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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 200

Updated on April 30, 2018

Let the Celebration Begin

#200 is published!

Large exhale of breath.

Actually, I’m not much for milestones or celebrations. Never have been. The feeling of accomplishment is the same for me if I just write one stand-alone story or two-hundred installments of a series. Life is a process for me, and I try to avoid too many highs and definitely too many lows. I know that sounds boring, but for this recovering alcoholic, it’s the way it has to be.

So I just trudge forward, marching to the beat of a drum only I can hear, and I’m fine with that.

Thank you to those who have been with me for all two-hundred. Thanks to those who just climbed aboard. If the Mailbag has been helpful then fantastic; that was its purpose all along.

Let’s do this thing!

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

More on Re-Publishing

From Venkatachari M: “Thanks, Bill, for answering my question deeply. But, I thought that I could not edit the book once it got published. That is the cause of my worry. Coming to Copyright page addition, should I first get registered for the CopyRight certification?”

Two questions in one, Venkatachari M, and as is my nature, I’ll take the second one first.

According to copyright law, once you publish a piece of work, whether it be a book, a story, or a poem, it is automatically copyrighted. That does not mean it is completely protected in the real world, but it is copyrighted. People register and pay for official copyright papers, but I’m not sold on the reason for doing that. Allow me to explain!

In this world of self-publishing, piracy is very, very simple. Our stories on HP are stolen daily. We can’t stem the tide of that theft. The internet world has too many thieves for us to chase down. I am willing to bet I could take a self-published book off of Amazon, change the title, put a new cover on it, and publish it as my own work and I would never get caught doing it. The worst that could happen if I was caught would be a slap on the wrist and perhaps a nominal fine. For some thieves the risk is worth it.

So worrying about getting copyrighted, and paying for it, to me seems like a waste of money.

As for your first question, and this is only with regards to CreateSpace/Amazon, you can edit your book after it has been published, but the only way to do that, to my knowledge, is to edit it on a Word Doc first and then download the entire Doc again on the CreateSpace template. I have done this several times and it is remarkably easy to do, as long as you originally wrote your book on a Word Document.

Hope that helps!

P.S. I heard from Venkatachari M again, and he told me CreateSpace was not used, that this was through KDP Amazon….I can’t answer to that direct problem, but I’d bet a buck it is the same process. You make changed to Word and download the corrected manuscript again. Anyone know any different way to edit a previously published book?

Some articles badly need a re-write!
Some articles badly need a re-write! | Source

Giving a New Series a Lift

From Rodric: “As usual, this is good stuff to digest. I have a question. I started a new series that I planned to continue for 40 weeks, but I missed a week already. I let life catch up to me and prom, a wedding, car problems, job hunting and medical concerns crowded my entire week out! I plan to write two articles for the next week to make up for the one that I missed. What do you think about that? I do not have a following for the series yet. I figure it would take about 5 to 15 articles to get it going if it were to go anywhere. You are the only one who has commented on them so far. Thanks for that.”

Rodric, I have no problem with you doing that if you don’t. Seriously, it seems like a bonus to me, so go for it. And since I’m the only one commenting on your articles, my opinion matters greatly. Lol

Hey, all you reading this, Rodric needs some readers/followers!!!!!!!!!

A Change of Voice Over Time?

From Chris: “Bill, I have a question that may fit in with your mailbag hub. I have been looking back over my collection of short stories and flash fiction. I see a slow change over the last five years. My stories have gone from being high energy, even over the top to being more subdued. I am thinking mostly of the endings. I used to use a lot of twists at the end to catch the reader off guard. Now I quite often let the story end in a less than spectacular manner. The latest ends with the child character focusing on selling his next newspaper and planning his dinner (He has missed several meals). The one before that ends with the two characters watching a sunset and not regretting the difficult, life-changing decision they made that day. I guess I want to give the reader a good ride, but I don't want to use the ending as a cheap thrill. I want it to be real. Any thoughts?”

The same thing is happening to me, Chris, so it’s nice to have company.

My personal opinion . . . we are changing as writers! We are developing our persona/voice/style, and we had to go through a metamorphous to do that. When I read the work of another writer, I do not concentrate on the endings. I look at the style/talent leading up to the ending, and in that light you are growing as a writer. I’ve seen your work for a couple years now, and you are leaps-and-bounds better now than you were then. So enjoy the ride! You are doing exactly what you should be doing in exactly the way you are supposed to be doing it.

I was a different writer when this shot was taken.  We grow, hopefully, in our craft.
I was a different writer when this shot was taken. We grow, hopefully, in our craft. | Source

Updating Hp Articles

From Val: “I hope you don't mind my contacting you this way, but I need an opinion of someone with your HP experience.

I have been with HP for over 2 years, and have written 205 hubs. My question is about traffic. By the way, whatever your answer, and whatever I do as a result, I won't "blame" you afterwards if it would turn out a bad move on my part. I will appreciate it one way or another. Now, I have been thinking about deleting a good number of my hubs, but, having no experience about what is considered to be a REALLY bad count of views, I don't know how to go about it. So, my question to you is: After how much time---how little number of views would suggest deleting a hub?

“Like, let's say if a hub got 80 views in 6 months, how bad is it? I read somewhere that having a big number of hubs that are not doing well is not liked by Google, and our image of a writer gets better if we have only those that are doing well (what is "well"?)
Furthermore, the story goes that we are better off by just improving those better hubs than to keep writing and accumulating a few views daily on that multitude of hubs. Do hubs somehow "mature" over time and then Google gives them more traffic, or those bad ones are doomed to stay with low views? (Again, what is "bad"?)

“To be honest with you, Bill, those few cents I get every other day look worse than if I was not getting anything at all. Of course, I am not naïve to expect "an addition to my income", but those few cents are an insult. I know I would be better off writing about home improvement, cooking, and gardening---but when the Team reviews my hubs and leaves me a message that "my hub looks great"---and I got only 3 views in 2 days on it, I get confused, to say the least.”

For those of you reading this, I already answered Val in an email, but I think you might relate to his question.

I’m not privy to HP and how they run the show. I am privy to the struggles many SEO Content companies have, trying to figure out the Google algorithms and how they work. The company I have worked closely with tells me that Google changes the game rules every six months or so, and it is extremely hard for professional internet marketers to keep pace with Google changes. So for me to answer this question is pure folly.

My personal opinion is to re-work the slow articles on HP and just leave them there. Moving them to another site probably won’t change their Google score, but re-writing them just might.

Editing a Book on Createspace/Amazon

From MizB: “I think I understand your answer to Venkatachari's question, but please clarify it to make sure because it is very important to me. (Next mailbag will be OK if you wish.) You said that if one is writing a book in Word, the writer must insert all the page numbers and have the spacing correct BEFORE placing the book into CreateSpace, right? In other words, no editing can be done in CreateSpace. I know those are two questions, but I've never used CreateSpace, and I'm a fixin' to.”

That is absolutely correct, MizB. If there is another way to edit on CreateSpace I am not aware of it.

Change your Word Doc and then re-submit the new Doc to CreateSpace. Your cover will stay the same. All other information will remain the same. All that will change will be the edited portion of your book. This is a pretty simple process, by the way, both in the original formatting and the editing. The classic line “if I can do it, anyone can,” applies nicely here.

And That’s All, Folks!

Tuck another installment to bed, and let’s move on to #201. I’m having fun, and evidently you are finding value in this, so let’s keep it going.

In the meantime, have a brilliant week of living!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”.


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