It’s hard to predict what books will be considered “classics” decades after their publication. Books hailed as literary masterpieces by critics often clutter up thrift shops and rummage sales a mere decade later. Things derided as utter trash end up being required reading decades later since they made such an outsize impact on the pop culture of the time that they can’t be ignored. Series that exploded and produced movies, TV, and tie in products often end up as these accidental “classics”. They’re so big they can’t be ignored.
It’s a bit harder to predict the arc of individual books than series, just because they have fewer chances to take off. A single book is like a bullet, a series is like a shotgun blast. The series has better odds of hitting, just because it has more chances to take off. The same holds true for prolific short story writers or poets. ONE of these might take off and lead people to the rest.
Of course everyone prefers tales of struggling writers that later were hailed genre defining. We love Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. They fit our romantic ideal of the tortured artist who is not recognized until after its too late. We like our authors lives as dramatic as their tales.
We don’t love successful, prolific authors until such point as we can forget forget about their more obviously commercial nature. Many people look back at the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy series as classic children’s series they want to share with their children… and ignore they were written by a commercial syndicate employing ghost writers to turn out books following a very specific commercial formula. The same people that hail the early syndicate books from those series often heap scorn upon the modern continuations of those same series… even thought they’re still doing very much the same thing they were doing 50 years ago.
Charles Dickens published many of his books as serials in newspapers and magazines before collecting them as books. Many of them he didn’t fully complete the story before begin the serial, so changed around characters and plots in response to feedback from readers. If he was writing today, he likely would be writing episodes for a blog or for download to an ereader as a subscription… and poo-pooed as a hack that can’t get a “real” book published.