That’s what she said. (Badum tish!)
If you know the work of George R.R. Martin, then you’re familiar with the long wait times between book releases. Martin himself even admits he’s a slow writer because of so many side projects, with a wait time as long as six years between book releases. His next book is coming out this year, with two more in the Song of Fire and Ice series listed as forthcoming.
For fun, let’s look at different writers approach.
Stephanie Meyer’s books were a product of what I’m going to call “rapid fire publishing”: each book was published within a year of the last one (2005-2008). Meyer has published two other books, one in 2010 (Twilight related) and another in 2011 (non-Twilight related), but not to the critical acclaim (i.e. splattered all over the internet) that the Twilight series has had.
Now, how about we switch gears.
J.K. Rowling had a period of rapid fire publishing (1997-2000) with her first four books, but then a strange thing happened: a gap. Her next book wasn’t published until 2003, then a two year gap between the last two books. Thus far, Rowling has not explicitly stated that she’s writing anything new, but I believe she’s expressed an interest in new projects.
How about a writer that can probably school all of them?
J. R. R. Tolkien died in 1973, and his most recent publication came out in 2009, while his earliest piece of poetry came out in 1911. Its a safe assumption that Tolkien had something published pretty much every year starting in 1911, be it in fiction, poetry, or academia. In addition to that, the man created his own language(s), a world, and a religion to surround it. J. R. R. Tolkien has become the model for almost every high fantasy writer (in my opinion). He’s set the bar so high, that its incredibly intimidating.
But let’s get back on point, shall we?
Take out what genre they write in, age, and gender, what’s the difference between all four of these writers?
Tolkien and Martin are not limiting themselves to just one genre/style of writing, they’ve expanded into other areas and grown their fan base. Meyer and Rowling wrote contemporary romance & fantasy books for tweens/young adults, but tweens and young adults grow up. Rowling managed to preserve her fan base by having her characters grow up with the fans, something the Twilight series lacked.
I could go on about the Rowling/Meyer Differences, but I’ll spare you.
Point being that if you diversify yourself as a writer, you’ll attract more people. And your fans will probably forgive you for taking so long to write a new book.