementia.

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

After receiving positive reactions from my family to Quest for Justice, I decided to try to get it published. First, I wrote to several publishing companies and to the creator of Minecraft himself. Not really to surprised that no one jumped at the opportunity to work with a 16 year old, I decided to self-publish. I used CreateSpace, a company that published the book for free but didn't provide editing or marketing services. The book was initially edited by my mother and I, and we marketed it through a social media campaign and visits to schools. I also joined the Association of Rhode Island Authors, along with several other author support groups, to try and gain more exposure. One event organized by ARIA put me in contact with Judith Rosin who worked for Publisher's Weekly. I ended up doing an interview with her which resulted in an online article being published about me . This article, in addition to the growing popularity of the series in my home state of Rhode Island, lead my current agent to approach me, which lead to me signing a three-book deal with HarperCollins in early 2015.

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

While we have marketed through social media, and through more traditional methods after being picked up by HarperCollins, I think that one of the biggest and most unique ways that the word has spread is through my visits to schools. I usually give presentations to 3rd through 6th graders, occasionally older and occasionally younger. In these presentations, I talk about what my book is about, and describe the ways that Minecraft inspired me to write. I use my books as an example as I talk about how to develop a plot, and how to go about evolving it from an idea to a piece of written work. These talks are effective because the students are happy to pay attention because the talk is about Minecraft, while the teachers are happy that the students are learning about writing and story structure.

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


The target audience of the Elementia Chronicles is between ages 8 and 12. However, while that is the demographic in which the series has been the most popular, I have heard from many teenagers, as well as some adults and parents of children under 8, who have all said that they have enjoyed the Elementia Chronicles. Most interestingly, many of these people have never played Minecraft, but were still able to enjoy the book. I believe that the e-format is beneficial to reaching out to everybody who might be interested in the book, whether they're in the target audience or not. Most people today own some sort of device with e-reader capabilities, and this makes the books much more accessible to people.

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

As of right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on the third book of the Elementia Chronicles, Herobrine's Message, which is slated for release on January 26, 2015 in the United States. Since I finished writing Herobrine's Message, I've spent most of my time editing it, as well as doing promotional work for the Elementia Chronicles and schoolwork for my classes (I'm a freshman at the University of Rhode Island). My next big project is a flash game that I'm coding, which I hope to release soon to help promote the Elementia Chronicles. In terms of my next books, I currently have a stand-alone young adult novel planned, as well as a new action-adventure children's series. I may also write more book based on Minecraft in the future, including a possible spin-off or sequel to the Elementia Chronicles.
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Learn more about Sean and his books by visiting his website, or by following him on Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kindle Teens Shot THE TOUCAN TRILOGY to the Top Ten

On October 17th, The Toucan Trilogy by Scott Cramer hit the number 5 spot in the Teen section for the Amazon Kindle store. While Scott has previously written feature articles for national magazines and has optioned a screenplay, these are his first novels.This dystopian trilogy consists of  Night of the Purple Moon, Colony East, and Generation M.

Scott, let's start with a description of your books.


This is the plot of The Toucan Trilogy: After a lethal pathogen introduced by a comet attacks the hormones of puberty, nearly all of the world’s adults die. Abby helps her brother and baby sister survive the apocalyptic nightmare, only to face the biggest threat of all: the deadly time bomb of adolescence.

But this is really what the book is about, as taken from a recent reader review. “The series brings to life the beauty of being human, our capacity for both good and evil but never negating the fact that the foundation of the human race is based on love, family, determination and our need to ensure our survival.

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

I wanted to write a story that would appeal to all ages, from 13 to 100, and I think I have largely accomplished that. I’ve received a number of emails telling me that a grandmother, mother, and daughter (three generations!) have all read the series and loved it.

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

First, I have to say that I love paperback and hardcover books, but I love my Kindle even more. Writing is a solitary endeavor, and it’s great when you have an opportunity to interact with readers and members of the team who are responsible for helping publish the book (editors, designers, formatters, beta readers, etc.) I love the fact that I am able to communicate with readers all over the world. My designer is in Bulgaria. I have several editors across the U.S. My formatter is in Australia. Beta readers come from Portugal, Sweden, Ireland, and across the U.S.

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?

