Fürst, Henrik: The Hard Second Book: Entry Conditions and Survival in Early Literary Careers

Many people desire to work as artists in the creative industries. Among those artists who have made their debut few will become credited a second time in their artistic career. In literature, “the hard second book” is a term used to describe the absence of such a second installment. While it is known that some authors continue their career and others not, the question of why some continue and others discontinue looms large. The structural pattern of unequal continuation is central to careers in the creative industries and attention is needed to examine the workings of this pattern. Using an original database with information about fiction authors in Sweden, who published their first book 2001 to 2010, the presentation examines why some writers have a continued career after their debut and others not. Statistical analysis shows to what extent factors relating to the first book and the literary activities of the author is associated with publishing or not publishing a second fiction book.

The literature and other cultural goods offered in society ultimately depend on why some artists and not others have a continued career.