Is It Perilous to Pitch the Whole Series?

Dear JD…

You imply that a series is something to hide when it’s not. Series can do well in most markets, so publishers buy them when they see marketable concepts and strong writing from authors who can consistently deliver. They just limit their commitment so they won’t have to pub books they know won’t sell if the series doesn’t hit. They’re running a business, after all. You just have more to pitch in the query letter than someone submitting a single book. Embrace that! If Book 1 is the first episode in a story that isn’t complete till Book 5, pitch your fab series concept and be clear about how Book 1 is a satisfying, compelling stepping stone in the series arc. If each book can stand alone, highlight that to give them breathing room. Either way, you’re more likely to get a two-book deal than a three. Book 1 typically sells best, so publishers know how a series is performing by Book 2 and can go all in then. And maybe you’ll have leverage for even better terms.

Happy writing!
The Editor

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