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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 171

Updated on October 9, 2017

Sharing Who I Am

A friend of mine recently commented that she liked it when I introduced the Mailbag with a personal anecdote. I’m glad she likes it because I’m going to do more of it. I’m a storyteller! That’s what I am and that’s what you’re going to get from now on, here and on my blog.

Stories! Stories from my lifetime, or passed down to me from relatives, stories which are infinitely human in nature, easily relatable, and easily understood by any of the two-legged species called Man!

Las Vegas! “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!” Well not this time. This time it spilled into our living rooms and made us angry, sick to our stomachs, and distressed. And Facebook exploded with political statements calling for gun control and impeachment and better security measures and on and on and on until I wanted to vomit . . .

But then there were stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help their fellow man, like the fifty-three year old man throwing himself on top of two twenty-somethings to shield them from the bullets, telling them he had lived a good life and they needed to have a chance to live theirs.

You can’t make that shit up, man! That’s about as human as it gets and yes, we are a violent species, and yes, we have a long way to go before we reach “civilized,” but we are also, when listening to our kinder angels, a species capable of incredible acts of humanness.

Let’s talk about writing!

Welcome to the Mail Room
Welcome to the Mail Room | Source

PLATFORMS

From Shaloo: “I am not sure if this has already been asked but here are my questions: Which is the platform that you use for selling ebooks and what marketing techniques do you use?”

Shaloo, thanks for the questions. Your first is a bit confusing. If you mean which self-publishing site do I use to sell ebooks, the answer would be Amazon. If, however, you’re asking for the marketing strategy/platform, the answer is the platform I began building over six years ago, and that leads into your second question as well.

There is no quick fix to marketing and selling. I first learned this in my marketing classes in college, but at that time I was an impressionable twenty-year old and I was certain that ancient marketing principles did not apply to me.

I was wrong!

Building any platform for any product takes time. A lot of time. The foundation of my platform is my body of work, and I cannot overstate the importance of a good body of quality work. Then comes the website, and the blog, and the social media work . . . and that’s all from the cozy confines of my writing studio. We then could talk about going outside in the real world, the book signings, the book readings, the placement of books in bookstores, the one-on-one conversations with book buyers, and on and on we go.

Actually it’s been seven years, now that I think about it, seven years this month. I am just now seeing returns worth noting; not worth bragging about, mind you, but certainly worth noting.

The storytellers I learned from
The storytellers I learned from | Source

Are Storytellers a Dying Breed?

From Linda: “I love your memories of your grandpa being a storyteller. And, that got me to thinking--might the new generation lose the ability to tell a story? Years ago we relied on family elders passing on oral history to young folk. Now, those "memories" are documented on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I know I'm oversimplifying the issue. As long as people like you and Eric and Jodah exist there will be wonderful records of stories, but your numbers are dwindling--just like the numbers of people who can still read and write cursive.”

Linda, my answer is going to seem overly-simplistic, but it’s not meant to be. Storytellers, and their value, will remain as long as we foster them and support them.

I would personally love to see every writer who has a child impress on that child the importance of sharing stories. I would love to see writers volunteer to speak to elementary school children and impress upon them the importance of storytelling. The art, and gift, of storytelling will only die if we, the writers, allow it to.

And I sure don’t want to see that happen!

As a species we’ve been telling stories seemingly forever. That is the medium we have always used to communicate in. I can’t imagine that ending. I hope I’m correct.

When Is Violence in a Story Gratuitous?

From Patti: “I know many of your novels are quite violent, but the one I read, it didn’t feel like the violence was gratuitous; rather it felt like it was necessary. How does a writer determine how much is too much with regards to violence?”

It’s really a great question, Patti. I guess my answer would be along the same lines as dialogue or any other aspect of a story: if it is necessary to the proper telling of the story, then include it; if it is superfluous and has no intrinsic value or importance, leave it out.

Yes, my Shadow series has violence, but it is because my main characters are violent people who are battling the personification of Evil. Without violence my main characters would have died four books ago and there would be no series. Having said that, I also try to make them as human as possible; they laugh, they cry, they mourn, and they show acts of kindness. In other words, I’m always trying to find a balance between the violence and the telling of the story.

The Death of Niume

From Violet: “I read recently that NIUME finally died its inevitable death. I think we all saw it coming, but what I’m wondering is why it happens? Are sites like NIUME and HubPages all likely to suffer a similar fate?”

