Misha, Why Do You Blog?

I have know Mish from My First Book  for quite awhile. She interviewed me on July 24, 2012 and her first comment on my blog was on September 18, 2012 in response to the Genre Favorites Blogfest (A Ninja Captain Alex creation).   

“I used to LOVE James Patterson, but it now feels like he just churns out stories without caring about quality. I mean, he never even writes his books any more. :-/”

So, Misha, why do you blog?

When Sydney asked me to write a post on this topic, I was sort of stumped. Not because I don’t have a reason for blogging, but because I have so many motivations for blogging that it’s difficult to pick one.

Basically, I started blogging because writing book after writing book highlighted the importance of building a platform. Easy, I’d thought. It wasn’t.

Blogging is actually very hard work, if you want to build a big following. And the bigger it becomes, the more work you have. So although having a following might one day be useful when I have a book to sell, it’s not really the reason why I blog. If it was, I’d have given up years ago.

No. Now that I’m actually writing this, I realize that most of the reasons why I blog comes down to one. You. Yes. You. The wonderful person reading this.

By writing something on my blog or someone else’s, I’m gifted with a wonderful opportunity to touch your life. If you comment, you get to touch mine in return.

I find that to be a wonderful experience. You advise me, guide me, sometimes you just listen to me or even commiserate with me. All that you require is that I do the same for you.

If you think about it, blogging is actually a profound experience. One we take for granted sometimes, but amazing all the same.

And I’m honored to be part of such an amazing online community.

Why do you blog? 

Writing Habits and Success: An Interview with Bella Andre

Please enjoy this interview with Bella Andre, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the contemporary romance series, The Sullivans. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards!

Interview with Bella Andre

about her writing habits and success

1. Tell us about writing and publishing your very first novel. What were your expectations when you first waded into the self-publishing pond? Is there anything you would do differently if given another chance?

I honestly had no expectations other than some of my loyal readers would finally get a chance to read my book – and that was enough for me. Meeting so many new readers and fans has been icing on a cake I had no idea was being served.

2. You’re an icon in the indie publishing community. Your success is something we all aspire to. What do you believe has been the greatest contributing factor to the success of your novels?

Thank you, that’s lovely to hear. I’ve so enjoyed self-publishing these past couple of years, and I’ve been lucky to have the most wonderful fans with me every step of the way. There are so many things that go into success, but I think my focus and determination – along with the best readers in the world – have been the biggest factors.

3. What was your reaction when you first found out you broke onto the New York Times and USA Today best-sellers’ lists? How did you celebrate?

Actually, it’s kind of a funny story. I was on my way to the RWA National conference last summer and was sitting in the airport in Albany, New York when I found out I had three books on the USA Today bestsellers list. I called my husband and we had a mini celebration on the phone. I flew into Atlanta where I was switching planes for Anaheim, and when we landed I turned on my phone and checked my email. An agent (not mine, I was agentless at the time) had emailed me with the title “CONGRATULATIONS, New York Times!” That was when I found out I also had three books on the New York Times bestseller list…and I started crying. On the airplane. With a very conservative woman sitting next to me. She must have thought I was losing it, because she promptly turned her back on me. 🙂 Of course I called my husband and cried happy tears some more. That night when I got into Anaheim, all of my closest writing friends came up to my room and we celebrated. It was AWESOME!

4. You’ve recently shared some very exciting news—Harlequin MIRA has optioned the print rights for The Sullivans in a record-breaking seven-figure deal. Congratulations! How did this transpire? And how does it affect your writing and publishing plans?

Thank you, I’m beyond thrilled about it and Harlequin have been a dream to work with. They are so incredibly enthusiastic about putting The Sullivans out in paperback in English all over the world, with a simultaneous launch in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia starting this June and going back-to-back each month with the first eight books through April 2014.

My ebook sales numbers for the self-published Sullivan series had been growing bigger and bigger in the year since I’d started publishing the series, and I knew a print-only deal was going to happen soon. When so many Sullivans hit the New York Times and USA Today all at once, that was when the publishers started calling and making offers. I truly feel that Harlequin is the *perfect* publisher for my sexy, emotional contemporary romance Sullivan series.

