Hi friends! Today we’ve got rockstar author Bella Andre visiting with us! I first… gosh…. must have read one of her football romances? And her single titles. (Still love those – and have all of them in trade paperback and e!) Then, I doubt she remembers, but I had the chance to meet her in NYC at a cocktail party. (She was incredibly sweet and gracious, and I was a gauche blank. Good times. At least there was bubbly.) But now I’ve tricked her into blogging here! 😉 Score! And guess what? It’s also my second year as an “on my own” blogger! So what a way to usher that in! <3
Enough about my babble though. These are some of the questions people had for Bella as a self published author. (And thank you all for those! Xoxo)
What made you decide to self publish?
My wonderful fans! Back in 2010, my publisher at the time had declined to move forward with my option for new books, but I was receiving fan mail every day asking for more stories. My fans really gave me the confidence to continue writing and publish on my own, knowing they were waiting for the stories. Self-publishing ebooks was the best thing I’ve ever done!
What do you wish you knew when you started self publishing that you know now?
The learning curve for making the digital files and ebooks as well as the graphics programs to make my own covers was huge! I spent many nights sweating it out until the wee hours over my keyboard. But boy am I glad I learned how to do everything….it’s made such a difference to have those skills, even if I now hire a great formatter for my ebooks.
What are the pros and cons of self publishing?
I love being in completely control of my writing. Two years ago, I likely never would have been able to sell an 8 book (I’ll actually be publishing 8, 9, 10 and 11 this year!) family series like The Sullivans to a traditional publisher. Fortunately, with self-publishing I was able to believe in myself and my fans and publish books I knew they would love! It is, of course, a lot of work! And I’ve loved every second of it.
How do you find your audience?
When I first started writing the series, I individually emailed each and every single fan to let them know about the series. Since then, I’ve been supported by fan word-of-mouth and by wonderful bloggers – like you!
What have been the most challenging issues in self publishing?
The most challenging issue is the amount of time I takes to do everything: write the books, edit/revise the books, hire editors and copyeditors and proofreaders and formatters, write the book descriptions, create the metadata, make the covers, upload the files, and get the word out about the books! I also make sure to keep on top of the industry and its constant changes.
How do you approach editing and marketing?
With an iron-clad calendar. Seriously! I have beta readers, copyeditors, and an army of proofers and before I publish each book I have to make sure every one of them is available when I need them at the right time to release my book. I also have to make sure I’ve set aside time to design my cover, create my marketing copy and reach out to my readers when the book is released.
Would you go back to traditional publishing?
Actually, I recently signed a groundbreaking print-only English language deal with Harlequin MIRA for The Sullivans and am very excited that Harlequin will be doing a simultaneous international launch in the US, UK, Canada and Australia of the first eight books from June 2013 to April 2013! In the US, they will be mass market paperbacks. I still own all of the ebook, audiobook, foreign and film/TV rights for the books. (That is awesome! Congratulations!!)
Many die-hard Sullivans fans have told me they can’t wait to have the series in both ebook and paperback (and audiobook too!) and I also can’t wait for a whole new group of paperback readers embrace them. I have also licensed the Sullivans to publishers in Brazil, France and Portugal so far. The first two books in the series (The Look of Love and From This Moment On) have already been big bestsellers in Brazil!
There is the perception is it is faster to get a book to your fans if you are self-published – do you think this is true?
Absolutely! Publishing houses have to contend with multiple demands of many authors and releases and this is why lead-times on books are often 12-24 months. With self-publishing, I only have to focus on my books, as long as I can line up editorial, production, distribution and marketing one right after another, I can have a book out to fans within a few months of typing the end.
Do you read the reviews on GoodReads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble? would you like amazon to have a rate and/or review system like GoodReads do.
I love it when fans take the time to write a review for one of my books! And, of course, the really sweet one always make me smile.
Word is that Amazon is starting to delete reviews that say they got the book from the author; what are your thoughts on this as a self-published author? (Especially since most people disclose they received an ARC for review.)
Honestly, I’ve been so deep in lockdown on writing my next Sullivan book, that I haven’t kept too close of an eye on this situation, so I’m afraid I really can’t comment.
What advice might you have for someone who is considering self publishing?
There’s never been a better time to be a writer! Go for it and don’t worry about making mistakes – you’ll learn as you go just like I did! And have fun!
Have you noticed changes to self publishing since you started?
So many changes! There are so many great retailers supporting self-publishing now and wonderful companies offering support with covers and formatting and editing. Plus, there are a wealth of websites and blogs offering help and ideas and suggestions.
Do you think there are any particular new trends that are emerging?
I’ve noticed lots of “New Adult” titles popping up on all the online bestseller lists. I’ve been enjoying them myself. 🙂
Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I’d love for people to find out more about my Sullivan series on my web site and to connect with me on twitter and Facebook.
