Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Feature: Journeys Toward Publication and Beyond: Anita Miller Publishes EARTHLING HERO

Everyone give a warm welcome to Anita Laydon Miller who recently parted ways with an A+ agency to e-publish her middle grade science fiction, EARTHLING HERO.

Here’s a blurb about the book: Imagine waking one summer night to see someone standing beside your bed. The “someone” is a complete stranger, but looks exactly like you. That’s what happens to eleven-year-old Mikey Murphy. The next few days are filled with adventures—breaking into a high-security military installation, engaging expert assassins in hand-to-hand combat, searching for an evil alien’s hideout in the middle of a national landmark—all with two new alien friends at his side. Can Mikey and his friends survive their adventures and save the world?

I love Anita's book. I've read it, and now I'm reading it to my kids. We are all enthralled. Anita did an excellent job--it's fantastic. The premise is funky and fun, and the characters live and breathe. The book is an awesome ride that I recommend everyone take!

So, Anita, welcome! Thanks for being here. Tell us. Why did you decide to e-publish this book on your own?

Thanks for having me Heather. In a sentence, I wanted more control over my work.

And are you happy with the experience so far?

Yeah, I am. Here’s the thing: the book is finally out there. Any 9-12-year-old kid looking for an inexpensive e-book that’s full of fun and adventure can turn to EARTHLING HERO.

Speaking of inexpensive, why did you price it at $.99?

I think I can explain that best with this twenty-second video. Brace yourself, I dance in it.

So my point is that it’s not about the money--I’m not expecting to be a Hocking or a Konrath. Sure, I’d love to sell three million EARTHLING HERO’s for $.99, but I don’t think that’ll happen. What I hope will happen is that a lot of parents will recognize this is a good book for their kids, and they’ll buy it. I want kids to read the book. I want to make the world dance with my words…lofty goal, I guess.

Love the dance. So happy that you felt comfortable enough on my blog to cut loose! About the book's format--what if someone wants to help you reach that lofty goal, but they don’t have an e-reader?

They can download the book from Smashwords to their PC or Mac in the following formats: .pdf, .Epub, and .mobi. Those formats can be read, respectively, using Adobe Acrobat Reader, the free Barnes & Noble Nook application and the free Amazon Kindle application. OR readers can download the book from Amazon to their PC or Mac and read it using the free Kindle application.

Anybody who’s reading this post, can read EARTHLING HERO. If they can’t figure out how, have them email me. I want them to have access to all e-books, not just my own, and it’s probably a simple explanation that will allow them that access.

I can attest--I downloaded the book very easily onto my PC.

Here's where you can buy EARTHLING HERO: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

And, please check out Anita's fantastic Middle Grade blog, author website, and blog.

But, before you go, give Anita some love in the comments--she'll be by to hang out and answer questions!


  1. That's awesomse! And I love the picture of Anita up by the rocks. It's great. :)

  2. What a way to make a point! Wow.

    We'll keep you dancing, Anita.

  3. You had me at the dance!!! ;-)


  4. Great interview. Congrats Anita. It was my first book to download onto my computer. It was so easy and I enjoyed reading your book. Looking forward to your interview on my blog Literary Rambles on Wednesday.

  5. Anita--Thanks so much for being here today! I want to ask you about sales and marketing.

    Don't give us specifics if you don't want to, but how are the book sales going? Are you pleased? Are you seeing bumps in sales after certain marketing techniques? Can you figure out what things work, or is it random? Because you can track your sales pretty conclusively, right?

    And--what has surprised you since getting your book out there--or has the experience with eselling met your expectations?

  6. Oh, and I love your background dancer. That guy has moves! (Yours are pretty sweet too.)

  7. LAURA: Thanks! It was weird giving up my old picture...I'd gotten sorta attached to it. But the rock photo makes sense and it was fun hiking up ther ewith Husband to take it.

    JONATHON: Hah! I'm not a great dancer, but I have fun doing it. I come from a family of crazy dancers. You have to give us lots of room on the dance floor.

  8. JUSTINE: Woo hoo! :)

    NATALIE: Thanks for pointing out how easy the book is to download to a computer! I talked with a group of parents recently (I'm a book columnist and get asked to speak about books a lot) and I'm hoping they'll download the will be a first for many of them. I really think every family should have an ereader though. I know families with ereaders will read more. And if you're already a family who spends $ on books, you'll end up spending less in the long run.

  9. HEATHER: I've asked Husband to be in charge of keeping track of sales, because I don't want to be constantly looking. I have a one year plan (it includes epublishing two more MG novels by the end of the year) and so I'm looking at this whole experiment in terms of a year.

    That being said, sales are good and steady. I've had a slight bump during each blog tour stop, but I'm starting to think complete strangers (people I don't know and have never been to a writer blog) are showing up to the eretailers and buying the book now. That's cool. And yesterday (I don't know how often they change it), EARTHLING HERO was ranked the #1 kids' book seller on Smashwords.

    Here's my thing: If the book is good, it will continue to sell through my one year plan. There's no rush here. Slow and steady is how I'm approaching this adventure.

