Allright, you lazy, good-for-nothing beatniks! Get out of that got, drop your linnen and stop your grinnin'!

 
This year is going to see as many as six new Dark Øverlord products enter the marketplace. ARealGirl and I are starting to plan for the far future, and we want your brains (for doing stuff brains are actually supposed to do, not to put in our belly). 
 
Soon we will release the Mur Lafferty novella THE REPORTER, a story that takes place between THE STARTER and THE ALL-PRO. We have more novellas planned for 2013 and beyond, including TITLE FIGHT, which takes place between THE ROOKIE and THE STARTER. We want to develop a naming system that shows the exact timeline of Siglerverse cannon, and have that nomenclature be included in titles. We want people to be able to see, at a glance, the order of Siglerverse books.
 
Remember that all Siglerverse books happen in the same universe and timeline. Things that happen in CONTAGIOUS influence things that happen in THE CRYPT, and so on. I will eventually have series that are not part of the Siglerverse, like HUNTER HUNTERSON & SONS, but those stories are not part of this discussion. 
 
Here's a tricky part: I have four "eras" of the Siglerverse planned out:
• "Olden Times" for stuff that happens before 2000
• "Modern Day" including INFECTED, CONTAGIOUS, ANCESTOR, NOCTURNAL and anything I write that takes place in our current world
• "Crypt Era" for all the stories that take place about 500 years from now
• "GFL Era" for the stories that take place 700 years from now
 
Because things in "Modern Day" affect things in "Crypt Era" and "GFL Era," some people will want to read all of the stories in order. At the same time, some people will eat up the military SF of "Crypt Era," and not give a crap about "Modern Era" or "GFL Era." So, this numbering system has to serve the fans that want to read everything from beginning to end, as well as cater to fans that just want to enjoy their little piece of the Siglerverse. 
 
OPTION 1 - SEQUENTIAL DECIMAL SYSTEM:
One way is to identifying each series, then tack on a "Siglerverse" number at the end. THE ROOKIE, Book 1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.1) , THE STARTER, Book 2 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.2), and so on. That means TITLE FIGHT would be described as: TITLE FIGHT, Book 1.5 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.1.5). THE REPORTER would probably be Book 2.1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.2.1). THE CRYPT, Book 1.0 (Siglerverse 3.1) would be followed by THE CRYPT, Book 2.0 (Siglerverse 3.2), and if I go back and write things that happen in-between, it would be THE CRYPT Book 1.5 (Siglerverse 3.1.5)
 
Here's where it gets tricky: say we put out eleven stories that take place between THE ROOKIE and THE STARTER - eventually, we would have to put out something like: THE MANAGER, Book 1.5.2 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.1.5.2)
 
PROS: 
1. At a glance, you can see the exact order of the stories. When new Junkies enter the Siglerverse, if they so choose they can read the entire GFL series in order.

2. Infinitely expandable: we can keep adding stories for decades, and the system will continue even after I'm dead and some other entity takes over the Siglerverse franchise. 
 
CONS: 
1. What happens if I eventually add an era between "Modern" and "The Crypt?

2. Fifteen years from now, could get kludgy. Imagine ARealGirl and I find some great franchise characters in THE MVP that we want to develop with their own stories and/or series. Or, imagine Quentin's detective Frederico is a breakout star with y'all, and we want to give him a series of books. As the stories pile up, we could see cumbersone names like THE DETECTIVE, Book 3.5.1.4 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 3.3.5.1.4)

OPTION 2 - DATE SYSTEM:
The other method we came up with was to just ad the date of the book's first day of action, and incorporate that into the title. For example, say THE ALL-PRO story begins on January 2, 2684, the title would be: "THE ALL-PRO, Book 3 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 2684.1.2). 
 
We would go with year first, I think, so if we have a system that sorts alphabetically by the "Siglerverse" number, it would flow correctly. 
 
PROS:
1. Shows clear order of the stories.

