Heather Bell

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According to personality tests, I'm an 'Advocate'.


So, my mate Rudyard sent me this:

If you can tantalize on Twitter,

If you can fascinate on Facebook,

If you can blog and not get tired of blogging,

If all reviews count, but none too much,

If you can make one heap of your budget and risk it all on Amazon ads –you’ll be an Author, my son/daughter.

Why you should ask your family and friends NOT to buy your book.

So I’m putting precious writing time into learning the publishing malarkey, and I discovered a surprising thing: If your F&F (family and friends) buy your book around launch day it will skew the Amazon ‘bots’ opinion of who your book will appeal to. Why does this matter? – You’re probably way ahead of me on this – if your F&F are not your books ideal audience (say you’re writing YA and your F&F are mostly middle-aged murder readers), the Amazon steamroller will trundle away with the wrong idea of who your book will appeal to.

They will present it to the wrong readers = little sales = they’ll promote it less = downward spiral of book-sales death.


My apology and explanation if this is already covered in Jericho’s marketing course is that I haven’t seen the course. I hope this info is helpful to someone.


Hi Jo, 

From a reader's point of view:

World: Great. Intriguing hook (thinking-woman’s Fifty Shades?).

Prologue: Meh! It gets in the way of World to story, with no apparent immediate consequences for the story that would justify it being there.

Chapter one: Great. It sets up story questions and a wicked (genre appropriate) character voice.

From a writer’s point of view, I could nit-pick: all explosions (in this context) are unexpected (let alone ‘totally unexpected’). How does your character know what the cabbie is thinking? And so on. But, most readers don’t care about these things (read a cross-section of bestsellers with good hooks, and you’ll find such ‘errors’ in almost all).

Just my opinion. Please ignore everything that doesn’t resonate with what the little voice (aka writer’s best friend) is already telling you.


Why 80% of a writer's success has nothing to do with the writing! The relevant bit starts around the 8 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4H6KCGDmWM

Their are book clubs that will highlight a discount to their members. A freebie short story doesn't seem like overkill. Some writers are giving away signed posters of the cover art, which wouldn't be very expensive.


Hi Janet, Watched the link. Good advice for horror writers. Best advice for indie/self published authors was that he spends two years on each book (As a reader, I wish more did).

Saw a book the other day that comes with free earrings (character on cover has dangling earrings). Unique, but don't think I'll be trying it (or buying it).


I feel Bob's pain. I'm trying to get to grips with Twitter (image resizing by pixel ratio - Argh!)

Websites need to recognize that people come with different levels of techy knowledge and find user-friendly ways around the one-size-fits-all approach.


Hi Janet,

Seems no one else can remember that name either! I wonder if this is of any use to you?



What I’m learning from the Amazon numbers?

Good book – bad numbers – Why?

Example: No Shelter (Holly Lin Series). Professional editor Ray Rhamey* says of the first page: The writing is good, the voice appealing. The scene is set, and characters are introduced in an understandable way. Even better, story questions are raised with the promise of shooting ahead.

All sounds great. So why is its Amazon average only 4.2? Here’s what the three-star reviews reveal:

Revealing review: Well written, well edited but difficult to engage with the characters, particularly the heroine. Her history, motivations etc. are scattered through out the book and sparsely, at that. I also winced at the way she treated one of the children she cared for. Pressure points? Really?

Revealing review: 3 Star rating because of the conclusion or should I say lack of conclusion — story just stop/ends as if the author got tired of writing and just said “THE END”. Excellent plot and fast moving with a lot of wild twist and turns. Hate the story series episodes that do not have an ending as they only point you to read the next book to see what happens. For this reason I do not recommend spending the time to get to the unfinished last page. Sad because it is a good read up to that point.

Now, of course, we don’t all like the same things. But these three-star reviewers were ready and willing to love this book, but felt the author let them down in some crucial way. And, a 4.2 average for a well-written book suggests they were not alone.

If you would like to spend your procrastinating time learning from other writer’s mistakes. Here’s Ray Rhamey’s link (and I’m guessing you know how to find Amazon): *https://www.floggingthequill.com/flogging_the_quill/2021/03/index.html

Fantasy took two - one for him and one for his world-building prologue.

Love: Literary wished for a cushion

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