There was a recent New York Times article that said paperback books are making a comeback. I find that really hard to believe. The cost of eBooks and the simplicity of eReaders make for a winning combination. I expect eBooks will exceed print publishing over the next few years.
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Learn more about Scott and his books by visiting his blog, or by following him on Facebook or Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday. Check back next week when my featured author will be Sean Fay-Wolfe.

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

Saturday, November 14, 2015

THE FANTASTIC FABLE OF PETER ABLE: Kindle Teens Certainly Think It's Fantastic!

The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able by Natalie Grigson hit the number 2 spot in the Teen & Young Adult section of the Amazon Kindle store on September 26th. It's her debut novel, and she's currently at work on book #2 of what she plans to be a trilogy. Read on to find out more about her e-pub success.

First, tell us what your book is about.


The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able is a fantasy novel—with a twist. You see, Peter is a Boy Wizard, albeit, an 18-year-old Boy Wizard who lives in the World of Fiction. His author has abruptly concluded his series, which leaves Peter free to explore his world liberated from the almighty Plotline. Of course, the transition into free will isn’t exactly an easy one, and (as it goes in Fiction), there are plenty of twists and turns along the way.

This is a book as much about the life of an ex-boy wizard as it is about the landscape of Fiction itself. You’ll see plenty of familiar faces from literature throughout, as well as many new ones, like Peter, the charming Randy, and of course, a ficus tree named Bob—who let’s be honest, doesn’t really have a face.

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

Peter was “born,” of course, when I first wrote him about two years ago. Since then, he’s visited various literary agencies and many a publisher’s office, but finally found his home at Kindle Press. I entered the Fantastic Fable of Peter Able in the Kindle Scout competition, not really expecting much, but ended up winning. With that, Kindle Press published the book on June 30, 2015. Here we are just three months later and things seem to be on the up and up for Peter.

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?

Personally, I think that no matter what format—be it on a printed page, an e-reader of some kind, a chalk on a board, or writing on a wall*—reading is reading. I, myself, used to swear I’d never buy an e-reader. Oh, the sanctity of books! Oh, the feel of the page! And yes, I do still love books, but once I started traveling a lot, a Kindle became necessary. Now, I read almost everything I can on it, and unless your e-book happens to be on a glaring, bright white screen or littered with puppy videos, I don’t see why comprehension should be lessened.

*Don’t write on your walls. Your parents will send me angry emails, and I’m busy watching puppy videos.

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


Peter Able is a book for booklovers. Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, or even just Fiction in general; the story is dotted with literary devices and, to a degree, “in-jokes” for those who love to read.

The e-book format is perfect for this audience, because if you’re a person who simply can’t read enough, you probably have an e-reader of some kind. And if you don’t, well, you should. You’ll save a ton of money.

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

These days I’m finishing up the final edits to the second in the Peter Able trilogy. As far as a schedule goes, I’ve found that my writing seems to flow the best upon waking up—before thinking all that much, before talking to anyone, but definitely after tea. From there, I generally just write until I get to a good stopping point, or simply can’t sit still any longer. Either way, it’s generally about three to four hours of non-stop writing. And then I go out into the real world and expend all of my pent up energy like dog on wheels, and do it all again the next day.
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Learn more about Natalie and her writing by visiting her Amazon author page or by following her on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads


See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday. Check back next week when my featured author will be Scott Cramer.

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

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Darkslayer Omnibus: Six Books in One, A Top Ten Hit With Kindle Teens

On August 18th The Darkslayer Omnibus by Craig Halloran hit the number 1 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. Craig is the author of over two dozen fast-paced, action-packed fantasy adventure books. His Omnibus edition contains series 1, books 1 through 6 of the The Darkslayer series. 

And here's a nice coincidence: When I as compiling today's Kids' EBook Bestseller List, I saw that The Chronicles of Dragon Collection, also by Craig, is in the number 2 spot in the Children's section of the Kindle store! 

Craig joins us today to share about his e-publishing success.

First, tell us what The Darkslayer Omnibus is about.

Venir is a warrior that receives a mantle of power that allows him to unknowingly keep the forces of Good and Evil in check in the world called Bish. Currently, the rugged Outlands of the dog-eat-dog world is under the vice of an evil race called the underlings that are taking control of things. Venir, a brash and unwilling hero finds himself in one fight for his life and another as he friends and allies are under constant attack. In the end, victory can only be achieved when the force of good collides with the forces of evil. But there can only be one winner. Who will it be?

