Long time lurker, not so active poster, but I figured out I could get some nice insights on a question I've been torn about for many days now.
I'm currently working my first draft of a fantasy book (about 1/3rd done now) that I have been developing for many years. This being my first ever book it obviously requires an extra effort to keep it together, but i believe I've done a great deal of outlining and worldbuilding, and so far everything is going smoothly. I'm also part of several writing groups and reading communities that have been providing essential help and showed a great deal of support and interest in my story.
The thing is, I started writing mostly for fun and technically never intended it to be published. However, I am now starting to consider the possibility (which obviously isn't an urgent matter, since the manuscript completion and editing work will likely keep me busy until at least next year). With that thought came the realization that the current storyline I'm following would likely span 2 to 3 tomes. The first book and probably about half of the second one are already fully outlined with detailed storylines, characters, etc, while the rest is a bit more open.
Listening to writing lectures (such as Brandon Sanderson) and doing some research online, I discovered that multi-book series are often more difficult to publish and can be seen as red flag by editors. In my current plan, the first tome finishes on a massive revelation that binds together all of the events that happened so far, and ends with our characters on a cliffhanger after realizing the implications for their immediate future.
My question is: is there any major issue with that kind of cliffhanger (that obviously calls for a sequel) when trying to publish a first novel? Parts of me want to believe it makes for a really nice ending and can generate momentum for the second book, but I also feel that it has a lot of negative implications. For example:
– I am a nobody, why put trust in a multi-book series when no one has ever read nor bought anything from me before?
– I'm an amateur writer with a life on the side, so if it takes 6 years to write a sequel I could understand an editor not wanting to take the risk with that book
– On the same manner (a bit more projected I admit), if it doesn't gather interest I end up with a first tome that flops and could greatly hinder publishing a sequel
Going with that direction, I'm now considering altering this last section so that it can be sent as one resolved story. More precisely, I was thinking about having the conflict with one of the main villains -which are actually secondary but that's part of the cliffhanger- be resolved in that first book while withdrawing some of the original ending's revelations. In that sense the story would look finished and publishable by itself, but the sequels could still pick up immediately after and reveal the implications of the first book's events.
I'm also conflicted with that choice, because while it feels safer and better as a first author I also feel that it would take away some of my original idea's impact and "cool factor".
So my dilemma is really that. Which option would you opt for? If you have been (or are) in a similar case, what happened? Did you get published with an obvious cliffhanger ending and plans for a sequel?
Source: reddit post