Bella is on lockdown for her current book, and yet she has agreed to stop by and answer any questions you might have. (You see what I mean about her being awesome?!) So go ahead – who knows when you’ll get another chance! What would you like to know? *And again, thank you for everyone who helped come up with questions!
I have not read any of your book and I would love to whats the best one to start with?
Sounds like a great series. Will have to add it to my TBR pile.
Do you plan differently when writing a series vs a stand alone book?
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Thanks for sharing.
jbcweiss AT sbcglobal DOT net
Wonderful interview. I’ve seen a lot of authors that were traditionally published previously slip over into self-publishing and have great success. I’ve read several of your books and enjoyed them, and I wish you much success in the future! No questions, the interview was really great and thorough!
What a great interview! Thanks for the advice on self-publishing. I first discovered Bella Andre from her Hotshot firefighter series, which is still my favorite of her writing, but I am enjoying the Sullivan series. My only question for Bella is if she plans on writing more Hotshot books. Great interview as always, Limecello!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Limecello!
Kelly – I’d like the best book to start with would be THE LOOK OF LOVE, the first book in my Sullivan family series. There are 7 Sullivan books out already with the 8th coming this spring.
JoAnne – I hope you enjoy my Sullivans! Honestly, I don’t do anything that different when writing a connected series of books vs. a stand-alone. The biggest thing are the big group scenes – the family parties and lunches, which I LOVE to write. So much fun to get all the SUllivans together in one room with all their distinct personalities. 🙂 I love to write & read contemp romance. Some of my faves are Jenny Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Liz – Thanks so much! I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed my books. 🙂
Colleen – I’m glad you discovered me via my Hotshots. I do love my firefighter heroes! Never say never on more hotshots. Right now the Sullivans are holding my focus and I have a super-secret new series that I’ve been hinting at in the latest Sullivan books that I’m excited to start writing.
Thanks Bella Andre for the response. I love contemporary romances too and have read books by both Crusie and Phillips. I was a Fools’ Gold Cheerleader for Susan Mallery and even named a character who was given my last name – Annabelle Weiss, who is the librarian and even had her own book. I’m also a Lisa’s Diva for Lisa Kleypas. I love facebooking with favorite authors and receiving their newsletters to see what they’re up to so I know what I have to look forward to. I couldn’t become your friend on fb since it said you reached your limit but I do receive your newsletter.
JoAnne – I actually have a different page on Facebook where you can become a fan. 🙂 http://www.facebook.com/bellaandrefans. I look forward to chatting with you more on line.
Thanks for the heads up. Just signed up.
Enjoy your weekend.
Nice interview and advice. Who would you cast if your books were made into a movie?
Oooh, good question about who I’d cast. Hugh Jackman should definitely be one my heroes – how about Chase from THE LOOK OF LOVE. And I love Mandy Moore. She’d be a great Chloe.
A fabulous interview thank you.
It is an exciting time with authors self-publishing. What would you say is the biggest pitfall?
Thanks, Mary! It is an exciting time to be an author. Honestly, I’m not seeing any pitfalls. Any permutation of things is open now – indie, traditional, hybrid. The sky’s the limit!
I think it’s a great time to be a reader with so many stories to choose from. What is your favorite way to market a book?
It’s all about my awesome fans! I love my readers – they’re the absolute best. They’re so excited about my books – especially my Sullivans – that as soon as I let them know the books are out they go spread the word! 🙂 Bella
Bella IS a rock star! Been reading her since her traditionally published days 😉 Hee!
Hi Fedora! So nice to see you here. And thanks for being so fabulous. I love that you’ve been reading my books for 10 years now…. 🙂 Bella
I wanted to know – do you have any other [new] series in the works? And for your covers, how much involvement do you have there? Do you have a general idea, or just let the cover artist come up with whatever s/he decides from the information sheet? Do you go through numerous versions usually?
Just wondering because even though we all know to, we still are often guilty of judging a book by its cover. :X
Thank you so much for guesting with us!
Thanks again for having me, Limecello! I’m currently obsessed with my Sullivans 🙂 but, yes, I *do* have a couple of new series that I’d like to work on if I can fit them in. One will star some really alpha heroes, and the other…well, let’s see what I can fit in this year!
I create all of my covers for the ebooks. Harlequin is creating all of the paperback covers and I have a great deal of involvement with those. They’ve been great to work with.
For the ebook covers that I create myself I probably make at least 15-30 different versions before I land on the one that really works.
Whose story of the Sullivan cousins are you writing first?
Hi Evelyn! I will be writing Rafe’s story and it will be out early this summer! I can’t wait for everyone to find out all about my super hot Sullivan P.I….. 🙂 Bella