I've been a professioanl writer for close to thirty years. In that time, I've seen lots of writers come and go. The one-hit wonders, the flashes in the pan. They sell a ton of books, garner hoopla and media attention, even scoop up a few awards...and are never heard from again.
Why is that?
Plain and simple: they have only one story to tell (their own) and one character who fascinates them (themselves). These "labors of love" are actually thinly veiled, fictionalized versions of their diaries. Once they've told their story, they have nothing left to say. Their sophomore efforts (if there are any) are merely slight variations of the first book, rehashed and reheated.
I have no more respect for these authors than I do a teeny bop band who scores a lucky Number 1 hit with a synthesized version of a classic.
There's an old blues saw that goes: it don't mean a thing unless you prove it all night.
Forget these media darlings, the latest sensation, the pretty face with a novel about a lonely, misunderstood guy/gal with, you guessed it, a pretty face.
The bestseller list is a wasteland of talent.
The major publishers are aiding the related blights of illiteracy and cultural stupidity (with the active collusion of big box stores).
You might have to look harder for a good book these days, but don't, for Chrissakes, believe the hype. Go looking on your own, ask friends, check out reviews in credible publications (no, not USA TODAY).
Don't go with the flow and dummy down your bookshelves.
Look for real authors, authors of originality and aesthetic daring.
The mind is a muscle--don't let it atrophy.
Causes Cliff Burns Supports
The Stephen Lewis Foundation, Community Radio