I was reading more of the replies on here. Got me thinking about Stephen King. His early stuff was good, then as he started writing more I just couldn't get into hos books any more. Partly because the books were getting weird or his writing wasn't as good as the early stuff.
I've learned that trying an author again after some time isn't a bad idea. I did once and just couldn't finish the book. Partly because it was to long and two the story didn't appeal to me.
Some writiers have been known to write more and more of the same things, not thinking about whether to write about something different or change their writing style just a bit.
I pay attention to who's on the NYT list a lot. But, I try to pick authors I think I might like. If I don't, you'll hear about it on my blog for sure. I have not put any of Stephen kings books on my blog because so far I haven't found any of hos new stuff worthy of me to read...YET.
As a big fan of King, I'll agree that some of his stuff he published in what I call the middle part of his career wasn't up to snuff...
If you read his book On Writing, you may understand a bit more of why. I also factor in that at this time King was so huge that I think many were afraid to edit it for fear he'd go elsewhere and make another published money instead of his publishing house at the time.
Since he's moved editors and publishing houses, his books and short stories have become better. I'd put Bag of Bones up with a lot of his early stuff as one of the best King books out there. And part of it (and King has admitted this) is better editing.
Someone replied that selling books is a business and I do agree and see this. I do buy books from "big name" authors and sometimes I feel that if it was their first manuscript, it would not have gotten published. However, there are some authors I do buy just because I've loved everything they've done and they have not failed to disappoint me. That being said, I can't imagine the pressure that writers are under. Kind of like trying to write a great sophomore album after going platinum.
It's a double edge sword.
Being a best-seller doesn't necessarily mean it's not going to be a good or even great book. But sometimes there's a bit of inertia with certain authors and name recognition. Or an author becoming a brand more than anything else. One example of this is James Patterson who seems to churn out 15 books a year with various people. I've read a few of his and found the stories to be formulaic and the writing to not be all that great. On the other hand, you have Michael Connolly who I think does nothing but eat, sleep and write. He'll put out two, possibly three books a year, depending on how things fall on the calendar. But each book by Connelly is consistently enjoyable to me and they rarely feel like Connelly is falling back on a formula or racing to pump out his next novel so he can get a huge payday.
Another thing with becoming a big name author is that sometimes editors are afraid to edit you. I love Stephen King, but there was a period in the 80s where he wasn't as well edited as he was early in his career and he is now. And it showed. Now he's got an editor who is doing a better job and his novels and stories are better for it.
Good point Michael!