Edan Lepucki’s debut novel ‘California’ gets big boost from Stephen Colbert

Edan Lepucki’s debut novel ‘California’ gets big boost from Stephen Colbert

Television host Stephen Colbert's campaign against online retailer Amazon for discouraging customers from purchasing titles from publisher Hachette Book Group indirectly helped a lot novice novelist Edan Lepucki.

Even Lepucki's publisher showed little confidence in her debut novel "California," which was why the publisher planned to print only 12,000 copies of her novel. In addition, she was assigned to an editor with little experience. She was also asked if she had any marketing budget for her novel.

But, 33-year-old Ms. Lepucki surprisingly won the literary lottery when Mr. Colbert criticized Amazon for discouraging customers from buying books from Hachette, and urged viewers of "The Colbert Report" to preorder Ms. Lepucki's novel from independent bookstores.

Holding Ms Lepucki's debut novel in hand, Mr. Colbert said in the show that the Amazon-Hachette row was toughest on young authors who were being published for the first time.

A few nights later, he challenged viewers to purchase enough copies of "California" to get it on the New York Times best-seller list. He even recommended the novel to his nearly 6.6 million followers on Twitter.

Expressing her delight about the unprecedented support from Mr. Colbert, Ms. Lepucki said, "I felt kind of icky to be benefiting from this fight. At the same time, the opportunity to reach readers is a fantasy. I did still wonder whether anyone would care."

Earlier this week, Ms. Lepucki reached Portland, Ore., to sign 10,000 copies of her novel for the independent store Powell's Books, where her debut novel grapped 1st spot on the best-seller list after Mr. Colbert directed viewers and his Twitter followers to the store.

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