In literature it makes no sense to talk of 'a career' in the sense of a life that can be managed by the exercise of prudent thought. Writers who flourish at the peak of their powers for longer than a decade, or even two, are rare birds. ... There are exceptions. Writers who work in a genre, John le Carré for example, or PD James, are more likely to sustain a run of quality and a sequence of winners.Robert McCrum on The Guardian blog examines the reality of an author's long-term publishing prospects and it's quite depressing.