I really don’t know, Violet, whether HP is going to follow the path of NIUME. It’s certainly possible. Trying to stay one step ahead of the Google gods must be a recipe for madness, and to build your entire business upon the fickle nature of those gods must be a good reason to drink heavily.

I personally hope HP makes it. I love the community. If I had to predict I would say eventually HP will simply stop paying writers and just offer a site where writers can post their stuff for free but with zero hope of making money from it.

Again, I hope I’m wrong. This is my home away from home, and it just wouldn’t feel right if someone locked the door and didn’t let me into my home.

Build a sturdy platform
Build a sturdy platform | Source

Not Meant to Be Self-Serving

From Eric: “Now I have a question you may want to avoid. What was the toughest thing to overcome to go from being a sot to being the hottest hubber ever? You have my desire of success, love energized over and over again. What must we overcome to reach that next level?”

Eric, thank you for the very kind words! No reason for me to avoid this one; I think it’s a good question worth pondering.

I actually gave this some serious thought. Leaving teaching and becoming a writer, literally overnight in my case, was not that difficult for me to do . . . but then I was really ready for the change. Once I started in on the new career, it was a struggle, or course, but I have a business background, and I knew that starting a business from scratch requires long hours and an unshakable commitment.

Having said all that, the hardest thing for me to overcome, and continue to overcome, is the constant rejection and lack of quantifiable proof that I am succeeding.

I know of many writers who don’t even get the support of their immediate family. At least I have Bev to support me, but as most writers will tell you, most days of most weeks of most months are filled with silent doubts. I write six hours each day, five days per week, and not one of those days goes by without me wondering what the hell am I doing? Have I lost my mind? Why do I continue when sales are still meager? Am I wasting what time I have left on this planet?

Those types of thoughts, and just the overall self-doubt, can be a killer to someone not strong enough to handle it.

So far I have!

VIOLENCE

I’m no stranger to violence. I wish I was. I wish I had not experienced it, and I wish I had not caused it, but wishing does little to solve our ills. I wish Las Vegas hadn’t happened, but that wish, plus two bucks, will only get me a cup of coffee.

And so we learn, if we are willing, and we keep moving forward along the path of evolutionism, and hopefully, when it is all said and done, the plus side of our ledger will have more entries than the negative side has.

“There’s something happening here,

What it is ain’t exactly clear!” (The Buffalo Springfield)

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Not strange at all, Lawrence, and I'll go into it in next week's mailbag. Thanks my friend!

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      Lawrence Hebb 6 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I can identify with a lot of the stuff here, especially with the 'self doubt' thinking, and the thought of just 'walking away' from the writing. That's what I almost did a few weeks ago.

      But the stories just wouldn't let me go! It was as if things were 'burning their way out', so I had to find a way of letting the pressure off, and that meant starting another story!

      Here's my question Bill, does it ever feel that way for you? Or am I really strange?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita....good to have you back,and I appreciate you catching up, a Herculean effort for sure. Peace and love always!

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      manatita44 2 months ago from london

      Sorry about Las Vegas. My belated commiserations to the relatives and all Americans. Of course, my prayers were always there. Life is and can be horrid, but let's not dwell too much on this.

      I guess I should have a go at Eric's question: hard or diligent work; superlative family support, talent which increases with practice, honesty and decency with a touch of Love in that recipe, as well as a willingness to serve and acceptance of where we are. You and I, we are great story-tellers too.

      Love you, Bro. I guess that God gave us excellent early platforms. Much Peace!

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ahh, glad to be of assistance, Shaloo! Thank you for the question. You are appreciated!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 2 months ago

      Thanks Bill for answering my questions! I was a bit caught up with my new job and got a chance to read the hub today only. Yes, my question was about self publishing site only as I was confused between smashwords and Amazon.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Mary, don't sell yourself short. I think you are a storyteller and just don't realize it.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Indeed, you are a great storyteller. Sometimes, I wonder if this art can be cultivated. When I was growing up, we used to ask our uncles and grandmas to tell us stories as we did not really have much entertainment then. Some truly had the gift. I wish I can develop this in myself.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      We are never alone, Denise, and for me that is the true value of HubPages! Or does that fall under the category "Misery Loves Company?" LOL Thank you for that share!