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

I started seriously writing and self publishing 5 years ago. Readers liked my stories so I kept on writing.

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

Advertising and marketing prices on Amazon Kindle.

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

I use twitter book blasts, and work with places like Bookbub.com and BookGorilla.com.

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 can't say, but my goal was to write exciting stories so that more young people would get excited about reading. I get a lot of compliments on it too. I don't write boring stories and I'd never read them when I was younger either. Chances are too many crummy material is out there due to a flood of eBooks.

What is your target audience?

I think 13 and up, but my Chronicles of Dragon series, which is my best selling, is more like 8 and up. People from 8 to 70 like them and I don't pick by age. I focus on the fantasy genre.

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

Epublishing has been great for me and I encourage it to all writers. If you write a good story, with thorough editing and slap on a good cover, keep at it and you will be successful.

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

Sure, I make a lot more money than I imagined and it's become my primary income.

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

I write about 2000 words a day and take a break on the weekend. Currently I'm working on Claws of the Dragon, from The Chronicles of Dragon series.

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?

Ebooks already sell more than print and more children will start reading eBooks over the years. I don't think paper will vanish, and I hope it doesn't.

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

Eformat is ten times better because you can quickly find your audience all over the world.

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

Children will learn what they are taught and absorb information quickly. They'll be whizzing through readers once they figure it out and I'm sure a large portion of the market has. Will it make more children read though, that's the important question, and sadly I don't think that will happen. But that should be a focus. 
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Learn more about Craig and his books by visiting his website, or by following him on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday. Check back next week when my featured author will be Natalie Grigson.

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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

HAUNTED by Ophelia Julien: A Top Ten Hit With Kindle Teens

On August 29th, Haunted by Ophelia Julien hit the number 2 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. Fortunately, the next Saturday available when Ophelia finished her interview was today -- Halloween! It's the perfect day to feature her supernatural suspense story. 

First, tell us what your book is about.


Haunted tells the story of Cassie Valentine and Michael Penfield, both of whom are dealing with grief and loss, and who run into each other again when Michael is hired by the bookstore where Cassie works. The bookstore's owner has a Ghost Story Night every Thursday when staff and a few regular customers get together to share a scary story. The book opens when Michael, as the new hire, tells a ghost story, one that involves Cassie, and that accidentally starts the two on investigating the haunting at Cassie's new house, as well as a 30-year old murder. It is the first in the Bridgeton Park Cemetery Series, which features that cemetery in every book.

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

Yes to both parts of both questions! I am traditionally published for two books, Saving Jake and Ghosts of Lake Michigan, and self-published on Amazon for The Bridgeton Park Cemetery Series as well as a short story called Hunting Spirits. I am grateful for the traditional publishers who took a chance on me, but much prefer self-publication at this point.


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

I have a fairy godmother! A very successful writer named Terri Reid took me under her wing and has taught me so much about marketing and the self-publishing business in general. Another fellow writer, Donnie Light, has also done more for my work than I could ever thank him for in one lifetime.


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

Because Terri Reid is so well-known with her readers (international, too!), whenever I put out a book and she lets her readers know about it, my sales get a nice boost. I am on FaceBook and have a website and a blog. I also have an Author Page with Amazon. I know I should be using Twitter more but I am just starting to get around to that!


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?

Wow, I can't speak to that. I don't know if they are reading more and comprehending less. My grandson and I still read the old-fashioned way (library books) but he is also very savvy on the computer. I worry sometimes about so much going online, but a lot of kids I've met at school visits still liked having a print copy of my book to hang onto.


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

I basically write for the YA market, but somehow, the demographic of my audience tends toward women -and some men- in their twenties and up. I haven't figured that out yet! But the e-format is great for them. I sell more e-books than print copies.


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

I was scared to death to try e-publishing and it took a few months and a lot of encouragement from various people to take the plunge. I thought e-publishing meant giving up the idea of ever seeing my book on a shelf or ever becoming a best-seller. I was wrong! My initial thoughts were based on fear of the unknown. Now that I know better, I am thrilled that I did it.


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

I never would have expected to have the sales I did last weekend from a one-day book promo. Something I never would have predicted: ranking ABOVE Stephen King (one of my all-time heroes) in at least one Amazon category of fiction and holding that rank for several days. Also, having a few hours where my book was outselling Harper Lee. I mean, how does that happen to someone like me??