Because I retained all of my ebook, audiobook, foreign translation and film/TV rights, I am continuing to put out my Sullivans, and other future books, as self-published ebooks and audio books. I have released seven Sullivan ebooks so far and the eighth (ALWAYS ON MY MIND, Lori Sullivan’s story) will be out this spring…and I have a great idea for a brand new series that I hope to start writing this year as well. I have licensed the series in Brazil, France and Portugal so far, and the first two books are already big bestsellers in Brazil, which is very exciting.

5. You write fast! Not only do you produce several novels per year, you produce several well written, polished novels per year. What is your writing process like? Do you have any advice for other wordsmiths struggling with productivity?

Thanks for the great compliment. I work so hard on my stories to make sure they’re emotional and fun and sexy and that they take my readers out of their lives for a little while. I write every day, everywhere, no matter what. I don’t wait for inspiration or a muse to come calling. Fortunately, my favorite thing is writing. In fact, today as I was sniffling over my keyboard during a really emotional scene between my hero and heroine, I was thinking how very happy it made me to be able to write books all day…and to know that I have the best fans in the world waiting to read them!

6. In the early days, what did you do to market your books? Would you recommend these strategies to writers in today’s market?

I took a really personal approach. Because I had started digital publishing in response to my readers who had emailed asking me for books, whenever I released a book, I individually emailed each and every single reader to let them know about it. Now, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, I can interact with my readers in other ways that let me spend more time on actually writing, and I recommend doing anything that puts you in touch with your readers.

7. How has making it big changed your approach to writing and marketing your work? Has it changed your approach?

I truly believe that my fans want me to spend more time writing and less time gabbing. 🙂 So I always err on the side of writing…and then once I’ve met my page count goals for the day, I go onto twitter and Facebook and answer emails.

8. You’ve connected with a large international fan base. Do readers abroad respond differently to your novels than those in the USA? Which countries in particular have fallen in love with your work?

I’m having a love affair with my Brazilian readers, and I also love love love my Australia/New Zealand, UK and Canadian readers as well! They’re so passionate and supportive of The Sullivans – but I’ve been really fortunate to find readers everywhere have been kind and amazing.

9. You attend a lot of conferences. Recently, you delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Book Expo America. How have conferences contributed to your writing career?

Conferences are an amazing opportunity to stay abreast of what’s happening in the business. I get incredible value out of networking in the lounge and hearing what people are up to and what ideas they have. The thing is, I truly love this business and everyone I’ve met had been wonderful…so it’s really not work at all for me. In fact, going to a conference and meeting with people is always such fun.

10. My, you are a busy bee! How do you find balance between writing, publishing, and promoting your books and the rest of your life? Any tips for the rest of us?

Give up sleep and sanity…and have an awesome husband who is happy to take care of absolutely everything non-book-related in your life! 🙂 But seriously – get a good team behind you. I have a team of beta readers, editors, proofers and digital file producers, I work with great bloggers, and I also have the love and support of my family. Everyone thinks “indie publishing” means being independent, but it’s not the case at all. While you get to be charge of your own career and your own vision, you also work with tons of great people to put your book out there!

fall in love

The Sullivans are on tour with Novel Publicity. Follow along for your chance to win amazing prizes. We’ve got special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards. WOW!

You’ll also get introduced to this amazing contemporary romance series via excerpts as well as interviews with and guest posts from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Bella Andre. You’ll definitely want to learn more about the family that has captured the world’s heart.

All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase any of the Sullivan ebooks by Bella Andre for just $4.99 (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that’s where the HUGE prizes are)

About The Sullivans: In this sexy, emotional and funny contemporary romance series, each member of the Sullivan family will eventually find true love…usually where he or she least expects it.

Get the eBooks via Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, the iBookStore, or the Kobo Store.

Audiobooks are also available for the first five in the series (with more coming soon). Plus, keep an eye out for paperback editions coming from Harlequin Romance starting Summer 2013.

All Sullivan Covers

Bella Andre_1About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started writing her first romance novel, she knew she’d found her perfect career. Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they’ll love forever, nearly all of her novels have appeared on Top 10 lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo.

Her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into nine languages. 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, and The Wall Street Journal. She has given the keynote speech at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success and has sold more than one million books.

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.

