It’s been exactly one week since the release of Into the Free and man, oh, man are things a-hoppin’! I thought you all might like a behind-the-scenes look into one’s life after a debut novel is released.
First of all, the launch party at Off Square Books on January 31 was incredible. I am still swimming in a haze of extreme gratitude and trying to figure out how to adequately thank everyone for such tremendous support.
The launch was enough. It was more than I ever dreamed of and that joy alone could have lasted me the rest of my life. But the week has gotten better and better. First of all, I’m thrilled to announce Into the Free is already on its THIRD PRINTING by David C Cook! That means, not only has the book sold more copies than we expected – three-fold – it did so before it was even officially released! As I say to my Kindergarten students…Holy Guacamole!
Secondly, I’ve been pleasantly bombarded with requests for interviews. I’ve already conducted three radio interviews, as well as numerous blog interviews and guest posts. I’m also adding author events to the calendar daily. It’s been a bit busy, but I always say…it’s better to be too full than too empty. Bring it!
Much to my surprise, the story has been featured everywhere from Australia to Japan and is slowly trickling out through a grassroots word-of-mouth effort. It’s extremely difficult to break in as a debut novelist, but I sense a bit of a groundswell occurring as more and more readers contact me with positive feedback about the book.
In particular, I’ve been especially moved by letters about how this book has helped readers heal emotional wounds.
Specifically, Millie helped one reader reach a point of forgiveness after being sexually assaulted as a young child. “I appreciated how Millie handled the situation and her honesty about it being a long journey to heal. I cried so much I had to put the book down at times. It brought me back through every emotion I’ve buried for a long time, but in the end I closed the book feeling a sense of relief I have never felt. I am going to read it again, and I’m sharing it with my friends. I wish everyone would read this book and understand how important it is to protect children.”
Another reader wrote that her mother, whose personality was a dangerous combination of Marie’s and Jack’s, made the tragic choice to commit suicide when the reader was in her early twenties. Reading Millie’s story enabled her to face her painful past and reach a peaceful place in her current life. She wrote…“to finally have released all that anger and guilt…you can’t imagine how freeing that is. I am going to make sure my sister reads this book too, for I feel she will get a lot out of it. God bless you, Julie. You are doing wonderful things through your writing!!!”
A third reader wrote an encouraging note describing her concern about her teen daughter who is in an unhealthy relationship. She is giving her daughter the book in hopes of encouraging her to reexamine her choices and to hopefully find a better partner. “I have prayed for answers and guidance, but my hands have been tied. I believe Millie can reach (my daughter) in a way I can’t. Thank you for saying in this book what I have wanted to say for more than a year. I hope she listens.”
All the reviews and interviews and sales numbers don’t mean a thing compared to that kind of reader feedback. Thank you for spending time in Millie’s world and for listening to her story. Thank you for giving this debut novel a chance. Thank you for sharing your honest feedback with me. And thank you for sharing this tale with others. This book has already accomplished more than I could ever have dreamed….it has helped at least two readers come to peace with their past and one improve her relationship with her daughter. To have played some small part in that is amazing, and I’m grateful for that opportunity.
I’d love to hear what you think about Into the Free. Comment here or email me privately: firstname.lastname@example.org