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

My writing schedule is more chaotic than I would like and I am trying to get that under control. I am currently working on a sequel to Saving Jake that will be a free Kindle download off of my website, while developing the story line for the next (fourth) Bridgeton Park Cemetery Book.


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 believe e-publishing is going to become more popular for children and young adults, but I doubt it will completely replace print publishing. I see too many kids at the library, all ages including the young ones who will be school age in 5 years, and they seem plenty happy with print books. I think that unless the technology develops to make picture books into e-books without sacrificing the experience of holding a brand new and frequently huge picture book in hand, print will still be around. And I'm glad.


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

E-format helps me, definitely. There is a very narrow entryway to the big distributors that feed the big book stores. A small author like me, who is not agent-represented or the protege of a big NY publishing house doesn't stand much of a chance at getting my book into the hands of readers. E-format has opened a new pathway for reaching my audience.


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

I don't know about children, to tell you the truth. I think picture books should be in print and I hope they stay that way. As for young adult readers, I know they'd be fine with e-format. Heck, our local high school has most of the textbooks on e-readers. The kids growing up with the technology are already reading books in e-format.

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Learn more about Ophelia and her books by visiting her website and blog, or by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday. Check back next week when my featured author will be Craig Halloran.

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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

CLARK THE SHARK Swam to the Top Ten for Kids in Two Stores

On Saturday, August 29th Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale hit the number 9 spot in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store AND the number 7 spot in the Kids' section of the iBook store. Bruce is the author and illustrator of dozens of books for kids: picture books, novels and graphic novel. He joins us today to talk about his double top-ten success.

First let's hear what Clark the Shark is about.


Clark is a shark with zing, bang, and BOOM! He zooms through the classroom and is rowdy at recess. Clark loves life — but when his enthusiasm proves too much for his friends, Clark’s teacher, Mrs. Inkydink, helps him figure out how to tone it down.

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

I started self-publishing back in the ‘90s, before digital books, and moved into conventional publishing in 2000 with the debut of my Chet Gecko Mysteries series. Including my self-published work, I’ve now got over 35 books out there, which continues to amaze me.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Was it your idea or your publisher’s?

It was my publisher’s idea, but I was completely on-board. It only makes sense to offer books in different formats.

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


Although I sometimes revise in the mornings, I write every afternoon from lunch until dinner. 4-5 hours is about the limit of my brain freshness. Right now I’m working on the third book of a middle-grade series that debuts next year: The Monstertown Mysteries.

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

I believe the e-format helps authors. What’s most important is the story, not the format — after all, story is story, whether it’s told around the campfire, printed in a book, or appearing on a digital device. So if some kids prefer reading e-books and my work appears in that format, it just helps my tale reach a wider readership. And that’s a good thing.
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Learn more about Bruce and his books by visiting his author website. He also has a separate site for a series he wrote, School for S.P.I.E.S. You can also follow him on Twitter

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday. Check back next week when my featured author will be Ophelia Julien.

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

Saturday, October 17, 2015

AMONG THE HIDDEN: A Top Ten Hit With Kids in the iBookstore

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix hit the number 7 spot in the Kid's section of the iBook store on August 22nd. It's the first book in the seven-book Shadow Children series. Margaret is a New York Times bestselling author of over 30 books, many of which are award winning. 

First, please tell us what Among the Hidden is about.


Twelve-year-old Luke Garner is growing up in a society where third children are illegal—and he is a third child. So he’s had to hide for his entire life. This becomes much more challenging when a new housing development is built behind his family’s home. Then Luke glimpses another kid’s face in what should be an empty house. Could there be another illegal third child living nearby? Could Luke possibly find the courage to go and meet this other child?

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

AMONG THE HIDDEN came out in 1998, when there weren’t many choices but traditional publishing.

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

I’m a little too close to the book to analyze that myself, but readers tell me that they feel very strongly about Luke and his situation; they develop a lot of empathy for him. I hear from many kids who love the adventure of both AMONG THE HIDDEN and the rest of the books in the Shadow Children series. I also hear from readers who see parallels between Luke’s dilemmas and the ones they themselves face because they have to hide something important about their own identities.

