Monday, September 10, 2018

One and Done...will anyone want me?

I have a couple of questions I hope you can help with. I’m a multi-published romance author (both smaller pubs and self-pub), with some minor success, but I’ve now written a psychological suspense thriller I’m quite happy with. Because it’s a new genre for me, I’d rather not go directly to self-publishing, hoping to get a second (third, fourth, fifth) set of professional eyes on the MS.

The publisher I’ve worked with in the past focuses primarily on romance, and though they’re open to other genres, their name is closely linked with romance and I think their readers would approach this book with genre expectations that simply aren’t met.

All the bigger publishers who work with thrillers, however, seem to require an agent to submit, and I am not represented. I have queried before (not for this book) and am willing to dive back into the trenches. But there’s a catch: I don’t expect to write any more thrillers. I wrote this because I had a great idea, and I’m happy with its execution and would like to give it the best chance at success, but I don’t consider myself a burgeoning thriller or mystery writer.

My first question, then, is this: How would an agent feel if I queried them for a MS when I had no plans to continue writing in that genre? Is it a waste of their time to work with me for one title? If there are people who are open to representing writers for one book, what’s the best way to approach it? Should I say so in the query?

My second question is whether I should tell them about my romance writing background and pen name, since the genre is different and the readers may not cross over. Can I say “I’ve written nine romances,” and leave it at that, without giving the pen name? Or is it important for them to be able to look me up? I’ve sold books in the thousands, but not hundreds of thousands, so I don’t think anyone will be blown away by what they find.

That odd sound you hear is rueful laughing from The Lair. I most often see things like "I plan a gazillion book series" which always prompts me to say "you gotta sell one before you can sell more." You can guess how well that goes over with enthusiastic writers.

This of course is the reverse of the problem.

Even if you think you're only going to write one, you don't know. Don't sabotage yourself by announcing your plans when you could change your mind. It's not as though you CAN'T write another one if you decided you wanted to.

So, just query this, and let tomorrow take care of itself.

I would query under your own name AND mention your previous books, but also include that you'd consider writing under a pen name if the agent thought it would improve the marketability of the new book.

That you've built a fan base, and had multiple books published is a good thing. That those fans may not come along with you, well, that's not a huge problem.


Kitty said...

Here hear!

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations on your writing successes so far, OP! You mentioned that you've queried before, and I'm guessing that means you were probably seeking an agent who represents romance. I'm wondering if you still would like an agent for your romance novels, or if you're satisfied with how things are now. Maybe you'd be interested in working with an agent who represents both thrillers and romance--someone who could represent future books you write in either genre.

Gerald Dlubala said...

Good question, and an even better answer.

nightsmusic said...

First off, OP, congratulations! Selling a few or several hundred thousand is a wonderful accomplishment and one I hope someday, to achieve.

Second, I am a romance writer. I'm also a romance reader, as well as thrillers, mysteries, horror, not so much sci-fi, but I think you see where I'm going here. Just because you have a reader fan base in romance, don't sell them short that they wouldn't want to read your thrillers or mysteries or whatever else you choose to write. Sometimes, it's the author's voice that attracts the reader first, and then the stellar content. :) Good luck!

Dellcartoons said...

>I wrote this because I had a great idea

How do you know you won't get another great idea for a thriller? Especially if this one gets great reviews, wins awards, tops the bestseller lists, etc?

That sort of success can inspire you w/ more ideas along those lines. Or make you freeze up so you can't write another thing, but that's a separate issue

AJ Blythe said...

Such wise words here. OP, I agree with what's been said but want to might find yourself writing a thriller with a secondary romance arc.

Following from Amy's comment, there are definitely agents who rep both romance and thrillers. I suggest you start with them =)

Good luck!

John Davis Frain said...

Hey OP, one more story to add.

I was listening to a paranormal writer giving a talk this weekend, and she mentioned more than once how multi-genre writing is the new hot thing.

So maybe your next big idea is romance with a paranormal twist or a romantic suspense or who knows what. If an agent likes your voice for this one, there's good reason to suspect they might like your voice for the next one.

Congrats on your success so far. Good luck with tomorrow!

Craig F said...

the main problem I see is if an agent and then an editor also love the book. He/she/it will then offer a two book contract.

If you turn it down it will be a passive kind of affront. Try not to be so adamant. If you have one that works, maybe there is another.

f writing a psycho thriller hurt or unearthed old demons, I can understand not wanting to write another such thing. Sometimes, though, dragging demons into the light helps dispel them.

Joseph Snoe said...

I shudder when I think of how many great books never get published because of the query process.