Writing and life partners Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, who have written 21 novels in 25 years and whose science fiction books have sold 250,000 print copies, will have a Meet and Greet as well as an autographing at BEA as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Liaden Universe series.
The popular series began in 1988 with the authors’ first book, published by Del Rey. When the Del Rey contract expired, Lee and Miller took a break from publishing for several years. As e-book technology developed, the authors began releasing their books exclusively in a digital format. Miller and Lee found a home at Baen Books six years ago and have been published in simultaneous paper and digital editions since then. “The series goes from strength to strength,” says Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf. There are currently 16 titles in the Liaden Universe series. The latest, Necessity’s Child, was published in February.
The couple believe the reason for their books’ success is that the stories mix comedy of errors, action adventure, and romance with psychic power, among other elements of fantasy. “We were among the first to deliberately incorporate love and romance into a ‘gosh-wow!’ adventure story,” Lee says, “and to insist that human beings, no matter how strange their cultures, would still want connection, relationships, and family.” Their fans include both romance and science fiction readers, and those fans are clearly devoted to Miller and Lee. In 2007 the authors created an early version of the crowdsourcing campaign model when fans were asked to contribute to a book Miller and Lee were writing live on the Web. “A chapter would post every Monday by noon,” says Lee, “if the chapter earned $300 in pre-publication donations.” That book, Fledgling, was eventually finished, and donations for the project exceeded $50,000.
“We consistently get great sell-throughs on Sharon and Steve’s books because of their rabid fan base in both print and e-books,” says Corinda Carfora, who heads sales and marketing at Baen Books. “Their e-book sales are particularly strong due to their longtime presence online. We’ve been very successful with the Liaden Universe series, and certainly the authors’ loyal fans help drive sales.”
Miller and Lee have won several literary awards, including the Hal Clement Award for Best YA Science Fiction; the Prism Award–Futuristic from the Romance Writers of America; and the Skylark Award, given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Previous Skylark recipients include George R.R. Martin and Isaac Asimov.
Saturday, from 11 a.m.-noon, Miller and Lee are autographing copies of Necessity’s Child at Table 10 in the Autographing Area.