Monday, October 08, 2007

To Stay or To Go?

I'm curious to know how realistic is it for an agent to represent subsequent books in a series.

Since my first crime mystery was released this past spring, I've had several people in the industry tell me I need an agent. I'm with a small foreign publisher; good people to work with--gave me my first break, but they are limited in what they can do to promote my crime mysteries. The first book received glowing reviews and they're interested in the second book which is due to them in a few months. I have a strong ethical sense of commitment but yearn for a larger market so therein is my catch-22.

My question is twofold: In an industry that is so difficult to break into, would it be advisable to stay with the "safety" of staying with this group (knowing they are interested in my work) in spite of their limited marketing/promotions capabilities, or should I try to find an agent in the hopes of finding a larger publisher? On the other hand, would an agent/publisher consider accepting a series that has been published by another house? If the answer to my second question is "no" I'll know not to spin my wheels.

Selling a second book in a series to a new publisher is extremely difficult, unless...

1. You don't actually need to have read the first book and the second book essentially stands on its own;
2. Sales on the first book were good enough to get the attention of publishers.

In your situation, I'd advised limiting the option on your next book to "next in series," then writing something entirely new to seek a new publisher.

As for finding an agent, you could use an agent on your next book with your current publisher. You'll probably get better contract terms, if not a better advance.


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