My personal limit is: as many as I can.
The more books we write, the more we’ll improve as writers and the more horses we’ll have in the race. Agatha Christie wrote 86 novels. Isaac Asimov wrote or edited over 500 books. I’ve got a while to go before I hit those kinds of numbers, but I’m writing as fast as I can (the Page-a-Day Club at Absolute Write helps in that regard). Future projects include:
• Sub-urban fantasy: part of a modern city transported to a hellish fantasy world
• Pizarro’s revenge: the conquistadores are human, the natives most definitely aren’t, and there’s gunpowder. I love it when things get blowed up real good
• Epic fantasy: I want to try this with Redemption. I’ve recently
There are one-book wonders, of course. Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee come to mind, but writers like this are the exception to the rule. There are too many writers who finish one book, try to get it published, fail and stop writing. Or (which seems equally common these days) get it published by some amateur micropress or vanity publisher and then spend years trying to get it shelved and sold, rather than continuing to work at the craft.
Writers need to write, and keep writing, no matter what else they do and no matter what happens to the first book. You can never run out of stories; the more you tell, the more come to mind, and if you’re tired of one series or genre, well, who’s to say you can’t try another? One of the perks of not being famous, after all!
So let’s keep writing.