The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 138
The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round
It’s been a week of nursery rhymes and school songs for me. I have no idea why, but it’s been a long time since I understood the workings of my brain. Anyway, this song just popped into my head . . . “round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round . . . “ What an annoying song that is, right?
Let’s do the Mailbag and you can hum that song while we do so. How many of you, at this moment, are terrified that song will be playing in your head the rest of the day? LOL My gift to you!
From Mary: “This makes a perfect segue for my next question. This week I received an email from an online writing group where I write occasionally. This was for a job to write a short book review. The author wanted people to buy the book, write a review and then she would give a refund of the price paid for the book. This was in my opinion, a better way of getting a review than just asking for a false one, which many people do these days. Plus I also feel the added sales would help her with the Amazon algorithms . I didn't take her up on the offer but would like your feedback on this way to get sales (although in essence the book is being given away) and a way to achieve more reviews.”
Mary, thanks for sharing that with us. I’d never heard of that approach to marketing, but it’s really rather clever, isn’t it? It’s not asking for positive reviews . . . in no way does the offer even hint at reciprocation of positive reviews . . . yes, I actually like this approach.
What do I think about it? I’m all for guerrilla marketing, and it seems to me that this falls under that category. Writers need to get creative about marketing. Why in the world do you think I’m doing coloring books right now? LOL
Anyway, just great! Thanks for sharing!
MORE ABOUT NIUME
Also from Mary: “One last thing, regarding Niume, I saw a similar thing happen with Bubblews a few years ago. People didn't spend more than a few seconds on a page and as such the figures became skewed. This led to the authors becoming unhappy thinking they should be earning more and eventually it just collapsed. Although the idea of social blogging is a good one, people abuse it and just do as little as possible to get their name seen and hope someone will return the favor and click on one of their pages.”
Mary, we have more about NIUME below, but let me just say that I really don’t have a problem with NIUME setting a particular length of time to count as a view. I can definitely see it from their standpoint, and the point you made is a good one. NIUME is a business, and I think sometimes writers forget that very basic point. NIUME, HubPages, they are businesses, and businesses do what they do to make money.
So don’t be surprised when they change the rules in order to make more money.
From LetsTalk: “My interest gets piqued, Bill, when you write about voice. When I read your words, I can hear your voice and feel like I know you. I suspect many other readers feel the same and that's why you have a large following. How did you develop your voice or did you always have it? Thanks for another great mailbag.”
LetsTalk, thank you for the compliment. It’s kind of a tough question to answer since I wasn’t really aware of my voice for several years until one day someone mentioned that it was unique and distinctive. Imagine my surprise!
That leads me to believe that voice, at least for me, is something that developed over time. It is a product of having read thousands of books. It is a product of being ultra-impressed with several very influential writers. It is a product of listening to some magnificent speeches during the 60s, the use of repetitive phrases being one such example, and being impressed by some wonderful storytellers, like Will Rogers and Pete Seger.
Looking at my writing today, I can see all of those influences in it, but I wasn’t aware of it as I first developed into a writer, if that makes any sense.
NIUME RESPONDS ABOUT VIEWS
“UPDATE: a blog post was recently released by the NIUME staff, and in that post they explained that every time an article is opened, the mere act of opening it counts it as one view. There is no “duration of time” requirement. I just wanted to give you that update. For those who say their views have plummeted, I have no answer, but according to NIUME it is none of their doing.”
I just received that blog post yesterday and thought I would share it with you. I just haven’t spent that much time on NIUME, so I’m not sure about the sudden drop in views that some writers have reported. The NIUME staff swears it is nothing they have intentionally done.
Do I believe that claim? I have no reason to believe it and no reason to disbelieve it.
Sorry I can’t be more help on this.
Very entertaining talk about creativity
From Robert: “Can you help me? My muse is missing and I can’t seem to find her. Where should I look?”
Robert, this may seem counterintuitive, but call off the search. Tell the authorities that it was all a false alarm, that your muse is simply taking a much-needed vacation, and there is nothing to worry about.
And then take that advice to the bank and deposit it!
You can’t force creative writing, Robert, so don’t bother trying. Go live life and allow your muse to return to you when she’s damned good and ready. Take the “missing” posters down and get her face off of the milk cartons. Your muse isn’t missing; she just doesn’t feel like working right now.
From Lawrence: “What about that for a question though, do you think we put too much pressure on ourselves 'hoping that others will LOVE what we write?' I mean I know we want them to enjoy it, but do you think there's pressure there, and what can we do about it?”
Lawrence, I would be amazed if most writers don’t feel that kind of pressure. I know I do, and my goodness, it can drive me nuts at times . . . and what kind of unrealistic expectation is that? Of course, I can only speak for myself but for sure, I know I put way too much pressure on myself when writing.
I’ll be interested in what others say about this one. Thanks for the great question.
Anything Else I Can Do for You?
No? Well then I’ll take my leave and get back to my coloring book. Have a superb week of writing, all of you, and I’ll catch you down the road of life. Thanks so much for stopping by.
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”