Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guest Post from Bella Andre (aka Lucy Kevin) (aka Bella Riley)

Bella is yet another one of those self-pub success stories (there seem to be so many.) She's got an unique perspective, and I'm pleased to have her guest blog. Here she is:

Joe got in touch with me a while back and asked if I’d like to comment on how my experiences in independent e-publishing have differed from my experiences with New York publishing. I’m pretty sure the Neely Tucker article in the Washington Post covered a lot of that but I’m always happy to answer additional questions. (So ask away!)

In the past year, I’ve released 12 self-published books in the past eighteen months in two genres under two different names--Bella Andre and Lucy Kevin. My latest release, FROM THIS MOMENT ON, hit the Apple and BN Top 30 bestseller lists immediately, and is currently #27 on the Kindle Contemporary Romance list.

Self-publishing has been a thrilling, amazing, very busy whirlwind--and I'd like to talk about a strategy that I believe could benefit other independently published writers: Diversification across genres and author brands.

In April 2010, I began e-publishing with two sexy, contemporary, backlist Bella Andre romances. After having a bit of unexpected success in those early months, I knew my chance had come to finally write the book my readers had been sending me emails about for five years. When LOVE ME did better than I ever imagined--Joe and I spoke on the phone last summer and I remember telling him I was shocked to have sold 1000+ copies of that book. He cheered!--I realized there was something to this whole e-reading business.

Of course I quickly went out and bought a Kindle and then a Nook later that fall and most recently an iPad. I released a couple more backlist books in October 2010 and then an original sequel to my Bad Boys of Football series that had been released through Pocket a few years back.

Amazingly, GAME FOR LOVE went to #28 at BN.com and was one of the top 5 erotic novels on Amazon for months at $5.99. This June 20th I launched a 8 book contemporary romance series about the Sullivan family with THE LOOK OF LOVE. It hit #19 on BN.com right out of the gate and has been a consistent Top 30 romance bestseller at Apple. Frankly, the whole thing continues to blow my mind.

Meanwhile, my husband had been watching my e-numbers rise for these self-published Bella Andre books and he kept saying, “Put out those fun chick lit books you wrote that no publisher ever bought!” Because I’d written them several years earlier, they needed significant rewrites, but I had always believed in the novels...and I like my husband to feel like I listen to him now and again. :) But since those books were very sweet (and snarky all at the same time), I knew they couldn’t be published as Bella Andre books.

Lucy Kevin came into being on a cold January morning in the Northern California wine country. Honestly, I figured 6 people would buy her books. To say that I was shocked when more than 25,000 people had downloaded SEATTLE GIRL and FALLING FAST by the end of February is a huge understatement. I released a third Lucy Kevin book in March titled SPARKS FLY.

The thing people are surprised to hear is that I didn’t draw from my existing Bella Andre readership for the Lucy Kevin books. In fact, until the Washington Post article came out, no one knew that Lucy and Bella were the same person, because I wasn’t sure the readerships would overlap between my teen-friendly books and my super-sexy romances. With the Lucy books I got to experience launching a new digital author--and building that readership--entirely from the ground up. It's been a lot of work, but I've loved trying to figure out what made people want to take a chance on a book. Heck, I’m still trying to figure that out :) and then find enough hours in the day to actually make it all happen!

Amazingly, here’s what happened--in some cases retailers were more excited to feature Lucy Kevin because the chick lit/sweet romance novels could reach a bigger mainstream audience. It simply didn’t seem to matter that no one had heard of Lucy Kevin. The fun, flirty covers (Oh, hello new graphic design skills I never thought I'd need!) seemed to draw people to the books and I’m guessing the $.99 to $2.99 price points helped, as well. Once I’d developed relationships with retailers via my Lucy books (I’m a “PubIt! Pro” for Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing wing), my recent launch of the more mainstream Bella Andre THE LOOK OF LOVE became even bigger and better.

I took things another step further in April when I decided to incorporate multimedia in my latest Lucy Kevin young-adult romance, GABRIELLE. In my previous career I was a singer-songwriter, so I wrote five original songs (rather, my songwriting heroine, Gabrielle, wrote them during the course of the story) and linked to them via Youtube and iTunes as an ebook package to create not only added value and excitement for my readers, but also another potential revenue stream.

