Series v. Stand-Alone

As most of you know, I write two series: the Brenna Strachan series and the Dreams & Reality series.  I track how many copies I sell (or giveaway) in the first book of the series compared to the second (or third, fourth, fifth, etc).  Since the second Dreams & Reality hasn’t published, it’s been impossible to track it, but I will when Elysium Dreams comes out in July.

This got me thinking.  I introduce readers to the Strachan series by offering Dark Cotillion free.  Then if they like them, they only have to invest in the rest of the series.  If they don’t, nothing lost because it was a free download.  So for those indie writers who only write stand-alone novels, is it easier or harder to retain readers?

Also, it has me thinking about the Dreams & Reality series.  Should I do the same with it that I have done with the Strachan novels?  Make the first one free to hook them into reading more about Aislinn Cain and her motley band of misfits?  I received a huge compliment this weekend from another writer about the Cain series.  She told me that she was impressed that I had made a likable female sociopath that was a main character.  Most of the time, the sociopaths are the bad guys or secondary to the story.  The big exception is Sherlock Holmes, but we see him through the eyes of Watson, who obviously, loves him like a brother.  This makes Holmes’s sins almost forgivable.  To write from the sociopath’s point of view is something new and different.  Even harder to make them likable.

Don’t get me wrong, Aislinn has moments when she is unlikable.  Like any character (or real person), she has quirks and she has times when you want to like her, but just can’t.  The big “helping hand” Aislinn gets, is Nyleena, her best friend.  Without Nyleena, it is becomes obvious how cold and unfeeling Aislinn can be.  She makes Aislinn “human”.

I’m so off topic.  The point of this post was, as I get further into the publishing world, I wonder what others are doing to market their stand-alone novels and keep them coming off the shelves just as I wonder how series writers keep their readers coming back for more.


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  1. Maybe a short story or Novella could be put out on the Dreams & Reality Series? If it’s a short story, maybe go ahead and put it out for free. For a novella, possibly, put it out for a while, then move it to free to attract new readers. A prequel perhaps?


    • A prequel to the Dreams & Reality Series… Maybe a full blow by blow of the encounter with Gerard Hawkins… I will have to think about that.


      • I’ve been considering the same thing. My first two books will be stand-alone but more and more successful indie authors are finding ways to to take their own stand-alones and extend the story either by writing companion novellas or exploring the same story through a different character’s POV. As a reader I’m actually a fan of this because when you read a book you love you usually can’t get enough of it, meaning a novella or something similar for a stand-alone novel can play a dual role as an introduction for readers unfamiliar with your work or as a nice treat for readers who are already fans.


      • See, I had a stand-alone that now has a series of novellas with it. But the novellas were because the fans loved the characters so much they wanted more. I have a ton of fun writing the novellas that go with the novel… More so than writing a full length novel with the characters. But I also know once the Strachan series ends, I have several stand-alones planned and I don’t want to do novellas for all of them.


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