DECIDING TO WRITE A SERIES OR A SINGLE BOOK
Writing a series is a definite way to make some cash, ultimately because people who may have only slightly enjoyed your book 1 will perhaps continue through the latter books just to see how the story ends. An even greater reward is when someone praises all three books, detailing how they enjoyed each book in the series. So there’s some definite satisfaction when your readers talk like that.
I’ve noticed trends in my sales with The Pioneers where someone will purchase book 1, and within a few days, I’ll see sales for book 2 & 3. What does this imply? Well, it makes me think that someone has bought the first book to test it out, and then that same person decides that 2 & 3 must be equally as good. So by writing a trilogy, I have in effect been able to sell 3 books at once.
The problem with a series in regards to marketing and versatility though is one that’s hard to ignore. Because I’ve written a series, the desire to try to sell the series to an agent has gone down substantially. Why? Well, if book 1 were to sell to an agent and that agent sells the book to a publisher, then I’d be stuck with that publisher for all three books of the series. And if that publisher did not want to publish books 2 & 3, then I’d have 2 books on my list that I could never sell unless I paid a sizable chunk of money to the publisher to have the rights of those books released back to me.
This means the series creates some “baggage” when it comes to selling your books. With the Dark Connection Saga, I have not queried any agents because I’ve already written the 2nd book and most of book 3. With that in mind, if I were to submit book 1 (The Girl with the Scar) to an agent and the series were to be accepted, I’d be in some serious trouble because I would not be guaranteed the privelege to sell books 2 & 3 and the latter books that are to follow.
My advice on this is simple. If you feel the need to write a large chunk of a series before putting it out there (I know I do), I would suggest that you create a side project that will only serve as one book. This book can be more mobile since it can be queried to agents without the feeling that you may lose several books’ worth of work.
I’m currently working on an urban fantasy novel that doesn’t have a title, but it’ll have some pretty good legs because I don’t intend for it to be a series; it’ll just be something that I can toy around with that’ll be a quick and easy read for those who are into the urban fantasy sector.
Anyway, what are your thoughts? Would you advise that a series be written in totality for selling purposes? Or do you think it’s better to have a sole book that you try to market while you work on your trilogy?