Here’s what I’ve learned from it all so far: I really like not having to depend on one author name to maintain--and build--sales. Having two brands means I can build sales with new books while offsetting risks. We all know that diversifying our financial portfolios is a good money strategy. I’ve found that diversifying my e-book portfolio has not only been a good financial strategy, but as importantly, it had been a really lovely creative strategy, too.

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.

Joe sez: There's a lot to like about this story. I'm a huge believer in luck, so it's great to see that Bella got lucky with two different names. A lot of her sales are on Barnes & Noble, which shows that it is possible to make a lot of money someplace other than Amazon. She's so self-effacing, and so enthusiastic, that you can't help but be happy for her success.

What does all of this mean for other authors?

Write. Then write some more. You can even try a different, and invent a new name (Jack Kilborn and Joe Kimball, anyone?) But the key is to keep putting quality work out there.

Bella has put out 12 ebooks in 18 months. Before you get depressed about your sales, reread that number.

Then write. And write some more.

87 comments:

Ima Shrew said...

I love this article! I bought Sparks Fly probably a week or so ago and loved it. :)

John Poetzel said...

When crossing over genres that don't really mix well, sci fi/fantasy/erotica, should you keep pseudonyms a secret? How long was it before all the JK's were known to be Joe? Thanks!

Joe Konrath said...

I've always been open about my pen names. The goal for me was to get larger buy-ins from bookstores, and to reach new fans who might overlook a book by me because the didn't read in the mystery genre.

But those who like the Konrath titles will generally like the Kilborn and the Kimball titles.

T.J. Dotson said...

I love this article way informative. And including links to Youtube and iTunes in the ebook? Brilliant..absolutely brilliant. There are so many cross promotional opportunities there....

Andrew Van Wey said...

12 books in 18 months. That's a stunning amount in such a short time. I'm impressed and envious to say the least.

And here I was feeling all excited about starting out with 2 other horror ebooks on the launch pad in the quarters following my just first self published ebook.

Kate Evangelista said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Evangelista said...

Wow! I love this guest post! I'm currently thinking of my choices and the things that I want to do, and this post is actually helping me take steps toward decisions I didn't consider before.

Joe: In terms of e-publishing, if someone goes with Amazon, does that mean they can't go with BN.com anymore?

Still learning the ropes.

Sincerely,
Kate

David Wisehart said...

Great post, Bella! Love to hear you're finding success with multiple names and subgenres.

I'm writing in several genres (fantasy, science fiction, horror, thriller, mystery), but all under one name. I thought about using a pseudonym, but opted against it. If I ever jump into something a little farther afield like, say, romance, I'd probably get another name for that.

But it's great to hear that you've found luck with both. I bet it's more than luck. :)

Congrats.

Annie Bellet said...

Very cool. Also, great songs. That's a neat idea and a good way to use your talents :)

Thanks for the info, Bella.

jt Harding said...

Great guest post.

Isn't it interesting that most of the successful (ie: Lucky) writers are also good writers?

I agree with you that a writer has to be lucky, but maybe talent, or craft, or whatever you want to call it is one of those lucky things to have.

As well as knowing how to write Bella's also real lucky in knowing how to market, how to write a song (I am so jealous!) and how to come across as an interesting human being.

Jonas Saul said...

I spent 5 months as Daryl Sedore (my real name) and didn't see very good results online with this ebook revolution.

Then I grabbed a pseudonym. I'm Jonas Saul now.

Within one month my sales went to ten times what they were.

In the first 8 days of September I sold more then the whole month of March. My Jonas Saul titles are doing so well now that my wife and I decided to travel Europe while writing the next book. We're in Italy right now and heading to Sweden in October.

I still have six titles as Daryl Sedore. They generate better sales today but the Jonas titles make me a living.

Brenda Sedore, my wife, also went with a pen name when her title wasn't selling too well. She's now Kate Cornwell and her book has become a greyhound chasing the rabbit. Her sales are twenty times what they used to be just two months ago.

I believe in pen-names. They've work for us.

Jonas

bettye griffin said...

Nice to see a romance author featured. Bella's success motivates me. My writing closely related women's fiction or romance does make using a pen name unnecessary for my personal circumstances, but I think it's wonderful that authors are free to write in whatever genres they wish.

Christopher Wills said...

