How possible is it to publish a sequel with a different publisher than the original (successfully)?

Does the genre matter? Such as science fiction, fantasy, mysteries or picture books?

I would appreciate examples of when this has been done. The author I am asking for has published a picture book with sequels planned, as well as a fantasy, and there is no contract language dealing with sequels.

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    See also this question.
    – J.G.
    Mar 26, 2019 at 20:59
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    @user37495 Welcome to writing.se! Take the tour and visit the help center to learn how things work around here. As you can see from the comments your initial question appeared to be off-topic. If you can clarify what you are actually asking we may be able to get this reopened. Thanks for participating and happy writing!
    – linksassin
    Mar 27, 2019 at 2:13
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    I am new here and willing to have my question edited to something acceptably on-topic. I (copyeditor/proofreader) am trying to help an author with the original question, as well as improve my own knowledge of the field to help other clients.
    – user37495
    Mar 27, 2019 at 2:24
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    It seems to me that this is poerfectly clear, and not about existing works. This, as it strands is asking about how an authro can publish a second book in a series with a different publisher from the one that published the first. I am voting to reopen. Mar 27, 2019 at 5:14
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    @Rasdashan, why did you roll back OP's edits? They made it into a perfectly on-topic question and now you've restored the off-topic version. I could understand if there were invalidated answers, but there aren't.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 27, 2019 at 6:34

2 Answers 2


Quite frankly, it all depends on your contract with your publisher.

If the publisher is already publishing your series (as a series) the publisher probably has a contract for that series.

If you wrote a novel and now want to write a series based on that novel, a series clause may not be in your contract but boiler plate contracts may cover derivative works. Again check and, better still, have an attorney look at the contract.

Note that if you can start a series with another publisher based on your book, the original publisher will likely stop publishing your first book as revenge until and unless your series makes enough money to tempt the first publisher to cash in on the sale of the book. Therefore, the series must be readable assuming no one read the first book.


Hello and welcome to the group!

Since you say you have already checked the contract and there is no clause relating to series, I'd say it depends on the reason the series was dropped. Just as an example, if the early books were selling really well but the publisher went out of business, an author could have luck selling to a new publisher with proven sales, especially if s/he can get the rights back to the earlier books.

However, this is rare and I don't know of any authors who have done this. The reason being that the far more common reason for authors being dropped (mid-series or otherwise) is because of poor sales, and therefore another publisher won't take a risk on the rest of the series (or the author) if it hasn't sold well. And this applies across all genres; sales are what publishers care about.

I know of many successful authors who have switched publisher but not of any who have done it mid-series.

What I see far more frequently is authors going indie and fighting to get their rights back on earlier books in the series because they cannot get a new deal and can only effectively promote a whole series (through permafree or box sets for example) if they own the rights to every book.

Indie publishing sales have taken over traditionally published sales now and your friend may have a lot more luck going independent. If the first books in the series didn't sell well, it may be possible to buy the rights back.

If s/he doesn't have an agent, it may be worth approaching a few and getting their opinions on whether it would be possible. Agents have a finger on the trad pulse and may know of publishers seeking such work.

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