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.
Here are a few selections from the proposal.
1. On her affluent childhood:
“I grew up on a five-acre compound twenty minutes from the White House, in the swag D.C. suburb Bethesda in a…mansion that Frank Lloyd Wright had started out designing for some movie producer…We had a pool, tennis court, a two-bedroom guesthouse, two playgrounds, a trampoline, and lived adjacent to the Congressional Country Club golf course. Our neighbor one one side was…Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Jack Anderson…and on the other side, the gated estate of former boxing champ Mike Tyson. Weird, I know. That’s D.C.”
2. On interpersonal relationships:
“[In prep school], I went right for the hottest, richest, most popular senior and was blowing him in his car in three weeks flat. Social climbing through sex has always been one of my specialties. I don’t fuck for love. I fuck to put my name on any given particular New York map.”
3. On life after being kicked out of prep school:
“I starting [sic] running with a crew of people who were all friends of the teenage son of one of the most famous living Democrats…I sat with the politicians’s son in a parked Oldsmobile crushing beers and taking mushrooms with him and my boyfriend on dark secluded streets with the Secret Service parked behind us, watching, watching.”
4. On her psychiatrist father’s support of her lifestyle:
5. On life as a New York City addict:
“For a spring and a summer and a few years there, everything was okay. Every drink I ordered in the club tasted like suntan lotion Reality crashed down and receded from me as rhythmically as the surf did when I stood looking out at an ocean. The streets seemed paved with gold bricks. Guzzling Nyquil seemed like a sex trick. I laughed when a boy fucked me with my own prescription bottles on camera. And twirling batons for downton dons was fun.”
6. All told, she seems to truly believe in the book’s success.
The book’s release date hasn’t been announced yet, but judging by the rough state of these submitted materials, it could be a little while before the world gets to read it in full.