Bella Andre, author of the popular Sullivans series of novels, talks about her approach to writing and her plans for the future.
Imagine you’re been put in charge of one of the big publishing companies. You have total control. What’s the first thing you’d change on your first day?
You don’t start out with the easy questions, do you? Honestly, I don’t spend much of my time thinking about publishing houses J but I’ve really enjoyed working with each of my editors over the years. So, I suppose I’d try to figure out how to give the editors more power to support the authors they want to take a chance on.
I know you studied economics, and you recorded and performed as a singer-songwriter, but did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve always been a storyteller. I used to tell stories in 3 minutes with my voice, guitar and/or piano. Now, I get to spend months crafting love stories. But it wasn’t until ten years ago that I first started thinking about writing novels. Before that I was a ravenous reader – devouring a book a day. I still am a huge reader, especially now that it’s so easy to buy ebooks at the press of a button.
Are there any authors who inspire your own work?
I love funny, sexy contemporary romances where my character’s quirks and personal histories are what keep them apart (rather than a villain). Eventually, of course, their differences are what makes them perfect for each other!
Like many authors, I’ve been inspired by the brilliance of Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Would you agree that it’s important for self-published authors to have a strong back-list of titles?
It’s true that the more titles you have out, the easier it is for readers to find you. But you have to start somewhere, and when I decided to launch my 8 book Sullivan family contemporary romance series via self-publishing in 2011, I started plugging away, one book at a time. I’m just releasing the 5th book in the series this May (If You Were Mine).
You had novels published by Simon & Schuster and Random House before you started self-publishing. Do you think you could ever be tempted back to a deal with one of the big publishers?
Publishing is and will continue to be a changing landscape, and my focus has always been getting my readers great love stories – whatever way I can! For right now, at least in the US, I’m able to reach readers faster, on my own. However, my first five Sullivan books will be released in Brazil soon through a major publisher, in both ebook and print. I’m thrilled to work with anyone who is excited about books and sees the global potential in them.
Your novels about the Sullivan family have been a big hit, and it seems like this kind of series might have been a hard sell with a traditional publisher. Do you think this kind of serial fiction works well in the ebook market?
I’m an avid romance reader, and as a reader, I know that once I get excited about a series, I’m insatiable and can’t wait for the next instalment. Indie publishing definitely lets you feed a reader’s hunger for more of what they love – and it also allows me to feed my creativity as a writer in following my gut in telling the kind of interconnected stories I’ve always loved best.
How involved are you with things like the covers and book descriptions for your novels? Do you enjoy that side of being a self-published writer?
I’m 100% involved – I design my own covers and write my own back cover copy. I spend hours poring through the perfect images for my covers and am very deliberate about designing a branded look for my series and books.
What’s your typical writing day like? Do you force yourself to write a certain number of books?
I love reading so much it’s more that I have to force myself NOT to read so I can get work done! I read every day, but wish I had more time because there’s always something I want to read.
I write two to five thousand words a day. It sometimes seems like a lot, but I write from the heart of the characters, and once I’m in their frame of mind, the words just flow.
Finally, what do you have coming up over the rest of 2012?
On May 24th, I’m releasing book five in the Sullivans Series – If You Were Mine. The sixth Sullivan book will also be out in the fall and the seventh will be released in time for Christmas.
I’ll also be giving a keynote at the Book Expo America conference in the beginning of June, speaking about my experiences with selling 700,000 self-published ebooks around the world.
Bella Andre’s books, including If You Were Mine (The Sullivans Book 5) are available from retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. You can also visit her website and follow her on Twitter.