My Weekly Update – I’m Back

Did you miss me? I know, I was only gone a week and you barely noticed I was gone. That’s ok.  I wasn’t completely gone.  I had an interview posted and a guest post on a couple of great sites.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Sydney Aaliyah & Australia Interview – thanks Alex and the rest of the A to Z Crew
Is My Blog a Success? Guest post at My First Book – thanks so much Misha

NaNoWriMo Thank You I was thinking about doing a NaNo debriefing, but everyone is doing that. I am just going to send out a few thank you’s and leave it at that.

Felicia Scotzig, Amanda Fanger, Vikki, AM Schultz, Sevastian Winters, Donna McNicols, Shah Wharton, Audrey Austin, Jami Gold, Mark Ethridge, Anna Howard, Rebecca H. Campbell, Andrew F. Butters, Jennifer Gracen, Angela Goff, Sarah Thayer, Jeff Tsuruoka, Tia Siverthorne Bach, Meg McNulty, Miranda Gammella, Sarah Nicholson, Ruth Long, Cara Michaels, Bethany Miller, Candy Sparks, Molly Ahola, Alberta Ross, Artemis Leaena, Shan Jeniah Burton, David Swensen, all my tweeple, all my FB friends, all my blog followers, my WanaTribe and my Tribe Mates.

I could do this without you, but it wouldn’t be near as much fun.

And, if I forgot anyone, if you have ever writing anything, anywhere, anytime, in any form what so ever, thank you, too.

Congrats to all the NaNoWriMo Winners!

The last of the great NaNoWriMo Posts

New Followers
From Page to Screen
Gabriel Lucatero
Through Crystal Clear Waters
Fabulous Realms
Hristina H. Vasileva
Matthew Blake
Michael at Vive la Rock n Roll
Next Weeks Schedule
Monday – And You Are Blog Hop
Tuesday – Tattoo Tuesday – Amsterdam Tattoo Museum Needs our Help
Wednesday – A Good Kind of Knowing Blog Tour – My Road to Publication by Kathy Lynn Harris
Friday – The Fitzroy – An Update
Sunday – My Weekly Update 
And You Are?

My Weekly Update – Interview, Interesting and I’m Going to Camp

This is Interesting.


Last week, an interview that I conducted a couple of months ago was posted on My First Book.  It was a really great interview and I am happy it is out there because the interview is so me.  If that makes sense.  And, it surprised me just how different things where just 2 month ago.  Two months ago I had not finished my first draft of ‘I’m Coming Home’. Two months ago, I didn’t have an outline for another story and ready to tackle another challenge (Campnano starts in 3 days). And, 2 months ago, I didn’t really have a clue how writing would become so much a part of my life the way it has.  I enjoy conducting interviews because I can learn so much from other, but I had no idea in doing an interview, I would learn so much about myself.

Thanks so much Misha.


A couple of items I found interesting this week:

In the last two week, I had two days with huge numbers on my site. I like to think it was because of my brilliant content, but part of it is what I am calling the ‘Stumble Upon Effect’.  I have a Stumble Upon tribe in Triberr and all we are required to do is Stumble each others post and I am happy to see that it has increased my site hits.  And, the most popular page viewed on those two days – Tattoo Tuesday.  If you want to gain some exposure, submit your tattoo stories.  I would love to feature you on Tattoo Tuesday.

Another Triberr related item of interest, my blog friend Fel at The Peasant Revolt shared her thoughts on SEO.  I admit I am clueless about why this is so important to grow your blog traffic and she clears it up a bit. She also shares a fun webinar by one of the Triberr creators Dino Dogan on the this topic.  Great stuff.

Another great post I came across was over at Pensuasion called A Modern Make-Over:  The Classics Retold. As someone who loves movies, old and new, I found it interesting her take on how well these modern make overs retold the classics we know and love.

I’m Going to Camp

That’s right people.  I am going to camp.  I have once again signed up for a 50,000 words in 31 days challenge and this time it is called CampNaNo.  I am basically testing out my theory that I brought up last month about whether my first writing experience in JuNoWriMo ruined me.  All things came together in June, which allowed me to write a good and complete first draft.  So, the real test is, can I do it again.

I am on track with finishing my outline, character and scene sketches.  The more I get into this story the excited I am to tell it.  You can follow my progress with daily update under the Sydney Aaliyah Writes tab at the top.  Wish me luck!

