The Power of "No" by Bella Andre

Posted by Bella Andre
Richard "RB" Botto Richard "RB" Botto

And now for something completely different.

We have a plethora of accomplished novelists in the Stage 32 community.  Many have foregone the traditional (if there is such a thing anymore) route and self-published their work.  Quite a few are looking to adapt their material for the silver screen.  Recently, there have been quite a few Lounge discussions regarding both topics.  I thought it might be a good idea to bring in one of the most successful self-published authors out there.  One with a series tailor made for film or television.

Meet Bella Andre.

Bella  is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of The Sullivans series.

Having sold more than 2.5 million books, Bella's novels have appeared on Top 5 lists at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. After signing a groundbreaking 7-figure print-only deal with Harlequin MIRA, Bella's Sullivan series is being released in paperback in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia through 2013 and 2014.

Known for "sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance" (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine "Red Hot Reads" twice, have been translated into nine languages, and her Sullivans are already Top 20 bestsellers in Brazil. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her "One of the top digital writers in America" and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and most recently in TIME Magazine. She has given keynote speeches at publishing conferences from Copenhagen to Berlin to San Francisco, including a standing-room-only keynote at Book Expo America.

If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks. 

I can't thank Bella enough for taking the time to spread some inspiration to the Stage 32 community.



In publishing, you hear the word NO a lot. From your own critique partners and beta readers --"NO, this scene doesn't work." From agents -- "NO, this isn't right for me to represent." From editors and publishers -- "NO, we don't have room in our line for this." 

Sometimes, NO is a good thing. For example, when your scene could use a little more work or when you're career is heading down the wrong path that isn't right for you anyway. But sometimes, NO has nothing to do with your book and your talent. Sometimes, NO has nothing to do with the quality of your work or your dream.

That's where I was in early 2010. My publisher at the time had said NO to publishing more of my sexy, contemporary romances. But I knew that my stories were good, and I knew my readers wanted them. I also knew I wanted to write a series with a simple hook -- the characters all came from one big family, The Sullivans in San Francisco. 

So even though traditional publishing was telling me NO - my readers, my instincts, and my family and friends were telling me to go for it. So I did. And it changed my life in the best possible ways.

Still, while the decision to self-publish was easy, there were still a lot of other opportunities for NO.

NO, I didn't know how to create my own covers, at first.

And NO, I didn't know how to program the back end code to create digital book files.

And NO, I didn't have experience marketing my books to retailers.

BUT...I always knew I could learn to do all of those things if I just worked hard enough with focus and determination. It took a lot of working overtime (actually, I'm still working 10-12 hour days, 7 days a week) before I self-published THE LOOK OF LOVE, the first book in my bestselling Sullivans series, which has gone on to sell well over a million copies so far. The eleventh book is the series, IT MUST BE YOUR LOVE, is scheduled for release on this week and even though it hasn't yet come out in the US, it immediately debuted today as the #1 book in Australia.

The funny thing about, "No" is that if you just keep working on what you love, eventually it transforms into YES. As in YES, I'd love to give a keynote at Book Expo America. And, YES, I'd love to do the first-ever, groundbreaking print-only deal for my Sullivan series with Harlequin MIRA. And, YES, I'd love to figure out a daily basis how to juggle writing with travel and speaking and marketing commitments. And, YES, I have the best readers in the world who go out of their way to spread their love of my Sullivans to every reader they know.

The awesome thing is that I know there are still more YES's to come. I have a new sexy and emotional series to debut alongside my ongoing Sullivan books in 2014, and I hope for even bigger things to come, like a big Sullivans film/TV deal (Joel Gotler at IPG is my book-to-film agent).

The road from NO to YES might be a rocky one, but it's rewarding, and the best part is it only takes one person - YOU - to take the first step.


For more on Bella, please visit: 

Bella is available for remarks or questions on anything from the writing process to self-publishing in the Comments section below.  Take advantage!

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