Saturday, September 12, 2015


On August 1st,  The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant hit the number 7 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store AND the number 2 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook Store. This is Helen's first novel and she  joins us today to talk about her successful e-publishing experience. 

First, let's hear about your book. What is it about?

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: In the quaint little German town of Bad M√ľnstereifel, children are disappearing. Ten year old Pia Kolvenbach and her friend Stefan love to listen to scary local legends told by the aged Herr Schiller. Inspired by these stories, they think that there must be a supernatural explanation for the disappearances. They decide to investigate, not realising that they are bringing themselves ever closer to a very real danger...

Tell us about your path to publication: Traditional or independent?

I've mixed and matched. My YA novels are traditionally published in print and ebook format. I also write ghost stories for grown-ups, and those have mostly been published by small independent publishers.

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

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden came out in the US in 2010 and had some great reviews in the press, so I guess the title would be known to quite a lot of people, and then recently it's been heavily price promoted so maybe readers who have wondered whether it might be for them have decided to take the plunge! The book also won an ALA Alex Award, which was wonderful and hopefully encouraged people to read it.

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

Twitter is very important to me. I tweet as @helengrantsays The recent promotions on my book were on Twitter and it's a great way to spread the word. People see a bargain and retweet it; word gets around. I think it's a successful way of marketing something because it doesn't require a big commitment from readers to follow or retweet, so they are more likely to do that. However, I think a presence on Twitter or any other social media has to be more than just selling! I personally don't like it if I follow someone and they only ever tweet their reviews etc. I think Twitter is a great way for a writer to show a bit more of themselves, their interests, their way of looking at life, maybe writing tips too.

As well as Twitter, I have a website with my blog on it. 

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 if it's true that children comprehend less of what they read, it's not the fault of e-books. It's more likely to be the distraction of so many other forms of media now available. There are vlogs about science now, for example, and before these came along, maybe the only place that information was available was in books. I can't help thinking that e-books are a good thing if it means a child can get their hands on a book quickly and at an affordable price. I think I'd still give a very young child an actual book though, because when my kids were babies they used to chew their books!!

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

I try to be really disciplined about writing - I set myself a word target for the week and if I have written it by Thursday then I allow myself to take Friday off! That's the theory, anyway. In practice I usually end up writing on Friday too... 

At the moment I'm working on a book set in Scotland, where I live now. Like my other books, it has mystery elements and I try to make the most of the amazing location.

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

I think it helps them. My daughter is a young adult and she is a really voracious reader. She does like to have print copies of favourite books, but she recently got her first e-reader and she's been thrilled that a lot of the titles she wants to read are a bit more affordable in e-format. That's important for someone with a limited budget. It's quick, too. We live in a small town with no bookshop. My daughter doesn't drive yet so if she wants a particular book today, right now, the quickest and easiest way for her to get it is as an e-book.

Learn more about Helen Grant and her books by checking out the links she provided above to her website, blog and 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 David Estes.

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.