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February 1, 2012

Julie Cross on Becoming a Published Author

Posted by Katherine

Julie Cross lives in central Illinois with her husband and three children. She never wrote fiction before May of 2009, but since then, hasn't gone a day without writing. Here she talks about what it felt like to become a published author.

It’s been two weeks since the release of my debut novel, TEMPEST and several people have asked me if I feel different now that I’m officially a real published author. The answer is: yes and no. To walk in a store and see my book on a shelf is completely surreal and yet I’ve been visualizing this experience for so long that it didn’t feel quite as “out of body” as I had anticipated. Honestly, for the past several months, my biggest fear was, am I going to start sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of Barnes and Noble on release day? Will it be like standing on the Olympic podium to receive a gold medal?

What I’ve come to realize in these past two weeks, is that release day is more like getting your Team USA uniform. It’s a beginning, not a conclusion. And the people who I thought were competition --- other published authors --- are actually my teammates. The camaraderie between authors, especially YA authors is just amazing to me. I’ll be the first to admit to being a little star-struck meeting Beth Revis and Carrie Ryan in New York a couple weeks ago, but they were so nice and down-to-earth I didn’t have any trouble talking to them.

The great thing about being a writer of fiction books in a booming YA genre is that buying a book isn’t like buying a car, where you choose one make and model and hope to keep it as long as you can --- or at least until the loan is paid off. With books, one great novel leads readers to seek out another great story, then another…so we all become interconnected, influencing our audiences to keep reading.

And the fact that writers are also readers makes us squeal and shift into total fan-girl mode when, for example, the Hunger Games trailer is released or if YA author Kody Keplinger shows up at your very first book signing. I can’t imagine these types of situations will ever become ordinary or mundane for me. 

So, now I’m wearing my “Team Published Author” uniform proudly, which greatly resembles my pajamas, and I’m ready for many of you to read my story. Hopefully, it will lead you to seek out more great books.