Thursday, October 27

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, October 27, 2011 10 comments
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.

E-book available at, Amazon UK
Paperback available at, Barnes & Noble
Soundtrack "Melody Hill: On the Other Side" available at iTunes,, Amazon UK

The Interview

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.

About Jessica

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 to hear samples from the album.

What take-home tips did you pick up from Jessica?


  1. Now that is a talented person! Congrats to you, Jessica, on both your book and album. Very exciting.

    I also needed to read your advice to not burn out. My contemporary YA launches Jan 3rd and I am VERY anxious.

    I wish you the best of luck with everything!

  2. Thank you so much, K.M! :o)

    Laurel, thanks again for having me on your blog. It was a REAL pleasure. I'd like to update the Amazon Chart Rush thing. I'm actually now accepting both paperback and ebook purchases! :o)

    BUG HUGS AND KISSES, Laurel! xoxo

  3. Kate: Her advice to take some time away from the desk sounds solid. Wishing you all the best in the coming busy months!

    Jessica: You're welcome. I've updated the text to say "ebook or paperback." If the Amazon link to order the paperback goes live, let me know and I'll hotlink it in the post.

  4. I am so impressed by all that Jessica has done and accomplished. What a trooper!

    And isn't learning to pace oneself one of life's challenges? It's something we all have to figure out how to do.

  5. I have seen this around, but I haven't ever read the blurb. Now that I have, I'm hooked. This is definitely going on my list to read.

  6. Jessica, you rock! And how awesome, Laurel, that you have her on your blog. :)

  7. Bish: Impressive indeed! I think the soundtrack idea is genius. And you're so right about pacing one's self!

    Nisa: The whole roads-not-taken idea is intriguing, isn't it?

    Angela: thanks for coming by. This is going to be one rocking launch!

  8. Hooray for Jessica! String Bridge is SO good, and I can't wait to see her burn up the charts next month. Rock on! Thanks, Laurel~ :o)

  9. Thank you Jessica and Laurel! Looking forward to the chart rush and getting my copy of String Bridge. I was fortunate to listen to the live preview of the soundtrack recently. It's fantastic! Can't wait to read the book...:)

  10. Fantastic interview, ladies! Jessica's tip about keeping a balance and getting away from the desk is so important.