New Followers – thanks so much to my new followers, you guys and gals are awesome.

Karen from Charron’s Chatter
Julie from Word Flows
The Star Chasers
Susan Moffat from Writing Glimmers
Chris Stocking from Write to Perfect
Kelly from This is Helenora
Poetic Parfait
Carrie at dare I eat a peach?
Deena the Digital Diva from Digital eBook Building and Formatting

Next Weeks Schedule

Tuesday – Tattoo Tuesday
Wednesday – Insecure Writer’s Support Group & First day of Campnano
Friday – Blog Post – I am prepared this week
Sunday – My Weekly Update

JuNoWriMo Host, Participant and Winner Interview – Becca J. Campbell

For the final interview in my JuNoWriMo Interview Series, please welcome Becca J. Campbell.  She, along with A.E. Howard, created JuNoWriMo.

Tell me a little about what you are writing for Junowrimo.
I’m writing a New Adult Urban Fantasy novel. Here’s the synopsis:
Eva has the curse of randomly disappearing, unable to be heard, seen, or felt in any way during her absences. During those episodes she can only watch the rest of the world pass her by. The worst was a period that lasted nearly ten years.
Now, indefinitely back to being visible, her ten year high school reunion is upon her, and though she isn’t looking forward to it, she has to go. It’s the only way to find the answer to her burning question, the one eating her up during those ten long years. But to find the answer she has to face the pain buried deep in her past. She has to face Kade.
Is this your first time doing this type of challenge?
Nope! I’ve won NaNoWriMo two years in a row, which is what spurred the whole idea of JuNoWriMo. J
What did you learn from the last challenge that is helping you with Junowrimo? 
From my previous NaNoWriMo experiences I’ve learned that I am a hard-and-fast planner. I require a full synopsis in outline form that directs me scene by scene through my novel. So I did as much prewriting as possible this time through. It really helped, too. I didn’t get stuck at all this year. I only skipped one scene that I was unsure of, and beyond that, I made it to my final chapter when I ended the month.
What is your typical weekly writing schedule like; time of day, # of words per day.
I usually write in the evening, sometimes also in the afternoons when my kids are having quiet time. I aimed to get ahead early on, approximately 3,000 words per day. I didn’t achieve that every day, but I was ahead of my quota the entire month. I met the 50K on day 23.
What was your final word count for the Challenge? 
Unfortunately, I got sick the last week of this month and haven’t been able to write, otherwise I would have finished my whole novel. I stopped at 54,624 words, though, and I’m happy with that. At least I won JuNoWriMo. I’ve got to accept what’s reasonable and what isn’t and though writing 75K in a calm month might be possible for me, this month was incredibly busy. Plus, I can’t write when I’m sick.
How did you and Anna decide to host JuNoWriMo?
I decided sometime around February or March that I wanted to write a novel NaNo-style in June because the timing worked out really well for me. But I thrive on the energy from other writers and I knew if I could get more people to do it with me I’d have a much better chance at success. So I tweeted about the idea, jokingly saying I was going to do “JuNoWriMo.” What I got was a handful of other excited writers saying they would do it with me. One of those was Anna, a creative lady who happened to know a ton about web design and have a lot of helpful ideas. So we partnered together for this creative adventure. It was a match made in heaven—our differences complement each other quite well.
What is the future of JuNoWriMo?
This month has been amazing! I’ve been astounded by the numbers of participants we rounded up in just a few short months. I can already feel a strong sense of community here and I absolutely love it. Because of all that (and because my June totally rocked—except for the getting sick part), we’re doing this thing again next year. Anna and I are on board, hoping this will be an annual deal you can count on to get you through your summer novel. We’re even scheduling the release of our future books around it so we are set to handle everything. In the meantime, tell your friends and neighbors, and spread the word. Next year it’s going to be even bigger and better! And if you really want to share the love, donate a buck or two. (http://junowrimo.com/about-us/donate/) We’ve donated many hours of our time and a ton of effort birthing this thing and helping you get that novel written. Thanks for joining us for the ride and I hope to see you next year!

Make sure to visit and connect with Becca.

Blog:  beccajcambell.com

Twitter:  @beccajcampbell

Click here to visit Becca’s Author Page on Facebook and Goodreads.