Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
One of the things that I love doing with a story is forging a link to other stories I’ve written. For example, my novel Raven and Skull follows events in the offices of Raven and Skull, a sinister business run by a diabolical team. In the novel Doll House, although none of the characters are related to any of those in Raven and Skull, one of the characters does pass the Raven and Skull offices. Similarly, one of the characters in Blackstone Towers has worked at Raven and Skull, although he doesn’t go to work during the story. I was exceptionally delighted when my friend and fellow writer Colin Davies included a reference to one of his characters using the services of Raven and Skull in his exceptional anthology of short horror fiction, Blood Ink.
I’ve always loved stories that develop these connections.
I’m doing something similar with my Innsmouth novellas: Fearless and Unearthed so far, with The Explorers’ Club (working title) to come out at the start of next year. Again, this is not the same characters appearing in different books – this is simply an overlap that (to my mind) makes the narrative richer.
Done properly, I think, this sort of device allows each work to stand on its own whilst being part of something larger. A new reader is going to enjoy the story for what it is. A reader familiar with the universe I’ve been creating is going to enjoy the story and also benefit from the thrill of recognising a connection to another story of mine that they’ve read.
PS – I’ve got the ebook version of Fearless reduced to 99p through the month of December, so you can enjoy your introduction to Innsmouth at a reasonable price. Why not check it out today and let me know what you think?