One Hit Wonders: The Curse of Literary Success

Can J.K. Rowling Live Up to the Success of the Harry Potter Series?

April 12, 2012— -- intro: 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.

quicklist: 1url: title: Emily Bronte

text: 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.

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quicklist: 2url: title: F. Scott Fitzgerald

text: 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.

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quicklist: 3url: title: Harper Lee

text: 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.

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quicklist: 4url: title: J.D. Salinger

text: 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.

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quicklist: 5url: title: Zadie Smith

text: 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."

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quicklist: 6url: title: Joseph Heller

text: 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.

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quicklist: 7url: title: Ralph Ellison

text: 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.

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quicklist: 8url: title: Margaret Mitchell

text: 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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