I Can Hardly Believe It’s That Time Again…

I remember last year when the application window opened here for the Debutante Class of 2020. I was finishing up my teaching job for the year, and the whole prospect of publishing a novel in the next twelve months still seemed like a surreal dream. I’d been a long-time reader of this site, and I’d fangirled over many of the previous writers in the days before I’d even queried an agent.

I submitted my Deb application hardly believing my good fortune at even being eligible, that I too could be writing about the thrilling and mundane aspects of being a novelist in 2020.

A year later, I’ve finished my second book (well, save for copy edits), I’ve been on a COVID-truncated book tour, I’ve met a zillion talented and generous colleagues, and I’ve written tons weekly blog posts right here.

As Lisa mentioned yesterday, writing for the site is a ton of work. You should know that when you apply. But, as I’ve reflected on the past year and re-read many of my essays, I’m glad to have done it. Here are some highlights, or reasons that if you have a book launching between September 2020 and August 2021 with a traditional commercial publisher, you might want to join up:

  • You get to highlight and promote people’s incredible work. Besides my Deb sisters, I’ve been able to hype the books of twelve guests and counting. I have enjoyed so much the connections I’ve made through this process, and I know I’ll continue to follow and support the careers of the writers with whom I’ve engaged.
  • You join a cadre of supportive alumnae. Debs from many classes have reached out and retweeted and cheerled during this year. I’m excited to do the same for next year’s class and the Debs who come afterward.
  • You take time to reflect on the journey. The debut year is difficult, I think. Everything is unknown. Chances to compare yourself to others (and sometimes, to feel bad about yourself in those equations) are numerous. I appreciated the time to think through my feelings and share them through our weekly reflections. Making my messy emotions and reactions suitable for public consumption helped me process the highs and lows.

So, will you consider joining us? Karen’s in charge of the application form, and she has it ready right here.

If you’d like more information or want to talk through the opportunity, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram. This might just be the perfect place for you. <3


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Kathleen West

Kathleen West is the author of the forthcoming novel, Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, out 2/4/20 from Berkley. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.