I Never Knew When To Leave A Party- By (long term) Deb Eileen

I’m the only Founder who didn’t leave. It was certainly my plan, but when my publisher pushed back my pub date, I found myself introducing myself to a whole new class and sticking around for another year. I got to be the crusty older deb, the one who smoked cigarettes in the bathroom and threw around publishing wisdom like I knew what I was talking about.

I find it hard to believe another deb year has come to a close. I find it even harder to believe that this will be my final post and that it’s time for me to hang up the tiara. I suspect I may be one of those debs that is dragged from the dance floor kicking and screaming. One of those “you can have my tiara when you pry it from my cold dead (white gloved, of course) hand” types.

I dreamed about what it would be like to be published long before I even finished my first book, but I hadn’t imagined the friendships. The debs I’ve known, past, present, and future, have been some of the most amazing women and writers I’ve ever met. I’m humbled to be in their group. I can’t imagine what it would have been like without them over the past two years. I find celebrations are always better when shared and disappointments are easier to surmount when surrounded by others to help you up and over. To my fellow debs- my most sincere thanks.

As I prepare to leave the dance floor, I thought I would share the publishing wisdom I’ve gathered so far (in no particular order):

  • Publishing is a business. Although it may be personal for you as the writer, for the others it’s just business. Your pub date may be moved, your cover changed, your titled tweaked, your photo left off the book, a blurb dropped and none of it is a part of a master plan to ruin your life.
  • Some people who you were sure would support you and your book will not and others who you never expected to care will move mountains to help you.
  • A surprising number of people will suggest that you go on Oprah as if this idea never occurred to you.
  • Holding your book for the first time is just about one of the best things you will ever experience. Seeing it on a real live bookshelf- in public!- is even better. Getting letters from people who read your book and liked it enough to write you to tell you so (and aren’t related to you) is even better than the first two.
  • Despite the fact that you tell yourself that bad reviews are a part of the business and you can’t please everyone- it is still easy to obsess over them. You will consider driving to some far flung state to sit down and talk face to face with Person X who clearly didn’t get your book or otherwise would never had said such awful things. You may also consider writing them back and saying “Oh yeah? Well you dress funny.” I encourage you to bury these feelings. This is how authors can turn to stalkers.
  • There will be a deep seated fear that you are forgetting to do something- a magical something- that if you do it will thrust your book onto the national stage and to the top of the NYT list. The truth is there is always more you could be doing- but the most important thing is writing.
  • Writing is a solo activity, but publishing is a community. Surround yourself with positive people who are there to help build you up and not tell you why this was an absurd dream from the start.

As for the future, I’m in the midst of gearing up for my second book What Would Emma Do? to hit the shelves in January. I’m working on the next book and thinking of what will come after that. If you miss me you can always check in to my blog. I would love to see some of the readers here over there from time to time; I’ve grown attached to all of you.

You can take the deb out of the dance, but you can’t take the dance out of the deb. I may be leaving, but I’ll still be dancing.

Deb Eileen

15 Replies to “I Never Knew When To Leave A Party- By (long term) Deb Eileen”

  1. Hey, have you ever thought of going on Oprah? You’d be GREAT!! 😉

    You would, actually, and let us not forget our plans to go on Ellen, too.

    So much good advice contained in this post, Eileen. All very wise, and so very true. Thanks for all the great posts and your wry wit and of course introducing us to “Eileen’s Dad.” What would the Ball be without him?


  2. No one’s path is quite the same, huh? Well I for one am glad you got to stick around, Eileen. To much future success, but this is not a farewell, since I will continue to stalk you on your own blog (see, I’m already learning).

  3. you’re got me laughing and tearing up here, Eileen. As usual. I have been so honored to know you, And and I just know you will get everything you want and deserve! Thanks for a great year!!

  4. Eileen–I can hardly stand it! You’ve cracked me up on almost a daily basis over the past year and become a great friend. I will have to stalk you over at your own blog too, and also via email. We didn’t get to hang out nearly enough in San Francisco (all that silly “having-to-work” stuff we were doing) but I know there is more dancing to come for us all.

  5. You said it all, girl. And I’m enjoying picturing you as a crusty Deb–I’m visualizing someone like Magda in that movie There’s Something About Mary. Skin parched from the sun, sucking on a Marlboro unfiltered, dressed in a housecoat. Maybe your hair in rollers and just for good measure, a face mask on 😉
    Oprah…Now why didn’t I think of that?! he he he

  6. If I had known there would have been so many nice things said- I would have written “my last post” many more time before now. I would be like Cher going on the “final tour version 6”

    Ah Mia- I would do Oprah and Ellen with you anytime.

    Joanne- I am counting on you stalking me. It can be a mutual stalking thing.

    Amy- the next book is YA and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that your daughter likes it.

    Gail, Danielle and Jenny- sniff. Hard to believe the year is over. I think a deb reunion conference that involves more dancing and less working is required some time in the next year.

  7. Eileen, say it isn’t so! I’ve loved our two years together — both here and on your blog — and those YA readers have such a treat coming their way next year. Good, smart, sound writing with wry humor will have them falling in love with you and Emma…just as we fell for you and Sophie.

  8. I think Eileen deserves an award. Debs, what about creating one? She’s a Founder, she and Bob have done an extraordinary amount of work getting and keeping this site running, and she’s been a ROCK for many of us. Any of the new Debs (surely there are 2009 Debs aside from Kris reading these this week, right?) feel like taking on a project? How about a trophy…*gasp* WAIT! How about PEARLS?! Each year the pearls could get passed on to an MVP Deb?

    If anyone is interested, e me.

    Aside from that 😀 Eileen!!!!! You’re almost free! You’ve been a wonderful friend, a wonderful fellow Founder, and the MVP of my heart.

  9. Awww Kristy. I have a special place in my heart for you. If there are pearls being passed out then you should be the one to have them. There would be no ball without you.

  10. Eileen – Unpredictable was the first book I ever reviewed when I first started up my blog. From there I discovered this great grog and have been introduced to so many other wonderful authors.
    So thank you! I’ll definitely follow along on your blog…..

  11. Eileen, I don’t even know what else to say that hasn’t already been said, but I am SO lucky to know you!!!! I adore you and your writing, and we all owe you and Super Bob a huge debt for keeping things rolling on the site this year.

    You are one of the funniest, most gracious, and generous people I know. Thank you for the friendship and advice–there WILL be so much more to come, for all of us!

Comments are closed.