Supporting Debut Authors

I remember a year-end post on Rachelle Gardner’s blog two years ago, where she listed “ten really good first novels”. It was an impressive list of publicly acclaimed books and I was shocked to learn they were all first novels for their authors.

  1. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  2. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  4. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
  6. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
  7. Peace Like a River, Leif Enger
  8. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  9. The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
  10. Catch-22, Joseph Heller

You won’t find too many books by debut authors on my shelves. I’m a cautious reader and tend to wait for recommendations from others before spending my money. On the other hand, if I see a title that appeals to me I rarely stop to check if it’s a first book or a fifteenth. So I was surprised to realize several books that I’ve enjoyed lately are from debut authors:

  1. Crossing Oceans, Gina Holmes
  2. Dead Witness, Joylene Butler
  3. Code Blue, Richard L. Mabry
  4. Losing Faith, Denise Jaden
  5. Bad Latitude, Dave Ebright
  6. The Secret Year, Jennifer Hubbard
  7. The Preacher’s Bride, Jody Hedlund
  8. The Forest for the Trees, Betsy Lerner
  9. Bitter, Sweet, Laura Best

What’s also interesting to me is that all of them except one I learned about because of a blogging connection with the author. Who says blogging doesn’t sell books?

What have you read lately by a debut author? What brought it to your attention?

Keeping Track of Achievement

After four days of the Olympics, Canada has four medals. That’s not a great number but it’s significant for us. The following table will help keep track of the totals as they accumulate.

View the vancouver2010.com medals’ table

The first gold to be won by a Canadian in Canada was hugely celebrated… and is still being celebrated, almost to the point of ignoring the other medalists, which I think is wrong. Their achievements are equally important but are being overshadowed.

It has me wondering how new authors feel when their debut work is released by the publisher at the same time as a large number of other titles. Does the hype surrounding the big names leave the work of newer authors in the shadows? Or do they benefit by being included and swept along with those of the more celebrated authors?

If you could choose, would you wish your newest title to be released by itself, or at the same time as several others?