11.26.2006

Crystal ball-derdash

Miss Snark,

I am new to your website and I have a question perhaps you can help me. I have an idea for a series of books and the 1st book of the 6 is a draft. I have a rough outline draft for the remaining 5, I believe the series could sell very well. But, I don't know where to start. I know I should write the remaining 5 books (that's clearly the way to go) but, I wonder can a writer make sale on the premise of an idea such as my situation?

BTW the series is based on fantasy elements.


That's not the only thing based on fantasy elements.

Back in the halcyon days of yore, Miss Snark, fresh from finishing school, embarked upon her collegiate career. Young ladies in white frocks lounging on the Great Lawn watching the young gentlemen peacock about. Many among Miss Snark's coven would wax enthusiastic about the young men, even unto the names, gender, and quantity of loinfruit surely in their future.

Your idea is as nebulous as theirs.

Write one book.
Finish it.
Then we'll talk.

14 comments:

whitemouse said...

Also, based on the numerous grammar and punctuation errors in your letter, your basic writing skills might need a bit of work first.

A lot of different things have to come together to make a book (or a series) that will sell well. A good idea is not enough. Agents know this, so no, they won't buy a thing from you until you have at least one completed book that they think is saleable.

Write the book first, then query.

Elektra said...

I think I'm starting to love the titles more than the actual posts, if that's possible

Maya Reynolds said...

Blame J.K. Rowling.

ex-ed said...

Put simply: nobody buys an idea. The publisher won't be selling an idea to the reading public, they'll be selling an actual book; if the book isn't written, then they won't be able to tell what it is they'd be selling. And while individuals occasionally buy a pig in a poke, no company will buy said poke when they know they'll have to take the pig out of it and sell it on without wanting to have a look inside. If the idea isn't written yet, that bag is sewn shut. Would you buy a notional pig?

A lot of slush pile stuff is quite good ideas executed so badly that no reader would care what the idea was. I think you've underestimated the difficulty of the writing process, and the difficulty of getting published. It would be nice to get a big advance for a book you haven't written yet, but it never happens. The reason: it takes more than a good idea to make a good book. It needs to be well executed too.

Linda Adams said...

"Good ideas" doesn't mean much of anything. Anyone can get good ideas or good ideas for series. But it's a lot different to turn that idea into a well-written story that people want to buy.

What happens if you finish the first one and start submitting it while you work on the next two--and then find out no agent is interested? Now what? You've invested a huge amount of time for multiple books in a series you can't sell. Finish ONE book, work on a different project while you submit, and if you get an agent, when you're at the talking stages, then you can suggest that the one book has series potential.

Anonymous said...

A freind of mine was on book 5 of his detective series when he gave up on his second agent and took the first book--which still needed lots of work--to Publish America.

A sad waste of years. I think he should have just reworked the first book until it was much stronger. Honestly, when putting a series together that first book has to do a lot of work, as it is the anchor for your audience and the yardstick of your talent.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous,
Many series that I've read could have started on the second book. The first book that you pitch and publish has to be strong and "do a lot of work," as you have said. But why didn't he ditch his first book and work on his second or third to be his "first" book? PublishAmerica isn't a solution. It's just another set of problems.

Anonymous said...

"Honestly, when putting a series together that first book has to do a lot of work, as it is the anchor for your audience and the yardstick of your talent."

Well said, Anon.

mahukey said...

Also I hate to say this but you might run out of steam on book two or three. It happens the writer just runs out of go juice.
Write a lot. Write a little. Write upside down and around...just keep writing and maybe you will get lucky.
Its what 1 out of 100,000,000 odds of winning...or something like that.

PS. I got 45K written for Nanowri...its Monday...can I make it? Hell yes! Will it be good writing...um... maybe.

Anonymous said...

ooo, so very snarky.

e

Anonymous said...

"can a writer make sale on the premise of an idea such as my situation?"

with that kind of prose, it's fairly unlikely...

Anonymous said...

Wow!

I was in class when I sent in my question on a whim. I did not have time to spell check my question before sending it in. Moreover, I did not realize people were so easy to criticize a few mistakes.

What a reality check!

I hope you all have a wonderful day and I pray you all have a successful writing career:)

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

loinfruit! ... She said loinfruit ....!

wonderer said...

To the author:

I won't snipe about your grammar like some of the others, but I would like to address another aspect of your question. The other Snarklings can shoot me down if I'm wrong. ;) In the fantasy genre, agents and publishers don't like queries by first-time authors for series - if the first book doesn't sell, they won't be able to sell the rest and complete the tale. Besides, many such queries are bad ripoffs of Tolkien, Jordan, et. al., and they get a lot of those. However, series where the first book stands alone are perfectly fine. Agents and publishers are happy to hear that you have the potential for more than one book in you, and in fantasy they're quite happy to sell series. But don't mention this in the query letter (lest they think your series is the first kind). Sell your first book on its own merits, and mention later that it has series potential. (And as another commenter said, don't write all the books. Write one, query it, and maybe draft another while you're waiting, but don't invest any more time than that. If the first one doesn't sell, write something else.)

Best of luck!