Tag Archives: Children’s books

Amazon helps children books authors with updates

I noticed last week when I uploaded a short story to Amazon that there was a new change in KDP for children’s writers.

Now Amazon allows you to add the grade level and age range for your book.  Before this needed to be down just in your blurb.

This change allows for people to find your work by searching for grade level or age range.

And as someone who writes for kids, this is all win.

Amazon wins again.

Oh yeah, here is the short story mentioned above. Which is level for 2nd through 5th graders, thank you very much.

Aliens. Baseball. 99 cents.

Aliens. Baseball. 99 cents.

Raymond Bean-Best Selling Children’s author answers some questions. Only one question about farts though.

I am a teacher, and I write books.  I am not the only one.  Raymond Bean teaches 4th grade in New York City, and has two best selling series with Amazon, Sweet Farts and School is a Nightmare.  He teaches 4th and I will be teaching 5th, and judging by pictures we both seem to have the same hairline.  But the difference stops there, as he has written two series and is on his way to releasing a third series.

He was nice enough to answer a handful of questions.  But it was how we came to connect through James Altucher deserves a mention.  James is also a best-selling indie-publisher whose recent Choose Yourself sold over 40,000 copies in it’s first month.  Enough to put him on the Wall Street Journal’s best seller’s list, and the New York times for that matter.  But because he didn’t sell them in stores the New York Times list doesn’t include his work.  That’s a post for another time. (See my review of Choose Yourself.  James retweeted my review, and consequently that was the biggest day on my blog so far.  There is a lesson there.)

James does a weekly ask me anything through Twitter on Thursday afternoons.  Typically I can’t participate because I am in school during that time, but during July my schedule is a little more open.  After the success of James’ Choose Yourself and a subsequent post on Tech Crunch about self publishing 3.0, I asked him on Twitter how would his advice differ for selling children’s books.  And this is how James replied:

Three things on this:

  1. James thought I asked a great question.
  2. I stumped him enough that he passed me off to Raymond Bean.
  3. I steal James’ idea and interview Raymond myself.

And from there Raymond was nice enough to respond to the tweet and then was nice enough to answer some questions for me.

(I believe this is a very important 21st century skill.  We should be teaching our students and children to expand our connections through technology.)

Enough backstory, here are the questions that Ray was nice enough to answer:

1.       How long have you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always written.  I remember a pencil box I had in elementary school (probably second grade) that had an elaborate scene of kids having a snowball fight on the cover.  I wrote speech bubbles next to each kid.

2.      Did you ever send the manuscript for Sweet Farts to agents or publishers before sending it to KDP?

Yes, I sent Sweet Farts out to many publishers and several agents before and after self publishing on Createspace/KDP.  Amazon Publishing ultimately picked up the first book and the rest of the series.

3.      Did you use any services from Createspace such as editing, cover design, or illustrations?

Createspace does all the services for my indie titles.

4.      How long did it take for the book to begin selling well?  Was it immediate or did it take a while for mouth-of-mouth to kick in?

It took about three months for sales to kick in.  I was lucky because the book seemed to generate a good deal of word of mouth between readers.

5.      Where did you get the idea for Sweet Farts?

See the video.

6.      What sort of promotion did you do?

I gave away a good deal of free copies.  It was way back in 2008.  I think I was fortunate because self publishing hadn’t really exploded yet.  Once my book started selling on Amazon it pollinated with other popular children’s titles and its discoverability increased dramatically.

7.      When did Amazon approach you to sell through their imprint?

I don’t remember exactly, but it was in 2009.  I remember googling Amazon Publishing and nothing came up.  I took a leap of faith that Amazon would grow its publishing business.  I’m glad I did.  Today they are growing at an amazing rate and announcing new imprints all the time.

8.      What sort of advice would you give to new writers considering self-publishing?

I think the most important thing is to get your work out there where readers can find it.  Once it’s available, write more.  Self publishing helped me land a fantastic agent and kick start my writing career.

9.      What do your students think of your success?

They’re very supportive.  I try to use my love of reading/writing to encourage my students to read and write more.

10.  Who is your favorite sports team?

I’m a big basketball fan.  The Knicks for sure.

Thanks so much to Raymond for taking the time to answer my questions.  If you’re a teacher of old elementary school students I would recommend checking out his work.

In spite of basketball being his favorite sport, Raymond’s upcoming book is about baseball.  Which is my personal favorite sport.  So I will be checking it out.

Any other indie writers I should track down and interview?  Leave suggestions in the comments.

Also check out my interview of best-selling children’s author AJ Cosmo.

Recommended Indie Children’s Books May 21 2013 Edition

I posted a couple of weeks ago about a couple of indie produced children’s books.  I want to start promoting other indie children writers, because most successful indie writers are in other genres.  People are writing about things other than vampires, the apocalypse, and romance.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Here are couple to check out:

The Monster Who Ate My Socks

AJ Cosmo is a former teacher.  He is also a talented artist.  I recommended another book of his in my earlier post.  The Monster who ate my Socks solves the age old riddle of why my socks have holes in them and go missing.  This would have been useful info when I was 7.  I love his illustrations in this book, very detailed and great texture.  They come across very well on my Kindle Fire HD.

P.S. The Monster Who Ate My Socks 2 is now out.

Also follow AJ on Twitter.

How to be a Superhero

This book was written by high school student Rachel Yu, and published by her dad.  Rachel has many books out and I first thought she made the illustrations herself.  But I learned that she hires out the illustrations.  This the story of a slightly arrogant superhero explaining the rough life of a superhero.  A wonderfully silly story.

All of her books seem to rank fairly high in the Amazon Kindle store, as in the 1,000 to 9,000 range.  The sequel to this book, which I have not read, How to be a Super Villain, spent the 2011 Holiday Season outselling Watchman and Batman.

Rachel was 16 when that book hit the best seller’s list.


Welcome to the 21st Century.

I am happy to be here.

Recommended Indie books

Since getting a Kindle I’ve discovered some indie published books that are very enjoyable.  Despite not being published by one of the Big 6.  (I know…gasp…)  So I’m thinking from time to time I will share indie books I like, and in particular children’s and teenager books.

A Place Called Perfect

This book was featured along with Seven Lions on Freebooksy.  It is the debut book from Helena Duggan, an Irish writer and graphic designer.  It is a very vivid and fast paced book, about a place that goes to extraordinary lengths to make sure everything is “Perfect”.  After emailing her I learned that she was able to get some paper copies of her book into a local book store.  (Yes, I randomly email authors.  It’s the 21st century and the area of Choose Yourself.  If some doesn’t want to talk to me.  So what.)  Good for her.  I look forward to her next book.

The Little Bleeble

This is a short picture book by AJ Cosmo and I think this is his most recent release.  I was a little taken aback by how adorable I found this book.  It is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Beeble and their wish for a child.  Each parent dreams of how much the child will be like them, of course to only find out that the child is not exactly like them.  I have a one-year-old maybe I am just sensitive to a story like.  AJ also used to be a teacher, but he tweeted me that he no longer is teaching. (Yes, I randomly tweet people I want to meet.  See note above.)  He has several books out, and another book of his seems to be sitting high recently in the children’s category on Amazon.  Good for him.

And here is an article about the success of one of his books.

(While writing this post AJ tweeted that he had a new book out.  The Little Bleeble came out in March.  I hate AJ right now.)

Check out these books for your Kindle.  I hope to post more of these in the future.