Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Wizard of Time Trilogy: Number One with Kindle Kids!


The Wizard of Time Trilogy hit the coveted number 1 spot in the Children's section of the Amazon Kindle store on April 18th. This time travel adventure series by G. L. Breedon consists of The Wizard of Time, The Sword of Unmaking, and The Edge of Eternity.

First, please tell us what your books are about.
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Thirteen-year-old Gabriel Salvador has dreams about the future and his dreams always come true. When he dreams one night that he will drown, he knows upon waking it is only a matter of time before his dream becomes reality.

Plucked from the timeline of history at the moment of his death, Gabriel becomes an apprentice time mage and part of an elite team of wizards who travel throughout history to fight the War of Time and Magic.

Victorian London, the Aztec temples of 1487, the Greek island of Samos in 320 BCE, Scotland in the Middle Ages, and the battle fields of Alexander the Great are only some of the adventures in time that await Gabriel as he learns to become a time mage and joins the battle to protect the timeline of history in The Wizard of Time.

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

I have the usual indie author story. I spent several years writing novels and collecting rejection letters from agents and publishers before I decided to start self-publishing in 2011. I currently have three books in the Wizard of Time series, two books in my Young Sorcerers Guild series, and a stand alone YA sci-fi book published.

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

I think the thing that helps sell books more than anything is word of mouth – people wanting to share their experience of reading your book and telling others about it. That only happens if you write something people enjoy enough to want to share. And sometimes people want to share some of your books more than others. My Wizard of Time books outsell my others by a wide margin.

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

I’ve run bookbub ads, which helps give the book a boost, but most of the sales are from people finding it or having it recommended to them. I have a blog and facebook and twitter account, but I’ve been ignoring them lately as I’ve invested most of my free time writing and editing my new fantasy novel. I find it really difficult to make time for both when I’m writing or editing. I’m hoping to get back to posting on all of them soon.

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’ve had parents write to say that The Wizard of Time got their child into reading or rekindled a lost interested in reading, so I definitely think kids are reading more. If they are comprehending less it might be due to the fact that ebooks make it easier to flip pages and skim past parts the kids find boring.

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


The books I have written so far are pretty solidly targeted to the 12-14 year old reader. I think ebooks work great for that age range – assuming they have access to a tablet or ereader. Unfortunately, most kids that age don’t yet have their own dedicated device. I think that will change as the price continues to drop for ereaders and tablets, and I think younger readers will read more ebooks as a result.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you've done it?

I’d spent years reading that self-publishing was not only a sign of failure as a writer but would ensure that your book never got accepted by a traditional publisher. However, by the time I started indie publishing my novels as ebooks enough people were doing it that it seemed more reasonable and less risky. Now I find it hard to imagine having a traditional publisher even if that meant a wider print distribution than I can manage on my own.

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

The thing that surprised me most was the effect of word of mouth in selling books. I’ve watched other writers who invested a great deal of time in social media or ads or free give always, and compared them to the sales of writers who did none of that, but who had a book people wanted to share with friends and family. The books that generate word of mouth buzz always sell more. That made intuitive sense, because I love to share books that really interest me, but it still surprised me from a practical point of view as an indie published author.

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

I have a freelance day job, so I do most of my writing and editing between gigs. I’m currently editing my new Epic Sword and Sorcery Opera. It’s a 750+ page fantasy novel following seven groups of people in a world where thousands have begun to have dreams of a new god and a new star and begin a pilgrimage to the Forbidden Realm. One night a star appears in the sky just as the dreams foretold and sets in motion all manner of chaos for the characters at the center of the story.

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 suspect that in the next 5 years, and certainly in the next 10, ebooks will replace print for most genre fiction, for all age ranges. It may happen slower for children’s books and middle grade YA books. I don’t think print will go away for contemporary fiction or for text books and works with large amounts of photos. Print it is very convenient for that sort of thing. I also suspect that more of the writers of those genre ebooks will be indie authors. As mass maket paperback sales decline there will be less incentive for newer authors to look for a traditional publishing deal.

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

I don’t think people would be reading my novels without ebooks. For all I know I might be on my sixth novel of collecting rejection letters instead of getting ready to indie publish my seventh.

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

I can’t honestly see how ebooks could hurt readers. They cost less, their easy to read, and they can’t fall off your overcrowded book shelf and hit you in the head. Win, win, win.
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Learn more about Geoffrey and his books by visiting his website, or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

See the latest Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten e-format authors and their books. It's usually updated every Saturday morning, but this week due to scheduling conflicts I had to compile it on Friday evening. Check back next week when my featured author will be Aimee Agresti.

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, June 20, 2015

DOLLHOUSE: A Top Ten Hit with Kindle Teens

Today's featured author is Anya Allyn. Her book, Dollhouse, hit the number 10 spot in the Teen section of the Amazon Kindle store on April 4th. It's the first book of four in The Dark Carousel series, although there is a free short story prequel called Thirteen.

