"print, design, publishing, bespoke" />

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Should Authors Write Cliffhangers in a Series?

    I learned over the years that writing cliffhangers in a series can be risky, and it’s especially risky if an author’s series is more than three books. Readers want closure, and authors must wrap things up in three books or less when incorporating a cliffhanger to a story in my opinion. Ideally, each book in a series should be able to stand on its own―meaning that the plot should have some sort of resolution in the end, and each book could be read out of sequence and still make sense to the average reader.

    If a particular book is well-written, the author will be able to get away with the first book of the series being a cliffhanger. My most popular series, The Chronicles of Brock Lane, is a three-part tale about the trials and tribulations of a professional basketball player, and the first two installments leave the reader hanging. I was able to keep the bulk of the readers in suspense without pissing them off to the point that they refused to buy the next book in the series. Sure, I received some bad reviews from a few angry customers, but in spite of that, the majority of my audience still enjoyed reading this story. I’ve learned over the years that it’s better to resolve conflict in one novel and move on to the next plot in future series that I plan on writing.

    In closing, writing cliffhangers in a series can be successful if the author is able the captivate his or her audience from the beginning to the end of the story. However, if an author plans on writing a series of more than three books, each installment must be a stand-alone novel within the series. If this feat isn’t accomplished, the author will run the risk of losing the audience for good.

Related Posts:

How Authors Can Add a Backstory in Book Without Losing the Interest of the Reader

Five Mistakes Authors Make That Cause Readers to Lose Interest in a Book 

The Technical Side of Writing an Effective Blog Post 

What Genre Should a New Author Choose to Write In?

My Ultimate Goal as a Writer

Sunday, October 16, 2022

How Authors Can Add a Backstory in Book Without Losing the Interest of the Reader

    The intricate details of a character are important, but are they important enough to write a backstory about them? It depends. I wouldn’t include a backstory in my writing just to fill in space―there has to be a purpose for it, and it must be strategically placed in the story in order to create conflict or answer a lingering question. A writer must find the happy medium because on one hand he or she doesn’t want to cheat the audience by revealing too little and robbing them of all the important elements of a story nor bore them to the point of letting too much out the bag and destroying the plot.

Sexy Woman

    For example, I included the backstory of one of the main characters, Ashley Johnson, in Vanished toward the end of the book. I left the readers hanging on why Ashley staged her own disappearance and carefully crafted her backstory so that the protagonist, Darius Carter, as well as the reader found out the reason why in the second to the last chapter of the book. Fortunately for me, this technique worked as I was able to capture the audience long enough to reveal my secret at the end of the story. In general, I tell the backstory early on as a way for readers to sympathize or bond with the character in some form or fashion, and in doing this, I only reveal just enough in order to allow the audience to fill in the blanks.

    Incorporating a backstory enriches the plot and give the readers the full experience of the novel. When it’s done properly, the rewards are immeasurable as the author’s success hinges on finding that balance and captivating their audience.

Related Posts:

An Author Shouldn't Shy Away From Being Unconventional 

What Genre Should a New Author Choose to Write In? 

Should an Author's Main Character Be Flawed? 

How I Develop My Characters in Books 

Drama Sells When It Comes to Writing Fiction Novels 

Saturday, October 15, 2022

A Twentieth Wedding Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas

    Las Vegas is a city that my wife and I frequently visited numerous times over the years, and we always had a great time. We had decided to celebrate our twentieth year of marriage with friends and family there, and we booked the presidential suite at the Bally’s Hotel located in the middle of the Las Vegas strip for five days at the end of August 2022. The room was very spacious―a 890 square foot one-bedroom suite with a beautiful view of the city and mountains, a living room and a dining area, and a jacuzzi. The singer Usher has had a residency in Las Vegas this year, and we had tickets to see him perform at the Park MGM casino hotel. Overall, our trip was a very memorable and enjoyable experience―but not without certain personal challenges that I had to face and tackle head-on.

Bally's Hotel

 Our Flight to Las Vegas.