Interesting post. Naive question; if one uses more than one pen name does one lose out in the cross marketing that having books with the same author name in the cover creates?
I have one novel out in my own name (it's gritty social realism)but it hasn't yet taken off... I am just about to launch a second novel in a different genre (ghost YA fantasy) and about four weeks after that a third book (King Arthur YA fantasy). If I use different pen names I might lose out in marketing power.

Jude Hardin said...

Great post, Bella. Congrats on all your success!

Mike Dennis said...

Great success story. But how did she go from absolutely nothing (and a new, "unpublished" author name) to 25,000 books in one month?

It had to be more than "luck". Something pretty big had to occur to place those two titles in front of that many people in that short of a time span.

Stephen T. Harper said...

I have wondered a lot about this. Really interesting guest post. Thanks Joe and Bella.

Question: I'm writing the first in a series with a female detective lead. Joe, I remember you had said that "J.A." was to make it less obvious that a man was writing about a woman for the Jack Daniels books. Ultimately, was that an issue for readers?

My beta readers are mostly women and they absolutely love this character, but they are amazed that she is written by a man (in first person narrative). Of course, I know these readers personally. But what about women at large? Do you get much feedback on that? Non-issue, I hope?

Gretchen Galway said...

Bella-Lucy is benefiting from more than just luck and hard work.

It's good karma!

She's the sweetest, most helpful person. I'm so happy to see her books take off.

As for the meteoric rise of the Lucy Kevin books, I think it was brilliant keywords, large number of titles released together, and those covers. For a singer-songwriter, she's a natural at chick lit graphic design. NY gave up on vector cartoon images when chick lit "died" . . . but there are still customers out there looking for them. Find a niche that NY has abandoned or ignored, and do it well, and the sky's the limit.

Rock on, Bellalucy.

Todd Trumpet said...

I have pretty much the same question as Christopher Wills above:

If, as has been often said on this blog, the idea is to get as many titles Out There as possible, so that when a reader finishes one book, they can immediately download another by the same author, doesn't having multiple pen names dilute the power of that principle?

Just curious,

Todd
"THE TELLING OF MY MARCHING BAND STORY"
www.ToddTrumpet.com

PJ Lincoln said...

My question is along the same lines as Christopher and Todd. My first two titles best fit into Christian fiction, but my current project is very far afield of that genre (thriller/suspense).

I thought about using a second pen name for the new project, but doing so won't help grow my backlist.

Kelley said...

Really inspiring. She's living my dream so it's time for me to get out there in an even bigger way :) I <3 this blog...

Hiroko said...

I thought the use of songwriting was really clever! Very smart.
It just goes to show how a little branching out can go a long way, and Bella's story is inspiring.~

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a self - published author since 06' , Authouse.com gave me the standard hose job.... I'm on Amazom.com, and am selling in U.S Russia, Spain, ect... Amazon has came at me with a "deal" E-books, if I go solo with them they wanna throw me 75% ... sounds good... For my soon to be published 2nd book..... Plus they wanna re-do a second publishing on my first book. So.Fla."ED"(so flawed)..on e-book format,, The 2nd book is finnished... I just want the best for this one, I'm a retired smuggler from the 70's - 90's , never caught... never done a day in inside. and my whole crew is living good lives now.. (Retired 17 years). But Should I shop this new book ? Or just go E all the way ? D.S. Roberts

Bella Andre said...

Ima - So glad you loved Sparks Fly! I actually used to be a Feng Shui consultant...so that's where that idea came from. :)

Bella Andre said...

TJ - I'll take the word brilliant any day! LOL. It was really fun to bring together my music with my books. I'd wanted to do something like that 10 years earlier, but the technology wasn't there yet. Glad you thought my post was informative!
:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Joe - Thanks so much for having me on your fantastic blog. It's one of my first stops every morning. And you should know that while my parents were impressed with the WaPo article, now that they're seeing me on your blog, they're convinced I'm a celebrity! :)

Right dad? (Let's see if he'll come out of the woodwork to say hello. My dad is some pretty awesome stuff in the world of economics and political science, btw...)

Sariah Wilson said...

Too funny - I love the Lucy Kevin books, and even wrote to her to tell her to hurry up and get finished with the next book in the Gabrielle series! Glad to hear she's doing so well, and I'm in awe of her prolificness.

Bella Andre said...

Andrew - Thanks! Every book is fantastic and amazing, and one grows to two and three, etc, before you know it!

