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.

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.

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