    My wife had booked us an early flight to Las Vegas on Saturday, and we had to get to Midway Airport by four in the morning and get checked in because our flight was scheduled for a 5:45 am takeoff. I had just gotten over COVID-19, so I wasn’t one hundred percent yet. There’s one thing about this virus that rings true for me―there’s no mistaking it for a common cold or flu. Though my symptoms were mild, the pain and discomfort was real. I experienced nausea the first day, but after I vomited the first time, that sickness went away. However, I endured a lingering headache, and my throat felt like my tonsils were going to explode. With that being said, I was symptom-free and feeling about eighty percent after eight days―just in time to go on vacation and celebrate our anniversary.

    We rented a limo to get to the airport, and my brother-in-law and co-sister-in-law (my wife’s brother and his wife) met us at our house and accomplished us on the ride there. We then arrived at 4:00 am and checked in at the ticket counter. Going through TSA was a breeze for me but not for my wife―she had problems with them, so I waited ten minutes for her to get through their extensive screening process before we had a chance to relax by the departure gate. I made sure that I brought a hoodie for the plane ride because of the air conditioning, and my wife had brought us pillows for our necks. We flew Southwest Airlines, and as luck would have it, my wife and I were two of the last people to board an already crowded plane. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house, and we had to sit separately on opposite sides of the aisle. A woman had saved her boyfriend a window seat next to her in the row that I was going to sit in and had yelled for him to get up from his seat in the front of the plane and sit toward the back of the plane with her. This woman’s antics had irritated me somewhat because she had disrupted the flow of people trying to find their seats for her own personal gain. There were several people who couldn’t sit with their significant other including me, so what made her so damn special was what I thought. I got some satisfaction when she asked one of the flight attendants for a blanket as she didn’t dress properly for the air conditioner of the plane, and to the lady’s dismay, the flight attendant told her that they didn’t carry blankets.

    The flight to Las Vegas turned out to be a smooth one, and we arrived there at a little before seven in the morning Pacific Time. I did manage to get some sleep, and I masked up the entire flight except when I ate my trail mix and drank my orange juice for fear of catching Covid-19 again. We were in and out of baggage claim in under thirty minutes, and then we were on our way to the hotel via taxicab.

 The Highlights of Our Vacation.

    There were several moments that stood out to me during our time in Las Vegas, and most of them were very positive. What happened at the beginning of our adventure had set the tone for the entire trip―one of the clerks at Bally’s Hotel was able to get us various perks and discounts on the presidential suite that allowed us to pay what we would’ve paid for a regular room. Our original plan was to rent out an adjoining suite just in case friends or family needed a room to stay in, and the hotel clerk was able to accommodate us and was very knowledgeable about the bonuses that Bally’s offered its guests.

    We celebrated our anniversary with our friends and family the day after we arrived on Sunday night in our hotel suite. My wife ordered food from the Jack Binion’s steakhouse that was inside of our hotel, and my brother-in-law and his best friend helped me bring back the drinks from a liquor store that was across the street and off the Vegas strip. We had a great time eating and drinking and listening to my wife’s musical playlist on a Bluetooth speaker.

    Another shining moment in Las Vegas was our dining experience at the Il Fornaio that was inside of the New York-New York Hotel & Casino Tuesday night. It was our second time eating there―we stayed at the New York-New York a few years prior, and the food was excellent. I ordered the ribeye steak well-done with asparagus and mashed potatoes, and I loved the fresh bread and olive oil that was given complimentary.

Il Fornaio Restaurant

    I also liked hanging out on the south end of the Las Vegas strip because most of our hotel stays were in that area―two stays at the Mandalay Bay and one stay at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino―and our friends and family stayed on that end this particular trip. We al enjoyed listening to a live band nearby the Luxor and New York-New York Hotels after we ate dinner Saturday night as the heat had subsided to some extent by nightfall.

    The Usher concert was the icing on the cake as we capped off our visit by attending this gala Wednesday night at the Park MGM. I enjoyed his performance as it was my first time seeing him live, and the highlight for me was the incorporation of a roller rink on stage because I’ve never in my life seen a singer perform on roller skates as a part of the act.

 The Disappointments of Our Vacation.

