JULIE JOHNSON

boys are better in books

So your Nana read your New Adult novel....

The trials and tribulations of a first-time self-published romance author

As I’m sure every self-published author in the world knows, there comes a time in the pre-publication process when you realize that people are, in fact, going to read this damn novel you’ve been plugging away at for months or years or decades. It’s not actually going to sit on your computer desktop collecting figurative dust forever – it’s going to be out there, accessible to billions of people with a few easy keystrokes and a click of a mouse. The baby bird will leave the nest, and you’ll have little to no control over whether she’ll soar to great heights on the bestseller lists, or crash down to the pavement, abandoned forever in the annals of the Amazon Kindle store.

But still, this is wonderful! you think. Like, ohmigod, millions of people are going to read my book all over the world! That is, like, so totally awesome!

Ah, the blind naivety of the hopeful unpublished.

Of course, it’s possible that millions of anonymous bookworms out there are going to purchase and devour your novel, leave a glowing 5-star recommendation on your Amazon page, and tell all their friends to go out and buy it ASAP. But alas, the oft-neglected truth is… at first, the people reading your book won’t be strangers. They won’t live halfway around the world in exotic locales.

They’ll be your family. Your closest friends. A few trusted coworkers. And hey, don’t get me wrong, that’s pretty freaking awesome! Family and friends are perhaps the greatest support system we can ever have when venturing out into the unknown.

You wrote a sci-fi adventure series your StarWars-obsessed father loves? Excellent!

You wrote a snarky recipe-dieting book for women in their 30s that your sister-in-law thinks is hysterical and practical all at once? Hooray for you!

But… what if you’re like me? What if your genre isn’t nonfiction or how-to guides or self-help?

What if you write *gasp* romance novels?

And what if  *gasp again* your Nana reads them?

I’m lucky. I have the good fortune of having two parents who loved me enough to read and edit my first novel. I’m also unlucky, in the sense that my beta-reader, who dissected each passionate love scene and, god forbid, even the sex scenes, also happened to be my father. My dad. The man who raised me, who put band-aids on my skinned knees, who still sees me, in many ways, as his little girl.

Can you say awkward?

I can.

awkwardawkwardawkwardawkwardawkwardawkwardawkwardawkward

Especially if, like me, you have the emotional maturity of a fifth-grader and can’t utter the word “penis” out loud without dissolving into a highly inappropriate fit of the giggles.

And then, even if you manage to survive the highly mortifying and somewhat squeamish process of your parents and closest friends reading the semi-naughty bits of your novel… what do you do when your eighty-five year old grandmother – who has her very own iPad and navigates Amazon with the ease of any techno-wiz – purchases a copy?!

Well, I’ll tell you….

I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA.

(Sorry if I led you to believe I actually possessed even an iota of wise, guru-like insight into this.)

Because seriously, guys, what do you even do in this situation? Other than crawl under the nearest rock and hope that no one brings up a particularly intimate scene from your novel while you’re passing the turkey plate during Thanksgiving dinner?

I guess I’ll just have to let you know how it goes come November.

For me, as a first-time novelist, this has been the most terrifying, wonderfully fulfilling, utterly exciting endeavor of my (albeit short) twenty-two years on this planet. And, if it wasn’t already abundantly clear from this somewhat-rambling first foray into blogging, I’m still learning. This is a completely new experience for me. And, since this is me we’re talking about, chances are I might screw it up.

So let’s do it together instead.

If you have a question for me, ask it! If you want to talk about my book, email me! Heck, if you want to know what I ate for breakfast this morning, it was probably just coffee! In all seriousness, though, I would love to hear from you – because you guys are what matters most. Your opinions, thoughts, feelings – I want to hear them all! Especially as I begin the process of writing my second novel.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post it’s either because you know me in real life and are therefore required to read anything I put on the internet in the off-chance that it mentions you – Hi, Mom! – or, it’s because you read Like Gravity and (hopefully) enjoyed it.

Whichever category you fall into, I just want to say thank you! Thank you for making this experience so wonderful thus far. Thank you for giving validation to all the work I put into my first novel. Thank you for brightening every single day with all of the positive reviews, comments, and messages about Finn & Brooklyn. Thank you for being the best fans a girl could ever hope for.

Keep in touch! Much love.

Julie xo