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      Denise McGill 3 months ago from Fresno CA

      Hey Bill,

      I missed this one somehow. I've been busy with my own drama and miss reading your wonderful insights. What you said about the silent doubts of a writer really resonated with me. As an artist I work long hours as well with little or no feedback as well. Sure I get the occasional "Nice, Neesie" from friends, but I often wonder what I'm working so feverishly for. But my answer is always similar to yours... I'm compelled by something deep inside me to create and without it I would whither and die. The drive to create is not fueled by feedback or sales (although those are always nice) it is a desire, a thirst to reach for heights of creativity that only my inner self can see. Isn't that what all great creators before had? Something only they could see that drove them on to a greatness that few others can even see coming.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Devika!

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Linda, and I thank you for always being here as well.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You and me both, Larry! I detest the marketing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the comment and question, Mary! The Mailbag is pretty full. I'll try to squeeze this one in.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Jo! May the storytelling always continue.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you kindly, Alyssa!

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like the way you worded that, Dora, and I totally agree. Thank you!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      As always, useful and interesting to all writers!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I hope and think that storytelling will survive in some form. It's too valuable in our lives to lose. Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts and ideas each week, Bill.

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      Larry Rankin 3 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting. Honestly, I don't enjoy any of the marketing stuff. Just wish I could focus on the writing.

      Always a treat:-)

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      Mary Wickison 3 months ago from Brazil

      I like the addition of a personal note at the top and in the conclusion.

      This was a thought provoking mailbag this week. I think many people in recent months with the natural disasters, and violence are at a loss of what to do and find themselves in a collective state of shock.

      As I write this, wildfires are raging through the beautiful wine country of California. My sisters live in northern California and many of their friends have been evacuated. I imagine many people will be glad to see the back end of 2017.

      I have a question for you.

      With so many authors, both known and yet undiscovered trying to get their books read by the public, reviews are important. What do you feel makes a good review?

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      Jo Miller 3 months ago from Tennessee

      I believe storytelling and HubPages are both going to continue. We're story tellers in my family, too, and one of my greatest pleasures is passing this on to my granddaughters. They lap up the stories like I did when my grandmother told me stories.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 3 months ago from Ohio

      Wonderful Installment this week! Thank you!

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      Dora Weithers 3 months ago from The Caribbean

      "Storytellers, and their value, will remain as long as we foster them and support them." I just found a book with questions in a layout which prompts grandparents to tell their story for the pleasure of their descendants. I think if story telling goes out of style, there would be nothing to talk about.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think your question, Rasma, is one most writers need to pay attention to. Thanks for it....will answer Monday!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great points, Brian, and I did include your question in the Mailbag. Thanks so much!

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Heidi, I haven't checked out scores,so I hope your Cubbies came through for you. I don't have a horse in this race, so I can root for the Cubbies as well as anyone...except the Yankees! Never the Yankees!

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      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Most thoughts to ponder. Since the last time I have joined Virily and discovered that time will tell if anything good comes of it. In the meantime it is like any other place where I can write and can get followers about the payment part we will see. It is not a bad place to express oneself.

      Now the second part - could you please explain to me what good it is to share links of my posts and other posts I wish to share on Tumbler and Flipboard. Does this really help in some way? Who is looking at what I post there?

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Yes, Bill, I intended my question in my earlier comment to be for the mailbag. I've had the experience more than once of finding myself floundering many pages into a "story" because it isn't a story but only an interesting situation.

      Another essential factor that occurred to me is that a story (in the sense of a literary or performance art form) must not be told in generalities but rather must include significant particular concrete details that give the reader/listener the illusion of experiencing with the hero the progression of experiences from inciting incident to climax and resolution. You often stress the need to involve the reader's 5 senses.

      And another factor, which you just recently stressed, is that a story must be an emotional experience. I think I mentioned caring what happens to the hero. Aristotle said it best: a dramatic story arouses pity (we care about the protagonist), then fear (we are in suspense how he-she will fare in the struggle), and then catharsis (our emotional tension is released by the ending). So, can a logline show if an idea for a story contains within it all the essential factors of a story--these, those in my earlier comment, and any I left out?

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 months ago from Chicago Area

      Late to the Mailbag. Crazy Monday!

      Re: Platforms vs. Platforms. Great to make the distinction. And, yes, you hop on the Kindle platform in mere minutes. But to build a platform on Kindle takes months or years.