    Overall, my time in Las Vegas was enjoyable as well as relaxing. However, nothing or nobody is perfect. First of all, I want to say that I thoroughly detest those people who try to sell timeshares to tourists. And it’s gotten worse over the years. They approach you promising the moon and stars, and before an unsuspecting tourist knows it, they’re locked into a timeshare that he or she most likely can’t afford or have the time to enjoy it. We had one guy offer us a free stay at their hotel just for listening to a presentation, and another woman and man tried to stroke our egos and offer us a hundred bucks to attend their presentation. We politely declined each solicitation because we knew what one of those presentations entailed―two to three hours of the most immense sales pressure ever induced on a human being. We also had the experience of one of those onslaughts twenty years ago for some free Celine Dion tickets, but it ended up being a waste of time because she cancelled her performance due to fatigue.

    Another disappointment wasn’t really an issue, we knew going in that Las Vegas is extremely hot in August. It was over a hundred degrees every day we were there, so we rarely walked anywhere during the day and made sure that we had enough cash on hand for taxi rides. In all actuality, the excessive heat did my body some good as it allowed me to sweat out any trace of the virus that might’ve still been present in my system.

    Perhaps the biggest dissatisfaction was the food. Some of my dining experiences were great. However, most of the restaurants were overpriced, and the food was average at best. In fact, a dinner for two was no less than forty bucks each time we ate out. Maybe it was due to the pandemic, and restaurants needed to recoup the money that was lost. Or maybe it was due to the price of gas and disruption of the supply chain. Nevertheless, I hate paying premium prices for subpar food.

    In conclusion, I recommend visiting Las Vegas because it’s a great tourist attraction. There’s more to do in Vegas besides gambling (I’m not much of a gambler other than playing the slots) because the shows, the scenery, and the overall atmosphere of the Las Vegas strip are all great. As for the people trying to force timeshares on tourists, avoid them like the plague. And the food, do your due diligence in finding restaurants that are up to par.

Related Posts:

 My Two-Year Stint as an Uber Driver 

Why I Would Want to Be Eighteen Years Old Again for a Day 

My Ultimate Goal as a Writer 

Who Is Mark Stephen O'Neal? 

Five Things I Learned After Self-Publishing My First Book

Monday, October 3, 2022

Authors Should Have Multiple Streams of Income

    So, you’re an author who has a good-sized catalog of books, and each title is selling a significant number of units on Amazon every month. Great. However, there are two other ways that I know of that will earn additional income for you―creating an author blog and offering some type of freelancing service on that blog.

 Create an Author Blog.

    You should create a blog in order to maximize your earning potential. There are a plethora of topics to write about as my two main goals as a blogger are to help new authors succeed in addition to selling books. As an added bonus, you can add Google AdSense to your blog as another source of revenue―you get paid each time a visitor clicks on a featured advertisement. Another technique that you can use is to showcase newly release books on the home page of your blog as a means to boost sales.

 Offer a Freelancing Service on Blog.

    When you consistently attract between 1K and 10K visitors per month on your site, offer your subscribers a service that you specialize in. For example, I’m proficient in proofreading short stories, novellas, and novels; and I plan on offering this service to people who visit my blog once its monthly traffic reaches the targeted goal that I set. Another example of a freelancing service that you can offer is graphic design―I know of an author from the writing community on Twitter who designs her own book covers. Or offer your subscribers a book formatting service―there are many authors like me who don’t have the ability to create a book cover or format an eBook.

    In conclusion, there are several ways that an author can make money other than just selling books online. Creating a blog can be very lucrative, but it requires extreme patience. You must be willing to play the long game because successful blogs aren’t established overnight. Moreover, you can literately launch a service-based business due to the popularity of your blog and create yet another stream of income in the process.

Related Posts:

An Author Can Start a Writing Business Online With a Credit Card 

Should Authors Incorporate Google AdSense to Their Blogs? 

Do Authors Need an Email List to Be Successful? 

The Most Effective Types of Internet Marketing That Sell Books for Authors 

How Authors Can Properly Gage the Performance of Amazon Keywords

Five Things I Learned After Self-Publishing My First Book

     I can remember how excited I was like it were yesterday when my first book titled What Happened to Little League Baseball in the Inner ...