Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Do I have to write a trilogy??

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
User avatar
stu1883
Avid Reader
Location: I live in Bristol, England with my wife Nicki & our kittens Boomer & Magic
Contact:

Do I have to write a trilogy??

Postby stu1883 » Sat July 18th, 2009, 9:58 am

I've noticed that most HF novels come in a series or sets, most commonly a trilogy.

Is it a requirement to write in this manner, as I feel my current work would not be sited to this format without a major revision. My aim is to write a series based on the history of Bristol, so it could be several books (hopefully!)

:confused:

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Sat July 18th, 2009, 3:44 pm

I've read more stand alone books than I have trilogies. Besides, aren't trilogies harder to sell if you are a newbie? I could be wrong maybe one of the professional authors can answer that one.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
LoveHistory
Bibliomaniac
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Contact:

Postby LoveHistory » Sat July 18th, 2009, 3:51 pm

You don't have to write a trilogy at all, Stu. Write what comes to you and don't worry about numerical designations.

User avatar
michellemoran
Bibliophile
Contact:

Postby michellemoran » Sat July 18th, 2009, 4:30 pm

No. In fact, if you approach a publisher with a trilogy they will probably shy away. It's difficult enough to obtain a two-book deal. To obtain a three-book deal in HF as a debut author... well, I haven't ever heard of that happening (which doesn't mean there never was such a deal, but if there was, the author pulled off something highly unusual).

Of course, you could write a trilogy and not sell it that way! But it's by no means necessary.
Visit MichelleMoran.com
Check out Michelle's blog History Buff at michellemoran.blogspot.com

User avatar
stu1883
Avid Reader
Location: I live in Bristol, England with my wife Nicki & our kittens Boomer & Magic
Contact:

Postby stu1883 » Sat July 18th, 2009, 4:41 pm

Thank you everyone! You have put my mind at rest.

User avatar
juleswatson
Avid Reader
Location: now Washington DC
Contact:

Postby juleswatson » Sun July 19th, 2009, 8:05 am

My agent told me that publishers like to buy more than one book in a deal as they are investing quite a lot in a debut author (I think he was talking debuts) Which is why you get so many two book deals. But they can be two stand alone books. In fact, Stu, I've also been told recently by my agent that publishers shy away from trilogies that are continuous although they used to be fashionable in the 80s and 90s because it means people won't buy book 2 or 3 if 1 is not on the shelf, thereby limiting the growth of sales. My first deal as a debut was a trilogy - I'm glad I did not know, Michelle, that it was so unusual to be able to sell it as then I would have been biting my nails off! Ignorance is bliss sometimes; I wrote "a story" and when it grew too big for one book I split it into two and then I thought "All books like mine seem to come in trilogies" so I came up with the idea for the third and presented it that way!
But I agree Stu, do what is right for the story and stand alone books are easier to sell anyway I think.
Author of Celtic historical fantasy
New book "THE RAVEN QUEEN" out Feb 22 2011: The story of Maeve, the famous warrior queen of Irish mythology.
Out now, "THE SWAN MAIDEN", the ancient tale of Deirdre, the Irish 'Helen of Troy'
http://www.juleswatson.com

Celia Hayes
Reader
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Contact:

Postby Celia Hayes » Sun July 19th, 2009, 1:59 pm

Well, if your story would result in a book the thickness of a brick - then by all means, break it into three delicious parts - but write each volume so that it would, if neccessary, stand alone as a satisfactory story. When I started writing Adelsverein, I thought I would only do a single contained story, and then when I realized I had too much dramatic content (and I wanted to carry the narration through the Civil War and beyond) one of the fans counseled me that "oh, everyone does trilogies - that's what they expect, and just think of it as Barsetshire with cypress trees and lots of sidearms!"

So I took his advice, and broke the story arc into three segments, marketing the first part as a stand-alone story to the usual higher literary powers. But I did want to finish all three, and release them all at once for two reasons: I thought it likely I would have a scathingly brilliant idea about a character or a development two chapters from the end of Book 3 and have to go back and revise in order to set it up properly, and quite a few readers and both publishers advised that it would be better to have all three books available at once. Readers who really get into the story want to read the next book soonest - and I have to say this has been the case. Most of my sales for the Trilogy have been of the complete set - and it looks like readers who ventured into Book 1 pretty soon came back and bought the other two.
Celia Hayes
www.celiahayes.com

User avatar
michellemoran
Bibliophile
Contact:

Postby michellemoran » Sun July 19th, 2009, 3:31 pm

Wow Jules! Highly unusual, I should think. Congrats!!!!

It did used to be that publishers liked to "invest" in an author and buy two books, but recent deals in HF for debut authors are more and more for one book alone. If that first book doesn't have a huge sell-through, publishers don't want to be stuck with a second book. When they do take two, it's for a much smaller advance than it used to be. I suspect this will turn around with the economy (whenever that is).
Visit MichelleMoran.com

Check out Michelle's blog History Buff at michellemoran.blogspot.com

User avatar
Sheramy
Reader
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Contact:

Postby Sheramy » Sun July 19th, 2009, 5:00 pm

Alternatively, one can get a single-book deal but have what amounts to a 'first look'/'first refusal' option for a second book in the publisher's contract. I'm guessing that is pretty common fare.
Sunflowers: A Novel of Vincent van Gogh, forthcoming from Avon-A, 13 October 2009
My blog: http://vangoghschair.blogspot.com
My website: http://www.sheramybundrick.com
For it is truly the discovery of a new hemisphere in a person's life when he falls seriously in love. -Vincent van Gogh

User avatar
michellemoran
Bibliophile
Contact:

Postby michellemoran » Sun July 19th, 2009, 5:29 pm

Yes, Sheramy. That is pretty standard, even with authors who have no intention of selling their next book to the same publisher.
Visit MichelleMoran.com

Check out Michelle's blog History Buff at michellemoran.blogspot.com


Return to “The Writing Business”