If You Win the Lottery Should You Buy A Private Jet?

I featured a family with a private jet in my second novel, “Popstars, Friends and Lovers: a dreamer’s tale” and my current Vivienne series is all about the private jet industry. I use them because they represent glitz and glamour and the easy life. Who doesn’t dream of avoiding airport security lines and having as much leg room as you want? But as someone who has spent many years being associated with the industry in one way or another, I can tell you the myth is a little different than the reality.

I took the above pic myself (that’s my coffee and shades). I was flying home from Savannah on a Gulfstream, one of the major brands of private jet. (Make note, you know, in case you win…) Was it nice? Oh hell yes. I was possibly a bit hungover and able to dim the lights and stretch out and sleep. I got this ride home from my husband who works in the industry. It isn’t, however, my jet to use whenever I want.

But I do know what it’s like to have a jet and it’s not exactly like it’s usually portrayed in the movies. It’s a little more complicated than that.

First it involves a crew. Most jets have to have two pilots who will be on your payroll if you own the plane. They have to be trained to fly your specific model which will cost you around 50 grand, per pilot. And just as important is your maintenance crew. The minimum you will need is a maintenance manager who will then find locations to have work done on your plane. Depending on the size of the plane and how much you want to fly it he/she might need a few people helping with maintenance. This is not an area where you might want to skimp and save.

But if you’ve just won over a billion dollars in the lottery you can afford all that, life is good. Enter the FAA (play ominous music). For your safety and that of all others flying there are several NYC phone book size manuals of rules and regulations you will need to follow. Every so often you will need to take your plane in for inspections and scheduled maintenance. It’s a time when you get to pay for the pleasure of owning a jet without getting to actually use it (ouch). Something that often comes as a shock to the nouveau riche because plane brokers tend to gloss over those details.(See, I’ve let you in on a secret.)

So once you’ve got the plane, the crew and maintenance complete you can just pick up the phone and tell someone that you want to fly to Bora Bora right now…or not. Flight plans must be filed, the fuel truck scheduled and crew called in before you can load your flip-flop wearing self onto the plane. There are technical questions galore, how long is the runway in Bora Bora? Do you need to schedule a landing time to work with local commercial traffic? If anything goes wrong with your plane, is there anyone anywhere near Bora Bora who can fix it so you can get home?

It’s all the details that it takes to get that plane in that plane in the air and keep it there that, to me, adds to the excitement. I love having an insiders view that I can’t wait to share more of with you in the Vivienne Series, due out later this year. It’s the story of a smart, quiet, sweet young woman who lands herself at the top of the male-dominated private jet industry. It’s every woman’s struggle to find a balance between career and the rest of her life and I can’t wait to bring it to you. It will be an eight novella series that I will release all at once so you can binge read to your heart’s desire. Stay tuned for excerpts and more behind the scene info. Until then, good luck in the lottery. You’ll just have to wait and see if I get a private jet when I win. If you do, all I’m asking for is a ride.



Binge Packaging

I’ve lost all patience. I’m like a six-year-old waiting in line at Disney World. I want what I want and I want it now. The good thing is, I’m not alone. In fact I’m part of a new social trend called binging or as the television industry likes to call it marathoning (because that sounds so much healthier). No matter what you call it, it’s becoming the norm in television viewing and starting to spread into other forms of entertainment as well. 

If you are part of the 61% of Netflix viewers who have watched multiple episodes of a series back to back, then you are already part of this trend. Whether it’s streamed entertainment from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or any other source, viewers are loving the idea of not waiting a week to find out what happens next. I admit, I love it too. I’ll get a recommendation from a friend for an older series and be able to watch two or three episodes at at time back to back when it’s convenient for me.

Netflix has been watching us watching them and they’ve figured out what we want. “Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix.  “Netflix has pioneered audience choice in programming and has helped free consumers from the limitations of linear television. Our own original series are created for multi-episodic viewing, lining up the content with new norms of viewer control for the first time.” (Source)  Netflix is one of the first, but surely not the last in the entertainment industry to jump on this new trend and cater to the consumer’s desires.

As an author, a provider of entertainment, I am ready to jump on this trend myself. I’m in the final planning stages of a new series that will consist of eight novella-length books. I spent a few frustrating hours this past week planning out my writing, editing and marketing schedule for each book. Once I release the first one, I want to keep them coming to keep my audience hooked on the story and the characters. My master plan of releasing one every other month quickly fell apart when I laid that plan over my family and paid-work calendars. But frustration is the mother of invention (or something like that). I remembered the popularity of binge consumption and revised my plans. 

Now I will be writing all eight novellas and releasing them simultaneously. It will take me the better part of 2015 to do the writing, but it will save time in the end. By concentrating solely on writing I will be able to focus my energy and not scatter myself multitasking; marketing one book while editing another and marketing a third. This format works for me. And the end product will hopefully be even more appealing to readers. They will have the option to purchase the books individually or all of them at once for a discounted price. I’ll call it the binge packing promotion. Additionally, I will be able to order all of my covers at once and editing, possibly garnering a discount for myself and I can use my marketing budget (both monetary and energy) for one huge campaign as opposed to eight smaller ones.

So writer and readers, I’d love your take on this new trend. Does binge packaging appeal to you as a reader? Do you like the idea of not having to wait for the next book in a series or do you like the anticipation? Writers, is the long break it would take to create a binge packaged series too long between books? Do you worry about being out of sight and out of mind with your readers for too long? Comment below and let’s talk binging.