That Time I Had a Book Deal

It’s true. At one point not too long ago, someone offered to publish a book…written by me. Crazy, huh? Here’s the story.

As you may have picked up by now, I have a thing for Disney, and specifically Walt Disney World. I took part in the WDW College Program in the summer of 2000, and then went back for an Advanced Internship (in Guest Relations) after I graduated college in 2002. I went on to be hired full-time from there, and stayed with the company (both in Florida and later in New York) until 2008.

During my time with Disney, I had the pleasure of getting a coffee meeting with Lee Cockerell, the then-Executive Vice President of Operations for all Walt Disney Park and Resorts – more on that another time. I’ve been a fan of his ever since.

One day more recently, browsing through books on Amazon, I came across one called “Amber Earns Her Ears,” for which he had written the forward. It looked like a quick read, so I put it on my Kindle and away we went. It ended up being a mini-memoir chronically the titular Amber through her time in two College Programs. It was a fun read that brought back a lot of memories, but I also thought it had a lot of holes – and I said as much in my Amazon review.

Imagine my surprise when the book publisher then reached out to me and asked if I would write a follow-up book that followed my journey through the Walt Disney Company. A few phone calls and emails later, I accepted the offer and signed an agreement. That was about two years ago, and (you guessed it) there’s no book.

That publisher (Theme Park Press) has gone on to publish several more books, including five others in the “Earns Her Ears” series…but mine isn’t one of them. So, what happened?

I guess there were a few things that factored into it. I will take full responsibility and let the first one be this: finishing a book is just hard. It takes time and dedication…and courage. And when it came down to it, I didn’t have enough of any of those things. Working full-time, having a preschooler, husband, and dog, and trying to maintain some semblance of social life – those beat staring at a computer for hours almost every time.

That wasn’t all, though. I’m a fairly rational and objective person, but any way you slice it, no job is perfect. I never imagined that what I wrote would end up being a juicy tell-all, but I also knew it would be impossible to tell a complete story without some negativity. And even though I never would have meant anything maliciously, I also know that it would have been impossible not to hurt some feelings. I doubt that I would have found myself on the New York Times bestseller list, but once words are out there, there’s no taking them back.

Maybe one day I’ll finish a book, but this one won’t be it. I love that I’m still in some form of contact with friends I made in all of my jobs with Disney. And there sure as heck is no hope of ever returning to a job with the company if anything like that gets published. Who knows? I might want to return to the theme parks in my retirement years.

2 thoughts on “That Time I Had a Book Deal

  1. Bob McLain says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t finish your book. I certainly would have been glad to publish it.

    Unless you were going to be libelous (in which case, of course, I *wouldn’t* have been glad to publish your book), I think you overestimate the impact of a bit of criticism on a company as large and diverse as Disney. Maybe lower-level management would get their feathers ruffled, but the higher you go, the more they welcome constructive, actionable criticism. Even some of the Disney Legends, whose autobiographies I also publish, have gotten their licks in, and no one has broken their windows on Main Street.

    Don’t give up on that book. Door’s always open here.

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