Kate - You can go with all the e-retailers! That's the beauty of it. (Unless you sign an exclusive deal with someone for a project.)

David - Thanks! In my case the books really are quite different - the Lucy Kevin books have zero sex and teen-appropriate and the Bella Andre books have lots of sex - so it was pretty clear cut to me that I wouldn't do them all under the Bella Andre name.

Annie - So flattered that you like my songs!

JT - Thanks!

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Jonas - Huge congrats to you and your wife on your success! I really like you story - especially the way you continued working with the various elements of your books (in this case, author name) until something took off.

Bettye - Hi there! Thanks for the sweet comment.

Christopher - It really depends on whether you can cross-promote the titles. In my case I didn't think I could do much, if any, cross-promotion. And having a new author name was a chance to expiriment with absolutely everything! I figured, hey, if no one bought the Lucy Kevin books, it wouldn't matter if I failed because no one would know it was me. It ended up being such a nice surprise when they took off and now have a lovely life of their own.

Jude - Thanks! I'm having great time!

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Mike - Here's what I think happened to make the Lucy Kevin books go from 0 to 25,000 in a month. Initially, I put them up with a photo cover. They were okay. But I knew they could be better. Way better. The thing was, up until then I'd never designed my own covers. I'd hired them out. And I didn't want to spend any money on the Lucy books without knowing if I'd ever make it back. :) So I ended up, in the middle of the night, that first week I put them out in January, trying to figure out how to use GIMP and playing with various ideas.

Many, many days of hair pulling later, I stumbled into the Seattle Girl cover on this blog. Once I had that, I knew what my Lucy Kevin brand was. Fun. Flirty. I redid the FALLING FAST cover with art from the same illustrator. And then the SPARKS FLY and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE covers in successive months.

I'm not kidding when I say that once I put those new covers up, my sales took off immediately. It blew me away!

Hope that helps make a little sense of it!
:) Bella

Robb Skidmore said...

Congrats on your success with the different pen names, Bella. And with your ebook success in general. I'm releasing my own first novel this year.

I am intrigued about inventing different names for different genres, but as a practical matter I wonder about things like Goodreads. Are both names on the same author page? Do you favor promoting your primary name? Seems like a complication.

Bella Andre said...

Stephen - I used to call the Lucy Kevin books my "experiment". Perhaps you could try a ST Harper experiment and see what happens with your books?

Hey Gretchen! Thanks for the lovely comment. I loved chatting in New York with you. :)

Todd - Yes, that's a big part of what works for authors. If all of your books are similar, then definitely keep to one name.

PJ - I think it's really important to figure out if you will gain audience or lose audience with a title that is in a different genre. If it's different enough, then that might make a case for a new pen name. And then you can roll with both. If you think your current readership will *love* your new book, then there's no question it should come out under the same name.

Thanks, Kelley! I'm living my dream, too! :) (My husband's pretty darned thrilled, too.)

Hiroko - Thank you!

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Robb - Thanks for the congrats. I don't believe the two names are linked on Goodreads, although sometimes readers may mention that I'm both people. Honestly, I believe in not borrowing trouble :) so I don't really worry about promoting one name over the other. It seems that there are times when it makes more sense to be Bella Andre and other times when Lucy Kevin is more appropriate. And yes, I've gotten really good at answering to all of the above. LOL (Plus, my real name is Nyree...even my kids get a kick out of all my names!)

Bella Andre said...

Sariah - I'm so glad you've been enjoying my Lucy Kevin books! And thanks again for writing to me to ask about my Gabrielle sequel. :)

Alvin Rabushka said...

Moi? In the woodwork? Dad loves Newbie's postings, reads them first thing every day, too. Proud as can be of an entrepreneurial daughter!

Sandy said...

Thanks for a great post, Bella (and to Joe for this amazing forum).

I'm about to take the plunge into e-pub after nine traditionally published books -- mostly YA "chick lit." What's your view of the current market for YA and adult chick lit in the e-world?

Congrats on your success,
Sandy

Anonymous said...

Bella, thanks for sharing all this. Inspiring!

If you'd care to answer questions here, I have a few of them:

1. when diversifying, do you keep your various identies separate, or do you recommend that authors link them all on their main "real" author page? I've experimented under a few aliases in the old (print) world, and am anxious to release the novels under these pseudonyms. But I'm not quite sure that I should link them to my "real" self, because the images are very different!

