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Would you finish writing a trilogy if a publisher didn't accept your first novel?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Lorna, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I have to wonder why anyone would query an unfinished book -- not simply an unpolished one, but literally a half-finished manuscript. It's one thing to have a synopsis or blurb of where you want the story to go, but you may find that the story changes as you write, and then the blurb/synopsis you wrote will be useless. If the story changes too much from your original vision, then the publisher may not want your story after all.
     
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    I echo Steerpike's statement. It's about the investment of money, time and trust. After all, as a relative unknown, I don't think it likely a publisher would have absolute trust in an unproven author. Finish at least one book and it proves that you have the staying power to get through one book, add a half written second book, and have detailed plans on the third and you are much closer. Even I think just as likely to be trusted as if you have finished the full three.
     
  3. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I believe the idea is so that you get paid before writing.
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Works with nonfiction. Fiction, not so much.
     
  5. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    I would not take this as an indication it was a waste of time. I would put it out self-published and see if you can get an audience that way. I wrote all six books before publishing any of the them, and while I don't recommend that approach it worked out well for me ;-)
     
  6. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    For a first book...very true. But most publishers want a muti-book deal and will routinely sign 3-books even though book 2 and 3 are not written. Once you've been with a publisher, your NEXT project can, and usually is, sold with just 3 sample chapters and an outline.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Ah...that's good to know. I suppose with the first one complete you've shown you can finish a novel, and if they like it well enough they're willing to take a chance on future work.
     
  8. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    This is another example of how things are different in Australia. Publishers used to want (routinely) a multi-book deal, but not any more. They want to know that you've got more books in you, but (in most cases) they only want a one book deal to test the water.
     
  9. Right. I gather this really, really depends on your rep and reliability. I know one writer who can spin up a first chapter and synopsis, and says he gets about a fifty percent acceptance rate based on that alone. But he has scores of books to his credit, and a long history of reliable sales. Not so sure it would work for a newer writer.
     
  10. Fundamentally, I suspect the answer to this question depends on your career plans and goals.

    If you are absolutely set on traditional publishing, you're probably best writing a novel which could become a series, and submitting it. You might even talk about where the series can go next in your submission letter, but the first book probably ought to be complete unto itself. If you're a new writer, publishers often want to be able to "try one" without being tied into producing more books if the first one tanks. If it does mediocre sales, your sequel might not be picked up, and it's not unlikely that you'll have trouble selling sequels to another publisher instead.

    If you're open to other methods, then you have much more latitude. I might be happier to start on a sequel, knowing that even if I submit the first book around and it's rejected, I will still be publishing it and any sequels myself, through my own imprint. Today, no book is ever truly dead, even if rejected by publishers, unless the writer chooses to make it so. (Keeping in mind, of course, that sometimes the editors rejecting a book are right, and the book simply isn't ready to be published; caveat scriptor?)
     
  11. julidrevezzo

    julidrevezzo Scribe

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    Actually had this happen--once or twice. My first outing, I wrote the first book, and sent it out. It didn't get published. The second time I got up the nerve to submit I wrote the series of manuscripts, first, (WOOHOO!) then submitted the first book. I'm very happy I did that, just for the personal satisfaction to prove to myself I could pull off a series. There's a third title--I wrote the book, and submitted it, got a revision letter (woohoo--I'm in revisions with it right now). However, then I told the publisher that I had an idea for a second book. Guess what? Never got beyond the first chapter of book two. So, I guess for me, the moral I learned was write the whole darned thing, then tell the publishers it's ready. LOL
     
  12. WyrdMystic

    WyrdMystic Inkling

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    That's because publishing the debut for an author is essentially a gamble for any house. They don't want to pay for the rest if the first doesn't make it. I would of thought though they would still try and get the exclusivity for x books in the contract and just pay an advance for book one.
     
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