Author Guest Post: Melody Johnson (Beyond the Next Star Audiobook)

Posted November 7, 2022 by Jen in Author Guest Post Tags: ,

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The Unheard Truths of Audiobooks

By Melody Johnson

I began what I consider “seriously writing”—writing in the pursuit of publication—during the summer of 2010 for my college honors project. In the twelve years since, I’ve written ten full-length novels, four of which have been published traditionally, one of which was published independently, another which was picked up by an agent, and my most recent which is scheduled to release this January. All of which to say that I’ve been writing a long time, yet I’m constantly learning something new about the industry and myself. When I first began writing, indie publishing had only just begun to legitimately take hold of the market, and now, NYT Bestselling authors are going hybrid (publishing some books independently). Like never before, authors have the opportunity to enjoy full creative control of their story. With twelve years of writing, ten books, and nearly six publications under my belt, this year, I suddenly felt like a baby taking her first steps all over again, because as usual in the constantly growing publishing industry, I had the chance to achieve another first: producing an audiobook of my sci-fi romance novel, Beyond the Next Star (Love Beyond, Book 1). Venturing into unfamiliar waters can be thrilling and exhilarating, if a little scary. Luckily for me, a friend and fellow author of mine is extremely experienced in producing audiobooks, so I could lean on her for advice on the process and guidance on what to expect (shout out to the fabulous S. E. Smith!). Even with her support, however, I still experienced a few surprises along the way. 

The process was easy

I never would have expected the process of producing an audiobook to be so easy! I don’t know if it’s because of the upfront financial investment that audiobook production requires, but I feel like no one talks about how simple producing an audiobook truly is. As an author, you’ve already done all the heavy lifting up front—writing/editing/publishing the book and designing a cover. All that’s left to produce an audiobook is a few business decisions on budget, royalties, and distribution; claiming your book on the production platform of your choice; preparing a three-page script; choosing a narrator; providing feedback; approving the final product; and resizing your cover. In comparison to the time and effort it takes to write the full-length novel to begin with: Easy!

Listening to auditions was fun

My version of “fun” is binge watching Bridgerton over a pepperoni pizza on a couch date with my best friend. I absolutely did not expect to “have fun” while producing an audiobook. Probably because I don’t necessarily find writing “fun.” For me, writing is rewarding, cathartic, frustrating, and necessary, but I had a blast listening to auditions for my audiobook. Once I set Beyond the Next Star as “open for auditions,” the submissions came pouring in. Some were a little extra, which was hilarious. Some were a little robotic, which was also entertaining. But most blew me away. I had so many fantastic options that after having whittled them down to my top five, I shared them with my reader’s group, friends, and family to consider their opinions as well. Normally, I’m pretty decisive about what I like and don’t like, so for me to reach out for feedback, you know I was torn. 

The unexpected thrill of it

Hearing my story come alive in a completely different format was unexpectedly thrilling. It’s an inkling of what I’d expect to feel while watching my story on screen if I’m ever fortunate enough to have the pleasure of adapting my book for TV or movies. Hearing my book, as opposed to reading it, brought the story and characters to life in an entirely new way that I hadn’t anticipated. It made me laugh and blush and feel all the feels. Several times I had to remind myself that it’s my book. I know what’s going to happen, yet something about the audiobook (probably due to the talent of my wonderful narrator; thank you Michelle Sobeski!) made the story fresh and exciting even for me. 

About the Book:

Audiobook cover of Beyond the Next Star by Melody JohnsonBook title: Beyond the Next Star
Author: Melody Johnson
Publisher: Incendi Press, LLC
Publication date: September 13, 2022 (Audiobook) / June 23, 2020 (print and ebook)
Series: Love Beyond #1
Genre: Sci-fi Romance

An intolerable order. 

Before Commander Torek Renaar can return to active duty, he’s ordered to purchase an animal companion to help relieve his PTSD symptoms. But having been a caretaker for and lost a loved one, keeping even one little human alive is a challenge he feels doomed to fail. It doesn’t help that his animal companion is the newest, most exotic breed on the market, demanding constant attention, daily grooming, and delicate handling. If she doesn’t die first in his incompetent care, she’ll be the death of him. 

A desperate charade. 

After witnessing the murder of her domestication specialist, Delaney McCormick allows her new owner to treat her like the pet he believes her to be. If anyone suspects she’s more intelligent than a golden retriever, her murder would be next. She endures the humiliation of being washed, the tediousness of being trained to “sit” and “come,” and the intrigue of hearing private conversations. But in Torek’s care, she finds something unexpected on this antarctic planet, something she never had in all her years on Earth while house-hopping between foster families: a home. 

A deadly secret. 

As companionship grows to love, must Delaney continue the charade, acting like an animal and hiding from the murderer waiting on her misstep? Or can she trust Torek with her secrets, even if the truth threatens everything he holds dear—and both their lives? 

Purchase links (ebook and print):



Purchase links (audiobook):




About the Author:

author photo of Melody JohnsonMelody Johnson is the award-winning author of the “out of this world” Love Beyond series and the gritty, paranormal romance Night Blood series published by Kensington Publishing/ Lyrical Press. She graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology. Her first published novel, The City Beneath (Night Blood, book 1), was a finalist in the “Cleveland Rocks” and “Fool For Love” contests.

Earning the 2021 Maggie Award of Excellence, Beyond the Next Star (Love Beyond, book 1) is an exciting branch from Melody’s paranormal romance roots, keeping the dark grit from her Night Blood Series and taking it to new worlds. The New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Lynsay Sands, “laughed out loud” reading Beyond the Next Star (Love Beyond, book 1), and Kirkus Reviews praised is as, “an engaging and unusual otherworldly tale.” Ruby Dixon, author of the viral sci-fi romance novels: Ice Planet Barbarians series, “stayed up far too late reading this.” 

When she isn’t writing, Melody enjoys swimming, hiking, reading, and exploring her new home in southeast Georgia. Stay in touch with Melody on social media or her website: 

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