I’ve mentioned this in a newsletter once or twice, but I have a personal goal to never have a “standard Nicole Pyland novel.”
That’s not to say there aren’t themes or similar elements in all my books or that I wouldn’t want someone to read a book I wrote and know that it’s mine without even seeing my name on the cover. Really, my goal is that every book I write is somehow just a little bit different than the ones that came before it.
I’m very lucky; I write fast. Many people have commented on this in their reviews of my books. I put out 6-7 books a year – so, just about one every other month. Many authors put out one or two books a year or one every few years. (Of course, there are several that put out 6-7 books or more each year as well, so I’m not the only one.) But, the more books I put out at this speed, the easier it becomes for readers to say, “This was just like the last one.” I’m sure there are a few of those out there, too.
What I don’t want to happen is for someone to pick up my book two in a series and say, “Yeah, this character is just like that character from her last series.” Then, they grab the last book in the series and say, “They’re always the same. I’m not sure if I’m going to get her next series.”
I challenge myself to do one of two things with each book. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll challenge myself to do both. Because all the stories have already been written, and self-publishing gives us all the opportunity to join the thousands of others out there with new books, writers today must do this to stand out:
Pick an inventive plot device or story structure.
Ensure the characters are dynamic and engaging.
That’s pretty basic stuff, and every writer should try to do these things, but because I publish so many books each year, I’m constantly focusing on these two things.
When I wrote The Moments, for example, I hadn’t read a book like that before: younger characters that grow into adulthood with a Part I where one of them asks the other out on a date, and a Part II where she doesn’t. It’s how their lives progress, and no matter the trials and tribulations, they come back to each other in both parts.
In my series, there’s generally a group of friends who are linked together, but I want each book to stand on its own, not just be a girl-meets-girl book. So, I wrote Fresh Start, where there’s a mystery and crime element, followed that up with The Best Lines, where there’s a math super-genius, and after that, there’s Just Tell Her, friends-to-lovers trope, and then an age-gap Love Walked Into The Lantern, with a bisexual billionaire and a newly out lesbian.
You will definitely find similarities in my books. A lot of time, that’s my goal. There’s my writing style, obviously: some sassy characters, generally some pretty hot sex scenes, and more.
But my hope is that you’ll never stop reading my books because “they’re all the same.”