      Re: NIUME vs. HP. I actually never visited NIUME. But lots of these types of sites will flourish and perish over time. I'm glad HP is still here. I agree that the community of writers is stellar. And, in my opinion, the switch to creating the network sites is a smart move on the part of HP. Otherwise, HP was a hodgepodge of topics and writers that the Google gods and bots would have issues with. I've been seeing improvement in the returns over the past few months. So I hope that continues for them and us.

      Well, gotta run. Cubs are one game away from winning round 1 of the MLB playoffs tonight. Hope you have a winning week, too!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! It is a fine-line to walk when writing violence. You do it well.

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      William Kovacic 3 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      More good questions, Bill. And, of course, more good answers. I especially liked the question about violence. Most of my stories have a touch of violence. I'm really a peace-loving man, and I never know how far to carry it. Thanks for all you do, Teacher.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, thank you! I'm not sure if you meant that for the Mailbag, but I'm going to use it nonetheless.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that confidence, Flourish! Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Perfectly stated, Michael my friend. If we reach just one person, make a difference in the life of one person, the reason why we write will become obvious.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Evidently, Bill, a totally senseless tragedy. Absolutely no one saw it coming, and that's what makes it so frightening.

      Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, MizB! I guess we are all destined to work in solitude and anonymity.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma! I'll just keep plodding along and hope I reach people on a human level, which has always been my goal.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Martie, thank you! Great points made in your comments. I guess we'll just have to hope that one day we fully understand how the human mind works, the warning signs for such mental illness,and we can do something proactive about it.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      What distinguishes a story as a literary or a dramatic presentation art form from the telling of an anecdote or the description of an incident? When a writer has an idea for a story -- I'll write a story about the time Grandpa as a young man was lost in the woods and swore he'd say the rosary every day if he survived, how do you know it'll make a short story (or a long story) and not end up a mere anecdote? My guess is that the person whom the story is about has to be significantly changed by the experience, that that has to involve struggle in a broad sense, and that the reader/listener has to care about the change -- how three days lost in the woods without provisions or tools humbled a cocky young man.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 months ago from USA

      I have confidence in HP that they’ll be around and paying authors for a long time.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 months ago

      The writer was born to write. We can't prevent it. Within "Michael" is the intrinsic power of which can not be contradicted. So is in YOU my friend, and in you dear reading author, it urges to write. Perhaps only a few words to which there in the vast wide world someone is definitely waiting for, will read, and the message fulfills the mission "why do I write"?! Due to short stay on this planet we won't be able to " count " every success. Thus more gratifying surprises awaits later, in the future ..

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      Bill De Giulio 3 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I would surely miss HP if it went away. It’s a great community and I hope the HP staff continues to stay one or two steps ahead of Google. As for this crazy world that we live in, I will never comprehend what motivates someone to commit such a violent act. It’s such a senseless tragedy.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 months ago

      Bill, I think you are right about storytellers because I believe that we are born, not made. I agree that many writers, myself included, have little or no family support. I recently volunteered to read a friend's novel that she's just finished, as a beta reader. She was very grateful because she had only one reader to support her work. There's no reader support around my house either. The only person who understood my writing was my late son. I miss my storyteller Dad, too! Have a great rest of the week, my friend.

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 3 months ago from United Kingdom

      If the loyal following you have here is anything to go by, I would say you are definitely not wasting your time. You're doing what you are meant to be doing.

      Have a great week, Bill.

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      Martie Coetser 3 months ago from South Africa

      Dear Bill,

      Your response to Eric's question is perhaps every writer's story. Only a handful of writers manage to reach the heights we all wish to reach. Lady Luck has everything to do with this, because if success depended on hard work and dedication all of us would have been stinking rich by now.

      I hope HubPages doesn't follow in NIUME's steps. I take my hat off for HP team. As you've said, pleasing the Google god's is a full time job.

      What happened in Las Vegas is too horrible to ponder. Evil can grow and mature in someone we know, for all we know. If only we could detect it in time. This world needs electronic monitors, able to detect evil thoughts and schemes, and able to proof it in such a way that those being accused of having evil plans cannot avoid essential treatment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Me too, Pop! This is where I go to find sanity. :)

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      breakfastpop 3 months ago

      I hope that HP stays, because this community means a great deal to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am very happy to hear that, Venkatachari M, and I know I speak for many when I say you are a valued member of this community.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hooray, Melissa is here, and congratulations on having a day off.