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 think it’s possible for both of those things to be true. I read both print and e-books myself, and I do feel as though I remember more about what I read on paper. But maybe that has to do with the fact that e-books weren’t available when I was a kid, when my “reading brain” was developing. I’m guessing it will take another generation or so before we have enough data to truly understand what’s going on, and even then things will be constantly evolving and changing. It’s a little scary to think of doing such a massive experiment on human literacy, and I worry when I see studies hinting that brain development and attention spans in very young children may be harmed by constant exposure to electronic devices, for reading and otherwise. I would like to see all kids, everywhere, get the delight in reading that I had as a kid. But I also have hope that, used properly, e-books can play a role in that goal. It’s amazing to think of all the phenomenal works of literature that anyone can have, anywhere in the world, with an e-device and an internet connection and, say, a digital library card.

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

I first heard of e-publishing when I sold my very first book in the mid-1990s, and my book contract (as well as the money I would get for it) was held up for months because of the e-publishing clause. Everyone seemed to know e-books were coming, but nobody seemed quite sure what that meant, so there was a lot of uncertainty about how to word the clause. Eventually I signed a contract that said, essentially, “When e-books become a thing, we’ll work it out together.” For years after that, my agent and I would laugh at the lines on my royalty statements that dealt with my e-book sales, because they were so minimal. And then suddenly—maybe six or eight years ago—the e-book sales weren’t so minimal, and at book events I began having kids asking me to sign their Kindle or Nook cases, not just physical books. It’s been an interesting progression.

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

I write full-time, so when I’m not traveling to talk about my books, I’m usually at my desk. I’m working on two new series that will launch in 2016: UNDER THEIR SKIN comes out January 5; CHILDREN OF EXILE comes out Sept. 13, 2016. Both also deal with kids in unusual situations, trying to figure out their worlds.
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Learn more about Margaret and her books by visiting her website or by following her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday. Check back next week when my featured author will be Bruce Hale.

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

THE BANISHED OF MUIRWOOD: Welcomed by Kindle Teens

On August 22nd, The Banished of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler hit the number 8 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. This is the first book in his Covenant of Muirwood fantasy trilogy. It is followed by The Ciphers of Muirwood, which was released in September, and The Void of Muirwood, due for release on October 27th. 

Jeff, first tell us what your book is about.


Maia is a princess of Comoros, with powers that she does not completely comprehend or control. She grows up in a loving family, her father's heir. Then her father decides he wants to divorce her mother, creating turmoil in the family and the kingdom. Her father banishes his recalcitrant wife to Muirwood Abbey, and in a twist on the Cinderella tale, remarries an evil stepmother, who torments and mistreats Maia. Ultimately Maia too is banished and disinherited, and at eighteen finds herself on a quest to learn how to use her powers, which are forbidden to women, to save the kingdom from enemies within and without.

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

My path to publication was quite untraditional and interdependent. How’s that for a confusing answer? I tried the self-publishing route before Kindles were even invented with my first fantasy novels. After writing the original Muirwood trilogy, I decided to self-publish it as well and it was discovered by Amazon Publishing’s 47North imprint who offered me a contract on that trilogy as well as my next (Whispers from Mirrowen). It’s been a great partnership and they’ve continued to take on my other projects, including the new Covenant of Muirwood trilogy. We brainstormed together about accelerating the launch and 47North was a great partner. It’s very untraditional to have a publisher launch three books in three months. But they have pulled it off, much to my reader’s delight!

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

It’s helpful that I have an established fan base that like the kind of stories that I want to tell. I believe the fantasy genre is saturated with dark, gritty stories that push the boundaries. I try to make my stories more reminiscent of the old classics and offer a feeling of hope in a dark world. I’m glad these stories have resonated with so many readers.

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

I was one of the earlier authors to join the Kindle Direct Program and it absolutely made it possible for me to fulfill my dream as a full-time author now. During that process, I also saw that I sold many more copies digitally than in print, so after a while, it was a no-brainer. And it is also how my publisher found me, so no regrets on that front!

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 don’t believe it will replace print publishing in five years, but the trends are absolutely clear. People are shifting to e-books. I still enjoy books in all form factors and probably will, but I have five kids and I’ve seen firsthand how they are embracing new technology.

