One Hit Wonders: The Curse of Literary Success

PHOTO: J.K. Rowling attends the world premiere of 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2' at Trafalgar Square on July 7, 2011 in London, England.
Mike Marsland/WireImage

J.K. Rowling, best-selling author and mastermind of the Harry Potter series, announced in February that she is writing a novel targeting an older audience. The book, titled "The Casual Vacancy," is set to be released in Sept. 2012.

Rowling is already a literary superstar. The seven books in the Harry Potter series have sold more than 450 million copies in 74 languages, and have been massive hits on the big screen as well.

So can the award-winning author live up to her own success?

Psychotherapist Rebecca Roy specializes in issues that affect creative artists and says fear of success can be debilitating for authors.

"Often, the bigger you get, the more you're putting yourself out there and you fear that someone could find out that you're not any good," Roy says. "Almost every writer has this fear at some point."

For many authors, that fear causes them to put their pen away.

Here are the stories of some of the one-hit-wonders of the literary world.

PHOTO: An oil painting of Emily Bronte (1818 - 1848), authoress of the novel 'Wuthering Heights,' published in 1847.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Emily Bronte

English author Emily Bronte wrote "Wuthering Heights" in 1847. It received mixed reviews when it was first published, but is now seen as a classic. Bronte is also known for her poetry, but Wuthering Heights is the only novel she ever wrote.

PHOTO: American author F Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940) wearing a tweed suit.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald is an American author best known for his novel "The Great Gatsby." His success was ultimately his downfall, as he turned to alcohol and died in 1940 from a heart attack.

PHOTO: CEO of C-SPAN Brian Lamb, left, and Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, right, applaud Pulitzer Prize winner "To Kill A Mockingbird" author Harper Lee.
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Harper Lee

American author Harper Lee published her one and only novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird," in 1960. The book became an international bestseller and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Despite her success, Lee ended her career as a writer.

PHOTO: Author JD Salinger poses for a portrait as he reads from his classic American novel "The Catcher in the Rye" on Nov. 20, 1952 in the Brooklyn, New York.
Antony Di Gesu/San Diego Historical Society/Hulton Archive Collection/Getty Image
J.D. Salinger

American author J.D. Salinger published the literary classic, "The Catcher in the Rye," in 1951. Although he published several other, less well-known short stories, it was his only novel. Salinger is perhaps just as famous for his reclusive nature as he is for his writing.

PHOTO: Author Zadie Smith poses for a portrait at The Hay Festival on June 6, 2010 in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.
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Zadie Smith

Best-selling author Zadie Smith is certainly no one-hit-wonder -- after publishing her breakout freshman novel "White Teeth," she went on to write two more successful books. But Smith has openly addressed her trouble with writer's block, which she attributes to her fear of failure. In her collection of essays, "Changing My Mind," Smith wrote, "It's such a confidence trick, writing a novel...The main person you have to trick into confidence is yourself."

PHOTO: Portrait of American author Joseph Heller (1923 - 1999) as he sits at a glass-topped table near a staircase in his Long Island home, New York, 1985.
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Joseph Heller

Joseph Heller is best known for the anti-war novel "Catch-22," published in 1961. Although he published several other works, none were as successful as first.

PHOTO: Ralph Ellison, novelist and author of the widely acclaimed "The Invisible Man," has been elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
AP Photo
Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison is most famous for the novel "Invisible Man," which outlines the African-American experience in the late 1940s. Although this novel was a huge success, critics claimed Ellison's other attempts at fell short.

PHOTO: An undated photo of 'Gone With The Wind' author Margaret Mitchell in Atlanta.
Kenneth Rogers/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP Photo
Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell wrote the American classic,"Gone With the Wind," in 1936, which was made in to an award-winning film in 1939. Despite her enormous success, Mitchell never published another work.

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