Author Topic: Mentioning series in queries & covers  (Read 4659 times)

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Offline Gatz

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Mentioning series in queries & covers
« on: July 08, 2008, 10:33 PM »
I know conventional wisdom says that a new author shouldn’t state that the book being submitted could be the first in a series. But hasn’t this lost some of its force nowadays, when agents and editors are looking at the bottom line more than ever? If you have a really original story that naturally suggests followup books with the same characters, why not mention it? You could phrase it in a way that shows you understand the risks: “If this story is successful, perhaps we could explore the idea of a series. . .”

Could anyone weigh in on this?

Thanks,
Gatz

Offline Gatz

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2008, 12:20 AM »
I should've mentioned that I'm thinking specifically of picture books, but would welcome comments on any genre.

RyanBruner

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2008, 08:25 AM »
I've heard advice falling on both sides, all coming from agents.  Some agents think you should, some don't.  What I did notice is that MG/YA agents tended to be more open to the idea of the story being a series than those agents who don't represent the youth markets.

Originally, I had a line in my query that said something like: Mindburst is the first in a series exploring the world of mindwielders, and should appeal to those who enjoy Scott Westerfeld, Jenny Nimmo, and Madeleine L'Engle.

Eventually, however, I took on the bit about being the first in a series.  I can't say if it was better with or without, though.  I think the responses I got were related to the content of the story and not whether I mentioned if it had series potential or not. I figured including the information wasn't helpful, and ultimately COULD be harmful, so it got yanked.

Offline Angela Ackerman (aka MOMZILLA)

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2008, 08:43 AM »
When querying my agent, I phrased it something like, The unique concept of this book would translate well into a series.

I think with agents, if you are thinking series, you need to pitch it, because they need to know what they are selling before taking you on. With publishing houses as an unagented sub, I think you should tone down the series angle unless the publisher is specifically looking for series. Just MO.
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Offline middleC

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2008, 09:23 AM »
I've heard advice falling on both sides, all coming from agents.  Some agents think you should, some don't.  What I did notice is that MG/YA agents tended to be more open to the idea of the story being a series than those agents who don't represent the youth markets.

Originally, I had a line in my query that said something like: Mindburst is the first in a series exploring the world of mindwielders, and should appeal to those who enjoy Scott Westerfeld, Jenny Nimmo, and Madeleine L'Engle.

Eventually, however, I took on the bit about being the first in a series.  I can't say if it was better with or without, though.  I think the responses I got were related to the content of the story and not whether I mentioned if it had series potential or not. I figured including the information wasn't helpful, and ultimately COULD be harmful, so it got yanked.

I think I would come down on the side of not mentioning the series potential. If an agent/publisher likes the work enough to consider taking it on, he/she will most likely talk to you about it. That would be a good time to mention that you have ideas that could translate into a series, or that you've already written a follow-up, etc.

Terri

teri

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2008, 10:14 AM »
I always wrote that I was working on a "related" book.  So I avoided the series thing, but they knew that there was another book.

Offline Gatz

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2008, 07:00 PM »
Thanks, everyone. This is very helpful. I think I will use Teri's tactful tack.

Gatz

Rena

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2008, 01:49 PM »
Thanks from me, too. I was just going to search for this topic and -- poof -- here it is!   :smile

Offline TFree

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2009, 11:36 PM »
The story can stand alone, though I am open to its being the first in a series. Something to that effect shows that the series is in your mind, but it's not a deal-breaker.

LauraGilmour

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Re: Mentioning series in queries & covers
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2009, 06:00 PM »
I think I would submit the project as an individual, but that would not stop me from working on a sequal or other books about the characters in my own time, even if they are only used for the purpose of character devleopment on my part. Then, if the first book was taken and did well, I would have related books to submit at a later date.

Each of my projects within the current set I am working on involve the same characters (there are 3 WIPS) but could each easily act as a stand-alone as well.