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If you're querying a chapter book intended to begin a series, is it okay to use series titles as comps? Also can you use ongoing series as recent comps (like Magic Tree House) since some of the later ones were published in the last five years?
#1 - August 16, 2017, 11:42 AM

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You are fine to use series comps, including more recent titles of The Magic Tree House series, in your query.

Question: in your letter, are you mentioning that your story is intended to be Book One of a series? I ask because there's a bit of controversy on the subject. So far, all I'm coming up with is the following past thread (though I know we've had more...):

https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=72621.msg889327#msg889327

(I'm not saying you shouldn't market your submission as Book One; I only want to share different viewpoints.)

Best, best wishes on your submission, mgmystery!!!!

 :stars3 :stars3 :stars3 :stars3 :stars3
#2 - August 17, 2017, 10:51 AM

Thanks for the link, Carrots! My intention was to query for Book One and say it has series potential. I wonder, though, should I have more than one book ready for them to look at? I know for MG it's generally recommended to wait until after the first one sells, but I've seen chapter book deals on PW with two or even four titles mentioned.

So, even if you use series for title comps, you should definitely select one title from the series?
#3 - August 17, 2017, 11:08 AM

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You can query and mention it has series potential without having book #2 ready. As far as having anything else ready before someone takes on a series really depends upon the publisher. Sometimes, they may want to know the plot summary of #2 even if it isn't ready.

My agent sold a series based on the first book. The publisher was interested in the plot details of the sequel, but knew it wasn't finished.
#4 - August 17, 2017, 01:19 PM
ROYALLY ENTITLED (inspirational/historical YA) and OOPS-A-DAISY (humorous MG) out now.  http://www.melodydelgado.com/

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Chapter books are very hard sells as standalone novels. In one spot where it might be best to have the second book ready and the next two outlined before querying. I'd actually state it's the first in an intended series but that it's complete on its own.
#5 - August 17, 2017, 08:38 PM

Okay, if I go in the direction of having book #2 finished and the next two outlined, would the query still read the same (about the plot of book #1 only, not my intentions for the series)?

Also, should comps still be specific titles instead of comparing to the series? And,  is it okay to use only series titles as comps? Or should I find one that's not from a series too?

Thanks so much for all the help!
#6 - August 19, 2017, 12:37 PM

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The query still is for book 1, but you'd mention that it is the first in a planned series and that further manuscripts are available. At least, that's what I'd do.
#7 - August 29, 2017, 11:28 AM
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 09:36 PM by Debbie Vilardi »

That's a relief! At least I don't have to learn a new type of query.  ;)
#8 - August 30, 2017, 05:17 AM

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