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.

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.