Saturday, May 30, 2015

Nook Teens Sent SEEKER to the Top Ten for Two Weeks

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton hit the number 6 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store on March 21st. The following week, it rose to number 4. Arwen joins us today to talk about her young adult bestseller and its e-pub success. 

Let's start with finding out what your book is about.

Seeker is a heroic family tale gone terribly wrong. It's set in the near future, in Scotland and Hong Kong and is the story of teenagers who've been raised on an isolated estate, where they've been put through years of brutal training. They've been taught to fight, mastered unusual weapons and gradually learned secret knowledge, all of which will be used for a noble purpose.

But the adults in their lives, including their own parents, have been lying to them. Now that their training is over, instead of noble acts, they are forced to do terrible things. Danger confronts them from all sides as they make a desperate attempt to get away, discover who's a friend and who's an enemy, and try to choose a path for the future.

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?

My own children read both e-books and paper books, and often will have both versions of the same book. They love paper books because they are lovely objects to own and put on a shelf, but they also love e-books for the convenience of reading on the school bus, on a trip, etc. I doubt comprehension has anything to do with the format of the book. If anything, it's easier to look up words when using an e-book because the dictionary is incorporated into the device. But comprehension has more to do with a particular child's study skills, in my opinion, not how the book is delivered.

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

I treat writing just like any other job and set aside a big chunk of every weekday for writing. Of course, I also have to fit in the other parts of the writing job, such as interviews (like this one!), research, and book events, so sometimes there's a bit of juggling in the schedule.

Right now I'm working on Traveler, which is book 2 of the Seeker series. I've finished the first draft! It's been quite exciting to follow the characters around the world as the story continues.

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?

I predict e-books will continue to grow in popularity. However, I've noticed readers (especially children) enjoying the print versions of books, particularly nicely made hardbacks, so I imagine readers will more and more often have both the e-book and paper version of titles. Who knows, eventually both versions may come bundled together, so when you buy a book, you are buying it in two formats, or even three (with audio).

Do you think it will ever exceed or replace print publishing?

E-books will exceed print publishing in numbers for sure, because with the e-format, millions of titles can be kept "in print," and there is instant gratification – if you hear about a book you can own in immediately. But I don't think e-books will replace print. They will live happily alongside each other.

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

It absolutely helps me, because it keeps my books available forever, and it opens up new audiences for my stories.
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Learn more about Arwen 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 morning. Check back next week when my featured author will be Alison Weir.

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, May 23, 2015

Supermog! A Top Ten Hit for Children in the iBookstore.

Supermog! hit the number 4 spot in the Children's section of the iBook store on February 14th. It was written by David Elvar and illustrated by Janice Carr.  David says, "We are a partnership in this project, as you will see from the answers." Let's hear all about it!

Time to pull out your synopsis skills! In a few sentences, tell us what your book is about.

Supermog is the ultimate accidental hero. He's a cat with a passion for Fish Pie, which he is constantly trying to steal. The trouble is, he always ends up saving someone in the process. It doesn't help that he wears a cape to hide his distinctive stripy fur and a mask to hide his face, both serious prerequisites when you're a thief, but they also make him look like a superhero. And that's what people end up believing.

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

Supermog is the joint creation of the author/artist partnership David Elvar and Janice Carr.

David had a long series of (albeit encouraging) rejections from various publishing houses before discovering self-publishing and the e-book format. He uploaded five children's books to Smashwords on a rainy afternoon in December 2009 and sold his first within three hours of it going live. He hasn't looked back since.

Janice is a lifelong artist who was often told that though her talent was unquestionable, she would never make a living from art. The e-book revolution has given her the chance to prove that one wrong. Being able to work in all styles ranging from cartoon to portraiture, she has at last found the outlet she needs.

Our page on Smashwords can be found HERE.

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

You name it, we use it! For example, Supermog has his own Facebook page, recently set up and written by his friend Shadwell, who relates each of Finbar's (Supermog's) escapades in the books.

He can also be found on Twitter, his user name being Supermogspage.

Future plans in social media exploitation include the setting up of a dedicated author/artist website. We need more time!

