Today, I invite you to explore with me a confusing phenomenon that call "magic of the first paper". This term summarizes the magic things that happen when you publish a paper that employs a method you have never used before or that investigates a question from a field you are new to.
First of all, publishing that very first paper can be extremely difficult and the resistance can assume quite grotesque shape. We once had a paper rejected (and eventually published in that journal after a successful appeal) with the argument that the thalamo-cortical system is understood and that there are no new and interesting question to answer (seriously!). Needless to say, this was the first time we were bold enough to venture beyond our usual turf, the neocortex. However, once you publish this first paper, things suddenly and magically get much easier. What - I am an expert after just one paper? Suddenly, people in that field actually want to talk with me? Well, this abrupt change in reception has been puzzling me for a long time.
Finally, I think I found the answer. One paper in a new field seems to be enough today to get inundated with requests to review papers in that field. I have been asked to review so many papers on creativity despite we published a single paper, which was much more of a brain stimulation paper than a creativity paper. So in other words, people feel obliged to be nice to you since you may be the reviewer of their next submission...
I think this is simply human and I have no trouble with this. As you are planning your career (transition), I recommend you keep this mechanism in mind as you plot our your publication strategy. Or perhaps you have another explanation for this interesting phenomenon? I would be curious to know, please post as a comment below.
As we are approaching Thanksgiving, I would like to say thank you to the editors and reviewers who have helped us publish our "first" papers. I am working hard to return the favor as a reviewer...