2. Ten characters max (4 for year, 2 for month, 2 for day, plus two decimals)

3. Infinitely expandable. We would have a limit of 365 possible products for each "year," but we'd never hit that number, so we'd be able to drop new stories into the timeline whenever we like without multiple sequential decimals.
 
CONS:
1. Don't we still need series numbers for the stories that happen between major books? For example, THE REPORTER, Book 3.1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 2684.5.10)

2. It might not be clear that things take place at the same time as other books, unless we put the full date range. For example THE REPORTER happens during THE ALL-PRO. Unless I put a full date range (beginning date, end date), it might not be clear that one story takes place during another. Not sure this matters as far as reading things in order, but it is a factor.
You are the fans, the Junkies, so give us your thoughts on these systems or another system. 
 
KEEP IN MIND: ARealGirl and I are developing a massive universe that someday will include novels, novellas, short stories, comics, web series, movies and video games. Some stories will be comic-only, others might be video-game-only. We want to make sure fans that discover us 20 years from now can see the entire timeline at a glance, then best choose what they want to enjoy. 
 
NOTE: If you want to play in this sandbox, please take time to think your system through before throwing in a comment. We don't want comments like "why don't you just number them in order?" that show you didn't read the post, and show you put down the first thing to pop into your head. This is a complex issue that we're trying to manage to better serve the Junkies.

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I think the "stardate" approach works very good, with yyyymmdd.partofday

This makes it consistent no matter when the book/story takes place. 

 THE ALL-PRO story begins on January 2, 2684, the title would be: "THE ALL-PRO, Book 3 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 2684.1.2)

more like 26840102.?? - start of date? would that be 01- 1 am? 23 = 11 pm?
Keep all the .'s out except for the part of the day.

This way if you have a story that happens to start say at 10pm and one that starts at noon on the same day, it would look like:

 26840102.12 - Story starting at noon
 26840102.22 - Story starting at 10pm

 Heck you could expand it to mins too if need be.

 26840102.0930 -  9:30 pm
 26840102.2205 - 10:05 pm

Then things that happen in the "current times"
 20120119.1004 - when i was typing this in.

this makes it possible to have a story take place any time and just simply show when the story "starts". 

Problem is, what if the story "jumps" around in time?  Could you use the #'s for chapter headings?


FDO's 2nd Degree Black Belt Enforcer
"A Black Belt only covers 2" of your butt, you better be prepared to cover the rest."

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Obviously, this is all just my ignorant opinion.  So here goes:

The date system seems more cumbersome to me.  The cons you listed are significant, and I find the range issue especially problematic.  My guts tell me "no."

Decimals seem cleaner to me, and the expandability is very useful.  And the example of Frederico's novel (when can I pre-order?) sounds perfectly workable to me as stated - I don't have a problem with it.  And it has the added benefit of being (relatively) easy to script for when working with this stuff in a database (for example).  Decimal system gets my vote.

 >>>[-Seth "The Hammer" Hanisek, Fullback, Woo Wallcrawlers]

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I really think since you already have a fairly accurate timeline to work with, that you should run with that.  I really don't think cover wise that you need to be any more in depth than a simple four digit year.  My suggestion would be to put the exact date on the cover page or something like that and then maybe refer them to a web based, interactive timeline so they can visually see the eras and how each story fits in to them.  The following link is to a free online timeline maker, I'm sure there are many other this is just for an example.

http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/timetoast-interactive-timeline-creator/

...Tsolo888 <AKA Cpt. Travis Ellis> - Out

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Well, I have to say I'm for option 2. In fact, I was for option 2 before I read option 2, because I was thinking about it while reading the intro and option 1. Yes, it doesn't give you an idea of what short stories or novellas take place during a previous one, however it gives you the best chronological numbering system I think even simplifying it to year and month of first action would be fine, that might help to demonstrate some of the books that are in the same timeframe, especially if they are started in the same month (yes, seveal books with 2684.5 might be a little confusing, but how often does this happen?)

