Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is Maintaining Your Publishing Virginity Important?

Reading the YA review section of last weeks Publishers Weekly (11/3/2014) I was struck by how many times I read "debut author" or the equivalent. So I went back and counted and 6 of the 11 reviews are for debut authors (1 additional was listed as a "YA debut" since the author has written adult novels. Side note: this sounds like marketing fishery to me--something along the lines of me trying to reclaim my virginity on Match.com despite having already delivered two kids)

Anyway, It has me now thinking about if there is some marketing advantage of being a publishing virgin. Also, I'm now curious about the statistics and staying power of all these "debut" authors. Like:

  • What percentage of debut YA authors go on to publish a second book?
  • And then a 3-25 more books?
  • What percentage of newly published YA books are by these debuts? 
  • What is the marketing/psychological importance of being a "debut author" as opposed to say a "not debut" author?    
  • What, in general, do the publisher acquisition table conversations sound like for these debuts?  Is everyone more excited about a "new author" as opposed to a "used" author?
  • Is there some secret advantage? 
Why are we so enamored with firsts?


  1. The first is new and exciting, and offers great chances to screw up. And when we do screw up, we shrug and say, "Ah well, it's my first time!" The second time, though, the luster is gone. Screwing up still happens, but now it comes with the idea that "But I practiced! Why is this still going wrong?"
    Or maybe it's a fascination with the unknown. Don't know.

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