how to succeed as a writer
1) Be a spoiled-rotten child of privilege.
2) Live selfishly and dangerously.
3) Get a book deal worth $500K.
Works every time.
Cat Marnell has reportedly sold her memoir, How to Murder Your Life, to Simon and Schuster for $500,000.
Marnell, the drug addict ex-beauty editor of Lucky and, more recently and infamously, xoJane, has written at least part of a forthcoming book detailing her chemical-fueled exploits. The rumored advance is outrageously high for a first-time author, especially one pursuing a personal essay-based creative nonfiction project. Books of personal nonfiction are lucky to earn $50,000 advances, much less half a million dollars (and according to her agent, that wasn’t even the highest offer she received).
So, outside of her tabloid-friendly name, what makes her book worth the extra hundreds of thousands? BuzzFeed has obtained the complete proposal her agent submitted to publishers; while it doesn’t include traditional book proposal components like chapter summaries or a bulleted explanation of the title’s market appeal, it did include a picture of Marnell with a coke-snorting friend in a nightclub bathroom.
Oh, do click over for selections from her winning book proposal. And do treasure how semi-literate it is. And then reflect on all the ways in which you, as a creative person, have failed to live up to Marnell’s example.
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