Misguided Fear: Why I Almost Didn’t Join The Debutante Ball


This week we kick off the search for next year’s crop of featured writers for The Debutante Ball. To celebrate that, we’re each writing about our (almost-complete) year as one of the debs. 

I’m not gonna lie: I was afraid of doing this. I’m about as organized as a toddler and I feared my ability to generate a post every week, let alone a post every week that anyone would willingly read. Like everybody else in the world, I’m overcommitted to the point of sheer exhaustion. 

But The Deb Ball turned out to be the greatest thing ever. Not only does it force me into some semblance of discipline, but to my surprise I find I absolutely love writing a post every week. People think you cannot force creativity, but in my case it turns out a red-hot deadline spurs previously unknown depths of innovation. Some of my favorite articles I’ve ever written (here and here and here) were spawned in a yelping panic at the looming approach of Wednesday, my day to produce a post. I even wrote a post about writing a post, which turned out to be one of my better posts. So meta, right?

There were other benefits, too. I interviewed some of my favorite authors and spoke on literary panels and met bloggers. I’m so grateful to be part of a tradition of honoring female writers that now spans more than a decade and boasts some remarkable names as alumni. All of this is delighful, but it pales in comparison to my favorite thing about the site:

My fellow Debs. 

Debuting as a writer is hard. No matter how brilliantly you write, someone else will do it better. Many people will have more recognition, more publicity, and more sales than you. You’re competing with astronomical numbers of other authors for shelf space: my publisher alone put out more than 15,000 new titles last year. Over a million books will be published in the United States this year. In this sea of books, it would be easy for an author to feel insignificant.

At The Deb Ball, we are never alone. We support one another when things are rough and celebrate one another when things are good. I’m seldom at a loss for words (again, apologies to my long-suffering editor) but I’m finding it impossible to adequately describe my admiration and love for Cass, Kaitlyn, Lara, and Julie. They’re just lovely; so good and so talented and so interesting. I cannot imagine getting through this year without them. We each bring something different to the table; different genres, different backgrounds, different beliefs, different experiences. Every day, I learn from them. 

And every day, I am grateful that I was chosen alongside them. 

Are you a female or non-binary author with a release coming out between September 2018 and August 2019? Apply to join the Class of 2019!

Author: Kimmery Martin

Kimmery is the author of The Queen of Hearts (2018, Penguin). She's also a doctor, mother, author interviewer, traveler, and obsessive reader. You can read Kimmery's book recommendations and reviews at kimmerymartin.com.