Let’s be honest, I’m more known for my series than I am for my stand-alone books. At this point, I have 7 series published (Chicago, San Francisco, Tahoe, Boston, Celebrities, Sports, Holiday), 8th is coming out this year (Royalty), and most of those are connected by strong friend groups.
I didn’t set out to write series, as you know if you’ve read any of my other blogs or newsletters. It just sort of happened, and then it kept happening, but people seemed to enjoy them, and my series are always my bestsellers. My first-ever bestseller was Just Tell Her, which was only the fourth book I published. I remember being in an Uber, heading home from a work trip, and getting a screenshot in a text message from my wife showing me that it had hit #1 in Lesbian Romance. I couldn’t believe it, and I still didn’t consider myself a series writer.
In fact, I don’t think I considered myself a writer of series until Holiday. Most of my book in series before that were accidentally written as series more than planned. Boston is the first I’d planned to write as a series, but Holiday is when I really hit my stride. (I don’t count Sports in there because, even though that was planned as a series, it’s really four stand-alones connected by a theme not characters.)
So, why do I also write stand-alones if I’m now known as a series writer?
For one, I get the ideas, and not all ideas warrant multiple books. When I first started publishing, I had a few of the stand-alones I put out in a row (The Fire, The Disappeared, The Moments), and they didn’t do as well as the connected books I’d written, so I kept working on series, but when a new idea would hit, I’d still write it (Reality Check, Love Forged, The Show Must Go On, etc).
The other main reason I write stand-alones – other than I have the ideas, so I’m going to do it anyway – is that some people don’t like series, and sometimes, they feel intimidated trying to keep up because I publish them so fast. Life gets busy, and keeping up with a new book every other month or so can be hard, so they add them to their ever-growing TBR-pile, and eventually, they’ve got like 20 books by Nicole Pyland they’ve yet to read. (We all know that once a TV show you’ve been meaning to watch gets to that 7th season, you just add it to your Netflix queue or some other list, and you never really get to it.)
Because I have so many books that fall into a series, if you haven’t read any of my books yet, you might feel that same intimidation to try me out as an author. So, this means that people might not discover my books at all. And, well, they might like them, right?
Writing a stand-alone and publishing one every so often can give people who want to check out my writing style, characters, and plots a chance to do that without feeling like they have to commit to a seven-book series like Holiday. You might think, “They could read one, and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to finish the rest,” and that’s true, but how many of us haven’t enjoyed a book in a series but kept reading because we liked one of the other characters and wanted to see them fall in love? Maybe you even did that with one of mine.
As of this writing, I’ve published 8 stand-alones (including my Once a Month erotica novel). I didn’t include The Fire & The Disappeared since those are loosely connected, but if I did, it would be 10. I classify 3 of those as Young Adult (Pride Festival, Love Forged, and The Moments, which starts when they’re 18 and goes for the next 10 years of their lives). In there, I also have Future Wife, which has a sci-fi, time-travel element, and The Show Must Go On, which is a little bit my ode to TV writing because I wanted to write for TV most of my life. With Once a Month, people can see how I write erotica and/or sex scenes (admittedly, those are a little more thorough than I usually write). And if they read The Fire & The Disappeared, they can see how I deal with crime and tragedy. In The Meet Cute Café, they can see how I write short stories, deal with characters of different backgrounds, ages, etc., and how I write things like first love, coming out, finding love after grief, single parenthood, and on and on.
I can promise that I’ll have more series in the future, but I also really enjoy writing a stand-alone book (giving it a nice beginning, middle, and end) and putting it out into the world, hoping people find it and don’t just say, “I’ll wait for her next series,” but give it a chance.