Any other way is too limiting in the event you want to shove some stories in between things 15 years in the future. The only other thing I would add is a letter to the end to indicate the series, in case in the future things start to bleed together. Only do it for long series though. So All Pro could be 2684.1.2G for GFL series, Contagious would be 2009.1.20T for Triangle series, or something like that. Say Ancestor was a stand alone it would just be 2010.11.7, making it easy to see which books were a series with them still being in chronological order.
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I kind of like Romada's idea of a star date system. While yes it may seem cumbersome in the end what you are trying to do is tie everything together. You can use Tsolo888's timeline creator to clearly define the eras, even use them on the spines if you want to define eras for people that just want one era. You had mentioned if someone was just into one thing, lets say football for example, you could put on the spine or where ever for the Rookie:
26840102
GFL Era

I don't think you need to get into the minutia before each chapter but this way people could stick to eras if they wanted to. That would also leave you open to introduce other eras along the overall timeline of the siglerverse. 

The only issue would be if you start another universe that carries on along the same lines. The solution I would take up then is introduce a letter in front of the star date so it read s26840102 for siglerverse and x26840102 for the same time in the other-verse.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Hotchman
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I'd abbreviate each series to a single word (OR 3 letters... INFECTED-INF) and number them from there, with a year tacked to the end. Also, go with the online timeline idea. THE ALL-PRO, GFL 3, 2684 THE REPORTER, GFL 3.1, 2684
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I like what Trevor is saying here.-  gives series, place in series, year of start.  Uf a stardate system was going to be used I would include some alpha chars to break up the pattern at a glance though.  Any method would get confusing if the story jumps around or begins with some kind of flashback or foretelling - more if it was not going to be obvious to the reader at first and needed to be unfolded.
.
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I agree with romanda and I don't think the cons listed for option #2 are that big of a deal.

1. Don't we still need series numbers for the stories that happen between major books? For example, THE REPORTER, Book 3.1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 2684.5.10)
 
So I answered the second con first, but I think this con has pretty much the same answer.  If you have grabbed someone's attention with the cover art, they are hooked for at least the 10-15 seconds it would take to glance at the blurb on the"front inside flap" if it is a hardcover or the back if it is a paperback.
 
Right?  I mean Junkies and even "converts in process" will already know if they follow this site or your podcasts at all.  And the rest you are going to hook with cover art and title.  Get them there and I think you will have created that 10-15 second of them reading the blurb where you can lay out a bit of detail as needed.

2. It might not be clear that things take place at the same time as other books, unless we put the full date range. For example THE REPORTER happens during THE ALL-PRO. Unless I put a full date range (beginning date, end date), it might not be clear that one story takes place during another. Not sure this matters as far as reading things in order, but it is a factor.
You are the fans, the Junkies, so give us your thoughts on these systems or another system.
 
In my opinion someone looking at this book on the shelf will at least glance at
"front inside flap" if it is a hardcover or the back if it is a paperback.  Add a blurb about this book taking place in between The Manager and The Owner.  So I would say have the start date, but not more than that on the cover/spine.
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I  think they both have their faults.   After reading all the posts a few concerns I have would be,  it needs to be simple to see which books are the main books in a series and which are the additional books  which the first system sort of does, but damn it could get confusing with more than 3 or 4 decimals.    The date system, does not clearly identify this either,  and you will have things in the dates (especially in the crypt character stories) that have flashbacks.  Also you will get a lot more confusion from new junkies with this system.  Definitely have both a complete list in order of your books in the front of each one, and an explanation page of your sigler verse number  or else you will get the same eternal questions from new readers    

I think you need to do a two tier system as you have made examples of but not use the initial decimal.   State the era,OLD,  MODERN, CRYPT, GFL,  and then the book #, and sub story #, etc   but keep it as short as you can.     This also allows for expansion into new story eras  (You can give me my own battalion in the army for that suggestion, I don't need my own tank).

let me re work your examples to show you:

