It occurred to me as a publishing professional reading this painful review of Elizabeth Gilbert's new book that there is a case to be made for unpublished authors having certain advantages over bestselling authors. No track record can be a very good thing when it comes to selling books. Granted, it's very hard to get noticed in the slush pile given the volume of submissions agents receive, and if you are lucky enough to find a good agent who will fight for your book, the hurdles to get it sold are often high and daunting. But let's say you get there and the book becomes a huge runaway hit. Then what? How does one follow up a success like Eat, Pray, Love, arguably one of the most successful books of the last decade? It sounds like from the descriptions I've been reading about Gilbert's experience, not easily. She wrote and trashed an entire draft of this book (I wince every time I think about the author, the editor, the publisher, the agent, and what they must have gone through during this grueling process), and based on Maslin's review, it sounds like she might have been better off doing the same for the final! For all the money and fame, there are real challenges that come with having a hit like Gilbert did, and while the book has certainly made her a millionaire and this follow-up is likely to have strong early sales based on name alone, it sounds like it might wind up being a disappointment because the expectations are just so high. Once you hit that mighty bestseller list, the conversations get more complicated, and the pressure to perform and beat the last one can be challenging at best and impossible to achieve at worst. Sometimes the dream is better than the reality, but isn't that often the case in life? If you are able to enjoy and savor the process of writing, stay focused on the positives, work hard and passionately despite any obstacles you might face, there's a lot to be grateful for doing what you love, especially at the start of a new year.