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PB Series - Querying First Book Question

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I have an MS done for the first story of a character-series PB idea. I have the style solidified and a general idea of the other stories, however, I have not written them.

Should I have all the other stories in the series finished before querying for the initial one? Anyone had a similar experience and received feedback from agents or publishers on their expectations in regard to series submissions?

Thanks in advance for any guidance here!
#1 - January 21, 2018, 11:23 AM
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Generally speaking, I think it's best to just query your current story and not mention the series potential. It's great that you have other possibilities in mind for your character, but until a book sells and it does fairly well, most agents and editors will probably not be interested in talking about a series.

But, since you are querying PBs, definitely have a few polished PBs ready. Query with your strongest, the best fit for that agent. If he/she loves it, he/she will likely ask to see more from you.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
#2 - January 21, 2018, 03:31 PM
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No, don't finish the entire series first. If you can't find an agent or publisher for the first book, that's a lot of time spent on work you won't be able to sell. Time you could have spent writing and polishing books unrelated to the series.

If you're ready to query, like dkshumaker says, have three polished PBs ready that are all distinct -- about different characters. Query the one you consider strongest, and the time to mention the others will be when an agent expresses interest and asks what else you have.  :goodluck
#3 - January 21, 2018, 03:56 PM
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I am a little on both sides. I wouldn't polish and press others in the series, but roughly working with your ideas can help you with learning about your characters. So as long as you are doing it as a writing exercise and with eyes open I don't think it is a bad thing. I did this with a chapter book series and it really helped me strengthen book 1. But they are loose writings, not massively time draining, polished sequels.
However, as stated before, you must sell the first book or the others don't matter. Some agents/editors don't want to hear of a series, or only 'with series potential' since they are in the same boat as you. That agent has to sell the first book, or the others don't matter.
#4 - January 21, 2018, 04:32 PM
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Chiming in to agree with both sides. I personally suggest you spend the time you'd be writing more of the same series on something new and different. You never know which book will land you an agent, and then you can share the others.

I actually did have another book already written in the 'vehicle dreams' series when I landed my agent. She liked it enough to mention it in a query to editors. But in the end, that particular book didn't get to be book two, Bulldozer took that spot, and then Fire Truck took book three's spot. The one I had written isn't in the series. I wouldn't call it time wasted, because I still hope that particular vehicle makes it into the series someday, but as you can see, even after a series is acquired things can change.

So, again long story short on agreeing with both sides.

If exploring other ideas in the series help you develop book one into its strongest potential, then explore those, as long as you don't use too much time or energy, and don't you get too involved with them, then by all means, explore them.  But I wouldn't mention them in a query to an agent until you've made a connection. I didn't mention the second one I had written to my agent in the query. It was actually during our phone conversation that the other book came up. That was when SHE asked to see it.

But! I'd strongly advise using most of your time to explore new PBs. You can always circle back and write more if book one gets an offer.

 :goodluck
#5 - January 21, 2018, 07:36 PM
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It's okay to outline the next idea or two so you have them ready if you're asked about the potential for a series. But the others are correct about writing and revising them. I have notes for future books just in case any of my standalones becomes a series after it's picked up. You never know. But I haven't written the books.

With picture books,they say you need three submission-ready manuscripts before you begin.
#6 - January 21, 2018, 08:21 PM
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Ditto the "agreeing with both sides" ladies above, and the point everyone made about having several other distinct PBs ready to go. But if you do (and I think from another thread that you already have a few) then there's nothing wrong with working on the next book in your potential series, as long as you realize the series might not happen. Time spent writing is never a waste, as long as you're not spending too much time on it and not moving ahead with other works. I have a series of PBs that may very well never see a bookshelf. After I wrote the first one, the others just poured out...I couldn't *not* write them. But I don't regret the time I spent working on them!
#7 - January 22, 2018, 07:37 AM
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Ditto the "agreeing with both sides" ladies above, and the point everyone made about having several other distinct PBs ready to go. But if you do (and I think from another thread that you already have a few) then there's nothing wrong with working on the next book in your potential series, as long as you realize the series might not happen. Time spent writing is never a waste, as long as you're not spending too much time on it and not moving ahead with other works. I have a series of PBs that may very well never see a bookshelf. After I wrote the first one, the others just poured out...I couldn't *not* write them. But I don't regret the time I spent working on them!

Wow! I don't know how she managed to say exactly what was in my brain! Telepathy? :flowers2 So I'll say too, no writing is ever wasted. The good thing about new stories is that they will stretch you in ways you didn't even know you could be stretched. It seems that every new book has something to teach me. Happy writing!
#8 - January 22, 2018, 09:07 AM
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Thank you all for the great advice. I think this particular MS is a great first one to start querying with so I will stick with that and if it becomes more, then awesome! If not, they are fun to write and imagine so I'll probably still tinker with the rest. I feel like I have a million stories going at once right now, but only a good handful that are polished and ready to be unleashed on the world. Here's hoping to join your ranks as an agented writer very soon!
#9 - January 23, 2018, 10:05 AM
Dream Books #1-75 (Published ???? - Stay Tuned)

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become. -W.A. Ward

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