( "THE ALL-PRO, Book 3 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse GFL 3) )      
TITLE FIGHT, Book 1.5 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse GFL 1.5). THE REPORTER would probably be Book 2.1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse GFL 2.1). THE CRYPT, Book 1.0 (Siglerverse CPT 1) would be followed by THE CRYPT, Book 2.0 (Siglerverse CPT 2), and if I go back and write things that happen in-between, it would be THE CRYPT Book 1.5 (Siglerverse CPT 1.5)

This is infinately expandable.   Say your right and Fredericho is a big star and you start his own series,   instead of " THE DETECTIVE, Book 3.5.1.4 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 3.3.5.1.4)"

Give him his own prefix.  FRED 1.4    FRED 1     Fred 2.5    FRED 5.7
and update the timeline in the new books, and your master timeline on the top of the web site,  which I can't seem to find one easily anywhere (web site, siglerpedia, forums)  (HINT HINT (ok that suggestion gets me my own helicopter)

ok  hopefully that helps.  I know it is not perfect, but maybe it can spawn a more perfect idea, and does break your problem of expandability.
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I've seen this kind of thing in other book series, but ultimately have not found it very useful. At some point, something is going to get written that needs to be squeezed in between some existing books, and a divergence will need to be managed.

In the Elfquest Readers Collection, the collected comics were put into their original order and broken into 6 volumes, numbered 1-6. Additional volumes collected additional material, and were number 7-10 or so. Then more stories were written and took place chronologically between existing numbered volumes, so they started adding "a" and "b" to the numbers. so we had published books 1-10, then 8a, 9a, 9b, etc.

The books are not published in chronological order, so there is no way for a fan who buys the new books as they come out to read them in their intended order.

Let's pretend I'm a future junkie. I see these books with these esoteric numbering schemes on them, and i have to figure out whether they are just part of the title, or if there is some significance to them. If I realize there is some significance, I need to try to decode what the formula is and how I can use it. To do that, I'll either need some kind of explanation printed in the book itself, or I'll go to the website of the author to find out more. Nevermind trying to follow it all in audio form if I buy the audio book. (Matters of chronology are hard enough to read, must less listen to. Remember the Author's Note in the All-Pro?)

I've had the same problem with the Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy, and the Pendergast books by Preston & Child. I know there is a particular order, and I know that it's not necessarily the publish date. I do not hold it against the author that they do not provide the tools for me to put the stories in order just by looking at the book itself. My (obsessive) need to read things in order is my own cross to bear, and I use the tools available to me to make that happen.

As I mentioned above, that tool is most often the internet. Wikipedia and the authors' sites are places that I feel I can find definitive timeline and suggested reading orders for ElfQuest, Jack Ryan, Pendergast and even Dragonlance (which also splits their titles into core books written by Hickman/Weis and those written by others). I'm sure the same things exist for Star Wars and Star Trek novels, or any other anthology series.

Anyway, my point is that while I understand what you're trying to do, I don't know that it is a particular problem that needs solving in that manner. Maintaining a part of your own website, and a page in Wikipedia, accomplishes essentially the same thing, and is easily updated. No crazy decimal system for the reader to decode, and no stress for the author over how to number a new book.

My $.02, humbly submitted.

_________________________________________________________

Gutter Sistren whipping boy, innoventor of words, Life Coach to the Damned.

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I hope I am not under thinking this situation.  I like the K.I.S.S. method for any problem.  Here is what I see as a simple solution.

First, ignore the whole flashback concern...If a junkie can't figure that it is a flashback they are not worthy...they should be killed...and eaten.

Here is my simple combination of what I have read from others.

1. Have at the top the ERA like you have in the GFL Series books

2. At the bottom you can put the main year that the story is centered...example 2012

3. On one of the first pages of the book have an up to date list of products from that ERA in order of the date timeline when it is set to start (flashback start not included)...example

Modern

2009

Infected (Novel) 1/1

Infected (Graphic Novel) 1/1

Scary Perry: Home Invasion (PC Game) 5/8

Presidential Files: The Blue Triangles Book 1 (Novella) 7/1

2010

Contagious (Novel) 1/1

Presidential Files: The Blue Triangles Book 2 (Novella) 7/1

2011

Ancestor (Novel) 1/5

2012

Nocternal (Novel) 3/1

4. At the end put in a listing for the link to your website and to the timeline located on the website for additional books they may want to read.

