1. M.A.

    M.A. Member

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    Traditional vs. self-publish when writing a series

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by M.A., Dec 8, 2019.

    I'm currently in the process of deciding on going the traditional or self-publishing route with my manuscript. But I am unclear on one aspect. If a traditional publisher were to take on a book that is the first in a planned series, what happens if they for whatever reason don't want to publish book 2, such as if book 1 doesn't sell well (which of course is a very real possitibilty)?
    I've seen alot of different opinions on this, ranging from "that's not a problem" to "the publisher will never let you self-publish a book 2, so you might as well forget about the whole world you've created". I was hoping someone here had some insight on this, because this could esily be the deal-braker that makes me go with self-publishing.

    Also, I have a somewhat related question. Are there any genres that are perticularly good or bad for self-publishing? My own manuscript is a fantasy-novel, and it would be nice to know if fantasy-readers are a good market on self-publishing platforms or not.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    This all comes down to what is in your contract with the publisher. They should not be acquiring the copyright in your story, characters, or world. If they want that (and that's something that could prevent you from ever selling book two on your own) look for another publisher. It's up to you to decide how many books you want to give the publisher rights (or an option, or whatever) to. Irrespective of that language, I would also make sure that if the publisher decides not to publish part of the series going forward the rights revert back to you as the author.

    As for self-pub, I think fantasy readers are more likely than some others to be willing to give a self-published book a shot. You have to figure out how to make the book stand out from the rest of what is on the market, however. I recommend not making it obvious that the book is self-published. Spend the money on editing and cover design.
     
  3. M.A.

    M.A. Member

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    That is a very thorough and enlightened answer. Thank you!

    I'm very much with you on spending oney on editing and cover design. While it can be difficult to set aside that kind of money, in the long run I think it would be worth it. And I think if you're going to charge readers for your work, then you should always ensure that it is as technically good as you can make it.
     
  4. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

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    Most traditional publishers, when signing a contract, will do so for more books in the series. They want things that sell and series sell. In fact, they will push you toward a series rather than individual stand-alone books most of the time, depending on genre. Of course, there's no guarantee in life and if you have a very long series, unless it sells well, they will almost certainly not produce anything beyond the contracted minimum, which is usually 2-3 books.
     

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