My first book was published five years ago, and I got to know many authors whose first books also came out that year. I belonged to four debut groups (two that focused on 2009 releases because my book was originally supposed to debut in 2009, and two for 2010 releases), and I've followed the careers of many of those authors with interest.
I've seen is a variety of paths since then. Many of those authors have
published again under their own names: some traditionally, some
independently, some both. Some have published under pseudonyms. Some
have switched genres; some have tried work for hire. Many have taken
breaks from writing, and returned to it. There have been changes in
agents, editors, publishers. Some of those authors have had bestselling
books; others have vanished from my radar.
Most of us hoped, when
we were starting out, that we would beat the odds and become the major
bestselling authors, the household names. We knew most of us wouldn't, but that any of us could. Failing that, we hoped to do well enough that we could keep on publishing what we wanted to write.
my debut novel came out, Borders closed, ebook sales increased, and
self-publishing became easier. Social media platforms have mushroomed.
My first agent left the business. My first editor left my publisher.
I've received negative reviews and starred reviews. I've had a book
translated into German. Like many other authors, I have now
self-published a book (Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion).
My first book is out of print, except for the ebook version. My second
book didn't sell as well as my first initially, but does better than the
Most of this stuff, I didn't predict and
couldn't have seen coming. The funny thing is that publishing is a very
slow business--it can take a long time to write a book, and even longer
to see it through the publishing process--and yet so much has changed in
just five years. I wonder what the next five years will bring?