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. 

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.