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Multiple novels, same universe... how to put the connection in the titles?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Surad, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Surad

    Surad Minstrel

    Hey guys,

    So I've been meaning to ask this question for years. I've been incredibly... strange with my world as of late. I have too many ideas that I am simply not writing down or properly fleshing out on anything outside my own head.

    But anyway, there is one problem I really need to fix. I'm in progress on two stories, and I already published one book... they all share at least one character (he is protagonist in two, and a main character in a third), but one of the books has little to do with the other in terms of story save for sharing a character.

    And I'm probably going to write more that have nothing to do with other stories save for them being based in the same universe... how do I tie them together and inform potential buyers/fans that these books all share a similar world? It's sorta like the Dragonlance novels or Discworld series that could feature radically different settings and characters, but are clearly based in the same world.

    What are your suggestions? Add something like 'Tales of Ordea' In the title? It doesn't really fit in with the theme of the dieselpunk fiction since it sounds too fantasy like. It is a fantasy, but it's not a conventional fantasy... like I said, it's a dieselpunk/fantasy hybrid.
  2. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

    You can either link them by series name, numerical order, or similar titles such as, for example, Tales of Ordea: Dragonsblood (book 1), Tales of Ordea: Dragonsoul (book 2), and so forth. Does that answer your question(s)?
  3. Surad

    Surad Minstrel

    That's what I was thinking, but like I said, I need something less straight fantasy.

    Since my world is against a backdrop of a WW2 era setting and does draw some inspiration from pulp fiction of the era (I am reading some of the stuff from the time, though I haven't exactly completed a lot so far, but I hope to pretty soon).

    I was thinking of titling it the 'Dark Chapter' series. It's based on a line from a documentary on WW2 that referred to the war as the darkest chapter in history.

    But even that doesn't ring well with the existing titles I have in mind. My currently published book, Cold Coffee With a Touch of Cocaine... do you think it would work if I retitled it as Cold Coffee with a Touch of Cocaine, a Dark Chapter story?

    What do you think?
  4. Drakevarg

    Drakevarg Troubadour

    Maybe leave "A Dark Chapter story" as some sort of fine-print subtitle, something easily ignored. From what you're describing, most of these stories have little to do with each other besides the underlying setting, so they don't need to declare their relationship prominently since the reader can presumably pick them up and enjoy them in any order.

    You might not need to announce the connection at all. Those who follow your works will notice, and those who don't won't care. Most of Lovecraft's works were set in continuity with each other (Arkham, Miskatonic University, Innsmouth, the Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred, and of course many of the eldritch horrors are mentioned in passing across several of his stories that are tangentally related to them at best), and the idea of the "Cthulhu Mythos" only really came up once other authors began writing in the same setting.
    TheCatholicCrow likes this.
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    All my stories are set in the same world but are not related otherwise. Every one of them has "An Altearth Tale" as a sub-title, thus:

    Goblins at the Gates, An Altearth Tale
    Mad House, An Altearth Tale
    The Roadmaster, An Altearth Tale

    You get the idea. This is fairly common practice; you just need the right tag. No easy task!
  6. Holman

    Holman Minstrel

    If you want to avoid a "fantasy" label don't use Tale, Adventure or Saga - I would simply use "Novel" as the end tag.

    eg. "Cold Coffee with a Touch of Cocaine"
    A Dark Chapter Novel
  7. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Check out how the Discworld books are marketed. "Discworld" is the setting and there are 30+ novels that are all stand alone titles. There are different novels exploring different aspects of the world featuring different sets of characters. The titles are not linked, sometimes the cover art across books is based on a similar template, but mostly they are just distinguished by being "Discworld books by Terry Pratchett". And though it's fairly complex, the way the settings and characters are woven throughout totally separate books, fans have no trouble keeping track of it all. So I don't think it's something you have to try too hard at.
  8. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling


    Who/what are you reading?

    If it was me, I'd do whatever titles make sense for the story but add line (like a tag line) on both the cover "A ____ World Story" and somewhere in the blurb "In the eastern lands of ____ world, a young reluctant woman..."

    Otherwise, make sure all of the covers have similar branding by using the same fonts, styles, etc.
  9. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

    I've seen books in series where the only indication on/in the books themselves that they were in the same series was inside the front cover, where "other books by this author" were listed. The different series written by the author were identified, and which books belonged to each series was identified, typically in the order they were released. You'll see this often now in the book descriptions, too, on Amazon or other online bookstores. Authors list their series on their web sites, and identify which books belong to which series. There are plenty of ways to get the point across, without having to change the desired titles of the individual books. But if you want it on the front cover, I like Holman's suggestion.

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