How Not to Launch a Book in Ten Easy Steps

This time next week, I’ll officially have four novels with my name on them. Four. I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. You would think that this would mean that I’m quite the expert on launching a book, but sadly this is another example of something I’m far more qualified on the topic of what not to do.

1. If it is your first project, don’t wait to start building up a presence on social media, blogs, or working on growing your mailing list until after the book is for sale. For some strange reasons telling people about your book after it is officially on sale doesn’t exactly make for the best opening weekend.

2. If it is a sequel to that first project, consider launching it within a year of the first in the series, if not sooner. You might have been obsessed with your characters and the world over that time, but apparently, readers move on during that time. Readers can be fickle like that.

3. If you do mistakenly wait for more than a year (or five), consider re-reading your original time or two before attempting to write the sequel. You might think the fact that you read and re-read your original novel twenty-gajillion times during the editing process would mean you have your character’s mannerisms and tone etched into your bone. You’d be wrong.

4. If you go ahead and write the novel without revisiting your original story and send out a half-baked manuscript to early readers, don’t be surprised when they tell you your story is flat (but in the nicest, most constructive, supportive way).

5. If you did send out a half-baked story, don’t spend more than a week questioning all your life choices leading up to this moment of misery while pondering if it might be better to change your name and start again in Idaho (which I hear is lovely), or similar place.

6. If you do decide to give yourself a break by pushing out your self-imposed publishing calendar from the Spring to the Fall, don’t think all that extra time means you can’t still be working on it.

7. If the stress of working on a seemingly never-ending project did get to you and you found yourself going on a vacation, savor that time with your family or friends, but know you will have to kick the work into overdrive the minute you get back.

8. If you did allow bad habits to creep back into your process while you indulged in a few weeks of rest and relaxation, write out a marketing and production plan the day you return so you can start planning out your tasks and get your head back into the game as quickly as possible if only to make up for lost time.

9. If the words “marketing” or “production” plan put you on edge, know you are in good company. However, know that you still have to do these things even if you’d rather put your fingers in your ear and sing lalalalalalala. Therefore, you might as well get over yourself and find a way to write that stuff down, but more importantly, follow-through. You’ll save yourself a ton of heartache later.

10. If your eyes completed glossed over #9 as some sort of mental denial, or you are already coming up with a dozen or more reasons why there was always something else more pressing to do, well then you too might just find yourself a week from launch day in a state of mild panic realizing that while you do have a completely re-written book itching to go on sale, you only a handful of advanced reviews scheduled, and absolutely no blog tour stops or social media events planned on your calendar.

It’s not an insurmountable situation, but the alternative is much to be preferred.

And that, my friends, is how not to launch a book.


Living happily ever after is a full-time job.

Uncertain-Confidence-www.alliepottswrites.comCharlotte’s life is on an upward swing. She’s in business with her best friend and her art is finally getting noticed.

Nothing could possibly go wrong … until everything does.

One disastrous night out ends with the sudden collapse of her best friend’s husband, putting him in the hospital and leaving Charlotte to manage things alone.

Uncertain about her ability to keep her business and her aspirations for artistic stardom afloat, Charlotte enlists the help of a stranger who promises to make her dreams come true. But in doing so, Charlotte may learn just how dangerous trusting the wrong person with your dreams can be.

Will Charlotte’s confidence prove to be her greatest strength or will it be her greatest mistake yet?

An Uncertain Confidence is a sweet contemporary story and fast read about friendship, trust, and the lengths we often go to protect those we love.

On Sale Oct 24th

Read an excerpt

How to Build a Readership with Blogging by Debby Gies and a progress update

I’ve finished my major re-writes and secondary edits for my upcoming sequel to An Uncertain Faith, entitled An Uncertain Confidence. This means the time has come to start talking with professional editors.

