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I'm writing my first series of novels, which will contain four books. As often happens, about half way through developing the books, I opened up the possibility for an entirely new series set in the same world with the same characters, but several years later. I could possibly do this again as well, after the second series is complete.

Is there any technical term for a collection of novels like this? It's several series, probably with varying numbers of books, that are all connected through the setting and characters. The series would be different in their plots.

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    Maybe a Saga, perhaps? – user18397 Jun 22 '16 at 2:52
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The good news is that there's nobody policing this! You can call your series anything you want — just like naming your individual books, you're looking for whatever you think will best serve the series and appeal to prospective readers.

  • 'Trilogy', 'quadrilogy' etc. obviously have technical meanings
  • So does 'sequence' (See Wikipedia)
  • Terry Pratchett simply wrote 'The Discworld Novels', and his covers would just say 'A Discworld Novel'
  • Kameron Hurley writes 'the Worldbreaker Saga'
  • Patrick Rothfuss calls his series 'the Kingkiller Chronicle', which of course was also used for the Chronicles of Narnia
  • Brandon Sanderson writes 'the 'Stormlight Archive'
  • If you're writing humour, you could use a joke description like Douglas Adams's 'A trilogy in five parts'
  • 'Series' does the job, and no-one will find it pretentious
  • George RR Martin uses 'A Song of Ice And Fire', that is, a unique name with no 'series' word at all

You can use as much imagination as you would when writing the book itself.


One note of caution! The above applies when naming your work for prospective readers.

If you're sending it to prospective publishers, clearly, a cool series name still won't hurt. But in your first approach, it might be smart to focus on the initial book, or at most the initial trilogy. Ambition is great, but if you're an unknown author whose cover letter says 'I enclose my masterpiece which I anticipate to be the first in a fifteen-book series,' it could mark you out as having unrealistic expectations.

The publisher will want to see how well your book sells before they commit to publishing a dozen more, and it's good to show you understand that.

Hope that helps!

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    Great answer. You provided a lot of choices to pick from and explained why each might be chosen. – raddevus Jun 22 '16 at 14:48
  • Thanks for the suggestions, Cakebox. As for the publisher business, I asked another question about that, and am fully planning to submit my work as 'a standalone novel with series potential.' – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Jun 22 '16 at 14:48
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I am sorry I'm a budding contributor here so I don't have comment permissions. Just to confirm you are writing something like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, right? Where each series has its own books in different time frame.

If yes then that's a massive project and wouldn't be bound by something like trilogy or any of that sort.

Saga being a long tale that can take over enormous period of time would be the most suitable choice. Apart from this I'd think calling entire project as a Saga/Series/Project with each series being called as 'Act' and each book as chapter.

Ex. Project Ghost Speaks 101 -> Act 1 (The dead resurrects) - > Chapter 1(ghost of Sherlock Holmes)..

OH and best wishes for the project.

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Technically, it is simply a series.

Usually, when you look at writers' bibliographies on Wikipedia, multi-cycle series are usually grouped under a heading that refers to what they all have in common. For example, several of the novels of C. J. Cherryh are grouped under "the Alliance-Union universe". In this case, "universe" is the term used to describe the connection between otherwise only vaguely related novels and novel cycles.

But from a technical point of view, that is, disregarding the content of the books, all these books form a series in that they are published one after another and are meant by the author and publisher to be perceived as belonging together.

Wikipedia has an article where what you are talking about is called a "novel sequence", but that is the first time I have encountered that term and am not sure it is actually used except ad hoc. That page also gives the model of trilogy < sequence < 'saga' grouping (single author) < shared universe < genre, which I find interesting and appropriate, except that I would replace "sequence" with "series" and would maybe drop "saga", because it implies a unity of protagonist, place or topics that is not present in many series' of novels set in the same world.

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