      The new Shadows should be out by October 22nd....that's the goal...I'll let you know in the Mailbag when it happens, okay?

      And thank you dear friend. Have a great day off!

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      Melissa Propp 3 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! It's Columbus Day and I actually got the day off...which is great because I got to take more time to do a little reading (including my favorite mail bag).

      When is the next Shadows novel coming out? Was it in October or Nov?

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 3 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Enjoyed this mailbag even more with your personal touches towards the Las Vegas incident and other things in the questions. I love the HubPages and people like you here and can never think of shutting all this wonderful platform.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Emese, you may not comment often, but when you do it is high quality. Thank you for a wonderful comment. I love it that people look forward to this article each week. That fills me with warm and fuzzies. ;) As for storytelling, I hope society continues that rich tradition. Like you I believe we desperately need storytellers. It is a tradition which is based in the foundation of this country . . . in all countries . . . and I really think we would be less without it.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      So do I, Kristen LOL

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      EmeseRéka 3 months ago from The Desert

      Hello, Bill,

      I alway look forward to your mailbox (though I rarely ever comment - sorry about that, it is not as easy as reading them), It is so good to know that it's waiting for me every Monday morning. I wish I had your motivation! You inspire me not only with the actual content of it, but even with the simple fact that it is always here, every Monday, rain or shine. I know I can always count on a good lesson or inspiring read about writing. Thank you for that!

      I have been thinking about storytellers lately, as well. I feel that we really do need them, without the stories we get disconnected. Kids still listen to stories, at least in their elementary and middle grade years. They crave stories, they ask for stories. They learn better if their lessons include a story, they remember it better. They easily make up stories every day, about anything they see or experience. As they get older, it seems that they read less, listen to stories less, which leaves them disconnected. All the bad things happening around us seem to me that are due to us being disconnected. I am convinced though that storytellers will regain their proper place and respect in society. I only hope that it will happen sooner rather than later.

      As about Niume closing, like many others, I wrote on that platform for a while, and I was sad to see it go. I hope HP will survive, it certainly seems to be doing much better than any other, similar site. I need to get motivated to write here again, it has been too long since I last did. Though I haven't made a dime here, I do like the community and miss being more involved.

      Thanks for a great mailbox, and thanks for the inspiration.

      Have a great Monday, and a great week.

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      Kristen Howe 3 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're always welcome Bill. I look forward to your answer next week.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      aww, thanks Kari! I guess I come from a rich tradition of storytellers, so some of it had to rub off on me. :)

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      Kari Poulsen 3 months ago from Ohio

      I must say, you really are an impressive story teller. I greatly enjoyed reading this. Although it's full of advice, it is personable also. :)

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, Sally, that is one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me. Thank you dear friend, and the feeling is mutual. Family be damned in this instance; we all are surrounded by our online family. I think we should all meet for a great feast one day. :)

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, you are absolutely correct. HP has found, so far, the "winning formula" for these types of sites and I'm with you, I hope it never fails. Thanks for your thoughts.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, I would love to refute what you just said, but I can't. Correct on all counts, including the price. Why we do this to ourselves is beyond me. LOL

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      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 months ago from Norfolk

      Love some of these questions and answers and the discussion they have opened. I am constantly amazed at how little support writers just like you and me get from their immediate family but I no longer concern myself about that as I feel that I have a family online who have supported me through thick and thin. I can't imagine a life without you, Billy so it is my hope that HubPages will be here for the duration.

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      Lori Colbo 3 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      I've written for several online writing venues and every one of them went under except Hubpages. Suite 101 (which I loved), examiner.com, Ezine, and there might have been another I'm not remembering. None but Hubpages ever paid, though they gave the idea it could be done. If you want to know the truth, I will be devastated when or if hp goes under. It would feel like my arm was cut off. This is not only to be missing a venue for my work, but losing the community. It's very painful to think about. It's been seven years of pure joy. I'd like another seven. I don't make much here at home,and but what I do make helps me out. The terrible fact is, writing sites seldom last. Hp has done something right and they've worked very hard.

      I hope story telling never falls by the wayside. It stirs imagination. Something we all desperately need.

