Indie Author Weekly

102: Which book in a romance series should I read first? (Polyamorous Passions example)

March 09, 2021 Sagan Morrow Episode 103
Indie Author Weekly
102: Which book in a romance series should I read first? (Polyamorous Passions example)
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Indie Author Weekly
102: Which book in a romance series should I read first? (Polyamorous Passions example)
Mar 09, 2021 Episode 103
Sagan Morrow

Have you ever wondered which book in the Polyamorous Passions series you should start reading first... or how to decide which book in ANY romance series you should start reading first? That’s exactly what’s happening on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to access all 7 questions you should ask yourself to choose the best book in a series to begin reading first...

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  


Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever wondered which book in the Polyamorous Passions series you should start reading first... or how to decide which book in ANY romance series you should start reading first? That’s exactly what’s happening on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to access all 7 questions you should ask yourself to choose the best book in a series to begin reading first...

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  


Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. I’m your host, Sagan Morrow: a productivity strategist and author of polyamorous romcoms.

Now, are you curious about which book you should read in a romance series, such as my own Polyamorous Passions series? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

For our new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes plus book and writing updates delivered directly to your inbox each week at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes—link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share 7 tips for choosing which book to start with in a new romance series, using my Polyamorous Passions romantic comedy books as an example. 

Because the truth is, you won’t necessarily want to start with Book 1! But which one is the right one for YOU to start reading a new series? It’s going to be different for everyone.

My tips for you today include 7 questions to ask yourself when choosing which book in a romance series to begin with:

Question #1: Does this series feature stand-alone books, or do you *need* to read the first book in the series to understand the rest of the books?

When it comes to most romance novels, you can generally start with any book in the series. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a romance novel when you absolutely need to begin with Book 1. Other genres, like fantasy or science fiction, are much more likely that you’ll need all of the additional backstory and world building in order to get that much more from the books.

With my Polyamorous Passions series, I’ve had plenty of readers start with whichever book was the most recent at the time, and there’s never been any problems with it—thus far, everyone has said that they could easily read each book as a standalone. That being said, multiple readers have also said that they loved reading the rest of the series to get a full understanding of the characters and all of the nuances. So if you enjoy one book in the series, then definitely keep reading the rest of the books! 

Visit SaganMorrow.com/books for full details of each story in the series.

Question #2: What storyline are you most interested in?

Because… Why NOT start with a storyline that intrigues you? 

Polyamorous Passions begins with Emma’s story in Books 1 - 3: In Book 1, she’s trying to choose between two equally incredible men she’s dating, and by the end of the story, she realizes she identifies as polyamorous. Book 2 is the story of Emma making a few mistakes along the way as she begins acting on her polyamorous desires. In Book 3, Emma is nursing a broken heart… and she also goes on a series of dates with various mediocre dudes. 

Then, Book 4 launches Helen’s trilogy within the Polyamorous Passions series: in Book 4, Helen starts to have a crush on her wedding photographer, and she realizes she wants an open relationship, which she finally tells her fiance about. Book 5 is the story of Helen getting married and having a tough time sticking to the rules she and her fiance set up with regards to opening their relationship. And Book 6 is the story of Helen and her husband trying to navigate their new relationship parameters.

Book 7 begins Scarlett’s trilogy within the Polyamorous Passions series, in which she’s struggling to save her failing burlesque business from bankruptcy, and she realizes she’s falling for her dance partner—which she never expected would happen, because she’s hung up an unrequited crush.

So you can see how, depending on which storyline fascinates you the most, you might want to start with one book versus another in this series.

Question #3: What tropes & themes are most appealing to you?

Again, this is about enjoyment and engagement for you, as the reader! 

