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My Debut Novel, When Plans Go Awry, Released This Week

June 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

My very first book release happened last week (June 4, 2024). I have had so much fun launching my debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, into the world. From putting marketing plans in place to seeing them be implemented, I have enjoyed every single step. And learned a lot. 

When Plans Go Awry, my book baby, is now available at Amazon in paperback, eBook, and on Kindle Unlimited. The paperback is also available on Barnes and Noble’s website. Already great reviews have been posted. I’m just so thankful for the positive response so far. It can be quite a nerve-racking experience releasing a debut novel. 

Other Debut Novel Excitement

I’ve been busy creating author and book accounts at AmazonFictionfinderGoodReads, and BookBub, so if you are on any of these, please follow me! And if you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, please do so to stay informed of future book events and books.

I’ve created a logo, with the help of my son, who drew the schoolhouse.

Debut Author Denise M. Colby logo with red one-room schoolhouse, name and Historical Romance

And a variation with my tagline.

Denise M. Colby Historical Romance word only logo with tagline sweetened with faith, hope, & love

And a graphic of my rooster character, Bert, drawn by my son!

Bert the rooster from when plans go awry debut novel by Denise M. Colby

Almost every reader has shared that they love Bert. I love that he makes people laugh out loud with his antics and I’m happy he’s been so well received.

And my son’s drawings have now been made into buttons and stickers.

rooster and one-room schoolhouse buttons and stickers for denise m. colby

It’s been great to have some fun with this character for my debut novel.

Other Firsts

I’ve had my first author blog interview, and my first author podcast interview, and my first book blog tour that just finished on June 10. And I’ve received my first red rose from the OCRW writers group. 

Denise M. Colby with her red rose from the OCRW writing group June 8, 2024

For those that have been around a long time, you know that OCC gives out different color roses for published work. Twelve years ago I watched others receive a red rose for a traditionally published novel and I set a goal for myself. Here I am twelve years later receiving my first red rose! Finally!

Debut Book Launch and Signing Party

I’ve also had my first book signing party. This past weekend my friends threw me a debut novel book launch and signing party at my home. It was so much fun to celebrate the release with friends and family and several of my launch team members. I’m so thankful I stuck with it over the past twelve years (which in itself was something to celebrate). And now my house smells like a flower shop this week!

Here are some pictures from the event

I’m just so grateful Luke and Olivia’s story can be read and enjoyed by everyone. Happy Book Launch, Happy Release Day, Happy Debut Novel Launch, and Happy Book Birthday to When Plans Go Awry.

Thank you to this writing community for your support. If you are interested in reading When Plans Go Awry, I hope it makes you laugh as well. And if you feel led to leave a review after reading it, that would be so appreciated.

Blessings, Denise

Denise’s most recent posts are related to her book launch and include details about the events leading up to her book launch and a debut author checklist she created.

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Debut Author Book Launch Checklist

April 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

As a new debut author, it’s amazing how once you get the green light to publish, there are so many little details for an author to complete. And quickly. I’m in the process of building a debut author checklist to help me keep track of everything. One is specific to book launch, while the other is for a debut author overall.

blog header with title debut author book launch checklist by denise M. Colby with laptop graphic on right side

I’m sure there are lots of helpful lists out there. I’ve seen many posts and emails related to this over the years. I’ve even taken lots of notes during workshops. But it’s sooo different when you are finally in that moment yourself.

So I’m compiling my own list and would love to have input from all the other authors who are part of this blog. Please share lists you use or your own ideas in the comments below. And keep reading to see if I’m missing anything.

Book Launch Checklist

Your book is being published, and you have a date. Now what? Here’s what I have experienced so far with my first book, When Plans Go Awry, launching June 4, 2024.

