But What Happens After The Coming Out Party?

After a Debutante’s debut, what tends to happen? In the old days, she probably got married off and began living a life of luxury. Today — who knows? But surely a tiara or fancy dress is involved.

I guess you don’t need me to tell you that times have changed.

Absolutely nothing about my own debut happened the way I expected it to. Like in most things I do, I was woefully unprepared and under-informed, assuming that the book would be released to much excitement from the masses, who would immediately clamor for more. My career would be made and the life of luxury would begin.

Instead, my publisher was fired in one of the biggest scandals to rock the book publishing world in a decade, every single person who had anything to do with my book disappeared from the business, and Party Girl was released under a banner Harper Collins created to dispose of the Regan books that were scheduled to come out. Despite a flurry of publicity (due solely to the fact I’d worked in the media for a while and can be quite determined when I need to be), I always felt I was fighting an uphill battle with this book. Sort of like the debutante who broke her legs right before the ball but everybody insisted would look great dancing in her casts.

But it certainly wasn’t all a disaster. Because, you see, all sorts of things I could never have predicted came about either as a result of Party Girl or simply because I was karmically due.

Three offers were made for the film rights for the book and I accepted the highest paying one (hey, I lived in L.A. for a decade and thus know all too well that a lot gets optioned and very little made — you gotta take the money on this one). I sold another book to Harper Collins, Kept Waiting, which is scheduled to come out in March of 2009. And I recently also sold an anthology, also to Harper Collins, about a sordid topic I’m all too familiar with — reality television — and have essays from Toby Young, Jennifer Belle, Neal Pollack and a slew of other impressive folk coming in for it. Also, I’ve started writing my third novel and have never been so excited about anything I’ve written. (You can see a snippet of me reading a passage from it here, but be forewarned that it’s not exactly, um, deb-approved.)

And oh, I moved to New York! I was only planning to come here for a three-month sublet but it was the fall when I had to make a decision about whether or not to stay and anyone who’s ever been to New York in the fall knows how that goes. After a brief panic about how I was going to pay rent here, a flurry of new opportunities piled in: a gig co-hosting a Sirius radio show, a job as the Editor-in-Chief of dipdive.com, a website that will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas launched after he made his Obama videos and a slew of new magazine assignments (look out for my piece on men who believed they were gay only to realize they’re not in the September issue of Details and on women who cheat in the October issue of Maxim).

But the main thing what’s happened since my debut is that I’ve wised up. In New York, it seems like everyone’s published a book or is trying to. Those of us that have succeeded, I now see, need to count ourselves as oh-so-blessed and not worry about Amazon numbers and whether or not the publisher’s marketing department cares enough about us. I only wish I’d understood, while dealing with the woes of Party Girl, that I’m one of the ones living the dream, not on the way to achieving it.

Now let’s see if I can keep that zen attitude when the next one comes out…

13 Replies to “But What Happens After The Coming Out Party?”

  1. I think there is a lot of wisdom here, Anna. Thanks for sharing it as I go off the pre-launch deep end… I’ll try to remember to be zen. And you ARE a huge success on many levels!

  2. Anna, it’s terrific to read you and learn all your good news. And, of course, everything worked out as was meant to be. After all you’re a survivor who definitely belongs in NYC. Congratulations on the first year of your novelist’s career!

  3. Sorry to hear you had so many bumps in the road along the way to releaseing Party Girl but congrats on the success of it.

    That is great news about selling your other books to Harper Collins

  4. Great update, Anna! Sounds to me like you’ve evolved into some situations that suit you perfectly, and isn’t that what we all want? Amazing how things work out, isn’t it? Rock on, Deb Anna!

    (p.s. Can I stay with you when I come to NYC?)


  5. Ah, Anna, this is why I’ve never gone off to live in Manhattan for three months. I know my kids would be so sorry I never returned home 😉
    I’m glad that things finally rebounded after such a succession of bad luck–talk about being orphaned! Your publishing orphaning story is like some sordid soap opera version!

    Best of luck to you as you continue to climb and keep up the zen. I’m trying to reclaim mine after the event-filled past 6-months following my debut

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