For example, in Polyamorous Passions, you get the love triangle trope in many of the books. You also get the following tropes and themes in each book of the series: 

  • Discovery of polyamory and accidental almost-cheating in Book 1
  • Silly polyamory mistakes and coming out about polyamory in Book 2
  • Dating mishaps and dealing with heartbreak in Book 3
  • Therapy sessions, wedding planning, and a secret crush in Book 4
  • Delayed gratification and group sex in Book 5
  • Workplace tension and a nod to When Harry Met Sally in Book 6
  • Enemies to lovers, forced proximity, and dance competition romance in Book 7  

And yes, all of those books can be found at your favourite e-bookstore! Just search “Polyamorous Passions.” Alternatively, more details about each book plus the links to Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble can all be found at SaganMorrow.com/books.

Question #4: Which heroine do you resonate with the most?

Relatable characters matter. They can draw us into the story that much more intimately. So, take that into consideration if it’s a series that features different main characters in various books.

For example, with Polyamorous Passions, all three main characters—Emma, Helen, and Scarlett—are best friends. They each play a big role in every single book in the series. However, because the series is divided into 9 books, that means that each of the three best friends gets their own “trilogy” within the series, which follows their particular story arc and journey into ethical non-monogamy. 

So, if you like a heroine who’s more carefree and super easygoing, then Emma is for you. If you prefer a heroine who’s hella bossy and ambitious, then you might want to start with Helen. And if you like your heroines a little kinder and softer, then you might want to read Scarlett’s story first.

Question #5: Which heroes & love interests are your favourite type?

This is another important question! For example, Carlos, one of Emma’s boyfriends, is a feminist construction worker, and John, her other boyfriend, is more of a stoic lawyer. Then we have Helen’s husband Ben, a bisexual professor, and her new partner Grant, a wedding photographer who’s lusting after Helen. There’s also some pretty great tension between Helen and her boss, Jack, in Book 6.

And then there’s Pete, Scarlett’s dance partner, who’s recovering from a bad relationship with his narcissistic ex-wife. And Scarlett’s unrequited crush, Wes, who pops up from time to time in all the books, and who becomes a staple in Book 7.

Sometimes, the hero or love interests can make the book! If you’re swooning over them, that’s a good sign that it was a good story for you to pick up.

By the way, I would LOVE to hear your opinion... When it comes to my Polyamorous Passions series, which characters do you enjoy the most? And which storylines have captured your attention? Connect with me on Twitter or Instagram, @Saganlives, and let’s chat about it!

Question #6: What part of the romance journey are you most interested in?

With Emma’s story in Books 1 - 3, it’s all focused really heavily on navigating polyamory and juggling multiple dates simultaneously. With Helen’s story in Books 4 - 6, we get insights into a very long-term and serious relationship with her husband.

Book 7 in the Polyamorous Passions series, Her Bad Idea, includes the least information about polyamory in it. So if you’re wanting to ease slowly into polyamory, then that might be a good starting point. This is also SUPER slow burn, which I absolutely love. 

Question #7: What level—and type—of steam do you want?

There’s a lot of the buildup and fade-to-black kind of thing in the Polyamorous Passions series. Books 4 - 6 probably include the steamiest scenes overall. Book 7 actually might feature almost exclusively solo sex and self-pleasure.

Everyone has vastly different opinions on what makes a particular book steamy or not, so that’s a useful thing to keep in mind if you’re checking out reviews of books. Unfortunately there isn’t any universal “steam scale”! 

To recap, the 7 questions to ask yourself when choosing which book in a series to read include: 

  1. Does this series feature stand-alone books, or do you *need* to read the first book in the series to understand the rest of the books?
  2. What storyline are you most interested in?
  3. What tropes & themes are most appealing to you?
  4. Which heroine do you resonate with the most?
  5. Which heroes & love interests are your favourite type?
  6. What part of the (polyamorous or romance) journey are you most interested in?
  7. What level of steam do you want?

Also, keep in mind: like the vast majority of authors, my writing & storytelling abilities get better with each book. So if you want to see the evolution of that, read the Polyamorous Passions books in order; if you want to read my best work, read the most recent book in the series! I feel like this applies to many authors, too. 

And that, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at SaganMorrow.com/podcast.

Thank you so much for tuning in. Please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support. 

Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.