View Full Version : How to Submit

02-21-2015, 04:54 PM
I've written the first book in what could turn into a potential series. However, my word count for book one is kinda to big, so i decided to split the first book into volumes. So now Book 1 is split into 2 volumes.
When i make the query letter, do i focus on Volume 1 of the book or do i focus on the whole book?

Cathy C
02-21-2015, 05:35 PM
First, welcome to the boards! Always nice to see new people wandering the halls. :)

Next, there really is no such thing as volume 1 and 2 of a book. You have books one and two on your hands. If there isn't a full story contained in the first book, you'll need to work on editing it into one. By that, I mean publishers are going to publish a book that tells a full story, even if it's part of a larger world. One example I use fairly often is Star Wars. The first movie tells an entire story, even though you know there's more to be told. But at the end, the battle is won and the good guys survived to fight another day. However, the villain also survived and the Empire wasn't defeated. Still, if the second movie had never been made, the first one would satisfy you.

That's how you need to look at it--if the second volume never saw the light of day for whatever reason, can volume 1 stand alone and give the reader a good story? If not as it sits now, get thee to the editing screen. Don't fear editing or cutting words. It's part of the job and we all have to do it. It's very likely I've deleted more words I've written than I've published over the last decade. ;)

Good luck!

02-21-2015, 06:21 PM
Thank you so much for responding.

So is it ok to leave it off on a cliffhanger. Like the first part would have a nice wrap up but it still leaves readers with unanswered questions. Like i come across tv shows where season 1 would leave off on a huge cliffhanger and than gets canceled and season 2 dont see the light of day. (Not a cliffhanger where someone gets a gun pointed to they head and the story ends lol)

And if book 2 is just the second part to book 1 isnt that off putting to potential buyers knowing book 3 would really be the actual second book. I see publishers mark a split book like part 1 and part 2 so people would know its all one book.

I would hate to market book 2 as the second book in the series knowing its actually just part 2 of book 1. Its times i would go on amazn and see people upset cause they bought part 2 of a split novel thinking it was actually the second novel in a series.

Dennis E. Taylor
02-21-2015, 08:04 PM
I'm not sure I understand your reply, so let's expand the comparison.

In Star Wars, the Death Star gets blown up, the heroes get a medal. Danger past, tension resolved. Vader gets away, but the story presented in the movie is resolved.

In Lord of the Rings, the first book ends with Frodo and Sam pushing off in a canoe. Nothing is resolved. Sauron is still being a pain, Orcs are still running around kicking over garbage cans, and the rest of the fellowship is left waiting for a taxi. Nothing is resolved, you have to buy the second book to find out what happens.

The LOTR type of series is harder to sell unless you are an established author. The Star Wars type is a much better bet.

BTW, you haven't indicated how long your books are. Could make a difference.

ETA: If LOTR was a new, unknown book, and I'd bought the first one without being told it was a serial, I'd be very, very pissed.

02-21-2015, 09:33 PM
The best thing to do is cut the story down to size. Make it fit into one book. There is no story that can't be cut down to size.

02-21-2015, 10:32 PM
The LOTR cliffhanger ending is not the ending i was creating.

The ending i was stating was, for example:

The story is based around a women who baby get switched at birth. When she realizes the baby isn't hers due to the baby eye color not matching hers or the fathers or other family members, she goes to report it. So throughout the novel she on a search to find her missing baby while being forced to care for a baby thats not hers but everyone including doctors states it is hers.

The novel is split into 2 parts because i think its to big for a debut novel. The novel is a potential trilogy.

Now part 1 of the first novel will come to a wrap up with a ending that will satisfy the women into believing the baby she has is really hers because her husband gives her legit proof. So the women ends her search but still is kind of hesitant.

Now part 2 of the first novel is when the women finds out that the proof that she was given is false and she now thinks her husband is behind this baby switch scheme and so are the doctors and other people.

The ending of Book 1 as a WHOLE is when the women finds her actual baby and kills her husband.

The ACTUAL sequal to the novel, which would be book 2 would be this women running away with her found baby with the cops chasing after her. The sequal follows her as she is mentally becoming unstable and caring for a child that she now have to struggle to take care of.

Book 3 (which would complete this trilogy) follows the women as she is finally caught by the police and her baby is put in foster home. It follows her as she tries beating her case for murdering her husband and getting off as self defense. When she finally beats her case and is release she is than told her baby was placed into a new home and that she has the option to fight to get her back or leave her with the family and the women decided to leave her knowing her life would be better off with the new family having both a mom and dad who both will give her the love she was now unable to give her.

You see how it would be off putting to separate Book 1 into two books, when book 2 wouldnt be the sequal, just the second part.

02-21-2015, 10:46 PM
See now as a reader if a publisher was to market book 2 as a sequal and come to find out its really just the second half of the first book, i would feel cheated. I would expect publishers to label the split novels as part 1 and part 2 so readers would know that both parts is the whole COMPLETE story for 1 book.

When i read a sequal, i expect to read a sequal.

02-22-2015, 12:30 AM
Some authors get away with true cliffhangers (George RR Martin), and can even leave their readers hanging for years as they wait for the next book. But they are established authors whose laundry lists would probably end up on the NYT bestseller list.

I've read some debut trilogies where some issues are clearly unresolved at the end of book 1. I read one a while back where one of the protagonists was in a coma as a consequence of what he'd done to slay the baddy and win the big battle. But the point is, he'd gained some breathing room for his allies. More was clearly coming, but the book ended in a reasonably satisfying spot (I was still a bit ticked about the cliffhanger, however).

A novel that just ends with something that feels like a chapter break with no arcs wrapped up, though? I'd be pretty annoyed. The thing is, a debut author typically pitches a stand-alone novel to agents and mentions that it has series or sequel potential. Big 5 publishers often give 2 or more book contracts (from looking at publisher's marketplace, at least), but they usually want the first book to be complete in of itself as well. And smaller publishers are less likely to be able to commit to more than one book at a time.

If you want an example of a pair of novels where the author wrote one book and had to split it for length reasons, check out Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner books. As I understand it, first two were originally "meant" to be one book, but it was too long. So the author split it into two and did some rewriting so that the characters had achieved a significant milestone (discovering something important that would lead them into the rest of the story) at the end of book one. Another pair of novels that were (I suspect, at least) written as one then split might be Patricia Brigg's Dragon Blood and Dragon Bones.

Note that the books mentioned above were published a while ago now (the 1990s).

02-22-2015, 12:40 AM
Have to say, I'm with James on this one. You haven't said how long this book is, or if you've done any revisions yet; but if you can find a way to pare it down to a reasonable length, that sounds like the best answer based on what you've said here.

I had two books that I combined into one. When I started, I thought it was a crazy idea that would leave me with a 200,000-word epic. In the end, I had a tight, 130,000-word novel - and I sold it. It's made me a huge believer in revising for length, even if you feel like you can't. I got a MUCH better book out of it.