How to Query a Book Series
I’ve had quite a few writers ask me how to query a book series. Most agents request that you only query one book at a time, and some writers don’t know how to do that if one single project has 3+ books involved. Thankfully, writing a query letter for a book series follows the same guidelines as writing a query for a single book. If you already know the basic formula for query letters (you can read all my previous posts on the topic here), then you actually already know how to pitch your book series to agents. You should still never include more than one book in your query letter, but there are a few things you can add to your query to let agents know that you intend to write a series.
It’s okay to write a book series. Writers often create a series because they have too many ideas for one book. Sometimes there will be characters who compel you to continue their story—and this is perfectly fine. An organized and outlined series is better than a 200,000 word manuscript. If you think your story is meant to be a series, then you should write the books as you see them. But begin with Book #1 (you don’t have to complete the entire series before querying agents) and see where it takes you.
Your query needs to focus on one book. The first book. (There are very few situations in which you should query for a later book in a series, so I’m going to go with the assumption that you are looking for representation for a brand new series of books.) The book you are querying needs to stand alone. It needs a clear beginning, middle, and end. If readers don’t respond well to the first book in a series, then the second book isn’t going to hit the shelves. You want Book #1 to be a fully developed story with a satisfying ending in case the other books you intend to write don’t get published. Write your query as a pitch for a single book. Describe the characters and plot of Book #1 and leave it at that.
State that your book has series potential. This one sentence is all that’s necessary to include in your query letter. If an agent is interested in Book #1 (which you have now successfully pitched in your query letter), then you will be asked for more details about your plans for the series. Agents may ask you for a series overview, so you may choose to have one of those prepared (think of a synopsis that covers the major plot points of all books in the series.)
Agents receive a crazy number of queries every week. It’s best to keep your query short and to the point. By focusing on one book, you can perfect your query to make it intriguing and make sure it includes all the necessary details. Sending a query letter for more than one book isn’t helpful to you or the agent. Take it one book at a time.