Book Cover for Denise M. Colby's Debut novel When Plans Go Awry
  • Cover design
  • Announce cover reveal in newsletter and social media
  • Sign up for some blog interviews close to book launch date
  • Back cover copy
  • Send file out to authors to write endorsements
  • Final edits
  • Final inside matter – map, dedication page, acknowledgements, author’s note, endorsements, author bio
  • At the end of the book include a link to sign up for newsletter
  • Teaser for next book
  • Galley Proof
  • Update facebook header with new book cover
  • Book page on your website
  • Book page on your publisher website
  • Book page on GoodReads (and link to author page)
  • Pull quotes from book to create graphics

Are there other things you do with each book? Since I work full time and my son is getting married the same month my book launches, my husband and I agreed a book launch manager would be beneficial for my first book since I wanted to do an official launch team. Additional tasks for this include:

  • Recruit people to be a part of book launch team (with google form for signups)
  • Identify giveaways for book launch members (see my rooster below)
  • Create content for book launch members to use
  • Create special content for members
This Rooster Squishmellow is a giveaway for a debut author book launch denise colby
One of things I’ll be giving away to a book launch team member

Debut Author Checklist

I’ve been working on this journey a long time and even though I’ve established my website and social media, I’m finding my debut author checklist is long for all the things I still want to do. Of course working on Book 2 is on the list, but there are other things that need to happen so I can maximize this first book launch.

  • Create an author GoodReads page (this is a bit of a process without an ISBN number, but it is possible. I was able to get this built and link my book page together) Need to have this account use the email that you use for your website
  • Newsletter set up – build newsletter list
  • Update website pages where needed (make sure all references to previous book titles or content have been updated)
  • Create a new updated logo (my son is designing one for me)
  • Create Amazon Author page
  • Booksweeps account
  • Bookbub account
  • Fictionfinder account
  • Take new head shots
  • Post a lot on social media to generate buzz and gain momentum

Again, I’m sure there’s things I’m missing and I would love to learn what others have done or wish they would’ve done in the very beginning. Let’s hear it! Post in the comments below.

All-in-all, I’m enjoying this new stage of my writing journey, even though it’s all new for me and feels a bit never-ending. This year I chose the word grow as my focus word. As you can see from the list above, I am growing in lots of knowledge on how to be a debut author and manage a book launch.

If you are interested in joining my book launch team, I’d love to have you. Sign up on my book launch team google form. And have a chance to win the stuffed rooster.

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What If You Planned a Party and Nobody Came?

May 13, 2021 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , ,

What if you spent a year planning a party, sent out the invitations, and nobody came? For the past year, that has been the scenario for writers and readers. Each writer’s plan was simple: write the book and go on tour launching it. Readers looked forward to the party aspect of interacting with authors at bookstores, libraries, and conferences. Then, on March 14, 2020, the world shut down.

That weekend, I was in Washington, D.C. at a family function, not knowing it would be a year or more until I saw those loved ones again. Before arriving in Washington, I had been on a whirlwind tour for newly released Three Treats Too Many, the third book in Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series. The tour had taken me to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, Memphis, Fairhope, New York, and Atlanta in two months. More stops were planned for April through August, but they were canceled.

I, like many authors, had to pivot. We spoke to groups or participated in panels virtually. Authors learned to sit up straight, use microphones or earphones, adjust lighting and backgrounds, and provide bookplates instead of only bookmarks. Using Zoom, Crowdcast, or other platforms was a good substitute, but not the same as live interaction with readers and bookstore owners. Reaction times were different, especially for webinar platforms where readers could only communicate by leaving a chat message.

Although readers still establish links between themselves and the characters in books they choose to read, experimentation with new authors dropped. Why? Housebound, people found comfort spending time with familiar characters and scenes that brought back good memories.

Four Cuts Too Many, the fourth Sarah Blair book releases May 25. In it, Sarah, who finds being in the kitchen more frightening than murder, has no desire to learn knife skills from her friend, sous chef and adjunct college instructor, Grace Winston. But, when Grace’s department chair is found dead with one of Grace’s knives in his neck, Sarah is forced to sharpen her own skills to uncover the elusive killer. The premise and the book are fun, especially for a summer beach, airplane, or bath read, but how to launch it to the most people is a dilemma.

It is a problem that is not mine alone (although it sometimes feels like it). Most authors with release dates that would offer readers the perfect summer book are finding that stores are still not having large in person book parties nor are the usual conferences taking place. Consequently, we’re planning individual virtual store appearances or panels, we’re increasing our number of Facebook parties and group take-overs, more blogs are being written, and we’re hoping for word-of-mouth help.

Whether it is Four Cuts Too Many or any other book you read, review it, and tell your friends about it. Publishers look at sales and numbers, so it is important that readers and writers work together if favorite series and characters are to be survive the pandemic.

