Bella Andre isn’t a household name, and no wonder. The California-based author of romance fiction, profiled in The Post last year, finally made her first non-retailer bestseller list last week. “If You Were Mine” clocked in at No. 111 on USA Today’s list.
Yawn, yawn, you say.
Well, try it this way — Andre, the primary nom de plume of Nyree Belleville, has sold more than 700,000 novels and made about $2 million during the past 18 months. The print world finally noticed.
“Can we share an OMG?!” she wrote us by e-mail from Europe, when asked about her newbie bestseller status.
How do you sell an average of 40,000 books a month and never hit high-brow lists such as the New York Times’? By publishing them all as e-books and marketing them yourself, essentially. Being wildly prolific is also a kick in the pants.
Dropped by her print publisher after lackluster sales, Belleville, a Stanford economics grad and a former singer/songwriter, started self-publishing her e-books two years ago. When steamy titles like “Take Me” and “Game for Love” caught on, she started writing new books as fast as her fingers could fly (and that’s pretty fast — she writes several books a year). Online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Nook caught the sales and she hit those retailer’s lists, but she remained under the radar of non-retailers.
Why? “Bestseller” lists, be it for music or books, have always had their quirks (not all lists count all outlets; some count books shipped to retailers, not those actually sold, and so on). With the advent of self-published e-books, no publishing house or outside source was privvy to the sales data, only the author and the retailer.
That Andre’s latest book is finally cracking a non-retailer list indicates that she’s finally selling a lot of copies of one title in a short period, and that book-watching outlets are starting to tweak their algorithms to catch those sales.
(Editor’s Note: A previous version of this post misspelled “Stanford.” This version has been corrected.)