We've seen it a million times. An author writes, an author becomes popular, an author gets picked up on a contract to put out "x" amount of books and the quality diminishes.
I've just finished reading my complete guilty pleasure author, Laurell K. Hamilton and she suffers from this. The demands of her contracts for her series are really demanding. J.K. Rowling, same thing I feel. Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Louie L'Mour (sp??), and again, I could go on and on, have all fallen into this pit. The absolute worst for me is the ghost writer continuing under the V.C. Andrews name. I long ago stopped reading the drivel that person is attempting to pass off as being from the mind of Virginia Andrews. It is disgraceful and I am sure she is turning in her grave.
Then I read books by an author who has put out one, maybe two, books and they are just lovely reads. Or I go back to the early days of a prolific author and am amazed at the difference.
How much do you think is the responsibility of the author and how much of this do you feel is the responsibility of publishing house pressure to put out more and more books? Do you think this has caused a flood of substandard quality books from otherwise higher quality authors?