Signing Contracts for Multiple Books

Q: I am an aspiring romance/western/woman writer, but have noticed many if not all first-time authors, especially romance, sign contracts for 2-3 more books. I am 73 and wonder whether “more books” is always a commitment necessary for publication if a manuscript is accepted?

That’s a terrific question, Earlene.

I think the level of commitment for future books depends on the publisher and also the type of book you’re writing. For example, the romance market is often broken up into two categories: series and single-title books.

Series books fit in a larger group of similar works and may have common themes or characters. Usually a group of writers all contribute multiple installments in a series.

Single-title books stand alone. If you submit your manuscript to a publisher who produces single-title romances/westerns, you should be in good shape, commitment-wise.

Don’t forget that whether or not the publisher expects a follow-up book or books is part of your contract negotiations, so I’d deal with this “problem” (oh, if we could all only be begged to write multiple books by a publisher!) when you come to it. I wouldn’t let the idea of being asked to write a second or third book keep you from submitting in the first place.

Lauren Mosko, Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market Editor
Writer’s Digest Books