  10. Adventure, this is in so many ways! I am so appreciating how you are sharing it with us. It feels so transparent. And again, can I say charming when I see a video of you?! You are going to give that charming Kelly a dance for her money (haha, because that part is about the money).

    This is so fun! Thanks, Heather and Anita!

  11. How was I not following your blog Heather? I know I know you. I don't know what's wrong with me. I've fixed it now.

    Another great stop on the tour, Anita! I love the video.

  12. TINA: I am soooo glad that I self-published/epublished. I am very happy with the decision. I think at the end of my one year plan I'l know for sure that I made the right decision, but now--just a couple weeks after taking the plunge---I'm happy. :)

    MATTHEW: Yeah, Heather has a great blog...I love watching the way Heather, Jon, Tina and Kelly interact. It's like they all live on the same street or something.

    I'm glad you like the video!

  13. HEATHER: While there's a lull: Thank you for having me here today! You are so great. And thank you, JONATHON, for organizing the tour and talking me up to your blog buds. You guys rock!

    Hmmm...Heather, you asked if anything's surprised me. I'm gonna have to say no. I did a lot of research and things are going pretty much as I'd hoped. I'd love for people to rate the book (4-5 stars or whatever) from places they bought it. And a couple more reviews (from people who like the book :)) would be helpful, but that will come. After the blog tour's over, I have a couple other big marketing things going on (I'll post about them in my blog), and I'm hoping those things will keep driving momentum.

  14. Hi everyone! *waving*

    Matthew-- I know I know you too. :) (And super enjoy the QQQE)

    Anita--thanks for the frank response to my question--and I love your attitude toward your publishing career. Awesome. I'm so glad you're happy!!
    I would LOVE to live on the same street with you and J and T and K. CAN WE DO THAT VIRTUALLY? (<---clearly a question for J.) Can my house be purple?

  15. Go, Anita, go Anita! Shake it Anita!
    I am halfway through Earthling Hero and love it! What a great bargain!

  16. PS. Anita is still going DOWN on our dance off. ;)

  17. KELLY: Thank you! I'm glad you're liking the book...I put a special spell on your copy. Any minute now, you'll feel your dancing legs getting very, very tired.

  18. Very interesting. I'm so glad I've found your blog. I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

  19. HEATHER: I want my house to be turquoise.

    SYLVIA: Heather has a great blog here...lots of good info and randomness, too.

  20. You rock, Anita! Both with your book project and your dancing. I sense an intense competition coming up.

  21. MG: My husband and I keep discussing locations and's so silly, but fun!

  22. Hey, nice dance moves! I cracked up at the little kid in the background mimicking you. Hilarious! The book sounds like a lot of fun, and I think pricing it right is the best way to go. It'll reach a lot more people!

  23. I've seen this book around. I hope it gives you much success. It certainly sounds like a great story.

  24. Hello again everyone!

    Anita--thanks for being so gracious here, in the comments.

    Sylvia--Thanks! I'm so glad you stopped by!

    Julie--I agree--the 99 cent price tag is brilliant.

    Lynda--I also wish Anita great success. Thanks for coming by!

  25. JULIE: Yeah, kid behind me is hilarious! And I am hoping the $.99 will appeal to people.

    LYNDA: Thanks for your good wishes!

    HEATHER: I had a great time! Thank you!

  26. Nice interview. Thanks for sharing, Anita. And thanks for testing the middle grade e-book waters and giving us feedback. You're a hoot. ;-)

  27. I wish you lots of luck in your venture. I am publishing at Smashwords too (not quite done yet)so I hope is a good experience. Meanwhile I will download your book because I am a Reading Specialist in an elementary school.

  28. The frozen frame of the video looks like a photo from the early eighties. I thought we were going to see archival footage. I request the Dougie Dance for your next attempt.

  29. TRACY: about the six month point I'll post some sales data. I'm really thinking of this as a one year experiment, that point I'll let people know whether I think I passed or faaaaiiiled and whether I'd recommend epublishing. :)

    JEANNE: Thank you so much for buying the book. I'd like to hear your impressions...and the impressions of the school kids, if you get a chance to share EARTHLING HERO with them.

    PMM: Dougie Dance. Will do!

  30. ...Anita, I've been following your progress and wishing you the best always.
    Also, the video's a hoot, including the youngster in the background:)

    Great interview, Heather:)


  31. ELLIOT: Thanks for keeping track of what's going on. I'm having a good time and meeting lots of interesting bloggers. I hope your efforts are going well, too!

  32. I think you did a good job! If you hadn't, the people behind you would be gawking instead of playing.

  33. THERESA: Hah! It's funny...nobody gave a hoot what I was doing.

  34. I love the back-up dancer in the beginning, and I love the way you looked around to see if anyone recognized you.

  35. Charlie--I agree. Anita's body language and the kid really make this video even more awesome. I have come to think of this song as Anita's song... Thanks for stopping by!!

  36. CHARLIE: Hah! I was actually looking for the back-up dancer!

    HEATHER: Yay, it's my song! After the May dance-off, I'll have another song that will make you think of me. :)