I’ve been querying agents and getting full requests (again — thanks to queryshark), but I’ve been conflicted about something. I intend to write a series, but I’m not sure when to bring that up. Everything I’ve read online says to NOT do it in the query letter, so I’ve avoided doing that. But I can’t find a solid answer on WHEN to say “hey, by the way, this is totes not a stand alone.”
Agents who read my book will know it is not a stand alone because it ends with a lot unresolved. But I’d rather them not get to the end and say: “Wait, what? Where’s the rest?”
So far, when an agent requests a full or a partial, I’ve been saying “By the way, this is meant to be the first in the series. I didn’t say that in the query letter because everything online told me not to. Hope I’ve acted appropriately.”
I’m just trying to be transparent with the agents I’m querying, and respectful of their time. I figured if they’re not interested in representing a series, they’ll say “pass” and won’t bother reading the full they requested. But I’m still not sure if I’m acting right? Is there a magic answer, or does it vary so much agent to agent? Or am I doing that thing authors do when they worry too much and lose all their hair?
No, you're not wrong to be worried, you're just worried about the wrong thing.
Here's the line that made me reach for the cluegun: Agents who read my book will know it is not a stand alone because it ends with a lot unresolved.
Do that to me, and you're getting a call when I finish reading the book (usually that's around 3am) and it's going to sound something like this:
Your book must complete the narrative arc of the book. It doesn't have to complete the narrative arc of the series, but at the end of the book I better not wonder if President Bartlett is dead or alive.
And the reason for this is not that I'm some sort of obsessive freak (although I am) it's because your readers will go batshit crazy if you leave them hanging.
There's a huge different between leaving things hanging, and laying in anticipation for the next book. You want the latter, not the former.
The reason you want the latter is: there is no certitude about Book #2, even if Book #1 gets published.
So, what you say now to agents requesting your full is this: "I left some unresolved plot points, but I'm going to fix that."
And I'm not sure you've read all the QueryShark archives when I hear "Everything I’ve read online says to NOT do it in the query letter" because the correct way to say this book is part of a series is this: I envision this book as part of a X book series. It does however stand alone.