Anya classifies her books as young adult Gothic horror/thrillers, and she joins us today to talk about her e-publishing success.  

First, tell us what your book is about.


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DOLLHOUSE is about a group of teenagers who end up in a dark, surreal dollhouse beneath an old mansion. There's a place inside the Dollhouse, known as the Toy Box, from which they can enter into other realms--the past, a macabre carnival and some terrifying places.

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

I started out with the thought of going traditional. I actually didn’t know there was any other option! I had been a features’ writer for a media organisation in Australia (from 2002-2009) and was now homeschooling one of my boys and running a small business.

I began writing fiction at night. I uploaded a short story to a place named Inkpop.com (now Figment.com) just to gain feedback from teenagers. It was a site where you gained criticism for your writing and also upvoted others for a chance to gain a review from Harper Collins. To my shock, my story sped to the top within a month or so, and I gained a great review from a HC editor. It gave me the confidence to try writing a book. By the time I’d written DOLLHOUSE in 2012, I’d just heard about Amazon and decided to try it as an independent.


I had a lot of success with Dollhouse and went on to write three more books in the series.

In 2013, I had three publishers contacted me - one large and two smaller. I ended up going with one of the smaller--Paper Lantern Lit. I felt that the PLL editor, Lauren Oliver, really ‘got’ my book and that together with the PLL team, I could make the Dollhouse book the very best it could be. This interview explains a little more about that time from Lauren’s side of things.

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

I’m not sure, to be honest. I continue to be astounded people like the weird and creepy stories floating about in my head!

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

I will admit I’m not great at marketing. I’m an introvert who finds it almost impossible to say, ‘please review my book’ or ‘hey, here’s a book you might like’!

I keep a presence on my Facebook author page and love interacting with readers there.

I’d say that the biggest thing you can do for marketing is to write a series that people really like. Which isn’t really marketing but writing! A lot!  Books in a series can help sell each other, as each book is like its own little billboard at a vendor, and also many readers like totally losing themselves in the world an author creates--which can be difficult to achieve in the space of a single book.

Of course, advertising is a big factor in book discovery. Advertisers such as BookBub and promotions run at distributors such as Amazon and iTunes can really catapult your book.

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 have four boys. There was definite frustration with the older two in not always being able to access the books they wanted to read. Now, I have a kindle, and it’s great being able to offer the younger two more variety. I’m not sure about the comprehension side of things, but I definitely think it’s something for educators to be aware of and keep researching.

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? 

Things. Change. So. Fast.

That’s been the biggest thing that I’ve noticed. It’s a whirlwind and hard to keep up with it all.


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

My writing schedule is basically this: After I drop my children off at school, I'm home by 9.30am. I start writing at 10am. Run around and do some cleaning up at 2pm and then pick my kids up again. And then there's kids' sport, homework and dinner. I rarely get more than two solid writing hours in. There are always other things to take care of in our very busy household!

At the moment I’m writing a psychological thriller--a new genre for me! I'm also working on getting together a new website of authors who write dark YA fiction: http://evereerie.com. I’ve just released a standalone YA sic fi novel (Lake Ephemeral), which I'd love to write a sequel for in the future. I’d also love to write a prequel/sequel for Dollhouse. I have so many ideas for books and it just isn’t possible to write them all!
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Learn more about Anya and her books by visiting her website, or by following her 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 G. L. Breedon.

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, June 13, 2015

Christopher Healy's Guide to Top Ten Success!

On March 21st, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom hit the number 5 spot in the Kids' and Teen section of the Kobo.com store. Christopher Healy is the author of this e-book bestseller, and he joins us today. 

After a career of writing for magazines, newspapers and websites, this was Christopher's first book written for children. It has won several notable awards as well as wonderful reviews, and there are now two sequels in the Hero's Guide series: The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle and The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw. 

First, tell us what The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is about.

Prince Liam, Prince Frederic, Prince Gustav, Prince Duncan. These are the so-called heroes who became famous for rescuing Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White, respectively. Yet no one even knows their real names—they are all simply known by the generic name, Prince Charming, and forced to live in the shadows of their more famous (even if deservedly so) female counterparts. Now the time has come for these four second-banana princes to join together on a daring, monster-and-magic-filled quest to prove to the world—and themselves—that they truly are the heroes their stories make them out to be. (And if things get rough, the princesses are always around to help the guys out of a tight spot.)