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

Illustrator Janice Carr
Now you're asking! We also have a Smashwords page dedicated to paranormal stories for the adult market for which we are currently completing a 60,000-word novel on life-after-death, but on the children's publishing side, we've just started co-authorship of the first in a series of novels aimed squarely at the teenage girl market, the stories centred round horses but with something of a paranormal twist. And illustrated, of course. This project we are particularly excited about.

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?

No, it will never replace the traditional printed book, but then, it was never intended to. This is something the doom merchants seem to forget or (more likely) ignore in their headlong rush to decry the new medium. We think children will embrace the new technology but will still want the distinct feel of a well-thumbed favourite book in their hands.

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

On this wider issue of e-publishing, there is no doubt the industry is changing. Agents and publishers now scan the best-seller list in the e-book charts then offer a traditional book deal to promising works. This is something we both hope will happen to us! All this can only be to the good: no more yea or nay from an editor on the strength of personal whim. From now on, the market will decide.

Has anyone ever asked what would have happened to Harry Potter if Bloomsbury hadn't taken a chance with a new title that, let's face it, broke every rule for publishing for that age group? And from an unknown writer? No, the e-format can only help the reader, of whatever age group. In our view, this is an exciting time to be writing/illustrating. 
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Find out more about David, Janice, and their books by visiting the links they provided above.

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 Arwen Elys Dayton.

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, May 16, 2015

META: A Super Hero Novel, Super Popular with Kindle Teens

On February 14th, Meta by Tom Reynolds hit the #2 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store. Tom's book a young adult science fiction novel with a super hero theme. He joins us today to tell us all about his book and his top ten success.

First, tell us what your book is about.


BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON
Meta is about a world where superheroes once existed, but haven’t been around for a decade. The story is told from the viewpoint of Connor, a 16 year-old who lives with his older brother after their parents were killed in the last big metahuman battle. One night he attempts to save a girl's life and wakes up to find the first new pair of metabands anyone has seen wrapped around his wrists, but soon after he learns he’s not alone.

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

Both of my books were independently published. Meta was released in November of 2013 and The Second Wave came out in October of 2014.

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

I was extremely fortunate to have an audience already with the comedy podcast that I co-host called The Complete Guide to Everything. While Young Adult Science Fiction probably doesn’t sound like the first thing you would write if you have a following from doing comedy, I tried to inject humor into the books wherever I could. Ultimately I set out to make the type of book I would have loved reading as a teenager just as much as I would have now.

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

I think so many people of all ages are interested in Young Adult Science Fiction now so I really just tried to make the book and its characters as accessible as possible. Making the book available as an ebook and keeping the cost down just makes it that much easier to impulse buy.

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


My writing schedule is all about striving for consistency. I target 1,500 words per day, every weekday, no matter what. There are times where I’m stuck and hitting that target takes forever, but it’s an obtainable goal so I’m usually able to stick with it long enough.

Right now I’m finishing up a draft of a sci-fi mystery novel, then it’s on to a novella and book 3 from the Meta series.

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

I wouldn’t be an author right now if it weren’t for ebooks. The speed and ease of publication made it all possible. Especially for authors writing in a series it’s a huge help I think. When a reader finishes a book they can move onto the next one with a tap or two instead of having to drive to the bookstore and hope that it’s in stock.
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Find out more about Tom 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 morning. Check back next week when my featured author will be David Elvar.

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, May 9, 2015

GRACE by Mary Casanova: Nook Kids Kept it in the Top Ten for Seven Weeks!

Grace by award winning author Mary Casanova hit the number 6 spot on February 14th in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. For six more weeks it hovered in the top ten. Grace is the first book of three in this American Girl Book of the Year Series. 

Mary, tell us what your book is about.

READ A SAMPLE AT B & N
Grace is about a 9-year old girl who is full of ideas! When she and her friends brainstorm to start a new business, Grace must suddenly leave on an unexpected trip to Paris with her mother—for the summer! While she’s in Paris, she keeps an eye out for new ideas (and falls in love with a little stray in the process). Though she loves visiting her aunt and uncle’s patisserie, she worries that while she’s away, her friends, Ella and Maddy, will start up a business without her.

