In this vein, I bring to you a Friday Feature with Anita. I feel honored to count Anita a friend. I have always found her blog posts succinct, thoughtful, and interesting. I love her point of view. So it was no surprise to me that I would love her books.
Anita Laydon Miller is the author of two $.99 ebooks for kids ages 8-12, EARTHLING HERO and A SCARY GOOD BOOK. Anita is also the book columnist for the COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE and is working on her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction.
Anita, welcome back! Bring us up to speed on what has happened to you since we last checked in, in March, 2010. Has it really been that long?
Egads! What hasn’t happened?! I found an agent, started an MFA, dropped an agent, independently epublished two books, and survived dengue fever. It’s been awesome.
A whirlwind, for sure! Everything sounds awesome except for the bout with the fever. Although I'm sure that is fodder for some book down the road. Tell me about the epubbing. How’s that been?
I think what most people want to know is have I sold any books. Well, my CEO (Husband) and I have done a horrible job of keeping track of sales. We’ve got four mouths to feed and gardens to take care of, and hairs to shave, buuut, I will say I’ve sold at least several hundred books. I sell books every day…though in October there were some Saturdays in which I didn’t sell any. Weird.
The short answer is that epubbing has been a blast. I’m selling books to people I don’t know. And while I haven’t gotten a ton of reviews, the ones I have gotten are pretty darn good. And I don’t think I’ve had any relatives post reviews. I’m going old-school that way.
Also, my ebooks are for kids ages 8-12, middle grade. Everybody keeps saying that’s the toughest emarket right now. I hope to kick some serious butt this Christmas and prove “everybody” wrong.
Anita, I think it is so awesome that you are finding success selling ebooks to the Middle Grade crowd. What are your books about?
First, let me say the books are $.99 each. They’re worth more, but it’s not about the money for me. Frankly, I grew up without a lot of cash and was very happy. And my family’s comfortable now, so I’m even happier. I’m not trying to pay the mortgage with my ebooks. Of course, I’d love to sell millions…who wouldn’t?…so maybe I should get back to the question.
Anita--I know you always have something amazing in the works. What are you working on right now?
I just finished the first draft of a YA. It's difficult for me to to talk about, because a high school friend of mine just killed himself, and suicide is a big theme in the YA.
Last year, 867 people committed suicide in my home state of Colorado. I knew this was an issue and I wanted to write a powerful book about it...a powerful book that would not OVERpower.
So I have this teenage girl, Olivia, who moves to Colorado from Buffalo with her mom. They move into a home that belonged to Olivia's grandfather, who recently died. The home is on a large piece of land with a cliff at the back. People from all over the region have, over time, come to commit suicide at the cliff. Olivia's grandfather saved hundreds of people who came to the cliff to die. He leaves Olivia five stories about specific jumpers and asks her in a letter to take over his job of saving people.
The girl wakes up her first morning after reading the letter and sees a boy at the cliff. She thinks he's a jumper and she runs outside to try to stop him. Only he isn't jumping, he's just visiting the spot where his brother jumped the year before. Olivia and the boy, Noah, fall for each other.
So, the book is about all sorts of things...suicide, yes, but also love and forgiveness and hope. I balance the serious themes with what I'm hoping is genuine humor. I absolutely love this book. It means a lot to me.
That sounds equally intense and wonderful, Anita. I can’t wait to read it. Any last words?
Just that this is an awesome time to be a writer. There are so many options, so many opportunities. I say, let’s embrace them all, see what good words we can throw out to readers. Let’s do this, people!
Let’s do this is right! Thanks Anita, for the fab interview. And I’m sure that everyone has burning questions for Anita about her books and how she epubbed them. Feel free to give Anita support in the comment section, or ask her a questions. She’ll stop by and give us her insight.
Want to give Anita other kinds of love?
Here’s the link love:
Her Middle Grade Blog
Buy Page for Anita’s 99 Cent Books
Oh, and after you ask Anita a question in the comments, and check out her books and blogs, make sure to stop by Lynn’s blog to help Anita come up with a new character name!