2. What do you use to prepare your books for Barnes and Noble? I have software to make Amazon Kindle books, and then for everything else I've used Smashwords. That includes B&N/PubIt!. (If I recall, it's just a .DOC file, quite simple.)

Tara Maya said...

Bella,

Are you saying the cover really made that much difference by itself?

It seems that every time I hear about an author who had explosive success from nowhere, it turns out that there was a huge underground social media campaign actually going on.

Tara Maya
Faerie Tale (The Unfinished Song)

jimmy said...

Bravo, bravo, Bella!

For us studio heads, care to give some tech info on how/what you used to record the tracks. They're awesome!

Also, how are they bundled with the Kindle books? I didn't know you could include songs with a Kindle book. It's very cool that you're on iTunes. You're also selling your book on Apple, which not enough people on this board seem to know or talk about...

Marie Force said...

There's a lot of talk about "luck" in the comments, and sure it's some of that, but Nyree/Bella/Lucy works her ass off, shares willingly of her hard-earned knowledge with other authors and deserves every ounce of success that has come her way. I'm so proud of her as a friend and a colleague. You GO GIRL(S)!

Tara Maya said...

Marie, that was my impression also! I can't even imagine how much work she must have done to simultaneously promote two pen names.

Tara Maya
Faerie Tale (The Unfinished Song)

Anonymous said...

Whoa. How interesting is this! Thanks for featuring a writer from a different genre this time around. I hope the blog will continue to be a big tent for everyone who wants to write, in any genre.
Two questions- Is it that simple? Can a writer really present himself as any age or gender or name? I ask in part because I am writing the kind of book more associated with men's work, and would prefer to present it with a man's name as author. Can this be done without a lot of hoo-hah?
Question two-while writing for a large metro press, a male reader disagreed with something I said, and spent several days going through the county plat book ( he told me proudly) to find my home. He then appeared unannounced and removed a screen from a kitchen window. I found him sitting in my kitchen when I got out of the shower with a towel wrapped around my waist. I was very lucky he was only strange, not dangerous, but I live in an isolated area and I stopped writing for some years after that.
My present work involves adult sex now and again, nothing unusual, but I still would strongly prefer not to be solicited by the loonie group again.
Anyone remember what happened to Erica Jong? Besieged by demented males. No thanks. To what extent can any author keep his name and address private anymore these days? Any suggestions from thosde epublishing under another name ( and address)?

Ima Shrew said...

"He then appeared unannounced and removed a screen from a kitchen window. I found him sitting in my kitchen when I got out of the shower with a towel wrapped around my waist."

This scared the hell out of me.

Bella Andre said...

Hey Alvin (aka "dad")! Nice to see you join me here on our favorite blog. :) Just so you guys know, my father is a pioneer in the field of taxation. You might have heard of a little something called the Flat Tax. That's my dad's. Funny story - your dad is your dad when you're growing up, you know? Well, one day someone came to me with a copy of Money Magazine and said, "Did you know your dad is in here as one of the top 10 most important people in money in the past 25 years?" Let me just say that seeing him in there next to the guy who invented the ATM machine was a really neat experience. Go dad! And thanks for always being behind your little girl, whatever crazy thing I decide to do next!

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Sandy,

You probably won't be surprised to hear me say that I think the YA/chick-lit ebook market is fantastic! I've seen lots of successes in that genre in the past year.

:) bella

Bella Andre said...

Anon - Again, whether your books under different names all fit nicely together is the deciding factor on whether you want to link them all together on one page. I don't do that...although I have hired Barry and Joe's awesome ebook store developer to put one on my Bella Andre page and my Lucy Kevin books will be there, too, just to make things easier for everyone. :) And I use PubIt! to submit to BN, although I know lots of people are thrilled with using Smashwords. And I adore Mark Coker! Fantastic guy, really smart, works like the dickens....