This would give them the list of books in that era and in what order to read them...a location to look up the timeline and other timelines in case the book they found is old.  If we as followers of the FDO can't figure out that maybe this novella or that novel land in the timeline of another we should be...well...found unworthy...killed...and eaten!

I'm just saying...

"Grill Boy"
On
As another has said, complex numbers will be difficult to use. I suggest a simple large number. Start off with a large numbers for each era 

So modern period would start with 1000, crypt era at 2000 and GFL era at 3000.

Rookie 3000, Starter 3200, All Pro 3400 . Then if you have a story to be read between Rookie and Starter, you drop it into the middle of the range at 3100. Then if that had a follow up story you would subdivide again and it would be numbered as 3150. 

Doing this gives it simple sequence with a lot of gaps to be filled.

I'd also add the suggested three letter code for the series after the number, so the sets can be identified on a shelf ( e.g. 3200-GFL )
http://Cthulhu.mypodcast.com
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In reply to: FNH
As another has said, complex numbers will be difficult to use. I suggest a simple large number. Start off with a large numbers for each era 

So modern period would start with 1000, crypt era at 2000 and GFL era at 3000.

Rookie 3000, Starter 3200, All Pro 3400 . Then if you have a story to be read between Rookie and Starter, you drop it into the middle of the range at 3100. Then if that had a follow up story you would subdivide again and it would be numbered as 3150. 

Doing this gives it simple sequence with a lot of gaps to be filled.

I'd also add the suggested three letter code for the series after the number, so the sets can be identified on a shelf ( e.g. 3200-GFL )
If we limit this to the current "Series" then i think there will be issues.  If this is simply an addition to the end of the book name, or even listed in the front  of the book by this date then i think it solves the problems.

using the 1/2/3.whatever will not work because of the idea of future books being in between these books, etc. 

Having prefixes, or 1000/2000/3000 will not work because at a future date they will come back and add books in the middle of that, and if they are to fit in the "time line" then your back to trying to fit them in to some strange # sequence.  

If its in there as a date then it will be simple for anyone to look up what 24560103.0444 means.   Or even have this in the newer books where it shows the yyyymmdd.hhmm type thing, on the page with all the other books.

Then even if 2 books happen on the same day, there is a way to know what one is in what sequence without trying to figure out what "era" it is, or "what series".  If its 1 universe, then it should have 1 date system.  

Its the "siglerverse" and not the GFL/INFECTION/CRYPT-verse, if they all happen with set dates (which they seem to do) this makes much more sense.

This also makes it very easy to maintain a timeline, since all the books have the date/time on them.

Again, just my 0.02.



FDO's 2nd Degree Black Belt Enforcer
"A Black Belt only covers 2" of your butt, you better be prepared to cover the rest."

On Edited
In reply to: Combat_Cook

I hope I am not under thinking this situation.  I like the K.I.S.S. method for any problem.  Here is what I see as a simple solution.

First, ignore the whole flashback concern...If a junkie can't figure that it is a flashback they are not worthy...they should be killed...and eaten.

Here is my simple combination of what I have read from others.

1. Have at the top the ERA like you have in the GFL Series books

2. At the bottom you can put the main year that the story is centered...example 2012

3. On one of the first pages of the book have an up to date list of products from that ERA in order of the date timeline when it is set to start (flashback start not included)...example

Modern

2009

Infected (Novel) 1/1

Infected (Graphic Novel) 1/1

Scary Perry: Home Invasion (PC Game) 5/8

Presidential Files: The Blue Triangles Book 1 (Novella) 7/1

2010

Contagious (Novel) 1/1

Presidential Files: The Blue Triangles Book 2 (Novella) 7/1

2011

Ancestor (Novel) 1/5

2012

Nocternal (Novel) 3/1

4. At the end put in a listing for the link to your website and to the timeline located on the website for additional books they may want to read.

