What Writers Should be Working on Next

I have completed the first book of a mystery series and am early in the search for an agent. Meanwhile the next book is in progress and I’ve got the next few roughly outlined. Should I pitch the series or focus on the completed manuscript? Each book can stand on its own but also builds on the characters introduced in the first book. Thank you!

When pitching anything to agents it’s always better to focus on one thing at a time. I get easily overwhelmed when an author pitches more than one book (especially if they aren’t part of a series) and tend to err on the side of rejection if one or more of the projects is not of interest, even if one might be.

With a series, most agents will definitely want to know that the book you’re pitching is part of a series, or intended to be part of a series, but they won’t necessarily need a pitch for any of the other books. The first book and the pitch for that book will determine, in many ways, the success of the series.

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3 comments

  1. Hi Jessica,

    This is an unrelated question to this post but I’ve been wondering for a while about dialogue. Is there a rule of thumb in a manuscript for how there should be? 25%? More? Or does it not really matter?

    Thanks for the time and all the great info.

    All the Best,
    Charles

    1. I don’t think so. I tend to avoid rules like that since what works for one writer or book is completely different from what works for another.

  2. I’ve heard before to pitch the one book and then once you have an agent discuss the series. So what should you write as the second book while on submission with the first – the second in the series or the first of an alternate series?

    It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation I think, but maybe there is an answer? I can see pros and cons for both: writing the 2nd in series means you are ready for when the first book gets picked up, but if the first fails to sell you probably can’t do much with the ms you’ve just written; writing a new series means you have something new to sub if the first fails to spark interest, but of course if the first sells you’ve got nothing ready in that series to follow up with.

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