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      mckbirdbks 3 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill - Today's Mailbag leaves me with the impression that today's writer is left to handle all aspects of the 'business.' By that I mean not only do they have to have the temperament and talent to write. They then have to self publish, which includes creating or overseeing their graphics. Then promote. You are steamrolling all the functions, but not many can maintain the pace. 'We' developed an age of specialization in most fields, but today's writer has to master all fields. Then the public wants to pay $0.99 for an ebook.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eric! You are a good man and I enjoy your friendship greatly.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting question, Ann, and honestly I don't think I've ever really thought about it. I'm thinking it's a bit like "which came first, the chicken or the egg," but I'll explain that next Monday.

      Until then, I wish you a peaceful week. Let's get through this week without any gut-wrenching disasters. Wouldn't that be lovely?

      May you have a maliciousness-free Monday!

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      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Once again I will read the mailbag several times. And I will look forward to each one. And yes your comments on the human condition illustrated by Las Vegas brought a tear.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Such a great question, Kristen. Thank you, and I'm sure the discussion about this question will help many writers out there. I'll get back to you next Monday.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Chitrangada Sharan, for the kind words. I will try to always live up to them.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I aim to please, Shannon! Glad I could help.

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      Ann Carr 3 months ago from SW England

      How important story-telling is! Fortunately, at least here in Britain, the primary schools are doing well with stories, both telling, writing, enacting etc. Verbal delivery is great from one generation to the next. Visual records are also great - perhaps more substantial but then they can be lost.

      I know my granddaughters love to look at old photos and they always want the story behind them.

      You're right about the humanity that emerges when incidents like Las Vegas, Barcelona, Paris etc. happen. We lose sight of that in all the horror but I like to think the good triumphs over the rest, most of the time.

      Question: How much does location affect a story? Let's say you have exactly the same story but then put it into a different location or environment; would it be totally different?

      Monday's mailbag never fails to instruct and entertain and I too love your personal intros; they draw us in and settle us down, like being in front of the fire with a warm drink!

      Much musing to you on this mellow Monday, bill!

      Ann

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      Chitrangada Sharan 3 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for the valuable thoughts in this installment as always! Many concerns have been covered in the form of questions and answers, such as book promotion, storytellers, closing of writing websites and others.

      Thanks for drawing attention to the Las Vegas tragedy too. Let's all pray for those who got affected by this horrifying crime.

      Let there be Peace for all !

      Thank You!

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      shanmarie 3 months ago

      Bill, you just inspired a poem idea, I think! Thanks. :)

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      Kristen Howe 3 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great Mailbag as always, Bill. Filled with good stuff to keep us thinking, motivating and make us better writers. I have a question to ask for next week's mailbag. What tips do you have of making a villian believable and realistic? (I've recently hit a snag with this, due to a friend's feedback on my secondary baddie for one of my thrillers.)

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with everything you said, Shannon! Thankfully, and I mean this sincerely, I'm not numb to it all. Heaven help us if we ever become numb to the suffering around us.

      All we can do is our part in spreading love and goodness, and hope that will be enough.

      Hugs heading your way

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      shanmarie 3 months ago

      I like your personal anecdotes as well. Makes me feel connected to the author as a person when I read things like that.

      Facebook... the news. It's pretty much gotten to the point where I dread turning on the TV or scrolling through a news feed. Even the good deeds remind me of the magnitude of losses.

      Here locally, there is an amber alert for a little three year old girl. Her father put her outside at 3 am Friday or Saturday morning for not drinking her milk. Thank God he is in jail, but only being charged with child endangerment. They waited until 8 am to report her missing. Why and WTF?! Something terrible has happened to that poor baby, no doubt. I can barely stomach thinking about it, yet the phone reminds me when the alarm goes off sounding the alert again. I really don't think she will be found alive.

      And then there are grief counselors on hand at school this week due to the death of a child. Had to have a talk with my kids about that yesterday to prepare them.

      I have had about all I can take. Seems like everywhere I look lately something bad is happening and people are violent, rude, antagonistic and spiteful. It's so unnecessary. I'm far from perfect myself, but enough is enough. At least there are people like you who remind us to keep focus on the good, especially among the bad.

      Oh, speaking of FB. . . I'm about to send you a message.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Janine! I aim to keep my followers satisfied. :) Happy Monday to you!

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      Janine Huldie 3 months ago from New York, New York

      Aw, Bill I always love when you share your own stories and anecdotes here and your blog, as well. So, today was no exception here to that rule. That said thank you always for sharing your awesome writing advice and for just being you here. Happy Monday now!! :)