I’ve watched as “debut authors” have become more and more hyped over the twenty years I’ve been involved in publishing. When I started out, being a debut author seemed a lot more like being a beginner—people didn’t expect as much of you as when you were more experienced at this. Authors who had been in the business a long time seemed to be the ones who were honored and who got the bigger advances and more marketing promised to them.
But somehow that changed and now, it seems that being an old pro is often the same as being a has-been. You had your chance and it’s time for you to step aside, especially if you’ve never broken out of mid-list author status. If you’re a bestseller, this is less true in part, but there’s a ton of pressure on bestsellers to continue to produce bestsellers. If ever once you produce a “dud,” then you’re back to the list of mid-list authors or potential has-beens. Former bestsellers often end up feeling obliged to change their names if they want to continue publishing. More often, they move on to another phase in their careers. Some become freelance editors. Others move out of publishing entirely. Continue Reading →