Monday, May 13, 2013

Question from a Writer - Submissions

Perhaps you can give me some honest advice though. I published my first book in a series, a paranormal romance about a ghost, through a publisher I'm not having a great deal of luck with. I've continued building a strong author platform, gotten some great ratings and reviews, and a growing reader audience who anxiously await the sequel. My question is, now that I'm in the final editing stages of the sequel and am ready to submit it for consideration elsewhere,(haven't submitted to current publisher yet) I'm wondering if this is even an option. There is no first rights or non-competition clause to the contract, but will other publishers be reluctant to get in the middle of a series? I'm hoping you can help answer this question before I spend a great deal of time querying agents or publishers with the second book. Thank you. 

This is a great question and actually something that I do discuss with authors.

As I look at this, I would have to say this comes down to asking one key question:  Even though this is a "series" do you need to read the previous book for the second one to make sense? In other words, does Book 1 set up stories and characters that will be needed in later books? If this is the case, then I would honestly say this will be a difficult sale!

If, however, this is a series that can be read in any order, and, the only thing making it a series is a common theme or maybe a setting, then it shouldn't be a problem. If this is the case, though, there are some additional things to look at.

I understand that you are looking at the "options" clause and that is smart. You do need to consider the rights of the characters and the story. For many contracts, you cannot just move "characters" from one publisher to the next. They stick with the publisher they started with.

Hopefully you have a little bit of flexibility here. I would personally recommend tweaking the story so it is a "stand alone" project. If you want to keep it as a series, then market it as a "new" series and ignore the first book. This means making the changes to separate it from the first book. As you query the agents and editors, feel free to tell them you have written another book, but keep it separate.

1 comment:

  1. Some great food for thought here Scott, and much appreciated. As I put the finishing touches to the final edits on the draft before submitting, I'll keep these in mind and see what I can do. At the very least, I can wrap up this series and start a new project immediately following. Thank you