One-Hit Wonder Syndrome

It’s a perfect day to talk about an interesting phenomenon – why one-hit Wonders are a thing. A one-hit wonder, is when an unknown band creates a song that goes wildly popular overnight and become instantly famous. They then go on to make other songs because their fans demand it, but those songs don’t catch on and the band slowly fades into obscurity. That band is only known for their one and only hit.

Here are some famous one-hit wonders:

  • “My Sharona” by The Knack
  • “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell
  • “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba

It’s been pointed out that several of these bands did later go on to have other songs hit the charts and rank in the top twenty, but in comparison to the one song that made them famous, the other songs never achieved the same popularity.

One-Hit Wonders in the Business World

The one-hit wonder phenomenon isn’t unique to just the music industry, a similar thing happens in the business world as well. We see it when someone who has never run a business has a great new idea for a service or product and it takes off. Suddenly they are famous for their awesome thing and everyone is talking about it.

What often happens next is that they get an offer they can’t refuse to sell the company for an ungodly amount of money and they return to square one – coming up with an idea for a new business. But this time, the world is watching.

Suddenly, there is a huge amount of pressure to come up with not only something good, but something that could take off again like what happened before. At this point, one of two things can happen, either they fold under the pressure and can’t come up with anything, or they hold this unfounded belief that creating a groundbreaking idea is fairly easy because they’ve done it already. The latter often will then create something uninspired or useless and fail spectacularly. With the world watching, it’s that much more devastating.

But why?

When someone unexpectedly finds success, but hasn’t yet racked up several failures under their belt, they never experience the hardships that give people perspective. The hard work they did must be all that is required to achieve wild success. Everyone else who fails must not be working at the same level. Sometimes, they even start believing that they have a special talent that granted them this success. Other people just aren’t as special as they are and that’s what makes them fail.

What they don’t realize is that wild success, especially in a business venture, requires more than just hard work. A series of uncontrollable factors must line up at the same time, such as what is popular in the market at the moment, what needs exist among buyers, and what has recently caught everyone’s interest. Should the timing be wrong and these factors not present to make a product look even more desirable, then no amount of hard work can make the product go viral. Yes, it can be successful, but not wildly so.

One-Hit Wonders in the Writing World

Yes, this is a real thing, although it presents itself differently. There are a rare few authors who find wild success with their first novel. The novel itself is something they’ve worked on for possibly years and years before going through the process to find the perfect agent and publisher who were willing to take a risk. As with businesses, the same uncontrollable factors are at play here as well. There has to be a significant group of people hungry for this type of book all the same time. Sometimes this is because a wildly popular movie has turned a new group of readers to the genre. Sometimes the global social climate makes certain titles much more appealing.

With authors, everyone who loved their first book are far more willing to pick up the second, which means there is already a certain level of success already baked in when they release that second book. But, there is also a lot that can go wrong. They had all the time in the world to finish their first book and no expectations. This can make writing easier and creativity come faster.

When writing a second book, often that same author will have deadlines and also the fear of trying to live up to the expectations of their fans. They have to produce something better, faster, and under pressure. While some writers can rise to the challenge, many end up creating a product that isn’t as good.

The moral of this story

The lesson here is that failure is a vital part of learning to appreciate success and being able to replicate it going forward. For those who had a lucky break their first time at the bat and perhaps hit a home run, that doesn’t make them the best player on the team.

Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s the best teacher of experience you could ever have.


Hi everyone! Jodi here. I’ve been enjoying writing these little Friday tidbits for the past while and sharing my thoughts on life, the universe, and everything. But, like all good things, it’s time for a change. At the end of October, these Friday notes will shift exclusively to my newsletter and this blog will be dedicated to weekly book and movie reviews and the occasional important announcement.

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Stonebearer’s Betrayal Sequel Update

For those of you keeping track, I officially started editing the rough draft of the sequel novel to Stonebearer’s Betrayal back in March. During the writing phase, I’d experimented with both speech-to-text and using a stand alone drafting keyboard, which made the draft messier than usual.

Note to self – when using speech-to-text, correct the mistakes the same day you dictate. Also, teach your software your character’s names early. Katira’s name changed into all sorts of crazy, like cuchara (Spanish for spoon).

I encourage anyone learning a new skill to experiment and find what works best for them. While I spent hours and hours going back and fixing misheard lines and words (and sometimes trying to divine what on earth I might have been thinking…) I know now how effective using dictation software is for me at this point. If it wasn’t for that test, I wouldn’t have tried tried transcribing my own recordings instead. Doing it that way means I can add correct punctuation marks and use names correctly the first time as I listen to files recorded on my phone. It also means I can speak out a scene in the oddest of places where writing or typing would be difficult, like while out walking, and then have material ready for when I’m ready to sit down and type.

All of this has helped me refine my writing process. With drafting, the most important goal is to get the whole broken story out onto the page, then make decisions where new scenes are needed or if something needs to be taken away. Editing is far different as it takes much longer focused sessions of working at the computer, which can be a challenge to find.

A little history…

I started writing the sequel novel to Stonebearer’s Betrayal during NaNoWriMo 2015 as a challenge to myself to see if I really did have another book in me. I met my goal and wrote the first half, about 50,000 words. Then life happened, as if often does and I set it down to work on other projects and focus on getting book one ready to see the world.

I didn’t touch it for over a year – literally waiting until the next NaNoWriMo to work on it again. That was when I did something truly stupid – and didn’t read the first half before writing the second. This was a lack of planning on my part. I could have easily done my preparation in October, but again, got too busy and when November 1st rolled around it was time to write.

This meant there was time for ideas to change and shift in my mind between the two halves of the book, many of those ideas for the better. But, it also meant that it took a huge amount more work to edit. I’ve literally rewritten 80% of the book at least once, if not several times, to make the two halves match. Learning is hard sometimes, and if I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that I really (really!) need to not put projects down for a year and then not spend a day or two simply rereading what was there.

Fast forward to today. There are twenty pages left of the final edit and a handful of little things to tighten up and then the sequel is ready for professional editing and test reading. So much yay! I feel like I’ve been teasing about finishing this one for months now, probably because I kept setting unrealistic goals and then being surprised when I didn’t reach them.

Another note to self – planning on getting significant work done during the kids summer break from school – totally not realistic.

Like I said before, there is a learning curve with every new project and although I know I’ve gotten so much better at drafting and editing, there’s still a long way to go before I can claim mastery. I’m proud to say with each attempt things get better, easier, and faster.

Writing the first book and bringing it to publication was a ten year journey. The second will only be five. The third is already drafted and I expect it to only take 18 months from start to publication – including the months I stopped to focus on book two. If this trend continues it’s totally possible for me to complete two full length novels a year in the future.

Will I get to that point? Time will definitely tell. There is an exciting world of possibilities out there and I intend to keep trying and moving forward.

I fully intend to release Stonebearer’s Apprentice (official title pending…) in Spring of 2020 and Katira’s story will continue!

Here’s to making progress in whatever way we can!


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