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Friday, July 1, 2022

How I Develop My Characters in Books

   Many writers put an inordinate amount of time and energy into character development―the name, place of origin, occupation, etc. I get it because we as authors want our stories to be as realistic as possible. However, I don’t put too much thought into how I introduce my fictional characters to a particular story. I’ve come across so many different people in my life―people from grade school, high school, college, church, family, in-laws, childhood friends, coworkers, etc.―that I have an overabundance of personalities to choose from. I also like to mix and mingle diverse character traits of people I know and create my cast that way.

Thug Life Gangsta

     For example, Horace Shingles is one of the main characters from the Quad Life Series, and he’s a combination of highly intelligent but extremely hedonistic. One of my best friends in college had traits similar to Horace’s, so it wasn’t very difficult to develop his character in each book. Another example is one of my favorite characters, Gary Maxwell (Max) from the book Nefarious. I portrayed him as a sullen and calculating, cold-blooded killer who was also a family-oriented man who loved his wife and infant son. His duality was something that intrigued me, and I challenged myself to see if I could pull it off and make Max a believable character in this series.

    Character development is one of the most important aspects of writing and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Conversely, I believe that an author can ruin a book if bogged down by too many intricate details that, in turn, can seem frivolous to the average reader. I’m an organic writer who goes with the flow, so the technique of outlining every detail doesn’t work for me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Authors Can Create a Series to Sell More Books

    The driving force behind a successful author’s revenue stream is usually a popular fiction series that he or she created. A series in many cases can account for the majority of book sales for an author who may have several to many titles in a bibliography. There are essentially three elements to writing a good series and creating just one suspense-filled novel out of that collection can go a long way.

 Capturing the Reader from the Start of the Series Is Important.

    The first book of the series must be a page-turner, or else everything will fall by the wayside. The first installment doesn’t have to be a full-length novel―it can be a novella or short story―just something exciting enough to get the series started and captivate readers. The first few chapters could start off with a kidnapping for ransom scenario or a disappearance and/or murder mystery. An author has an abundance of ideas for a good storyline to choose from.

Crime Fiction Series

 The Length of a Series Is Also Important.

    The more novels in a book series, the better. There’s no magic number of books for an author to have in a given series, but if the first installment is a success both critically and financially, it only makes sense that an author would add more stories to the mix. My most popular series to date has three books total, and I plan on adding more stories to it in the future. Some authors can have their entire catalog centered around one book series, and if I had to do it all over again, I would’ve focused on building upon my most successful series instead of writing various titles with different characters and themes.

 The Price of the First Book in Series Is Vital to Attracting Readership.

    The price of the first book in a series is crucial to an author’s success. Some authors make the first book permafree as a ploy to hook their readers. Others may offer a discount to readers, depending on the length of the book, but the majority of authors prefer to offer a discount as opposed to free. I don’t believe in making any of my books free for an extended amount of time because I’ve learned that customers value books more if they pay for them. However, there’s nothing wrong with offering the first book at a discount because it’s a good way to garner readers, and if the first book is a hit, they will pay regular price for the subsequent titles.

    In conclusion, new authors should focus on crafting a series instead of single novels. The path to consistent sales month after month is quicker once the first, second, and third installments become popular, and the Amazon algorithm will help boost sales even more by increasing the number of visitors on an author’s sales page.

Five Ways Authors Can Perfect Their Craft in Writing

     The only experience that I had in writing before I wrote my first book was a creative writing course taken in my first year of college ...