This would give them the list of books in that era and in what order to read them...a location to look up the timeline and other timelines in case the book they found is old.  If we as followers of the FDO can't figure out that maybe this novella or that novel land in the timeline of another we should be...well...found unworthy...killed...and eaten!

I'm just saying...

The fact that you used my favorite Sklorno line, makes me agree with you :)

...Tsolo888 <AKA Cpt. Travis Ellis> - Out

On

Perhaps a slight alteration to Option #1 - have the era names as alpha-identifiers, rather than numeric, so it comes out as something like:


OE - Olden Era

ME - Modern Era

CE - Crypt Era

GE - GFL Era


So under this system, it becomes.

Infected - ME-1

Contagious - ME-2

Ancestor - ME-3


Crypt: The Crew – CE-1

Crypt: Shakedown - CE-2


THE ROOKIE – GE-1

THE STARTER – GE-2

THE REPORTER – GE2.2

TITLE FIGHT – GE-1.5


Etc, etc.


If you replace ongoing sequential numbering with era-sequential numbering, it allows for greater expansion of the era, and therefore more flexibility for new eras. For example, if you wanted to put some of the Bloodcast/Colour is Adjective short stories into the timeline, but wanted them to occur prior to Infected, but they didn’t necessarily fit into the Olden Time Era, you could easily create the new category of the Pre-Modern Era (PE).


Or if you wanted to have ancient alien visitors beating up some dinosaurs (or collecting samples for the eventual invention of Dinolition), you could have the Jurassic Era (JE). Whereas this would fall under the Olden Times era of the current Option #1.


While there is the con of readers having to be aware of the eras (though it would simple enough to lay out in the “other books by the FDO” page, I’m not sure how, under the current system, you would number a story that, for example, comes before the Rookie, but isn’t part of the Crypt – so something like one generation before Q on Micovi would be a GFL story, rather than a Crypt story, but would it be 4.0.1 or something, to indicate it occuring before the Rookie?


(And yes, I’m sure there’s other flaws, but it’s 6am, it’s the best I can do for now).


On
I agree with romanda and the stardate.  You don't get all the cumbersome "dots" that are in the "book 4.1.2.5.  It also does not require you to remember which series comes first.

I'd suggest yyyymmdd.time of day  as he does.  Simple and straight forward and also solves the problems of stories that begin on the same day.
On
This veered a little off topic but I think it is relevant.  I played around with the free timeline maker I mentioned further up in the post and thought you might like to see an example of what can be done.  It is nothing special, but it gives a feel for the potential of an interactive timeline, especially being able to put links to the book sales pages.  You could even put a QR code on the inside of the jacket that sends you to the timeline.   http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/siglerverse 

...Tsolo888 <AKA Cpt. Travis Ellis> - Out

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In college, I worked in 2 libraries. The local library that used the Dewey decimal system, and an academic library that used the Library of Congress system. The LC call system was a far superior system. Using letters and numbers makes everything easier to read and understand.

I would give each era a letter

A [olden]
B [modern]
C [crypt]
D [GFL]

I you need to add an era in between C and D, it would be CA

Then give each major book a number divisible by 10 [10, 20, 30...]

Use the 1's space to denote novellas and short stories.

Then place a decimal point, after which you could put series and number in that series. This way you are using the area before the decimal to create a timeline, and the area after the decimal to show a basic description. 


D10.GFL1   [The Rookie]
D11            [Title Fight]
D20.GFL2   [The Starter]
D21            [The Reporter]
D30.GFL3   [The All-Pro]
On

No one else mentioned this, but what if you color coded the eras since that is the primary distinction. As you said, people may just want to read military SF so, regardless of which number sequence you use, say you color code The Crypt era as red. That makes it immediately obvious to even the slowest student that the two reds go together. You could even color code the timeline. Or if you prefer you could color code by major groupings. Say purple for things related to Ancestor & Blue for things related to Infected.

