Many of the fiction proposals I’ve studied make me wonder, Is this writer another Margaret Mitchell? Maybe the next Harper Lee?
Yes, Margaret Mitchell enjoyed brisk sales with Gone With the Wind. And Harper Lee did all right with To Kill a Mockingbird. But those were their only novels.
These days, publishers want writers good for more than one book.
I can’t blame them. I own the full set of Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin nautical novels (20 books), Tony Hillerman’s Navajo police series (18 books), John D. MacDonald’s colorful Travis McGee series (21 books), and many more by authors of multiple novels.
When you read a story by an author with skill, it’s natural to look for more. Imagine if your favorite restaurant had a no-repeat-customers policy. Still, few fiction proposals mention what might come next.
Yes, a proposal’s first job is to sell that project. And publishers won’t commit to additional stories without the sales results for book one. But if gatekeepers see real potential, they’ll appreciate knowing there’s more. Don’t pitch orphans; pitch families.
Andy Scheer, the Guild’s Editor-in-Chief, also works as a freelance book editor and an agent with Hartline Literary.
For more than forty years, the Christian Writers Guild has trained people to sell their writing.
Explore www.ChristianWritersGuild.com to learn more about our:
● writing courses
● critique service
● Writing for the Soul conference
● Operation First Novel contest for unpublished writers
Also, consider publishing your book through Christian Writers Guild Publishing — a unique service that combines:
● quality education
● mentored guidance
● professional production
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Finish the course — and we’ll publish your book.
Find out more at CWGPublishing.com