Admittedly, I could have, and probably should have, already had this conversation in order to a spot in an editor’s queue, but I wasn’t sure what my writing output would be after starting the new job. Therefore, I opted to hold off until I was sure I’d gotten it in a decent enough position to be handed off to anyone.

Such is flexibility that is self-publishing.

While I might be ready to hand off An Uncertain Confidence to an editor, there is still much to do before this book will be made available to the general public. In all probability, there will be yet another round of re-writes following editorial recommendations as well as a round of proof-reading or two (as typos have a way of waiting until you hit the publish button before they magically become visible to the naked eye). Then there is the oh-so-much fun process of lining up advanced reviews or preparing my pre-sales book launch marketing and I’m responsible for it all.

Because this is the joy that is self-publishing too.

For those of you considering going down this road too, which has been rewarding while being exhausting (much like being a parent is), I encourage you to check out an article recently published over on the Carrot Ranch Literary community on how to build a readership through blogging by fellow indie author, Debby Gies.


How to Build a Readership with Blogging and Prepare for Publishing

by Debby Gies

As writers who choose to self-publish, we must understand that we’ve chosen to be not only writers but publishers, marketers, and promoters of our work because these components are all essential parts of running a business. Yes, your business! If we intend to sell books, it’s in our best interests to learn about these things as well as building an author platform. If we don’t put in the time to promote our work, our books will surely sit and collect dust on the virtual shelves, lost in a sea of hundreds of thousands of other books…

To read more visit the source at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community Platform: Self-Publishing


As a way of saying thank you for your continued patience, I’d like to offer you with this sneak peek at the cover for An Uncertain Confidence

Set five years after the events of An Uncertain Faith (now available for Kindle, iBook, Nook, and other e-readers), Charlotte’s life is on an upward swing. She’s business partners with her best friend and her art is finally getting noticed.

Nothing could possibly go wrong – until everything does.

After a disastrous evening out, which results in the hospitalization of her friend’s husband, Charlotte is forced to seek other help to keep her business afloat, while juggling the ever-present demands of motherhood.  As a result, she has the potential to grow as a person and as an independent business owner in ways she never anticipated, but in doing so will also learn just how dangerous trusting the wrong person can be.

While the first book centered around family, this one focuses on the value of friendship, trust, and the often lengths we go to protect those we love.

One super serious, yet totally fictitious performance review – featuring Uncertain Faith’s Charlotte Row

The super serious yet totally fictitious performance review - www.alliepottswrites.com
The cleanliness of the desk alone in this picture should tell you the following is completely made up.

May include spoilers.

My office door opens and a woman with curly brown hair peeks in. “Um, are you ready for me?” she asks with a smile. Not waiting for a reply, she crosses the threshold, with the familiarity of an old friend.

“Hi Charlotte, come right in.” I gesture for her to close the door behind her. Charlotte flops down in a chair with a mug in hand while I rummage around to find the collection of papers stapled together with her name on them. “I can’t believe it is already time to do performance reviews again,” I say, handing her the pages. “How long have we been doing this?”

Charlotte leans back in her seat, scanning my written comments on the first page with a quick glance. “Hmm,” she begins, tapping her lip, “technically it will be five years this October, but I think this is only my second or third one of these.”

I blink.

She shrugs. “You kind of forgot a few times.”

“Oh, that’s right.” The heat from my cheeks is a better gauge of the severity of my blush than any mirror. “Sorry. All I can say is I was distracted.”

Charlotte leans forward, returning the papers to my desk face down. “It’s fine. I understood. The Project’s success was, is, a huge priority for everyone.”

“It is, but I don’t want you to think I don’t value you too,” I say, nodding at the papers. “You’ve done good work, and I want you to feel like you are contributing.”

Or is it coffee? Either way, it wouldn’t surprise me if in the least if this was Charlotte’s mug (affiliate link)

Charlotte laughs. “I’m not exactly saving the world over here.” She takes a sip of her beverage.

