Thoughts and Questions on Series Numbering

Okay this is probably a rather dull topic for some of you, but it’s been on my mind as the proper launch of To Get Me To You draws nigh.  It is the first book in the series and is, obviously, properly number 1.  This is a no brainer.  Chronologically, Be Careful, It’s My Heart follows it, and I have had a devil of a time trying to sort out how to number it.

The numbering scheme for such a thing in the traditional publishing world seems to be most often Novel #1, Novella #1.5, Novel #2, etc., because the novella is meant to tide you over between novels, right?  In some limited cases, I’ve seen a series numbered just straight sequentially 1, 2, 3, 4, no matter what length the stories were (The Gaslight Chronicles by Cindy Spenser Pape being foremost in my mind, followed by some of Donna Kauffman’s Scot series books).

For my Mirus stuff, I numbered Forsaken By Shadow 1.1, Devil’s Eye 1.2, and Blindsight 1.3 because all of them were collected in the omnibus edition Genesis, which was officially the first book in the series.  But that doesn’t much make sense for Wishful.

In investigating my options, I have discovered that Amazon allows you to list books as part of a series without specifying volume number at all, if you don’t want.  If you choose to use that feature, you can do #.#, but you only get a single decimal place (so no 1.25 or something).

Smashwords has their handy series manager tool, which allows you to set the chronological order, custom numbering scheme, and choose whether to show the volume number at all.  

Barnes and Noble requires a volume number if you go through Nookpress, and it has no decimals at all, so it won’t accept the convention of 1.5 for a novella.  Same for Draft2Digital.  I did notice that some traditionally published series are listed without numbers at all, so that requirement seems to just be on the self published side of BN.  I’m not sure what they do with titles distributed through Smashwords as I published almost everything except some short stories direct through NookPress, rather than go through the premium distribution.

I have two reasons for angsting over this.

1) I actually have another novella in Wishful that I want to write before the next full novel and since BC takes up the 1.5 slot…what would I number it?

2) If I were to use sequential numbering of just 1, 2, 3, etc., I wouldn’t want to tick off any readers who picked up one of the novellas expecting a full novel and don’t bother to read the description or the cover that blatantly SAYS novella and then get ticked off and feel cheated (which has certainly happened in the past).

One alternative I had considered was to update the product descriptions for everything in the series to include a list of all the books in the correct order, with notations by the side saying novel or novella (or short story, as I’ve got some of those too).

If I could do them without series numbers at all, I’d think that would be the best option.  It’s NOT the sort of series where it has to be read in order.  Each book is a standalone story and it’s not really a spoiler to know who got together in a different book because, hey, romance.

So, authors, readers, WEIGH IN.  What do you think makes the most sense?

Midweek #ROW80 Check-In

I am generally NOT one of those writers who fiddles endlessly with a manuscript and looks at everything I’ve ever written and still sees things I’d do differently.  Usually, I hit a point where I feel like “This is as good as I can make it,” and I mentally divorce myself and out it goes.  Some of that is related to the OMG, I can’t look at this anymore!!!! fatigue that invariably hits at some point during revisions.  But almost every time I go back to read something that’s been put out, it’s better than I remember it being.

But this book.  This book is very near and dear to me on multiple levels.  I want so much for it to do well (not just for financial reasons) but because I love this town and the series I have planned to go with it SO SO MUCH.  And yesterday I hit Terror Level Orange about whether people would like it, whether they’d understand my understated hero, whether some of the choices I made were a mistake, and generally worrying that the book will tank, and therefore the series will tank before it even begins.

I had four different people talk me off the ledge yesterday (Thank you Susan, Claire, Liana, and Lisa).  I finished the scene I needed to add first thing this morning, made a few more tweaks, and sent out ARCs.  I still need to do the final proof, but it is, for better or worse, going to be out of my hands in a matter of days.  And then I can move on to the next book–well, in between the obsessive refreshing of Amazon and my sales pages for the first week.  Probably I need to make sure I have a team in place to vet reviews, so I don’t look.

I’ve got my plot points for Next Book and I’m debating whether I should start my proof read tonight or play with some plotting.  Maybe some of both.  I’ve already spell-checked the whole thing for the obvious misspellings (after spending considerable time training Scrivener’s dictionary to include Southern), so whatever is left is going to be those occasions where I’ve used the wrong word.  Like “discrete” when I mean “discreet”.  Which requires, perhaps, a bit more focus than I’m apt to have after work today.  So maybe plotting…