One month of Juniper, or: What’s it like to be a published author?

My book that came out a month ago was my first and nearly four years in the making. It didn’t take four years to write Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index, but it did take four years to plan, write, revise, get an agent, revise, find a publisher, revise, complete a slew of publishing firsts, revise, and eventually end up in bookstores. Add on a practice book, the study of the craft, and a commitment to reading, and it’s probably been closer to five years since I decided to pursue writing fiction.

So what’s it like to finally be published?

The answer is…

Pretty much the same?

audrey hepburn quote

There are a few differences:

1. I’ve started carrying around a Sharpie. Not to be pretentious—because in regular life I sometimes encounter friends, acquaintances, etc. who’ve bought the book and would like it signed.

2. I have fans??? Most days I wake up to some kind of social notifications from readers who enjoyed the book. I don’t know if this will be the norm going forward or if it’s just because Juniper is new, but it’s lovely, moving, and really kind of astounding! I mean, I remember what a big deal it was for me the first time an author I admire even liked one of my tweets (B.J. Novak after a reading). To be on the other end of that is nothing short of magical—and has me paradoxically fangirling over my fans.

3. People who go out with me are suddenly eager to tell strangers what I do for a living and that my first book just came out. Friends and family have always been supportive of my writing, but now that there is physical proof of success out in the world, it is easier to talk about and boy, are your cheerleaders excited to share for you. Even I am more likely to admit to being a writer in public (but still don’t go out of my way to tell people).

It’s like when you eat out with a friend on a birthday and your friend (un)casually lets the waiter know what day it is.

WAITER: Oh, it’s your birthday? Happy birthday!

YOU: Hahaha, thanks. Yep, another year older. Whoop whoop.


There have also been many firsts in the last month. Scroll or click through the gallery to see some of my favorites as well as other highlights from the first month of publication.

To those who aren’t published yet but are working towards publication, I say: even if the world does not yet recognize what you are doing, you are Doing it. Write on.


16 thoughts on “One month of Juniper, or: What’s it like to be a published author?

  1. this is so very awesome! I’ve been lurking on your blog since at least 2014, maybe 2013? i remember stumbling onto your blog when randomly googling something about writing advice and i just stuck around. it’s been a very cool to watch you evolve over the years and I’m so happy for your success! 😀 I hope it is the first of many, congratulations, m’dear!

  2. Love the gallery you put together there Julie. I’ve observed your sheer tenacity and optimism over most of those years and I’m so pleased for you. You are one hard-working professional, unlike the many of us who just mess around with our writing hobby. Looking forward to reading about your future adventures. Best wishes.

  3. Awesome to read this. And good to know the backstory–5 years of pursuing writing before your beautiful book came out. I’m just hitting 3 years, heh heh. =)

    • Thank you! 🙂 Haha, yep, while there’s definitely no magic formula, the important thing is that it doesn’t happen overnight. But three years — I bet you are well on your way! 🙂

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