“I’m serious, Charlotte,” I say, thinking I could go for a coffee too after this is done. “You might not be expected to go on epic quests, but what you do still matters to a whole bunch of people.”

She shakes her head, though the smile remains. “That’s nice of you to say, but really, I’m okay. It’s not like I would want Juliane’s job anyway.” Charlotte shudders. “That woman is a freak.”

“Charlotte,” I chide, imagining the conversation I would have to have with the human resource department later if I had one.

Charlotte’s eyes grow wide as she slaps her hand over her mouth. “That didn’t come out right at all. I meant she’s a workaholic. I didn’t mean to imply I thought her … her … you know … the project made her a freak, which it totally didn’t.” Charlotte’s hand dropped to rest over her heart. She gulps. “I just like having time to spend with my family. That’s all.”

I purse my lips and take a deep breath before speaking again. “Let’s stop talking about Juliane and keep this focused on you. What can I do to help you become more successful this year?”

She looks up at the ceiling in thought. “Well, maybe I could attend a workshop.”

I raise an eyebrow.

“Or two,” says Charlotte, meeting my gaze once more. She chews her lip when I don’t respond. “Three?” she squeaks.

“Think bigger, though I’m making a mental note to revisit your thoughts on a workshop later.”

“Bigger?” Her brows knit. She eyeballs the papers on my desk. Her hand twitches. I can tell she’s itching to give my review a more in-depth read. “But … but … look, I appreciate the vote of confidence and don’t take this the wrong way,” she takes another sip, “but I’m not certain … Kids are only young once. You know?”

“Oh, believe me, I know.” I grin. “Which is exactly why I am so excited.” I pick up the papers. “What if I’ve come up with a way for you to grow within the company while also giving you the opportunity to spend even more time with your family?”

Charlotte cocks her head to the side and looks at me out of the corner of her eye. “How would that work?”

This time it is my turn to lean forward. Opening the papers to the back, I point to the last paragraph. “Because, Charlotte,” I say, my grin threatening to split my face, “before this year is out, I’m giving you … a sequel.”


That’s right, early revisions are all but done and I will be looking for beta readers for my latest contemporary / cozy mystery novel entitled An Uncertain Confidence in the coming weeks.

Charlotte is back in a new story proving happily ever after is a constant work in progress following one disastrous night out. Those interested should send me an email at Allie at alliepottswrites dot com for additional details. You don’t have to have read the first book, but it certainly helps.

Speaking of beta readers, Lucy over at http://www.blondewritemore.com was kind enough to feature a guest post of mine entitled Writers: What to expect when your beta reader is an elven prince. Click on the link to check it out.

Ani’s Advent Invitation: What is magic? A holiday story (and a new book!) from Allie Potts

An essay about the magic of Christmas - www.alliepottswrites.com

Her Royal Highness used her influence to gain me an audience with Ani of Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo where I am discussing my experience with a bit of holiday magic. I have disabled comments here and encourage you to see what else the small dog (and Sue) has to say.

via Ani’s Advent Invitation: What is magic? A holiday story (and a new book!) from Allie Potts

Watch and Wonders – Books, Tech and the Future with @alliepottswrite – SACHA BLACK

Watch and Wand Supply Run - www.alliepottswrites.comIt’s hard to believe I am already talking about The Watch & Wand’s release in the past tense, so instead, I invite you to follow the link to a conversation I had with Sacha Black regarding my thoughts on the future (I’ll give you a hint, I find it both exciting and terrifying). Once again I’ve disabled comments here. While you are there, check out information about the 2018 Bloggers Bash. I was lucky enough to attend this past summer and it was an absolute blast (educational too).


Today I am thrilled to have an epic geek-out with my dear friend and slave driver accountability partner Allie Potts. If you don’t know Allie, she writes both cyberpunk style dystopian fantas…

Source: Watch and Wonders – Books, Tech and the Future with @alliepottswrite – SACHA BLACK