Writing a series/ serial

This is a pertinent question for me because I am getting to the pointy end of publishing a book that is part of a continuing story. As a person who reads a lot of both sci-fi and fantasy books, series / serial is a familiar concept. I read a lot of books that go on past book one. Both the GoT style – this is no where near resolved at book 1 conclusion, and the other type – where there are different people/ same people with new stories within the same world.

My current angst on this topic comes from a fellow blogger who expressed considerable irritation at people writing a book which is a serial and calling it a series. I am going to be honest here and admit I had never really considered the term serial, and pretty much everything was clumped into the series category. They felt cheated as a reader to get the end of a book categorised as a series, which was actually a serial. I have never experienced this personally, but a lot of comments suggested this was a common issue, particularly with the indie revolution that is taking the book world by storm.

The series is correctly categorised for a set of books that follow a theme / people through a common world, but are completely stand-alone and you could read in any order.

The serial is correctly categorised as a set of books where each book should still have a valid beginning, middle and end, but form part of a broader story and would need to be read in order. They do not have a final conclusion until the last book.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on series/ serial.

  • How have you categorised your own book if you write this type of book?
  • If you have read a series / serials were they correctly categorised?
  • Finally, whether open endings i.e. book 1 of a serial, have left you feeling depressed or even angry because they called themselves book 1 of a series.

Here is the link to the site (A great site by the way), and this post generated some interesting comments, most of which appeared to be aligned with the writer of the post. I really don’t want to misrepresent my book if I self publish, but would have probably incorrectly labeled it as a series, when in fact by this definition it is a serial.

How Can You Tell if a Book Is Part of a Series or Serial?