The Power of "No" by Bella Andre
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.
Bella is available for remarks or questions on anything from the writing process to self-publishing in the Comments section below. Take advantage!