It’s that time of year when I start to turn to holiday themed romance novels to help put me in a cheerful holiday spirit. Today ALBTALBS friend <3Sophie Barnes is joining us to share how her new Christmas novel almost wasn’t and what she did to make sure this story got into the hands of her readers. And I for one am thrilled that Christmas at Thorncliff Manor is out today!
My road to becoming a published romance author began in 2009 when I made my first attempt at writing a novel. Once finished, I submitted it to every publisher I could find and received more than fifty rejection letters in return. It wasn’t easy being told my story wasn’t good enough, but being the determined sort, I wasn’t about to give up either. So I put that story aside – re-reading it now I’m glad it never saw the light of day – and went to work on a new one, the one that would turn me into an established author.Continue reading →
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, andyet 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!