Here’s a thing I’ve been contemplating. (You can tell I’m in between huge projects because I’m hanging out on the blog all the time. Join me, mates, come on now!)
So. The Scientific Method. Right. In my head, the specific arc of this series is Will and Hugh and Truman. Like, seriously, I’m not even sure The New Born Year really falls into what I think of as the Scientific Method series. However. How-fuckin’-ever. It’s clearly in that universe. The Nick and Bernie book also doesn’t fall within the Scientific Method series, but does fall inside the universe. On the other hand, Extremes, an ass-kicker novella planned for a July release, is all Will and the boyfriends, and thus totally belongs in the Scientific Method series.
Am I making any sense at all?
Say I write the Ally book. (Oh, I am definitely writing the Ally book, even if it is the straightest thing I’ve thought about in a long time. In point of fact, my brain categorizes Close to Home as a het book, even though there’s some lady-on-lady action in it. [Stan and Maizy are mostly straight. Jean, though. Jean’s definitely pansexual. Jean’ll go for anyone.] Home Free could be a straight book, except it’s most definitely queer.)
Say I write the Ally book. How to I categorize it? Will it have the lads in it? Yes. And Moll and Ads and Becs, too. But is it a story in the arc of The Scientific Method? No. So. I’m thinking about branding right now, because the Nick and Bernie book needs a cover. (Oh, and a, a, whatdoyoucallit, oh yeah, a title.) I want the folks who will be interested in more from this universe to be able to find it immediately. But I don’t want anyone to pick it up thinking it follows directly in line with The Scientific Method, because it’s a parallel track. Literally. It runs alongside Roller Coasters and The Boyfriends Tie the Knot, well before The New Born Year.
Do I have two separate “serieses”: The Scientific Method, and The Scientific Method Universe? Is that ridiculous? Do I add a touch of branding to all the current books (I’m thinking about the little turned-up corner on Samhain Publishing covers), which subtly ties them all together?
I don’t know yet. I do know that bad branding has burned me as a reader. And that while I would walk across hot coals to read any of the Vorkosigan books, it was hell trying to figure out what the hell the reading order was. The Ivan book is clearly in that world, but has only scattered Vorkosigan moments in it. How do you discover other books in a series? Do you click the link on a vendor page?
(Amazon returns a thorough accounting for Vorkosigan Saga, and lists Falling Free as book one, thus muddying the waters further. I mean, maybe Ethan of Athos, which at least references a Vorkosigan, but Falling Free? Gah. If I read that thinking I’d continue reading about those characters, then picked up Shards of Honor, I’d’ve been annoyed. Yet it’s clearly part of that universe, most literally. And it’s great to have read that before you read Diplomatic Immunity.)
Shit is complicated, people. Though I do like the little banner at the top of Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance that reads “A Vorkosigan Saga Novel”. Maybe I change the branding on The Scientific Method to reflect the numbered Will/boyfriends arc, then keep it vague for the rest of them? Cripes.
Back to editing Nick and Bernie, when I should really be writing Math and Henry.