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

It absolutely helps, no doubt about it. What I love working with Amazon Publishing is I get to see some of the data about my books: print, e-book, and audio versions and the mix. There is clearly a shift to digital reading as more and more people read through their devices (whether it’s a tablet or smartphone). And e-books allow publishers to lower the price which increases sales, so it benefits readers and authors. It’s a win-win.
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Learn more about Jeff and his books by visiting his website, or by following him on Facebook or Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday. Check back next week when my featured author will be Margaret Peterson Haddix.

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

Saturday, October 3, 2015

PATH OF THE CALM: A Top Ten Hit With Kindle Teens

On August 15th, Path of the Calm by Kris A. Hiatt hit the number 4 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. 

When I contacted Kris with the news, he said, "Honestly, I was so caught up with hitting the number one spot for Epic Fantasy, I didn't even realize I reached #4 in Teen." Since then, his book has also hit number one in the Sword & Sorcery and the Coming of Age Fantasy categories. 

First, Kris, let's hear what Path of the Calm is about.


The young world of Onneron has known peace for years. But now unease has spread across the land as disagreements between factions threaten each other’s way of life.

The Brothers of the Onneron College dedicate themselves to higher learning and to mastering Paths of magic. They wish to remain independent, but the Onneron Church feels threatened by their ability to heal and vies to take control of their order.

Treace, bullied and belittled, is unaware of the plan his deceased father has for him. A mentor sets him upon a path to join the prestigious College. Even if he is accepted, the tides of change are coming.

To Treace it’s not about where we end up, it’s the Paths we take to get there that matters.

Path of The Calm is the first book in the epic series Saga of The Wolf that follows Treace as he grows into a young man. It explores the bonds of friendship, deception, life lessons, love, swordplay, and magic.

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


I've been very fortunate to have a great many great friends and co-workers share my posts on social media in order to gain more attention to the book. I wouldn't be where I am today if it were not for social media. It got the ball rolling and then when I was selected as a BookBub deal that ran on Aug 14th, it really drove sales for the weekend.

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

I believe e-format helps authors. It's all about choice. Some people prefer to read digital versions of books, others prefer physical copies. Choice helps both the author and the reader. Some people (like me) have bookshelves lined with books I've read. It takes up space. E-format isn't like that. It's not taking up physical space and, usually, you can't lose the e-book! I think people will still continue to buy physical copies, but digital is the way of the future.

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


When I first starting writing Path of The Calm, I knew I wanted an all ages story that didn't cater to a specific age range. I didn't really enjoy reading fantasy until I was an adult, but young adults have such vivid imaginations I didn't want to exclude them. But I also wanted the story to still hit home with adults. The e-format is growing so quickly. You have many young adults that prefer to read digital copies of books rather than physical. There will be the exceptions who will want a physical copy to hold onto, but I think a majority prefer digital content. My teenager has a few physical copies, but she reads a LOT more e-format than anything else.

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

Path of The Calm is my debut novel, and I attempted to go the traditional route, but I didn't get any takers on my manuscript. After doing some research, I decided I didn't want to keep shopping my manuscript and wasn't going to let the rejection letters get to me. So I self-published and I don't regret it for one second! I published Path of The Calm on May 5th, 2015.

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

I still work a full-time job, so I write when I can, but it isn't as often as I'd like. The stories are in my head, I just need the time to put them on paper. Well, in the word processor, but you get the idea.

I'm currently working on book 2 in the series, Path of Tears.
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Learn more about Kris and his books by visiting his website or his FaceBook page.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning. Check back next week when my featured author will be Jeff Wheeler.

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

Saturday, September 26, 2015

CATCH A FALLING STAR: A Top Ten Hit with Nook Teens

On August 8th Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson hit the number 5 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. This book is her third YA novel, and she's working on her fourth, due out in the winter of 2016.

Let's start with hearing what 
Catch a Falling Star is about.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is exactly the way Carter Moon likes it. She wants to work at her parents' cafe, stargaze with her friends, and NOT think about her future after high school ends. When Hollywood comes to town to film a Christmas movie (in the summer!), her easy, quiet world is thrown off when she meets Adam Jakes, a Hollywood teen star with a troubled past, and agrees to help him with a publicity stunt. As Jessi Kirby wrote, "Catch a Falling Star shines with insight about the choices we make and the worlds we create."

