I've been thinking about second chances lately (and third chances and fifths and tenths...). In my recent post "Differentiating the US and UK children's book markets," I pointed out how the UK has more established children's authors, whereas the US market is endlessly fascinated with debuts, the next hot things. But I see that as a market driven trend, and it wouldn't surprise me if the UK follows suit in the coming years.
A recent Guardian article about Suzanne Collins trumpeted that The Hunger Games was her debut novel (embarrassingly, a month later, this error is still online). By my count, The Hunger Games is Collins' sixth published novel (my former middle school students loved her Gregor the Overlander series).
It took me a while to figure out why the Guardian's error so enraged me. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a snob, so journalists getting basic facts wrong usually sets me off. But it was more than that. It was the assumption that Collins was an up and coming hot thing that upset me.
We live in a society fixated on the next hot things, the out of no where sensations like Stephenie Meyer, J. K. Rowling, and Mark Zuckerberg. But just as many amazing stories and innovations come from experience--if not more!
A recent blog post by the next hot thing, Robin LaFevers (author of Grave Mercy, which I raved about on Tuesday), also spoke of second chances. You see, Grave Mercy isn't LaFevers' debut novel. It's her, uh... 15th? She mentions a few other recent hot authors like Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone is her fifth novel) and Jennifer Nielsen (The False Prince is her fourth novel). Seriously, check it out, it's a wonderfully smart, inspiring post!
It's encouraging to think this industry may not be as focused on the next hot thing as it seems. Now if only we could figure out how to celebrate experience a bit more.