When Kristy Kiernan called me last June to invite me to join The Debutante Ball, I told her while I was flattered that she’d thought of me, I didn’t think I could be a deb. Not because I didn’t think The Debutante Ball was a brilliant concept created by a writer I loved and trusted but because I didn’t think I was deb material.
In fact I knew I wasn’t. For one thing, I couldn’t write a post every week. I’d never blogged before. What would I say? And I wasn’t “a group” kind of person. Never had been. In fact the idea of being in a group terrified me. What if I said the wrong thing and everyone hated me (writing this I’m guessing my fear of groups is very old business that must date back to some unresolved middle school trauma involving mean girls). But I already saw myself as The Outsider in this group. Their books were all fiction. They were younger. They’d done these group things before. They were probably all already friends…
And figuring out how to use the WordPress? I think in some ways that was my biggest concern. It seemed so complex and daunting and not something I’d ever be able to master. I would probably press some button that would blow the whole site up. And everyone would hate me for that, too! I didn’t share all those reasons I couldn’t be a deb with Kristy. But she listened to the reasons I did share. And then I think she said something like, Well you think about it, honey, in that sweet honey-tongued, Southern twang.
So here I am a year later. And I’m shocked and proud to tell you that I learned how to use WordPress and I learned to write on demand and I learned to love being part of a group (for the ABSOLUTE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE). And I find myself more than a little sad that we’ve come to end of this year and more than a little sentimental.
I feel honored and privileged to have known these five AMAZING women. I know this site was primarily about cross-promoting our books and that we did with great success. But for me the biggest benefit was psychological. Without them, quite frankly, I would have been lost. And much lonelier and crazier in this pre-launch year. And as the last one to launch I’ve had the added bonus of learning from each one of them both practically and personally (I won’t share the details of our latest online chat session except to say that the love and openness and absolute honesty from all of these women is continuously mind-boggling). Honestly, I still can’t believe I was a deb (am a deb?), that I didn’t blow up the site, that everyone didn’t hate me, that I not only survived this year, but thrived.
I was telling a non-writer friend the other day that launching a book is sort of like getting married, giving birth and sending your oldest to college all at once. And while I’m sure many people manage a launch on their own, I feel blessed that I had these five women as my bridesmaids, my midwives, my friends.
And I also feel great pride in passing the tiara (I keep forgetting to wear) on to the next group, even though I’ll be staying on another month, sharing Mondays with Kris, until my book launches the first week in October.
So thank you Kristy and all the founders and my fellow debs and the future debs and all the debs who will ever be…. you’ve taught me to believe in the power of sisterhood.