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Tara - I'm grinning at the secret underground social media comment because while I planned to set twitter and fb up for Lucy Kevin at the beginning, once I changed those covers it all took off so fast that I barely had time to keep up with releasing the follow up books, let alone starting any social networking accounts. In the end, the reason I created those accounts for Lucy Kevin was because BN.com asked me to do a facebook chat as Lucy to talk about social networking (which they knew I did as Bella Andre). So, I got on the twitter/fb bus as Lucy, 5 or so months after I released the books. :)

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Jimmy - Wow, way to make a girl's day by calling her recordings "awesome"! In my previous life I recorded four albums in a fancy San Francisco studio, so I had a pretty good idea how to set up my own home studio with my little Mackie recorder and piano and keyboard and guitar and drum machine. :) I'm really pleased with the way the recordings came out.

And yes, I do sell books on Apple in their iBookstore! Lots of them, fortunately! LOL

I'm a big fan of all the e-retailers. They've all been a complete pleasure to work with and so incredibly supportive of what I'm doing as a self-publisher, both as Bella Andre and Lucy Kevin.

:) Bella

Ima Shrew said...

Bella, that's sweet that your dad came on.
:)
I just listened to your songs. Loved them! You kind of remind me of Adele. I listen to her when I write. Now I'll be listening to you as well.
And just so you know, I was on a plane cross country when I pulled out my Kindle and started to read Sparks Fly. I was laughing and the lady next to me asked me what my Kindle was. I showed it to her and she ended up reading your book before I did. *L*
She said as soon as she got home she was buying a Kindle and ordering your books.

Bella Andre said...

Marie - You're awesome. Thanks for the very sweet comment. I'm beyond proud of you, too!

Tara - A lot of work. :) My husband is amazing and has pretty much taken over all the kid stuff and laundry and cooking and baths. I couldn't do it without his support.

Anon 2:01 - That is a freaky story. Yikes! But that's the beauty of the pseudonym.

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Ima - Okay, you win for greatest story ever! Thanks for passing on my Lucy Kevin book on your kindle. Talk about hand-selling. Glad to know it still happens even in an age of ebooks. :)

And, seriously, Adele? Well then...that's quite a comparison. I think I'm going to go tell my husband you just said that. On a blog. That lots of people read. Although, I have a feeling that's all the encouragement he's going to need to want to get me back out on the road playing shows again....you know, in my spare time. (hahahaha)

:) Bella

Ima Shrew said...

Bella,
I love Adele and you do remind me of her. And I'm sure you have lots of spare time on your hands! Like...20 minutes in a year maybe? *L*
I had a lot of fun on that plane ride. The lady next to me was killing me though! She would read a paragraph out loud as she was laughing...all throughout the trip.
You have really inspired me to get off my butt. I just called Steve Jackson at Telemachus and left him a message. I need to get this book edited and out there.

What's your husbands blog? I want to see this! *lol*

Sarah said...

Congratulations so much, Bella--that is absolutely awesome. :)

Quick question for you! How did you drive traffic to the books? Did you just put them out there and let them be, or do your various pen names have Twitter accounts and active social media presences?

Michael E. Walston said...

Dan Simmons has written a lot of different things under his own name.

On the other habd it might be fun to have an alter ego...

Cyn Bagley said...

Bella, Great article. It gave me a boost a and smile. I don't know which one is better. ;-) Cyn

Vivi Anna said...

Yeah Bella! I had the pleasure of meeting her at RT in April. She's lovely and I couldn't be happier for her awesome success!!

Go girl!

Annie Bellet said...

Bella- I can't stop listening to those songs. Are they available anywhere other than iTunes for download? I don't use iTunes... :(

I have things under pen names and my stuff that sells best isn't the stuff under the name that has the most stories up or that has traditional publishing credits. I don't know why the other stuff sells so well, I guess people just find it and like it and buy it. Oh well, I'm not complaining. I just wish all my work did as well. :)

Selena Kitt said...

So glad you recovered after the BN rankings fiasco, Bella! That was just heartbreaking! I didn't know you were Lucy Kevin either - that's what I get for not reading more closely! LOL

Congrats again on your well-deserved success :)

Liz said...

Great post and just pure genius on the cross over promo! Love the book cover too.

Kate Evangelista said...

Thank you so much for answering my question, Bella! I hope I can email you sometime to ask a few more questions. I don't want to get into something that I have no proper idea of what I'm doing. I want to do it the right way. *insert extreme enthusiasm here* :-)

Bella Andre said...

Sarah - Thanks for the congrats! For the Lucy Kevin books, I haven't done much to drive traffic to the books. My sense is that the covers draw potential readers in and then the sample chapter does the rest. :) For Bella Andre, I do various bits of online advertising here and there, but I'm blessed with really loyal fans who I adore and lots of fellow writers who are happy to get the word out about a new release.

