I am doing a pitch at the Storymakers conference for a non-fiction teaching series I am working on. Currently, it’s mapped out to be a four book series. Do I tell the publisher this upfront or pitch the first book, then tell them it’s part of a series?
Pitching non-fiction is a little different than pitching fiction. In this case, yes, tell the publisher that you would like to do a series but be brief in the details on the other three books unless they ask for more. (Brief = “I see this as a four book series, book one covers ABC, book two covers DEF, … Here is my proposal for book one …”)
Concentrate on book one because if you don’t sell that one, the rest of the series is moot.
I read your post on pitch sessions today. At the same conference, attendees will have the opportunity to have a manuscript evaluated by an editor or an agent. I assume (which may be incorrect) that the editor or agent will read the manuscripts prior to the conference and then will meet one-on-one with the author of each manuscript. If that’s the case, can you give me some tips for meeting with someone who has already read, or at least read a portion of, my manuscript? How can I be best prepared?
Oh, you lucky woman! This is a rare opportunity, so you’ll want to make the most of it.
Prepare the same way as you would for the regular pitch session, but if you sent the mss ahead of time, you won’t need the regular submission packet. If it was not already included in what you submitted to the editor, I would bring a printed chapter by chapter outline—2 to 3 sentences covering the action of each chapter (and yes, give away the ending)—just in case the editor didn’t have time to read the entire mss. I might also type up some marketing ideas to give to the editor, if they ask for it. And bring paper and pen to take notes.
Otherwise, just be prepared to answer questions about your story and to listen to all suggestions with an open mind and a closed mouth. (Do not argue with the editor about changes they suggest. You can decide later whether or not you will make them, but keep negative thoughts and comments to yourself.)