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


I've had an interesting publishing experience. My first YA novel was published by a wonderful small press Hip Pocket Press in 2007 and was then reissued by Sourcebooks in 2010 after they bought my second YA novel Instructions for a Broken Heart, which won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA fiction. After that, I wrote a novella -- The Liberation of Max McTrue -- but my agent and I couldn't find the right publisher for it so we decided I should publish it on my own as an eBook. After that, my agent sold Catch a Falling Star to Scholastic and then they offered me a contract for two more books. My second YA novel for them The Possibility of Now will come out in January 2016 and I'm currently working on a third YA novel for Scholastic. I have really enjoyed the traditional publishing process but it was fun to put Max out on my own. I do prefer the traditional path, mostly because I am so grateful for the team around me helping get the book out into the world, but I think each specific book project lends itself to a certain path.

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

Oh, the success of Catch a Falling Star rests firmly with Scholastic and all the wonderful book-genies over there. They are, quite simply, amazing and tireless in their efforts to get books into the hands of readers. I am so grateful to them.

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 am no expert on this subject, for sure, but I've been a high school teacher for 18 years and what I see is this: students who gravitate toward technology, who love to interface with a screen, are much more enthusiastic about reading when it's on a screen. Students who gravitate toward books naturally, who love to read and love the tactile feel of the pages turning, mostly choose paper books. For me, I care about whatever gets them engaging with a story -- audio, screen, paper pages -- a napkin! I'm a fan of students marinating in stories and so I'm a fan of whatever gets them to do that.

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

Sometimes people say, "Oh, you write for girls," which makes me slightly bonkers because I write coming of age stories, I write about characters exploring their right place in the world and asking questions about next steps. I don't think of my books as only being "for girls" -- most of them happen to have a female main character but then is Catcher in the Rye only "for boys" because it has a male protagonist?! Of course not. But I do think that the eMarket for whatever cultural reasons are at play has allowed boys to feel more comfortable reading my books. I had one boy tell me sort of shyly that he loves my books but is glad, "I can read it on my Kindle so no one knows I'm reading a 'girl' book." We have a long way to go on that front, but I'm glad the eMarket is allowing for people to just read what they want to read without feeling like people are judging them by the book's cover.

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

I love that books are available in so many different formats. I applaud anything that is getting a story into a readers hands. 
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Learn more about Kim and her books by visiting her website, or by following her on Twitter or Instragram.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's updated every Saturday morning. Check back next week when my featured author will be Kris A. Hiatt.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Kobo Kids & Teens Send David Estes to the Top Ten

On August 7th, Angel Evolution by David Estes hit the number 4 spot in the Kids' & Teen section of the Kobo.com store. Angel Evolution was David's debut novel five years ago, and since then he's written another 24 books! 

As a result, David said, "I would love to participate on your blog by answering some questions, but would much prefer to feature my most popular bestselling book, The Moon Dwellers."  No problem. The Moon Dwellers hit numerous bestsellers lists and was also featured on Buzzfeed as one of 15 Series to Read if you Enjoyed The Hunger Games, among other runaway bestsellers like Divergent, The Maze Runner, and Unwind.


Tell us what your book is about.

The Moon Dwellers is a YA dystopian series about a future where humans are forced underground in order to survive a cataclysmic event that destroys much of the earth’s surface. Fast forward five-hundred years into the future, where a class system rules the underground social and political world. Adele, a member of the middle class, is in prison for her parents’ crimes of treason. Tristan, a member of the upper class and the son of the President of the Tri-Realms, is questioning the fairness of the system in place. When they meet, it has the potential to change everything.


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

With my wife’s encouragement, I started seriously writing about five years ago, when I was working a fulltime job at a major investment manager. I wrote every chance I got, on the ferry ride to and from work, on my lunch break, on the weekend. After having zero success querying literary agents (I literally received a hundred rejection letters), I decided to try out the Indie route, publishing my trilogy as first ebooks and then in paperback on Amazon.

Although sales of that first trilogy have never earned enough to live on (I had A LOT to learn as a writer), I didn’t give up and continued writing, churning out a new book every 2-3 months. In June 2012 I published The Moon Dwellers, publishing each of the six sequels in the series and its sister series every 2-3 months for the next two years. To my utmost surprise, it took off, selling thousands of copies. My wife and I decided to take a risk and quit our day jobs so I could write fulltime with her as my editor as we traveled the world for a couple years.

This time I had a literary agent approach me, because of the success of my series. I signed with her a short time later, and since then I’ve published two new YA trilogies (The Slip Trilogy and Salem’s Revenge) and a six-book Children’s series (The Adventures of Nikki Powergloves). My wife and I are now living our dream in Hawaii, where I continue to write fulltime, growing my readership each and every day.

