Friday, May 25, 2012

An Interview With Self-Publishing Sensation Bella Andre

It's a real treat to welcome my friend Bella Andre to the blog! Bella was one of the first romance authors to take the plunge into self-publishing in 2010 and has been a runaway success ever since. Not only is she generous with her time and advice, she also writes great contemporaries. If you haven't read her Sullivan Family Series, you are missing out on some very fun books! Here are some thoughts from Bella about self-publishing and what we can expect from her in the near future!

Marie: Congratulations on all your self-pub success! Could you tell us a bit about your publishing journey and how you ended up pursuing self-publishing?

Bella: My writing journey started with songs, actually. I was a performing singer-songwriter for ten years before I even thought about writing fiction. Of course, I've always been a ravenous romance reader - devouring a book a day when I can.

One day, two characters started to have a conversation inside my head! Instead of checking in to the nearest psych ward :-) I wrote it down. A couple of years later I sold my first novel. After writing for four major publishers, in 2010 I found myself with more stories to tell and the self-publishing revolution just beginning. I took a leap of faith and wrote the sequel to my most popular novel at the time, TAKE ME, which is about a full-figured heroine and the man she's loved forever. LOVE ME (the brother and sister's story) came out July 2010 and when readers kept writing to thank me for writing the love story they'd been waiting for, I wrote my next original self-published novel, GAME FOR LOVE, the 3rd book in my Bad Boys of Football series. I released it Christmas 2010 and that was when everything went nuts! The awesome kind of nuts. :-) Since then, I have written and released 5 books in my Sullivan family contemporary romance series. The latest, IF YOU WERE MINE, just came out this week!

Thanks to self-publishing, when my fans ask for more books—and for them to come out quickly—I am able to give them exactly what they want!

Marie: You haven't been shy about saying that 2011 was a banner year for you. What you think the secrets to your success might've been?

Bella: Yes, 2011 and the first half of 2012 have been phenomenal! I'm thrilled to have sold 700,000 self-published ebooks so far, the majority at an average price of $4.99 per book.

Marie: You are, without a doubt, one of the hardest-working authors I know. You even do your own *gorgeous* covers. Talk about what you like best about doing it all yourself and what parts of the publishing process you are happy to offload to others.

Bella: Thank you for the compliment on my covers. I really love being able to put out a final product that is exactly what I envision for my story, and I am very involved with every step of the publishing process. Even though I work with some fantastic contractors who help me with things like creating the digital files for each retailer, I first mastered how the process works on my own first.
Of course, I have always hired copyeditors and proofreaders for my books to ensure they are as polished as possible.

Marie: Your self-published Sullivan family series has been very well received and garnered terrific reviews. I'm a huge fan, as you know! What's on tap after all the Sullivans get their happily ever after?

Bella: Thank you so much! And thank you, too, for always being one of my first readers for each book. Your insight as a fellow contemporary romance writer is invaluable.

I love my Sullivans and hope to continue writing their stories even after all eight of the original Sullivan siblings have their happily-ever-after's. There are many more Sullivan cousins in Seattle and New York, fortunately. :-) And of course, I'd very much like to go back in time to tell the mother's love story with their father at some point.

In addition, I do have another series waiting in the wings about a series of sexy (of course!), connected heroes.

Marie: Ohhh, I love the idea of Mama Sullivan's love story and maybe a second change story for her too? I digress... Of course the no. 1 question posed to successful self-published authors is what it would take for you to sign a traditional contract at this point in your career. Do you have any interest in being traditionally published again? If so, what would it take to lure you in?

Bella: My motto is never-say-never! I try to stay positive no matter what comes and always be open to new and exciting developments.

I'm thrilled that my Sullivans will be debuting in other countries! The first five books in the series will be released in Brazil soon! I have also sold my self-published books to Italy, Turkey and Japan.

Marie: Congrats on the foreign sales. That's awesome! If you had one piece of advice for authors considering the self-published path, what would it be? Feel free to add second and third pieces of advice--LOL!

Bella: Go for it! Take the time and effort to right the best book possible, but don't get too caught up in the technical details. Concentrate on your story and connecting with your readers. Many of the big retailers now have very friendly self-publishing platforms.

Marie: What do you see as the "next big thing" in books, e-books, digital publishing, etc.?
Bella: The next big thing? Why, that will be Zach Sullivan's book, IF YOU WERE MINE, won't it? :-)

Marie: But of course! Here's some more about Zach Sullivan's story:

Can two people who have both sworn off love find forever in each other's arms? Find out in IF YOU WERE MINE, the fifth book in Bella Andre's bestselling Sullivan family contemporary romance series.

The last thing Zach Sullivan wants is to take care of his brother's new puppy for two weeks. Until he meets the dog trainer, that is. Heather is bright, beautiful, and he can't stop thinking about her. Unfortunately, she just might be the only woman on earth who wants nothing to do with him.

Heather Linsey can't believe she's stuck working with one of the city's top dogs, auto-shop tycoon Zach Sullivan. Especially when his focus is clear from the start—not only to learn how to deal with his temporary puppy...but also to make her his. Having sworn off love at seventeen when she realized it was nothing more than a pack of lies, Heather has stuck to her vow never to fall for a charming man.

Get it here:

Thanks so much to Bella for spending some time with us today! Here's wishing her many sales of IF YOU WERE MINE!