Today my special guest is Jessica Bell, whose much anticipated fiction debut, String Bridge, releases officially on November 1. Jessica generously agreed to share a bit about her experiences preparing to launch her first novel.
About String Bridge
Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a “proper” career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage—and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits, and she realizes she’s been seeking fulfillment in the wrong place.
Paperback available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble
What marketing activities did you decide to pursue to launch String Bridge?
I think nowadays the best thing to focus on is web presence. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s fast. So, of course, I’ve organized a blog tour and Amazon Chart Rush. I’ve also released an all-original soundtrack to accompany the book, which can also be purchased as a separate item from over 150 different digital outlets. I’m hoping this album with create a little more interest in the book, than the book itself is capable of, as I can actually market the music to an audience that probably wouldn’t look twice at the book without the album existing.
How did you prioritize them?
I actually didn’t. Each thing seemed as important as the other. It was just a matter of reaching deadlines.
What did your schedule look like?
Hectic. I made sure I did everything I needed to as it came in. I never put anything to the side that could be accomplished within a 24-hour period. Not sure that was such a good idea as it tampered with my sanity. I had to fit these things in around my day job, but thankfully I work from home so I suppose creating my own schedule wasn’t so hard now that I look back. But I think I was too "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants." I got stressed. Really stressed. I think my jaw was perpetually clenched. Even now I have to remind myself to loosen it up.
Which activities have taken more time or been trickier than you anticipated?
The hardest thing was organizing the blog tour. Over 90 blogs have signed up to participate, some posting reviews and some interviews, or both, and some signed up to plug the Amazon Chart Rush only. Keeping track of everyone’s preferences and emails and blog addresses, and post dates has been a challenge. I have Excel to thank for that! But nothing has really been "tricky," only time-consuming. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it though. I guess that’s the key to getting through so many tasks without having a nervous breakdown! Implementing the final edits to the novel and writing the album took a lot of time. But that was a creative part. And time shouldn’t even exist then, right?
What are some lessons learned from this launch? Things that worked well? Things you’d like to do differently with the next book?
One: Never underestimate the importance of making friends online! Their help and support has been invaluable to this exciting and important time in my career. I can’t thank them enough!
Two: Don’t burn yourself out. Find time to spend AWAY from your desk to maintain sanity.
There were a few weeks there where I thought I was literally going to fry my brain. I took a couple of days off after weeks of constant rigorous juggling of tasks, but it was too late. I spent the whole time staring at the wall just trying to find some inner-quiet. I could hardly lift a finger. Seriously. Pace yourself. The slower you move, the faster you’ll get things done. Trust me.
Jessica Bell is a literary women’s fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.
She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.
In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.
Help spread the word about the String Bridge Amazon Chart Rush, November 11th!
Help Jessica Bell's debut novel STRING BRIDGE hit the bestseller list on Amazon and receive the all-original soundtrack, written and performed by the author herself, for free! All you have to do is purchase the ebook or paperback on November 11th, and then email the receipt to jessica(dot)carmen(dot)bell(at)gmail(dot)com. She will then email you a link to download the album entitled, "Melody Hill: On the Other Side," at no extra cost! Visit www.jessicacbell.com to hear samples from the album.
What take-home tips did you pick up from Jessica?