Thursday, December 1, 2011

5 Lessons Learned During a Year of Self-Publishing

          Today's Gust post is by Bella Andre, self published author of 

1. It’s thrilling to be able to give readers the books they want. After Take Me was published by Pocket Books, I received e-mails from readers asking for the sequel for five years. Love Me was my first (non-backlist) self-published e-book. I took the time to write a note to every single person who had contacted me over the years asking for that sequel to let them know the book was finally available – and the notes back from my fans were incredibly sweet and heartwarming. It was thrilling to watch Love Me be so well received by my readers. Another example is my current series about the Sullivan family: I wanted to write about a close-knit family of eight siblings who, one by one, find their true love, but it would have been very difficult to sell that series to a publisher without a "bigger" hook. I couldn’t be happier to watch my first two Sullivan books -- The Look of Love and From This Moment On burn up the best-seller lists! Both books have spent nearly two months in the Barnes & Noble Top 100, the Apple Top 100 Romance list, and the Amazon Top 100 Romance list. They have both been on the Apple best-seller list in the U.K. and Australia, as well. I will be releasing the 3rd Sullivan book – CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE – soon.

2. Readers rule! My fans have been incredibly supportive about my adventures in self-publishing. I adore them. When we're chatting on Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail, I've noticed that they don't seem to care whether my books are N.Y. published or self-published.

3. Self-publishing is a heck of a lot of work. Every time I put out a new book I'm convinced it's going to be easier and more streamlined, but somehow it's always a huge job, especially as more and more e-retailers around the world come online (yay!). I spend months plotting and writing and rewriting the book, then send the book out to several beta readers. After even more rewrites, I hire several additional editors and proofreaders for each self-published book. But the work isn't done yet! I've still got to make the cover, write a catchy book description, coordinate distribution, and let my fans know the book is out. Phew! No wonder I sleep a whole lot less now than I did last year...

4. A new (fun) surprise waits around every corner. Several times a week I have an “a ha” moment about the book I’m working on, or a title, or a book description, or a cover, etc. Plus, on any given day, there might be queries from a foreign publisher interested in licensing the rights to my self-published books in their language or someone telling me they'd like to put together a story or blog about my e-book success. In fact, I've been just invited to Copenhagen to speak at the Scandinavian Publishing Executives conference in November about the rise of e-books and the future of digital publishing. You can probably tell that I’m having an absolute blast with my writing and my career!

5. Enjoy the grand experiment! At the end of the day, the real bonus of self-publishing is the ability for both authors and readers to try new things. So if you have a new idea or platform – if you want to try something completely different from what you’re doing now – I say go for it! Even if you think no one will be interested, the truth is that until you put your book out there, you'll never know.


  1. ThiS hub is so perfect! thanks for shring this to us, I learned a lot, and will then share a lot on my friends...

  2. Thanks for the feedback. I hope you find something fun to read :)

  3. Congrats to Bella Andre and I'm sure she'll enjoy her well-deserved trip to Scandinavia to talk about publishing in the digital age! These people couldn't get anyone better than her to tell them all about it...

    And I totally agree that self-publishing has some wonderful returns in exchange of...a lot of hard work! In this regard, I would just sound a note of warning to anyone thinking of self-publishing: yes, of course one ought to try it but one should also be prepared to do a lot of book promotion and connecting with readers on as many digital platforms as possible (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc)...

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience. Where does one find those beta readers?


  5. Kelly - I'm glad you found my post helpful!

    Nadine - Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog. :)

    Claude - Thanks very much! I had a great trip to Denmark. Yes, self-publishing is definitely a lot of work, but it's worth it!

    Anon - The best thing to do is find people who love reading books in your genre and then ask them if they'd be interested in reading early copies of your books and giving you feedback. I'm very lucky that my beta readers are bestselling authors that I respect and admire immensely.

    :) Bella Andre