You may know Julie Golob as a decorated, multi-time world and national shooting champion, a US Army veteran, firearms instructor and a prominent voice for safe and responsible firearms ownership. She can now add children’s book author to her long list of accomplishments. Golob previously authored a firearms resource book for adults titled Shoot: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition, published by Skyhorse, in February 2012. Moving into the world of children’s books seemed an effortless transition for this dynamo, but as you will see, there’s more to it than hitting self-publish at Amazon.
“I first thought about writing a children’s book nine years ago when I had my first daughter,” said Golob. “Other than Eddie Eagle, there weren’t many resources available. I was looking for something that gave me a little more – as a gun owner, in a gun-owning family, as a shooter, as a hunter – than just the avoidance message. When my second daughter was born, I thought, ‘This really needs to happen.’”
Golob began writing the book 18 months ago. One of her first tasks was finding the perfect illustrator. “One challenge that I had was that I wanted to make sure the guns in the book look realistic enough, but I didn’t want to use photographs. The book is written from a child’s perspective, and I decided to go with an illustrator who didn’t know that much about firearms … and I found Nancy Batra on LinkedIn. She’s been a joy to work with, because she provided illustrations that struck just the right balance. She did a great job.” The book is full-color from spread to spread, 28 pages of colorful pictures. Golob said she wanted to make sure that background colors on specific pages alerted readers to danger. For example, if there’s a red or gold background, the emphasis is on potential danger.
Golob said she appreciated feedback from her two children during the writing process. “I would read them drafts along the way. There’s no greater feeling in the world than having your older daughter read the book to your younger daughter and then, to have her explain firearms safety as she knows it … I hope that’s something that other parents get to experience, as well.”
Self-published, this book shot to stardom quickly, grabbing the #1 position in safety books for children within a week of its launch in early January. “I really did a lot of research on self-publishing. There are all sorts of little things that go into it, like making sure your metadata is right. It was also important to me not to have any delusions of grandeur, either. Self-publishing Toys, Tools, Guns & Rules has been a great learning experience. To see that ‘Bam!’ my community was right there for me as soon as I launched it and to have so many sales that it became the #1 hot new release in the ‘children’s safety’ category and in the ‘children’s health’ category, that was a really neat moment,” said Golob.
To anti-gun people who may not approve of children’s books about firearms, Golob says, “Gun education is truly gun safety. The avoidance message is very important for small children not to touch guns and to go find an adult … Parents need to have the discussion and continually talk about firearms and firearms safety. When you don’t, that’s when bad things can happen. As a parent, you need to be in control of how your children live and what they learn. The book is not political. It is simply what you need to know and what you need to teach your children.
“Whether or not you support gun ownership, there are so many firearms out there – 300 million, by Congressional research, in this country alone – and there is a huge chance that your child will be exposed to them. It’s just the right thing to do.”
Golob said she is already thinking of a sequel. “The first book, Shoot, was about the shooting sports and it was very much representative of where I was in my life at the time.” Between that book and the present book, she penned an e-book, titled Shooting While Pregnant: A Resource for Expecting Moms, available as a free download at her website. She said parents of older children and teens have asked her to explore the option of writing another book focused on older children and gun safety.
“I love writing. I’ve always been a reader, and to fill in my life journey as a memoir establishment with the topics I’m currently interested in, is exciting. To share what I learned to help others has been so rewarding. I hope to continue.”