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I want to create a series for my books. The books are unrelated, and can be read in any order. This would be something like Goosebumps by R.L. Stine. Like a Twilight Zone framing.

In my first, and maybe every book I want to explain what the series is, and what unites the works. Is it a good idea to include a page in the book explaining this? Would this page best go before or after the main work?

I realize this is usually a problem for the editor, but at this time I am looking at self-publishing

A large part of this question comes to the "first paragraph test" a reader may do picking up a book. Would readers tend to skip this kind of section and dedications, and go straight to chapter one when looking at a book in a store?

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    Sure you can write a preface. Or do you want to make this manifesto an actual part of the book? – Alexander Feb 2 '18 at 18:40
  • @Alexander no i specifically do not want that, and I don't want the reader putting the work down because he is reading a manifest instead of characters and plot – Andrey Feb 2 '18 at 20:24
  • If you label it appropriately the readers will skip it (as you wish) and read it when they need it. If you self publish you will not be in a bookstore, I believe, you will be on Amazon. If you have a website you can place it there as a piece of bonus material. You could make it the blurb on the back, this would require creativity but that's a good thing. – DPT Feb 2 '18 at 22:30
  • Personally, I would skip such a thing as a reader. I may not be in your audience, however. Another alternative, if you want to tie everything together, is to give each book in the series a subtitle such as A Book in the Wonder Series or some such. Another option is to give them each a unifying title, or a unifying cover design. According to a survey I saw recently from Free Mind Media, most readers don't care if a book is in a series or not. – user28887 Feb 3 '18 at 12:31
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Before I get into my answer, I'm going to open with the caveat that this is largely opinion based.

Is it a good idea?

It can be beneficial, certainly, for those who want to explore the "universe" to a greater extent than what's recorded in the story. If it's necessary to understand what's happening, then I would question if you should perhaps revisit your story somewhat. That said, a lot of readers, myself included, enjoy those extra little easter-eggs that can be found in those things.

Where should it go?

Not at the front. Definitely not at the front of the book. If you're going to include it in a book, place it in the rear after the story. Include it as an appendix. Better yet, in this day and age (especially if you're self publishing) don't keep it in the book, create a webpage or wiki for it. This serves a couple of purposes:

  • It drives traffic to your site. More traffic means more potential for sales

  • It allows you to continually update, improve and expand your universe, and further cement the setting

  • It allows you more engagement with your audience and can help refine your product

It also allows those not interested to not have to sit through it to get the story, avoids the "first paragraph" test.

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    Agree with the web page. The extra sales can be significant, if self published, and you want such page, if self published, anyway. Also, a series manifesto should really be a living document and that is easier with a web page. – Ville Niemi Feb 5 '18 at 7:49

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