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

As someone who was telling people I was going to be an author someday back when I was 7 years old, I took a pretty roundabout path to actually reach that goal. I started my professional "writing" career as a magazine fact-checker. Then I moved from double-checking other people's writing to wrangling some real writing assignments of my own—ones with an actual byline. Eventually, I was writing for a whole bunch of magazines, newspapers, and websites—everything from the New York Times to AOL. But once my kids were born, I ended up finding a niche for myself as a children's media critic, reviewing kids' books, movies, music, and video games (Hey, "Write what you know," right?). After years of that, though, I finally reached a point where I got tired of writing about other people's works and wanted to try creating my own. I reminded myself of my dreams from back when I was a second grader. So in between all the paying work, I began writing The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom—my first shot at a novel. From there, the route to publication was pretty traditional. I got an agent (who luckily turned out to be awesome), she brought my manuscript to several publishers, and HarperCollins made me an offer.

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

I hate to say bargain deals, but when talking specifically about the e-book version of Hero's Guide, they've been a huge help. Every limited time, low-price deal has led to a jump in sales. Beyond just the electronic version, though, I credit the success of the series to a number of factors (each of which I'm incredibly grateful for!)—schools (teachers and librarians have been great champions for my books), handselling at brick-and-mortar bookstores, very supportive book bloggers, and word of mouth from kid readers. Of course, I don't know how many of those boosts I would have gotten at all if the publisher hadn't been so good about pushing and marketing the series on their end.

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

Although I have a wide spectrum of readers, the series is technically labeled as middle grade, meaning a target audience of 8 to 12. I can't say I've seen too many kids that age reading ebooks, but a lot of their parents do. I also know that a lot of parents read my books aloud to their kids, so for them, the format wouldn't necessarily matter. I do think, however, that if my series only existed in e-book format, it would not have gotten the wonderful reception it has from schools.

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

I try my hardest to put in a full six hours of writing between 9 and 3, while my kids are at school. Once they're home, it's too easy to get distracted, so I save as much of the business-end of the job (emails, contracts, bills, website upkeep, etc.) for after 3pm. Of course, it doesn't always work out. And there's always a little thing called Writer's Block that tends to show up pretty much every day at some point. When that happens, I find it much more productive to move on to some other task, rather than sit and stare at a blank screen. It's usually while I'm in the middle of something else that the answer will come to me. My latest novel that I'm working on is called, The Worst Thing About Saving the World, and it follows the post-heroic life of a middle-schooler AFTER he's saved the day and become mega famous for it. It's set to be published in 2016.
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Learn more about Christopher and his books by visiting his website and the Official Hero's Guide website. You can also follow 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 Anya Allyn.

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, June 6, 2015

THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII: A Number One Hit with Nook Teens

Today's featured author is Alison Weir, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII. The e-book version hit the number 1 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store on March 28th. Alison is the biggest-selling female historian (and the fifth best-selling historian) in the United Kingdom since records began in 1997. She has published twenty-one books. Let's hear all about her e-publishing experience and success.

First, tell us about your book, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. 



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It's the story of the six queens of the Tudor monarch, Henry VIII. It's set in a court dominated by the will of an egomaniacal, suggestible king, and the power politics and ruthlessness that were the reality behind its magnificent facade. It tells how Henry’s six wives lived a hair’s breadth away from disaster – and how it frequently overtook them. Theirs are grim and tragic stories, set in a lost world of splendour and brutality: a world in which love, or the game of it, dominated, but dynastic pressures overrode any romantic considerations. In this world, one dominated by religious change, there are few saints.

How did you get published: Traditionally or independently? Recently or further in the past?

I went down the traditional route with mainstream publishers. I was first published in 1989, and since then I have clocked up 17 non-fiction history books and 5 historical novels.

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

I think that the story of Henry VIII's queens has a compelling, undying fascination.

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

Through my publishers' marketing and publicity strategies. I post regularly on Facebook and sometimes on Twitter and Pinterest, but I see my website as my main point of contact with readers.

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

I have a broad target audience, as attendances at my many events show - from children younger than 9 to seniors over 90! Both sexes too.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Was it your idea or your publisher’s?

It was my publishers' idea to republish my books in this format. I'm delighted about sales, of course, but e-books are not for me personally!

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

I'm writing a novel about Katherine of Aragon, the first in a series of six about the wives of Henry VIII. I've also been commissioned to write four non-fiction history books, so I'm going to be very busy over the next few years!

Do you think e-publishing will ever exceed or replace print publishing?

I sincerely hope not!

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

I don't believe that children should be brought up expecting to have everything delivered electronically. I speak from experience, as the mother of two children, one with special needs. They are adults now, and both read e-books. but if I was bringing them up now, I would want them to experience the pleasure of traditional books.
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Learn more about Alison and her books by visiting her website, or by following her on her Facebook page or the Alison Weir Fan Club Facebook page. (Other Facebook pages using her name are unauthorised and some contain inaccurate information.) She's also on Twitter and Pinterest.

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 Christopher Healy.

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.