Second Novel Sophomore Slump: Myth or Reality?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

two books

By Edward Nawotka

In today’s feature story Glenn Taylor writes about the various questions an author is confronted with on publishing a book. One of those questions is whether or not there really is a sophomore slump. It’s an important question, particularly for Taylor, who is facing pressure to deliver a follow-up to a debut that was unexpectedly shortlisted for the National Book Award.

Personally, I think that in many cases, the slump does exist. But is easily explained: An author will spend much of their young adult and adult life honing that first published novel, most likely with a number of false starts and/or inferior manuscripts sitting sitting in a drawer somewhere. The aggregate time, effort, and emotion that goes into that first novel far surpasses the one or two years they’re typically given to deliver a follow-up. It only makes sense that the second book may be somewhat anemic when compared with first and is entirely excusable. That said, it’s not a rule — there are plenty of great second novels, even ones that outdo the first — and Taylor’s firmly fits into that mold.

What do you think? Read the article and let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.