Monday, March 21, 2022

Prepare to get Multiple Contract for Books

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

You start with a book idea, but adding a little more brainstorming can turn one idea into topics for several related books. That can spawn multiple contracts for multiple books or a series, in fiction or nonfiction. Be focused as create proposals that pitch more than one book.

Creating Multiple Book Ideas

Know your brand and body of work you’d like to create someday. This should relate to one word that shares the core of your writing. Normally a writer’s core message is woven into each book without the author realizing it. That’s because it tends to flow from the author’s deeply held beliefs. To identify it, look at all your ideas, and anything written. It may help to brainstorm with another writer or talk to with a life coach or writing coach. This word becomes your umbrella under which your ideas should all fit. 

For example, when Sandra Felton, the Organizer Lady, wrote her first book for Messies she only thought of the one book. Readers wanted more and sales soared. She branched outward within organizing to help readers motivate their families to organize and went deeper with devotions on being organized. She also looked at specific topics such as organizing a desk or closet Her core topic remained organizing.

Developing Readership Through a Brand

Branding helps editors understand your vision and outreach without considering you as scattered. A group of titles might not define the brand, but the brand should help identify what books belong in it. Within the brand, editors like to see an author developing their main audience. Going to various reader ages, groups, or interest can make marketing harder, unless the pathway to reach them is clear. I write for families with the brand Growing Tomorrows Wholesome Families. I wrote books for moms and then provided tools to equip the mom’s family with books for children. Moms who like my writing, buy the companion books for family members.

Another reason branding helps is to develop the author’s following. Readers often want more from an author who helped them in a needed area. So, if a reader liked a prayer book from an author and wants more, they will look to see if that author has other books related to prayer. 

When editors realize the author has a wider plan, the vision and marketing ideas increases the interest in contracting books. They are investing in more than one book idea and see the possibility for a line of books.

Convey the Bigger Picture

To garner multiple book contracts, be sure to share your vision well. In the proposal for a book, add a section on possible future books or series. This is a section to show ideas of what can come next. It’s also a good place to explain how and why more books would fit well. So, in proposing a family devotional, I focused on one for busy families and then in the section for future books I shared about a few other ideas for family devotions that include one on family prayer. The third of that series, on family prayer, recently released.

Another way to present the idea of more books is with a little catalog of ideas to print and bring. Editors are readers, so they can glance at other ideas while you meet. I use separate pages for each genre and audience (so NF for women on one page, children’s book on another, articles on another, NF devotions on another). I add a short description below each title. That way I can pull out the pages that might interest a particular editor. It’s a quick way to share your ideas. I have sold books and articles from the catalog rather than the one I was pitching.

Develop Good Time Management

Be prepared to write a few books in a year to meet deadlines for contracts for multiple books. I use spread sheets instead of outlines. I can put all the elements planned for a book in a spread sheet. I include all I need to write the book from scriptures, talking points, and anecdotes to research links. This way if it takes a few years for a contract on a specific book, I can start writing from the spread sheet.

Be sure you have an idea of how long it takes you to write a chapter or book, edit your manuscripts, and go through a galley. That way you can negotiate workable deadlines for your book(s). 

Build Your Writing Authority

Write articles, social media posts, active blogs, and speaking on the topics of the book(s) you are pitching and the related book ideas. That helps establish your wider branding and ability to write on multiple topics within thee brand. As the first book of family devotions released I wrote an article on family prayer for a large online magazine (two million readers) that hit number one for them. That helped solidify writing the third devotion, on family prayer.

Multiple contracts can happen anytime. The week I received my first book contract, I received contracts for 3 other books from two other editors (one picked up on more books I could write from the proposal). However, only start pitching multiple ideas if you are ready to write multiple books in a year.


Karen Whiting (WWW.KARENWHITING.COM) is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-seven books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table reflects her passion for bread and growing up helping at her grandparent’s restaurant. Check out her newest book Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. It's full of heartwarming and teary-eyed stories of moms.

Karen has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than eight hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Crosswalk. Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting Pinterest KarenWhiting FB KarenHWhiting

Featured Image: Photo by Gülfer ERGİN on Unsplash

1 comment:

  1. Karen - great information about the branding and the catalog sheets. It is definitely working for you...thanks for sharing your expertise! :)