Michael - It's definitely fun to have an alter ego!

Thanks, Cyn! Now I'm smiling, too. :)

Hey Vivi! So nice to have met you in LA in April. And congrats to you to on the wonderful success of your books.

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Annie - Wow, I'm so thrilled you like my songs! Thanks for asking for some places you can buy them. Here are a few choices:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/gabriellelegrandeandlucy

http://www.amazon.com/Gabrielle/dp/B004TLLQUE

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gabrielle-ep/id427761572

Bella Andre said...

Hey there, Selena! Thanks for the kind words. :) I'm thrilled about your success, too.

Thanks, Liz! Great cover, btw. :)

Alan Cramer said...

The website http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2011/09/12/amazons-netflix-style-ebook-sub-plan-just-validated-24-symbols-flatleaf/
claims that Amazon.com Inc. is talking with book publishers about launching a Netflix Inc.-like service for digital books, in which customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content, according to people familiar with the matter.

How do you think this will effect independent authors

Claude Nougat said...

What a great, uplifting story! Congrats Bella, and thanks Joe, as always, for bringing us such interesting news and good advice...Which boils down (rightly so) to write, write, write!

So I'm going to stop commenting and run back to my WIP! I've got so far one book up in 3 months, another one due this month...but I'm far, far away from 12 books in 18 months or is it 18 in 12?? Lol!

Nancy Beck said...

I ask in part because I am writing the kind of book more associated with men's work, and would prefer to present it with a man's name as author.

@Anonymous - The Baroness Dudevant wrote under a male pseudonym, George Sand (Mauprat, The Devil's Pool); Mary Anne Evans wrote under the name George Eliot (Middlemarch). And plenty of writers just use initials, whether it's their real name or not: J. K. Rowling, J. A. Konrath (imagine that!), etc.

After hearing about that "surprise guest," I think I'd use a pseudonym, too. How scary!

Jon Olson said...

Inspiring tale. Wish we could all be so prolific!

Jon Olson
The Petoskey Stone

seattle boy said...

Hey Bella, this is great stuff. Like many here, I do have a question if you'd be so kind: I've seen your music on YouTube, and iTunes ... now also CDBaby! But do you actually also include the tracks in the Kindle and PubIt editions of the books? I didn't know that it was possible to "include" other files along with a book download.

Ian Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian Martin said...

It's a clever idea to incorporate multimedia in your book. I've also come up with a 'brilliant' concept that is kind of related. It's called a Minds-I-Book and it allows readers to illustrate my Henry Fuckit story and thereby participate in the creative process. I've put it up on my Website and I expect it to take off any day now. I can see that Only three things separate me from fame and fortune: luck, marketing skills, and a sweet, outgoing personality.

Riley said...

Hi Bella!

So with all this insane amount of book releases, do you work a full-time job outside of writing? Do you have a trick to producing so many words? :) I feel like I use most of my free time, but I always end up short of my goals. I'm not sure if that just means I'm a slow writer? ;)

Congrats on the success!

Stanfield Major said...

Hi Bella... I just listened to your song samples on CDBaby. Very nice!

If you're interested in a fuller sound you might want to check out Kompoz.com It's a collaboration site where folks from around the world can add their tracks to yours (you make the final decisions). There are some excellent musicians and no money involved on the front end.

Be The Publisher said...

"Bella has put out 12 ebooks in 18 months. Before you get depressed about your sales, reread that number.
Then write. And write some more."

This is so true. Authors need to shift away from the old notion of traditional publishing where you write a book and let the publisher handle the rest. Today's author needs to write a lot, and use the multitude of self promotional techniques available to them today.

Pepper Phillips said...

I'll have three different pen names by the time I'm finished putting up my ebooks.

Different audiences.

Reading about BellaLucy makes me happy that it is the correct decision.

I already bought one Lucy book this am as they appeal to me, so thanks for informing us.

Pepper Phillips said...

I'll have three different pen names by the time I'm finished putting up my ebooks.

Different audiences.

Reading about BellaLucy makes me happy that it is the correct decision.

I already bought one Lucy book this am as they appeal to me, so thanks for informing us.

Pepper Phillips said...