In Grace Stirs it Up!, [the second book in the series] Grace returns from Paris to Massachusetts and shares her dream of starting a French baking business with Ella and Maddy. Together the girls learn to overcome challenges of working together, both accepting their differences and drawing on their strengths. Grace discovers that trying to train Bonbon, her new little dog, while managing a growing business is no easy task!

On May 21, Book 3 will be released, called Grace Makes it Great. When Grace’s grandparents announce that they’re closing their doors to their 30-year old bakery, Grace is heart-sick. She and her friends do what they can to help, using what they’ve learned in running their own small baking business.

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

With over 30 books in print, my route to publication has been quite traditional. I started getting published by New York publishers 20 years ago, and since then have written middle grade and YA novels, picture books, series, and titles for American Girl.

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

American Girl’s Book Marketing team worked with Barnes & Noble on a special promotion in January 2015, where anyone who purchased an American Girl e-book received a free digital copy of the backlist February 2014 issue of American Girl magazine. Also, American Girl was included in a banner ad on the Nook App. It was a unique promotional opportunity that helped drive sales for the Grace e-book.

From a placement perspective, on the Barnes & Noble’s website, American Girl was listed in Bestselling Series category under the Kids Tab and on the Nook Books tab, American Girl was featured on the Kids Books: Ages 9-12 page under New Releases, as well as the Favorite Series and Authors category. So there is a lot of visibility to the new Grace titles (which are the first books shown under American Girl).

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

The Grace books are featured in the American Girl catalogue with a call-out to e-books also being available, and directive to visit americangirl.com/ebooks for details.

Also, I offered a giveaway of the Grace doll and Book 1, along with five sets of books 1 & 2. To enter, visitors had to go to my website: www.marycasanova.com. The drawing was held in mid-March.
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Find out more about Mary and her books by visiting her website or by following her on Facebook.

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 Tom Reynolds.

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, May 2, 2015

THE DRAGONS OF NOOR: Five Weeks in the Books-A-Million Top Ten

Today we get to hear from Janet Lee Carey, the award-winning author of nine YA novels. Her book, The Dragons of Noor, hit the number 8 spot in the Kids' and Teen section of the Books-A-Million online store on February 14th. Then it proceeded to stay in the top ten for four more weeks, climbing further to the number 6 spot. 

First, Janet, tell us what your book is about.

Terrible events are happening in Noor. The ancient trees, whose deep roots know the history of the world, are dying. Worse still, a rogue wind is stealing children and blowing them to a distant land. When Miles' and Hanna's little brother is Wind Taken, the two set out to discover the magic behind the stolen children and the dying forests.  The Dragons of Noor know what's happening, and why. Joining forces with the Dragon Queen, Miles and Hanna explore the sky, the earth and underground, entering Oth through paths they've never dreamed of. The trouble is rooted deep. The most ancient being of all, the great World Tree, has split asunder. Setting out to rescue their little brother, they end up rescuing a world.

Children fly when worlds are shaken
Now the children are Wind Taken
Seek them there, seek them here,
Before the children disappear

How did you get published? Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past?

I took the traditional path – a very rocky uphill hike. I spent a number of years learning how to write novels by, well, writing novels because this is a “learn by doing” profession. I also joined a fabulous critique group, the Diviners, whose talented members had the savvy and experience to steer me in the right direction. I learned to revise from critique and how to study the publishing marketplace. When I was ready, one of the published members, Deborah Davis, introduced me to her editor, Jean Karl at Atheneum NY, and I began revising my book under Jean Karl’s sharp guidance. In those years I went to writing conferences, read books on writing, and joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators) SCBWI was and is a goldmine of information. Finally I got my first agent just before my first children’s novel was accepted for publication. I continue to spend hours a day writing, going to my intrepid Diviners critique group, attending SCBWI, and going to writing conferences though now days I’m often teaching workshops at the conferences I once attended as a new writer.


