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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Do Readers Need to Like the Main Character for the Success of a Storyline?

    In a nutshell, a storyline can definitely be good without the main character being a likeable person. Many of the movies and television series that I’ve watched over the years have lacked a likeable main character, and sometimes I’ve even found myself rooting for the bad guy. Case in point, my favorite character in the movie Heat was Robert De Niro, and I sincerely hoped that he would’ve gotten away with robbing the bank and lived happily ever after with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, he didn’t escape and was shot to death by Al Pacino in the end.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

    One of my all-time favorite movies from the 90s was Boyz N The Hood. The main character in the movie was Tre Styles played by Cuba Gooding Jr., and many would say that he was a likeable guy on the surface―he was a good student, he was a good friend to Ricky Baker played by Morris Chestnut, he had a part-time job at the mall after school, and he had a great relationship with his father played by Laurence Fishburne. However, he wasn’t all that great of a guy as a protagonist in my humble opinion even though he had some good qualities. For starters, he did what a typical teenager would do which was to pressure his girlfriend Brandi, played by Nia Long, for sex and tried the manipulation tactic of the silent treatment to get her to cave in. Lastly, a small detail that I overlooked the first couple of times I watched the movie was when Tre and Ricky went to the grocery store to get some cornmeal, and a beggar asked Tre if he had any money. Tre curtly answered no, and in the very next scene, he disrespectfully threw some loose change at the guy who asked him for money initially.

    The fact that Tre was an asshole to that beggar didn’t take anything away from the storyline because it was a true-to-life situation that happens every day. Furthermore, it wasn’t mandatory for the main character of a movie like Boyz N The Hood to be a good guy, but fans can still appreciate that Tre was a real person with flaws.

Related Posts:

Should an Author's Main Character Be Flawed? 

How I Develop My Main Characters in Books 

Was Catherine Tramell the Actual Killer in Basic Instinct? 

Does Your Fictional Character Have a Secret? 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Self-Published Authors Must Be Tech-Savvy

    I remember when I started writing my first book, What Happened to Little League Baseball in the Inner City? back in 2006, I’d just turned forty years old and didn’t even have a computer at the time. I used an archaic typewriter that had correction tape for each time I made a typo, and I must’ve rewritten my book at least a dozen times because it didn’t flow the way that I wanted. My initial goal was to complete my book and deliver it the traditional way―which was to mail it to a publisher that was accepting manuscripts from prospective new authors. Once I realized that nobody was accepting manuscripts by snail mail, I decided to invest in a personal computer.

Tech-Savvy Woman

    I literally had no clue how to use a computer because I was a novice in every sense of the word. I didn’t know what virus protection was or what a Windows update was for that matter, but I had an unrelenting desire to learn the functionality of a computer. Once I was up to speed in terms of navigating my PC, I decided to self-publish and use a vanity publisher. However, that was a huge mistake―but that’s another article for another day. The best thing to come out of my first self-publishing experience was that I became self-sufficient and tech-savvy enough to strike out on my own and publish my books directly on Amazon and other online retail outlets.

    This is just a quick PSA mainly geared toward new authors who are of the Gen X age range or older and may be less tech-savvy than the vast majority of people under the age of forty. If you plan on self-publishing your first book, it’s an absolute necessity to learn the fundamentals of a computer and navigation of the Internet so that the entire process runs as seamless as possible.

Related Posts: 

Authors Can Write Off Business Expenses on Their Tax Returns 

Authors Must Adapt to the Volatile Climate of Self-Publishing 

The Most Difficult Thing About Being a Writer 

Authors Should Have Multiple Streams of Income 

The Technical Side of Writing an Effective Blog Post

Friday, January 6, 2023

Authors Can Write Off Business Expenses on Their Tax Returns

    When I started writing my first book back in 2006, I was new to the self-publishing process and didn’t know that certain expenses incurred could be written off on yearly tax returns. For example, costs such as book cover design, editing and formatting of paperback and eBook editions, and a book signing event can be written off on your next year’s tax return. As an independent author, I can’t stress enough the importance of equating your writing to running a small business. Here are some examples of the expenses that I write off on my taxes every year:

 Book Formatting and Editing.

    There are associated costs with polishing up an author’s manuscript that can be written off on a tax return, and these costs are the proofreading and editing of a book and the formatting of  eBook and paperback versions of that book. It’s probably best that new authors use a freelancer who can perform these services, and a platform that I currently use is Fiverr for all of my editing and formatting needs.

 Book Cover Design.

    Book cover design is also an added expense that I pay for and write off on my taxes, and my graphic designer is a freelancer on Fiverr. She creates professional-looking book covers at a very reasonable price―far better than I can create myself. It’s good to do some things yourself as an indie author―but only if it’s a strength of yours. For example, I’m proficient in proofreading, and I have Microsoft 365 at my disposal. However, I’m inept when it comes to formatting the eBook and paperback versions of my books, so I let the professionals take care of this step of the publishing process.

 Virus Protection.

    Ninety-Five percent of my business is conducted online, so virus protection is an absolute necessity. I’ve been using Trend Micro as my virus protection service for over fifteen years with no incidents of foul play from cyber criminals, and I also write this off on my taxes at the end of the year.

 Microsoft Office.

    Microsoft 365 is the lifeline of my writing business, and I primarily use it to write my novels as well as write articles for my blog. I also use it specifically for proofreading all of my work and write off this expense on my tax returns.

 Google Domain Name.

    I pay $12 per year for the domain name of my blog―The Indie Crime Novelist. This is an expense that can be written off on tax returns as well.

 Pay-Per-Click Advertising.

    Online advertising is the bread and butter of my business, and I use it to promote my books and my blog. Pay-per-click ads are a monthly expense that generates book sales and Google AdSense revenue. I use Amazon advertising to promote my catalog of fiction novels, and I use Google Ads to promote my blog. This is the final expense that I write off on my taxes.

    These are six expenses that I claim to reduce the amount of tax debt that I have to pay each year, and all indie authors can write off these expenses in the same fashion as I do. Writers are essentially small business owners whose primary goals are to increase revenue and reduce costs.

Related Posts:

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

The Profit Is in the Details of Book Marketing 

Indie Authors Are Essentially Small Business Entrepreneurs

The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing  

Is There a Market for Short Story Paperback Books?

My Two-Year Stint as an Uber Driver

     At the beginning of 2016, my entire life was in shambles―my marriage was on the rocks, I was a temp at the law firm that I work full-ti...