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?