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June 19, 2015
By Drucilla Shultz
Indie author Brent LeVasseur urges writers not to fear self-publishing, which he says is easier than most people think.

Brent LeVasseur’s self-publishing story is as epic as his middle-grade sci-fi saga, Aoléon: The Martian Girl. The author’s characters originally sprung from his desire to learn 3D modeling and improve his writing, while Aoléon: The Martian Girl was originally a screenplay for an animated movie. When LeVasseur shopped it around Hollywood, one executive suggested he turn Aoléon into a novel. Ten years later, the Aoléon website has more than half a million registered users and LeVasseur has cultivated his social media platform to the tune of 500,000 Twitter followers and 165,000 Facebook fans.

While LeVasseur worked to turn Aoléon into a novel, huge strides were made in the self-publishing industry and many authors achieved great success after going indie -- both of which drove his desire to self-publish. Taking the advice of Hugh Howey, LeVasseur broke Aoléon into multiple parts before publishing, discounting the first two books in the series while keeping the final three at full price – a strategy he says resulted in more reviews and made the books’ illustrations less cost-prohibitive.

According to LeVasseur – who is currently working on the next set of books in the series and launching several mobile games based on his characters -- one of the biggest obstacles when self-publishing a children’s book is actually getting the book into the hands of its intended audience: kids. “Adults initially drove sales of my books,” he says. “Because kids don’t have their own credit cards, book discovery is a two-step process. Parents, teachers and librarians first needed an introduction to my book series. Only when these adults championed and shared my books did children have the opportunity to read my books.”

"Indeed, the most difficult part of the process -- whether self-publishing or traditional publishing -- is crafting a fantastic book that people love."
We asked LeVasseur to consider his unique platform and offer some tips for other indie authors:

Feedback Is Important

“Write a great book that people will want to read. The rest is easy by comparison…Indeed, the most difficult part of the process -- whether self-publishing or traditional publishing -- is crafting a fantastic book that people love…I had a wonderful group of beta readers; several really good editors and friends all read my many drafts and gave me feedback. This feedback was immensely helpful for the writing process.”

Self-Publishing Is Easy

“Don’t be afraid to self-publish because it’s a lot easier than you might think.”

The Work Begins Before You Start Writing

“Build your author platform before and as you write your book…In 2007, I launched my Aoléon: The Martian Girl community website, which featured more than 65,000 free online flash games. While my community was quickly growing to more than 15 million unique visitors over a seven year period, I worked very hard on turning my screenplay into a novel with painstakingly created graphic illustrations. I also built a social media presence, and essential to that platform is a carefully constructed e-mail list.”