Friday, January 29, 2010

Writing Series and Trilogies

I have finished two books of what will be a trilogy and am wondering about the logistics of querying a trilogy. I recognize the first book needs to stand alone, and I plan on mentioning it is the first in a trilogy (that will at that point be all written), but should the query hook and synopsis be just for the one book, or should I give the summary of the three?

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it is worth repeating. If you are writing a series, trilogy, or any other form of linked books, my recommendation is not to write all three books or to continue the series until you’ve sold the first one. Unless you strongly believe that each of these books could stand alone in the event one of the others doesn’t sell, you could be writing three books that will never sell simply because the first one didn’t.

In other words, if you sell the first book you can always go back (as you will hopefully do contractually) and write the next two books. In the meantime, work on something fresh while you query the first book. That way if the series doesn’t sell you’re only stuck with one book under the bed, not three.

That being said, how do you query a trilogy? You query a book, not the trilogy. Agents are only interested in one thing at a time, and that’s the book you have written. To be honest, readers are only interested in the same thing. So mention it’s a trilogy, but query the book. Focus your hook and synopsis on the book.