I'll have three different pen names by the time I'm finished putting up my ebooks.

Different audiences.

Reading about BellaLucy makes me happy that it is the correct decision.

I already bought one Lucy book this am as they appeal to me, so thanks for informing us.

Renee Pinzon said...

So inspiring. Thank you Bella! I have been agonizing the issue of a pen name for some time for a slightly different reason. I am not sure about potential sales with a name like Pinzon.

I got it from my husband (who I am crazy about) but he claims that all his life, people have struggled to remember his last name. I must confess that the night I met him, I kept asking him to repeat it, saying "Pin-what? Pin-what?"

If I chose a last name like Sedore, I think Jonas Saul and his wife would warn me against it. So how do you go about choosing a name?

Walter Knight said...

I hope to get lucky. I check my stats every day expecting my books to go viral. When it's not happening, I write another book. Good luck comes to those who write, and write more. I'm getting closer.

Good job.

Tina Folsom said...

Bella,

you already know that because I've told you so many times, but I just wanted to let everybody here know as well: Bella is an amazing genius, and without her brilliance, I wouldn't be where I am today!

All the success you're having is well deserved!

Your friend, Tina Folsom

Bella Andre said...

Alan - Thanks for the link! It will be interesting to see where that goes and what new opportunities arise from it.

Claude - Hey, I'm right there with you, writing, writing, writing! Today was a lockdown writing day. :) Tomorrow will be, too. And the next, and the next, etc....

Jon -thanks!

Seattle Boy - I included the links in the book. I'm sure we'll be able to put the actual songs and videos in soon, tho, which will be great!

Ian - Best of luck with your multimedia concept! Sounds interesting.

Riley - This is my full time job. And then some. :) I really thrive on it! It's a very exciting time to be in publishing.

Stanfield - What an interesting site and concept! I'd never heard of it, but I'm definitely going to put it on my list of things to check out. Fun!

Bella Andre said...

Pepper - Thanks for picking up a Lucy Kevin book! I hope you enjoy it! :)

Renee - I really like the last name Pinzon. I have no trouble remembering it and it's quite different and striking. Looks good on the page, I think! But when I was thinking up pseudonyms, for the Lucy Kevin books I knew I wanted something fun and fairly easy to roll off the tongue - and I also knew I wanted it to be a fairly short name so I could make the font really big on the cover. LOL. But seriously! :)

Walter - I like your comment. Made me smile.

:) Bella

Bella Andre said...

Tina - Double back at you! You're made entirely of awesome!

:) Bella

Kate Evangelista said...

Hi, Bella!

I was wondering if I need an ISBN if I intend to publish through the Kindle for example?

And what about CreateSpace? Is that for the paperback version of the book?

Sincerely,
Kate

Bella Andre said...

Kate,

You don't need an ISBN for Amazon and Createspace will give you one. But you can still buy one from bowker, if you'd like.

:) Bela

Elizabeth Ann West said...

Bella Andre/Lucy Kevin is also awesome at responding to her fans. I found her when I first trying to find another self-published chick-lit/romance writer six months ago.

She commented on my writing blog months ago and it made me feel so validated. My debut novel, CANCELLED, released yesterday and I'm already working on my next book. Now that I have a little time to read, I can't wait to finish her Lucy Kevin series so I can add it to my recommended reading list on my reader site.

Love your books and love your online personality! I think the multimedia plugin of GABRIELLA is genius, and I'm recommending that book to my friend's 14 year old.

Bella Andre said...

Elizabeth,

Thank you for the lovely comment! I love your blog and I'm so thrilled about your book release! Like I said on your blog, I have a feeling you're going to do very well.

:) Bella / Lucy

SteventheThorn said...

I'm always encouraged by these stories.

I like the idea of combining songs and other media with the books. Cool to see that someone has tried it and had some success.

K. Drollinger said...

I love this post. But how do people come up with their pen names? And how do you know when its time to start using one? Bella switched because she switched genres. What if you want a pen name becasue you dont think your own is acessible enough? In other words, what if a Jane doe sounds more relatable than someone with a last name like mine? I always have to tell people how to spell it :( Or does a more foreign name seem more mysterious to people? Also, how does gender play a role in how well a name does in a genre? Even Rowling was advised to reduce her first name to initials becasue her publisher was affraid that little boys wouldnt want books by a woman. Thanks!