Published Novelist: The First Three Days


(My actual book in my actual hand. It’s possible I need a manicure.)


5:10 AM – The puppy awakens you by licking your face. She doesn’t know it’s launch day! and frankly she doesn’t care. Spend 45 minutes telling her to “go lie down” which she does in five-minute increments. Surrender at 5:55 because it’s launch day!

6:00 AM – Check email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Post your good news everywhere. Check for likes and shares and retweets and hearts. Feel the love. Not just from the puppy.

7:00 AM – Say goodbye to family members on their way to work and school. They know it’s launch day! and congratulate you without licking your face even once.

8:00 AM – You’re alone, just you and your launch day! More checking and texting, replying to inquiries. You’re cool as a cucumber because you’ve already had a cover revealed, and a preorder up. A prequel released. Also, seven years have passed since you started this process. It’s about time.


Noon: Admit you’ve actually had butterflies in your stomach since 5:10 AM. You are not cool as a cucumber. Who came up with that saying in the first place? Today is not anticlimactic because SEVEN YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE YOU STARTED THIS PROCESS. IT’S ABOUT TIME.

2:00 PM – Do the dishes. And laundry. Shop for groceries. Walk the dogs. Because these chores don’t know it’s launch day! and frankly they don’t care. More checking. Texting. Replying to inquiries. It’s all good, you tell your kids who are now home from school. You try to mean it.

5:00 PM – Hear from your husband. He won’t, in fact, be working late. He’ll be home by 6:30! There will be champagne and toasts, he says.

He’s right.

Spend the evening talking too much from nervous energy and excitement mixed with a sick fear of failure. And also because you always talk too much.

Do more checking of email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Your Amazon Author Page. Post your good news again. Everywhere. Feel the love. Feel weird.

It’s weird.

10:00 PM – Don’t go to bed because it’s your first launch day! which only happens once and when you’re asleep it will be over. Read new reviews with your eyes half shut. Your stomach’s still butterfly-ish. Mostly from happiness. But also because it’s over.


5:10 AM – LIE DOWN, Scout!

5:55 AM – Repeat yesterday’s schedule. Again. And again.

10:00 AM – People you know are writing blog posts and reviews about Letters for Scarlet. They love your book. You are verklempt.

11:00 AM – People you don’t know are writing blog posts and reviews about Letters for Scarlet. They love your book. You are verklempt.

Read new reviews with your eyes wide open. Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s okay.


Noon – Decide that everyone who knows you and was planning to buy your book has bought your book. Worry that from this day forward, you may never sell another book.


2:00 PM – Admit you’re not going to write another book today.

3:00 PM – Laundry. Dishes. Groceries. Dog-walking. Email. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Amazon Author Page. Husband. Kids.

6:00 PM – Family.

Together you watch The Walking Dead Season Finale because you have been a published novelist for almost two days and life goes on. Except for the zombies.

Go to bed realizing nothing much has changed. You’re still you. Your family and friends are still your family and friends. Your puppy will still wake you up early tomorrow morning.


Same deal. Skip to noon.

Two copies of your book are waiting in a padded yellow envelope in your mailbox. Don’t open the envelope right away because once you open it, the moment is over. Check on the neighbor’s dog. Talk to the dog-sitter who’s there because the neighbors are out of town.

Is that package for them? she asks.

Tell her no. It’s mine.

Return to your house. Open the yellow envelope. Look at your books. Touch their covers. Flip through pages. Do not read them. Just stare. You’re alone except for the dogs. Take a picture in the mirror without removing your reading glasses or applying mascara.


This is it. THIS IS IT.


The moment is over. The books sit on your counter.

They are beautiful.

Text the picture to your husband and cry a little.

You’ve been a published author since Monday.

Everything has changed. Nothing is different.

Life goes on.

If you haven’t purchased your copy of Letters for Scarlet yet, you can do that here, and you can download the free prequel, Guest List, here!

Also, I have a Book Club Discussion Guide for anyone whose book club might be interested in reading Letters for Scarlet. Please email me at and I’ll send it to you. And if your group would like to Skype with me during you’re meeting, I’m in!

I might even get dressed first.



30 thoughts on “Published Novelist: The First Three Days

  1. Oh Julie! Indeed, I have always wondered what it would be like. Now I know how to prepare for my own hypothetical launch day: get a puppy.

    Congratulations! I’m so excited and proud of you.

    • When the time comes, I have a dog or three you can borrow. 😉

  2. Where do I click Love? Where? Congratulations to Scout on another day of being a puppy. It’s tricky when your human thinks they have other things going on in their life 😉

    • What do you mean I have something else going in my life? You now have the attention of three very confused dogs…

  3. NannyK

    I suspect that those butterflies felt more like pterodactyls. So I hope you are still feeling the love❤️

    • Yep. Feeling it. This has been a week, for sure.
      Love YOU!

  4. So thrilled for you! I downloaded the Kindle edition!
    High fives and face licks!

    • Thank you for the support, Lisa! Hooray!

  5. Diane

    Yes, yes, yes. This is the when, there never was an if. How incredibly proud am I of you my dear, dear published friend! XXXOOO The Veuve awaits!

    • Hey…it’s almost like you read my acknowledgment page

  6. amazing.
    I am so happy for you & tis GREAT achievement!
    can’t wait to read and review. x

    • Thanks so much, Kim! You inspire me every day.

  7. Courtney

    It’s Launch Week – let the celebration continue! Love you Julie Ch

    • What can I say except I adore you, CDW…

  8. Jen

    I am so excited for you! I know how awesome you are & now so many more people will know that too. XO

    • Thank you, Jen! It means so much to me that we will always be in each other’s lives.
      I just know it. How lucky am I?

  9. Yay!!!! So excited, so happy, so verklempt for you! xoxo

    • I love having someone else on my verklempt team. Thanks so much for allll your support, Heidi. You are wonderful!

  10. Everything has changed. Nothing is different.

    So happy for you, my friend. And so happy you are enjoying the life and love that surrounds you.

    Cheers to you, my published friend! xoxo

    • Maybe someday I will have a line of adoring fans like the ones waiting for you last night. You are an author rockstar and an even better friend. Love you!

  11. I’m so excited for you!

    • Thanks so much, Leigh Ann.
      Ten minutes a day.

  12. Cannot even tell you how excited I am for you!!!!

  13. Face licks, for all my friends! Ok, well, maybe a hug and some peanut M&Ms. Love you!

  14. Laurel

    Your rock in a million ways!!!

    • Laurel

      I mean, YOU rock in a million ways! Everything has changed! I’m loving your book. Love you!

  15. So very happy for you and your joy/fear/joy/fear/newness/sameness/book!

  16. I love that you took us on this journey!!

  17. Seriously, congratulations . . . the Kindle app is teasing me because I have the book, at the top of the app . . . and not the time to read it. Stupid responsibilities.

    But read it I will. And treasure it, I’m sure to.

    Also? Some day, I’m going to start getting serious about writing. Somehow/someway.

  18. I read this with such excitement for you. I love the book . LOVE IT. I am savoring it, just as you did your very first launch day. So happy and excited for you!! xoxo

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