The major limitation here is it becomes useless if printed in b&w, but I got the sense that this tagging system would be employed mostly on covers & the web so the b&w problem shouldn't crop up often.

As for the numbers themselves, I think the date system is probably the best. It naturally groups like things together. As for the associated cons I would think they were fairly minor. The majority of readers would understand the flashback technique and as for simultaneous events if the fact that they are occuring together is relevant I have to feel that would be referenced in the text. For people who want to get they're geek on the fully detailed timeline could be made available online.

On
Right, throwing my useless opinion into the ring. I think any sort of numbering system, while intrinsically preferable, is simply unsustainable in the long term, leading to ridiculous numerical monikers.

I gave it quite some thought, but like you, the only alternative that I could see was using the dates. To address the very real problem of stories taking place concurrently, I do think that the simplest answer is a range. It would be quite easy to put something like the following at the bottom of each cover/spine:

2683/11/27 22:30
-
2683/2/14 14:25

or just:


2683/11/27
-
2683/2/14

if you decide that hours are redundant, as it is visually preferable. This has a number of advantages, in that it is, as you said, infinitely expandable, and you will never have awkward problems about introducing a new era or series. It also becomes readily apparent which order stories should likely be read in, even if stories are overlapping or contained within another's timeline.

Finally, a small detail; you should put a complete (to-date) timeline of all novels/novellas/anything in the first few pages. Despite never being fully comprehensive, it is an invaluable resource, and one that I greatly appreciated having in other series.

Well, that's my two cents.
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I apologize in advance for any misspelled names. I tend to listen to audiobooks more than read these days so I'm mostly guessing.

I'm horrible at math and so I tend to shy away from numbers unless it's something obvious. Seeing a big string of numbers would put me off. I'm definately in favor of an INTITIAL+DATE (GFL2683 or MOD2007, CRY*, OLD*, etc.) model. You only need to add additional years (GFL2683-2684), months (GFL2683.5), or days (GFL2683.5.19) if they are significant to a specific story. Most people are capable of figuring out a yearly sequence even if you only use the main year in which the story takes place. An advantage of this is not only is the sequence shown, but if you add eras or want to separate a mini series from the main one, then you just give it a new set of initials (FRED for example or whatever seems right to you). Readers can tell from the dates that the stories overlap, but it doesn't force them to read them all if they don't want to in order to figure out the order. Any stories you give their only intitials will probably need a certain amount of explanation anyway, so it's not like the readers will be missing something if they get hooked on only a side-shoot of a larger era.

Look at the way you handled the modern era books already: readers who have read both infected and ancestor will put 2 and 2 together to get 4 that they take place roughly around the same time and have overlapping characters. You didn't need any kind of numbering or lettering system to tell them this.Don't forget to give your audience a certain amount of intelligence credit. After all, if they are into your stories, they probably appreciate the level of thought and detail that goes into them. :)

The problem, in general, is that you never tell stories the way you live life, from beginning to end, with no going back. If you write stories about the GFL, but they are side stories, then you'll probably want to keep them in GFL* anyway. Say you are telling Gredok's back story. Unless you are going to give him his own series, it'll probably be labeld something like GFL2592 (I'm throwing out a wild number here that I know will be prior to Quentin's time). That tells the readers who care that the story takes place 91 years before the events of The Rookie, but is lumped into the greater story of the GFL.

I also agree that some thought should be given for publishing some kind of timeline in the introductory pages of future books if you are going to be concerned with readers connecting the stories and think a lettering or numbering system is too complicated. Even a timeline accurate list without dates would be good enough: "In chronological order according to when they take place: Infected, Ancestor, Contagious, The Rookie, The Starter, The All-Pro". Like that. Many of the series I've read in my life (most noteably the Dragonriders of Pern) have book lists in the front that have made an effort to at least list the books, which at least tells you the order in which they were written. It helps loads when trying to figure out the author's logic. Yours would obviously be in story-chronological order, which is better, but it's better than nothing for sure.