I know I can’t wait to see you in person again, but in the meantime, do you have any ideas how you’d like authors to connect with you? I’ve got my pen and paper ready to take notes.

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, which debuted with One Taste Too Many on December 18, 2018. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra is president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter, serves on SinC’s national board, and is president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Find out more about Debra at any of the following links:


Debra’s Newest Sarah Blair Mystery

Buy from Amazon
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The Sarah Blair Mysteries

(Hover over cover for buy links. Click on cover for more information.)


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Trying New Things with Kitty Bucholtz

August 14, 2017 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Not new in the world of publishing, but new for me. The last few years have been crazy in my personal life, so even though I’ve learned a lot about how to move my writing career to the next level, I haven’t been able to implement any of the changes.

Until now.

Love at the Fluff and Fold by Kitty BucholtzI’m excited that I’m about to release a new book! And for the first time, I’m not publishing it as soon as it is ready. I emailed my newsletter list and included the first chapter and the cover so they could start getting excited about the new story/series. Immediately, a few of my readers wrote back saying they loved it, best book yet!

Thanks to a gentle push from a friend, I decided to put my book on pre-order for the first time. I set up the pre-order with the practically-final version of the book on KDP, iBooks, and Kobo. (Barnes & Noble didn’t have a pre-order option at the time I did this, so I prepped the book to be ready to hit the Publish button the day before I want it to go live.)

I emailed my list a second time, left Chapter One at the bottom in case readers missed it the first time, and gave them the links to the pre-order on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K., Amazon Australia (my newsletter service lets me see where subscribers are from), iBooks, and Kobo. Within a day, I had my first seven pre-orders – yay!

Another first that I’ve wanted to do for a year or two is to create a beta readers group. I finally got that up and running on Facebook a few weeks ago. I have nineteen beta readers who are reading an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of the book that I put up on BookFunnel.

They’ve pointed out typos, offered a few suggestions, and they’ve given me enormously satisfying positive feedback about the book. They’ll be posting reviews on the first day of release so that new readers will immediately see that others liked the book.

I also finally created a Facebook group for all the rest of my readers! I’ve been frustrated with my Facebook author page and the fact that if a reader posts on my page, it’s almost hidden along the side. It’s ridiculously difficult to have a conversation that way. So I created a group that is attached to the author page. For the first time, I can easily chat with my readers and engage with them in a way that will help them to know, like, and trust me. You can see – and join! – my readers’ Facebook group here.

The other thing I learned is that although readers can’t post reviews to Amazon until the book goes on sale, they can post them to Goodreads as soon as I added the book to the site. I created a listing for the ebook, sent a link to my beta readers, and the first four people who had finished the ARC posted their reviews!

Then I created a paperback listing on Goodreads and set up two Giveaways, one for five books to be given away in the United States only, and one for two books to be given away everywhere. I would’ve gotten these up earlier if I could have, but they’ll go live a week before the book’s release.

I’m also going to try to get the paperback edition up on CreateSpace before the official release day. Once the book is live in any form (i.e., the paperback even though the ebook has its own release date), readers can leave reviews. So if I can get the paperback live and available for sale before the official release day (for the ebook), I can tell my beta readers to please leave their reviews immediately. Then it will look like the book releases with reviews. Awesome!

The last thing I’m doing for the first time is something I hope to never do again. The book’s release date is the day after I move! Yup, movers come pick up our stuff, then we clean the house and turn in the keys, and the next day my book goes live. While I’m staying for a few days at a friend’s house, before an international flight. Limited time, limited Internet access, limited everything. Well…we’ll see how it goes!

Meanwhile, I’m putting together Amazon ads for the book (not a first, I’m already running them for two other books), and getting the last newsletter ready that will go out on release day. This is the most amount of work I’ve ever done to have a true book launch. I’m excited!

I don’t expect to sell hundreds of copies the first day; instead my hope is to learn how to do everything, how long it all takes, and create a streamlined process for the future. Then I’ll create a book launch calendar for myself for the next launch.

Exciting times! I’ll let you know what happens! 😀


Kitty Bucholtz author photoKitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. WRITE NOW! Workshop, her website where she teaches and offers advice on self-publishing and time management, is under renovation. Look for the new website near the end of 2017!


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