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View Full Version : Pitching a multi-book deal.



shroud
04-25-2013, 07:57 PM
I've recently completed work on a rather lengthy novel, and for the sake of industry acceptability have split it into two books. The first is a stand-alone work, with the storylines reaching timely conclusions, but it is obvious that more is meant to come, and the second book picks up from there.

I was wondering how agents feel about cases like this. If they choose to represent the author, do they prefer to present only the first to a publisher with a "wait-and-see" attitude for the second, depending upon initial sales? Or do they enter this with an eye already looking at a two book deal?

Thanx all.

Corinne Duyvis
04-25-2013, 08:39 PM
Most agents would probably go for a two-book deal in that case. The wait-and-see attitude is more likely to benefit publishers than agents/writers.

MandyHubbard
04-25-2013, 08:51 PM
Most agents would probably go for a two-book deal in that case. The wait-and-see attitude is more likely to benefit publishers than agents/writers.

Well, not really. Market-wise, publishers are looking more and more for stand alones, both in the US and in the foreign. Committing to more than one book in a series/world is becoming more risky than in years past, and for an author it doesn't always work out for book 2 to be a sequel becuase if the first doesn't sell well, the second only does worse. Publishers know this. If I go in saying I need or really want them to commit to a sequel right up front, it can be a negative.

I've had a stand alone sell in a 2 book deal and the publisher say we had enough material to break it into two books and they want a sequel, and I've recently sold a book i think has very strong series/sequel potential and the publisher's preference is for a second stand alone. In our case I think we are in the perfect spot-- we can do a second stand alone and if the first takes off and goes gangbusters, do a sequel at a later date. Everything is seemingly tied up in book 1 so it can stand alone if it must.

I dont neccessarily think going in saying it's meant as two books is a strong point.

(So btw, to clarify, sure I often walk into things looking for a two book deal! But that doesn't mean it's gotta be two books in the same series. Just a two book commitment. The second book can be completley unrelated. Many 2 book deals are done with an author who wrote a stand alone novel and has no idea what they even want to write for a second book. I've personally signed four two-book deals and in precisely ZERO of those had any clue what I'd do for the second book until it was time to brainstorm/write it.)

Corinne Duyvis
04-25-2013, 09:53 PM
Oh, I absolutely didn't mean to say it would be a strong point to demand it, just that I figured it was usually preferred over a one-book deal. (I considered elaborating but I've been trying to cut down on my rambling lately. *facepalm*)

Either way, thanks. I'm working on a trilogy proposal ATM so these the intricacies of sequels and multi-book deals are fascinating to me.

Cathy C
04-25-2013, 09:57 PM
From an author's perspective, it's always a good idea to sell a multi-book deal. Whether the second book is a sequel is, of course, up to the publisher. But sometimes, even if the second book is a standalone, if the second book does well, the first book might find its legs from the strength of the new readers. Then, the sequel could be a third book. This is great for the publisher if it's already written and ready to put into production.

My agent prefers to sell three-book deals. It gives me more options. :)

MandyHubbard
04-25-2013, 10:27 PM
From an author's perspective, it's always a good idea to sell a multi-book deal. Whether the second book is a sequel is, of course, up to the publisher. But sometimes, even if the second book is a standalone, if the second book does well, the first book might find its legs from the strength of the new readers. Then, the sequel could be a third book. This is great for the publisher if it's already written and ready to put into production.

My agent prefers to sell three-book deals. It gives me more options. :)

WELLLL,

A multi-book deal is NOT always better. (btw, i tend to hate always/never/etc since there are really no hard and fast things in publishing).. There are many instances when a single book deal is a much better plan. It can be if we think that the first book (or another forthcoming book they have) is going to go gangbusters and thus their "stock" is going to go up soon and we could demand a higher advance/better terms for subsequent books, it can be becuase the author is the sort to take a long time to write and figure out books and wouldn't want the pessure, it could be that the book we are selling them is a very specific sort we think this pub would do well with, but may not do as well with other books, it may be that it's a publisher we're wanting to work with first before committing to another book, it could be that key terms in the contract are not super beneficial and we dont want other books being stuck there (such as a publisher demanding film or other subisidary rights), etc.

Seriously lots of reasons why multi-book deals are not automatically better.

Selling a three book deal actually gives you LESS options, not more. It does give you stability, a steady release schedule, and insurance that your pub is comitted to growing the book/series. Not to mention a nice chunk of change for your on-signing portion of the advance, since that tends to be a third or a half of each book's total advance. Tons of benefits, for sure. But you're committed to the books you have at X publisher being what you're working on for some time, and they will have specific needs/expectations for what you write (say, three urban fantasies, or three books with X type of appeal, etc, etc.).

Cathy C
04-25-2013, 10:49 PM
But you're committed to the books you have at X publisher being what you're working on for some time, and they will have specific needs/expectations for what you write (say, three urban fantasies, or three books with X type of appeal, etc, etc.).

Fair enough. "Always" might have been too strong. Those are all good reasons for a stand-alone deal. But since I tend to write in a single (or at least related) genre, it works for me and a lot of people I know. :)