Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Breakout Novel

Good idea/bad idea?
You've written two novels. Maybe even two different genres. Novel A is your favorite, the one you'd like to "break out" with, but novel B would probably appeal more to agents. You send queries, attract an agent and receive an offer for novel B. Now that you have an agent, Is it a bad idea to let them know you'd rather see novel A in print first?

Your "break out" novel is the novel that is published first. I don't know why you think one will appeal more to agents, but if you send out Novel B and they accept novel B, it means they want to sell novel B to publishers and you should shut up about A until you've got a contract in your hands for B. It doesn't matter in what order your books are printed unless they're part of a series. Get in print any way you can.

This is assuming, of course, that the novels are equal in quality. If you love A but actually isn't as good as B, A will probably not be published until you make it better.


Kimber Li said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it okay to send out seperate query letters out for each novel to the same agents at the same time? I'm not doing this, but I've read that it is done and might be useful to this questioner.

Anonymous said...

Why 'shut up' about the other novel? Why not tell the agent about it, let him/her read it and then decide which one they want to go out with first? Could be the one the agent hasn't read is a stronger book.

ORION said...

I queried one novel at a time. It was too distracting and unfocused otherwise. When my agent called to offer representation she asked if I had anything else and was pleased to hear I had more than one publishable manuscript. She has asked to read one other. She is the industry expert. She knows what she can sell. It is her decision to make.
It is not the novel YOU like best. It is the novel YOUR AGENT likes best and feels she can sell.

Kimber Li said...

I've found it too distracting to focus on more than one novel at a time too, Orion. Sure, I have a bunch and I can juggle four or five in the Slash & Burn phase of revision. But, if I let myself get sidetracked during the Final Polish I lose track of plot threads and, then, I end up like Frodo in Shelob's lair, all wrapped up in sticky threads and trying to hack my way through. Quite maddening. That's when I find out which of my Critters are truly Crunchy.;)