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

The Dragons of Noor explores family loyalty, individual courage, and has young teens taking on catastrophic environmental events. Children and teen readers are highly aware of global environmental crisis. This novel puts the characters right in the center of the problem. Readers watch the characters grapple with the issues of the dying forests, and fight alongside Miles, Hanna and the dragons. The story empowers teens to do something: to take an action large or small. Every action is a seed planted and brings the possibility of change.

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

I stay in touch with readers in a number of ways. On my Facebook author page, on Twitter (@JanetLeeCarey, on my Website where readers are given the connectivity to contact me through email, on Goodreads, on readergirlz, and on my blogs Dreamwalks and LibraryLionsRoar. The Library Lions blog keeps me in touch with the wonderful youth librarians who create innovative programs to engage teen readers.  

I also think the current book buzz going around about In The Time of Dragon Moon, has rekindled interest in my other Dragon books. Including the first two dragon books in the Wilde Island Chronicles, Dragon’s Keep, and Dragonswood.

It’s fun to note that the Dragon Queen in The Dragons of Noor has a spitfire personality. So does the new dragon, Vazan, who’s introduced in In The Time of Dragon Moon.
Quote from the new book:“You are female, Vazan. You are powerful,” I said.
“Yessss,” she hissed, “but I am dragon. You are girl.”

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 only go by my own experience. I read traditionally bound books and e-books. I love both experiences and I don’t think there is any difference in my reading comprehension. To tell the truth, sometimes I listen to a book on CD, and read it in the bound version and e-book version all at the same time. The bound book is perfect to curl up in a chair with, the audio version allows me to engage in the story while I drive, and the e-book version is small enough to pop into my purse which makes it a bit more portable. Story hunger can be satisfied in many ways. It’s good to let the format fit the reader’s circumstances. 

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

Oh, this is a bit of a loaded question for me since my target audience isn’t limited to children and teens but extends to readers who enjoy fantasy. Starting with the younger teen readers and moving up through adult – my readers engage in fantasy adventure with teen characters who are fresh and vital, who are coming to terms with self identity, who are grappling with the panic and joy of love, and with societal wrongs that endanger their future happiness. My books empower characters who feel like outcasts to begin with, but who discover they are invaluable human beings, flaws and all. Characters discover that they have a significant place in the world, a place the world is sometimes not ready for so one they must often invent for themselves. Each one of us brings something new into the world. My stories honor that.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Was it your idea or your publisher’s? Were you hesitant? Excited? Apprehensive? Optimistic? 

Optimistic. I’ve been lucky enough to be published by the top NY houses: Penguin, Kathy Dawson Books, Atheneum at Simon and Schuster, Random House, and Egmont to name a few. These houses are savvy enough to release the hardback copies of my new books and the e-book versions at the same time. They understand the value of giving readers a choice. 

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

Well, I wouldn't have predicted The Dragons of Noor being # 8 on the Bestselling e-book list this week. By the way I wouldn't have known that if you hadn't contacted me with the news, so thank you!

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

Photo by Heidi Pettit
Right now I’m getting ready to launch In The Time of Dragon Moon, the third book makes a trilogy. I’m celebrating that with blog tours a book giveaway on Goodreads, and other book giveaways. I’m also lining up a fun party like  launch party we did for Dragonswood.

I’m also working on another fantasy book set in a new world. Very hush hush but dare I mention a jealous Sea Queen who demands a sacrifice from my main character? The dangerous Sea Queen who has the power to create a terrible flood?

I’m also working on another book for younger teens that’s quite whimsical and comical. I’m laughing as I write it. My critique group the Diviners are into both stories and that’s always a good sign. I’m also lucky enough to have a wonderfully talented new agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, who supports my ongoing writing adventures. My agent is solid gold.

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?

Publishing is undergoing a wild roller-coaster ride just now. I cannot predict where it will go. But what I’d like to see is a world where stories are welcome to come out in any number of forms. Traditionally bound books must remain on the shelves in bookstores, libraries, and at home. Children and teens need to have bound books around as a part of their reading world. But e-books and audio books should be within reach as well. It’s all about having choices. Wouldn't it be nice if there were room for all?

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

I believe it helps me as an author. Readers have yet another way to read my books.
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Learn more about Janet and her books by visiting all the links she provided above.

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 Mary Casanova.

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.