Turning the page

Des Allemands Sci-Fi author Lee Stephen credits success to Internet marketing

With nearly 2,000 books sold, Des Allemands writer Lee Stephen credits most of the success of his science-fiction book series, Epic, has received to both independent publishing and the Internet.

“The series as a whole has sold close to 2,000 books, and should break that barrier in the coming months,” said Stephen. “Two thousand is somewhat of a milestone number, so that’s going to be pretty exciting.”

Stephen says that independent fiction typically doesn’t perform that well in the open market, so to be seeing sales in terms of those numbers is really positive.

“I go about the publishing process as an independent company, which in its simplest explanation means I oversee the whole publishing process, from the hiring of editors and designers, to the contracting of cover artists,” he said. “For me, it’s more of a control issue than a ‘sales potential’ issue.”

Traditional publishing usually offers a higher potential for sales figures, but not a very high level of personal control.

“Control’s important to me, so it’s a trade-off I’ve always been happy with,” he added.

For Stephen, the most challenging aspect of writing is the writing itself.

“I lead a fairly schedule-heavy life, so sometimes just finding those moments to sit down and write is a pretty tough thing to do. I always feel behind,” he said. “If there’s good news in that, it’s that when I do sit down and write, a lot usually comes out at once.”

The best advice this writer can give anyone interested in writing or publishing is the same advice he received from another author from St. Charles Parish, Barbara Colley.

“Barbara told me to ‘endeavor to persevere’,” said Stephen. “Writing and polishing a novel is a long, long process – a marathon. Go in for the long haul.”

Stephen also recommends that aspiring novelists get a professional editor, especially if they plan on self publishing.

“There’s a ton of unpolished material out there. You don’t want to be among them,” he said.

When it comes to marketing a series, Stephen says that the Internet has been a huge part of Epic’s success.

“Amazon.com reviews and recommendations, social networking sites like Facebook and Goodreads, and Epic’s own community message boards and mailing list have all contributed to spreading the word about the series and keeping fans plugged in,” said Stephen. “It’s a different era we live in, where information can be sent anywhere at any time. Never before have individuals held so much power when it comes to communication. You’ve got to take advantage of it.”

Stephen says that his ultimate goal with writing is somewhat twofold.

“Obviously I want to create good, clean entertainment – something exciting that people, regardless of what genre they prefer, can get involved in,” he continued.

“But on that same note, writing is also a bit of a ministry for me. I’ve always been open about my faith as a Christian, and if I can portray aspects of spirituality through writing, even if it’s not Christianity specifically, I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile outside of just entertaining people. I’d love for writing to be a pedestal for sharing my faith.”

Those interested in reading Stephen’s testimony should visit http://www.epicuniverse.com/testimony.html.

All the books in the Epic series can be found at Amazon.com.

Readers new to the series, should start with “Dawn of Destiny,” which is the first book in the series. More information about Stephen and the series can also be found at his Web site.

“So far I’m writing book No. 4 out of a planned eight, so I’m closing in on the halfway point,” said Stephen. “My plan is simply to keep on plugging away until the entire series is finished and out there.

“After that, who knows? I have a lot of other ideas outside of science-fiction. I enjoy comedy writing, and I already have a couple stories in the back of my mind that I’d like to get out there somewhere, eventually.”

Stephen also write a sports satire on SaintsReport.com, which he says is a nice change of pace from straight military science-fiction.


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