I guess overall, I like these two suggestions best. they both have the opportunity to address your chronology problem without getting overly complicated.

On a side note, concider sometime in the long-term future publishing an "Overview of the Siglerverse" type reference book. Hardcore fans love that kind of stuff. :D I have several of those in my library for LOTR and Dragonriders of Pern. They are great to collect!


DO NOT INSULT THE GODLING, QUENTIN BARNES, OR HE WILL MAKE THE APOCALYPSE DESCEND UPON YOU!
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Hmmm...both systems have their good points and their bad points.  But here is the drawback for me on both of them, I am i love with book covers.  I want to see a clean cover, with an amazing picture, a very clear title, and tell me who the author is...anything else clutters up the cover and makes it very unattractive to me.  And I have been known to buy books based on covers alone, not even knowing what they are about...ok, to be honest I do that a majority of the time lol.  Here is a thought that is not based on numbering or dating at all:

Why not add a page to the back or front of each book.  This could be as complex or simple as you like...it this page would basically detail the different "eras", and then would list in order the different works.  You could even make this almost like a family tree.  I have seen authors do this with character trees that are out of control, so you can instantly see who that character is and what book you've seen then in before.  So...for example, let's go with Infected, this page could look something like.

Old Era
work 1
work 2
work 39

Modern era
work x
work y
Infected
work z
work b

You see the idea, but then this presents the problem of...well how to we have a completed tree on older books.  Easily, you don't.  You add the books that are currently printed, then if something new comes out you update that book's Siglerverse tree and all books that come after it.  Obviously this is not a perfect system either, but it eliminates the problem of cumbersome numbers down the line.
Do not mess with the affairs of monsters, for you are tasty and good with ketchup.
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I like option 3 - to whit:

Each cover has the title and the year the action starts.

On the cover page inside is a line(s) stating that this story covers action from start timestamp to end timestamp.

A timestamp has the following format (as defined in DB2 - hey, that's where I live)  YYYY-MM-DD-HH:MM:SS.MMMMMM

Thats Year, Month, Day, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Microseconds

THEN, you keep a running list online that will allow anyone to print a list sorted by start timestamp at any time.

1. It keeps the cover fairly simple

2. It allows for infinite expansion, as duplicate timestamps are allowed!

3. It will always produce the correct order.

4. It's maintainable!

5. The format is set in stone and never has to be revised (a severe drawback to option 1 - take it from a DBA, don't build in a need to reformat, it is easy now, but you will hate it later)

  • Sergeant and Fire Team Leader, X-ray company, DOMREC.
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    You should take advantage of having one clean timeline for all your books and use the date system. The date system should indicate starting dates. 


    yyyy.mm.dd - yyyy.mm.dd" style date ranges destroy the advantages of yyyy.mm.dd notation. Use yyyy for a product that spans more that a years time and yyyy.mm for a product that spans more that a months time but less than a year. Obviously this is less accurate than a range, but it's better overall.


    Book and Series labels are completely unnecessary in a date system that catalogues products in a single universe and timeline. Book and Series labels should only be used as a marketing tool to contextualise a product as it is being released. Fans will adopt these labels on wikis etc.


    You do not need to preface the date with "Siglerverse" unless you intend to use the same dating system on future products that are set outside the Siglerverse.

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    In reply to: tsolo888
    This veered a little off topic but I think it is relevant.  I played around with the free timeline maker I mentioned further up in the post and thought you might like to see an example of what can be done.  It is nothing special, but it gives a feel for the potential of an interactive timeline, especially being able to put links to the book sales pages.  You could even put a QR code on the inside of the jacket that sends you to the timeline.   http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/siglerverse 
    +1 It is good I browsed through the comments a second time. The QR code idea (and plain text URL) to the website were what I came up with as well...