Author Topic: conundrum -- advised not to mention books in a series ready to go  (Read 1075 times)

Offline gatorfly

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I have a 270,000-word novel that naturally falls into three parts. I'm a debut author and know better than to present a 270,000-word manuscript. The first volume stands alone at a comfortable 84,000 words. I've read that any mention of follow-up titles in a series will scare off agents no matter how humbly presented, especially coming from a debut author.  But I don't want to exclude a "mention" if a majority of agents see the potential of a three-volume series as a positive. Or, does it sound too presumptuous no matter how humbly presented? Part of my context is that I have a colleague whose agent harangues her to meet next-volume deadlines. Community wisdom, please. Thanks. (My work has been through an 8-year critique,  50+ author-edits, professional editing, chapters-published-as-short-stories, workshopped, etc.)

Offline jcwrites

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Re: conundrum -- advised not to mention books in a series ready to go
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2019, 08:01:09 AM »
Include in your query the phrase "TITLE is an 84,000-word GENRE with series potential." When/if/after an agent shows interest and wants to move forward, then you can mention, "By the way, I've completed X volumes."

Good luck.


Offline Tabris

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Re: conundrum -- advised not to mention books in a series ready to go
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 06:45:22 PM »
Does the first book stand alone? If it doesn't stand alone, then I'd probably query it as a trilogy that's complete.

I know that goes against conventional wisdom (which is, indeed, "a science fiction novel with series potential") but if the first book doesn't stand alone and an agent reads it, the agent is going to say, "Well, this isn't actually a complete book." You're going to have to reveal that it's a trilogy at some point anyhow, so you might as well weed out the agents who don't want to sell trilogies right from the start.

You do have the advantage in that the entire trilogy is complete, and therefore they can look at the whole thing at once. Also, they know you won't write an excellent Book 1 and fizzle out without ever completing Book 2. (Which is very much a risk when they take on a brand-new author for a trilogy.)