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

Commitment, motivation, the generosity of others, and lots of luck!

To “make it” in this industry, you have to be committed to writing, first and foremost. I write every single day, always striving to improve and to give my readers the best possible reading experience. I don’t take a single day for granted, knowing all too well that there are thousands of other people who wish they had my job.

You also have to be highly self-motivated. I wake up every morning excited about writing another three to five thousand words on whatever project I happen to be working on. Laziness can set in quite quickly when you don’t have a boss (other than yourself), so I push myself with aggressive publishing deadlines, daily word count goals, and sales goals. Without this motivation, I wouldn’t be able to publish four full-length books a year, nor would I have had nearly the success that I’ve been able to achieve.

At the end of the day, the first two factors don’t mean squat without the generosity of readers and bloggers. I’ve been extremely fortunate to attract a niche group of enthusiastic, kind, and generous readers and bloggers (like you!) who help me get the word out about my books, both new and past. They are the true heroes of my career, and I wouldn’t be participating in this interview without all of you awesome people!

Luck is important too! Although I do believe in the old adage that you make your own luck through hard work and perseverance, I also think there are some things that are just out of your control. I’ve done a lot of things right over the past five years, but I’ve also made a lot of mistakes. Luck has made up the difference and helped get my sales to the next level to allow me to turn my love of writing into a real career. I feel so fortunate each and every day!

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

Honestly, every day when I check my sales, I’m shocked that I’ve sold any books. I’m always wondering how people are discovering my books and who they are! It’s like magic! Word of mouth from my biggest fans is definitely helping the cause, as well as blog-participation opportunities like this one. Also, the article on Buzzfeed has been a huge factor in keeping the momentum going.

Other than all those things, I have two main methods of marketing my books. First, is Goodreads.com. I consider myself a Goodreads ninja because of how much time I spend on the site. I have an official Goodreads fan group called David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite (link below) with more than 3,100 awesome members. The group is NOT all about my books. It’s about YA books in general, as well as other random topics like TV, movies, and the world in general. It’s a cool place to hang out and make some new online friends while chatting about books.

Second, is BookBub. BookBub makes up the bulk of my marketing budget. For those who haven’t heard of it, BookBub is a site where readers can sign up for particular genres and receive daily e-mails with amazing details on books within those genres. As a reader, I LOVE it. I find out about books that are on sale for FREE or $0.99 so I can download more books for less money. As an author, it is a godsend. I can advertise (for a fee which is well worth the money, always paying for itself) one of my books each month and reach literally thousands of readers in one hit. I’ve given away more than one hundred thousand free books through BookBub, and sold thousands more. The only difficulty with BookBub, is because of its increasing popularity it’s extremely competitive to get selected by their editors. You have to have a great book with strong sales and many positive reviews. Thankfully, I have a number of books that meet their criteria so they’ve been very good to me.

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 primarily YA, although more than half of my readers are likely adults. I tend to write “crossover” fiction, which essentially hits both the teen and adult markets with action-packed page-turner stories in futuristic worlds of my own invention.

The ebook format works tremendously well for my target market, because most of my readers are tech-savvy and own at least one Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or iPad, and enjoy reading on these kinds of devices. I’m able to offer low-cost (all of my books are less than $5 and many are less than $3), quality books (all of my books have a 4-star rating or above on Amazon with most 4.5-star or above) that are available for immediate download. Without the invention of ebooks and ereaders, I wouldn’t be sitting here today!

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

I’m a morning writer. I generally wake up, have breakfast, and then start writing. I don’t stop until I hit my word count goal (usually between three and five thousand words, depending on the day). I write six days a week. When I finish writing around lunch time, I spend time with my wife, eating, going to the beach, reading, etc. In the evenings I tend to focus on social media, reader interaction, and promotional activities. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Right now I’m working on a new YA series about doppelgangers. It’s an action-packed saga told from six different points of view, and I think it has the potential be another hit!
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David says, "I love interacting with readers, and I encourage them to contact me on one of my favorite online hangout spots: my Official Goodreads Fan Group, my Goodreads Author Page, my Facebook Author Page, my Blog or 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. Check back next week when my featured author will be Kim Culbertson.

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