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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 215

Updated on August 6, 2018

On Being Good Enough

I published an article last week about being good enough. I wrote it as much for me as anyone because, honestly, I’m harder on myself than anyone else ever will be. I am never quite satisfied with my work, always that little voice whispering to me that I could have done better, and quite frankly it is annoying as hell.

I’m actually reading one of my own novels right now, “Resurrecting Tobias,” as sort of an exercise to compare my writing five years ago to my writing today. I don’t know what I expect to accomplish from this exercise, but at the very least it’s interesting. The thing is, there are portions of that book which are pretty damned good. There are times where I actually read a paragraph or even a page and feel good about what I have written, and that is called progress for this writer. I have given myself permission to appreciate past works, and that is pretty cool.

Enough about the past; let’s tackle the present with today’s questions. The bag is pretty light this week, so it won’t take long to go through the mail.

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

Our Own Personalities Shining Through

From Ann: “Question for the mailbag: How much do you think our personality comes over in our writing? I'm thinking mainly of fiction here, as non-fiction probably shows our colours more easily. Are the best writers able to hide their own thoughts and character, especially when writing something truly dark?

“I'm not sure that's possible but I'd like to know what you think, or have experienced.”

Ann, that is a fascinating question.

I don’t know if it is possible, but I’m fairly certain that I am incapable of it. I think anyone who reads any of my books, short stories, or social commentaries, will have no trouble seeing my personality in any of them. Heck, I don’t even try to hide it. Even my antagonists, very dark human beings, communicate my philosophies and beliefs in one way or another. My belief that there is darkness in all of us plays out in every single one of my “dark novels and stories.” Really, metaphorically speaking, my novels are always about the internal struggle of good vs evil which is in each of us.

I actually think one of the reasons I started writing in the first place is because writing gave this very shy man an outlet in which I could communicate to others what I am feeling about life.

Anyway, just my thoughts on a great question; I’ll be interested in what others have to say about it.

There is a lot of "me" in these books!
There is a lot of "me" in these books! | Source

Farmers Markets and Book Sales

From Paul: “Hey, Bill, I know you have tried selling your novels at farmers markets. How did that work out for you? Is it a worthwhile method of marketing books?”

Paul, it all depends on what you consider success to be, or to use your word, what worthwhile means to you.

Have I sold many novels at the markets? Hardly any, so viewed that way it has been an abject failure.

Have I increased my exposure to the buying public, and thus increased the chances of selling books at some other time? Most definitely! I view it as free advertising, quite frankly. I’m at the market to sell other products, so anything good that comes out of that experience is free and worthwhile. Meeting the reading public and giving them a chance to actually meet a writer is a good thing in my mind.

It also forces me to go out and meet people. For an introvert, this can be a painful process, but I consider it worthwhile.

So no, I am not getting financially rich at the markets, but I am finding value in them as a marketing tool. If selling your books is your primary goal, I think a book signing and/or a book reading is much more profitable.

Markets are tough venues for book sales
Markets are tough venues for book sales | Source

Ghost Writers for Famous Authors

From Sheila: “I just purchased a Tom Clancy book, got home, was eager to read it, and then noticed it was written by someone named David Michaels. I was furious and I felt cheated. Does this kind of ghost writing/duping the public go on very often?”

Sheila, you would be amazed how often it happens. I have another name for you: James Patterson. I don’t think Mr. Patterson has actually written a complete novel in a number of years, but each year we see, on average, two new Patterson thrillers published.

The book you referred to, written by David Michaels, was actually written by Raymond Benson. Mr. Benson is best known for having written several James Bond thrillers, and David Michaels is just a name he uses on certain ghost writing gigs of his. So forget about Clancy, and forget about Michaels…the real writer of that book was Raymond Benson. How’s that for sneaky?

This stuff goes on all the time. Big publishers make big money from big literary names. The more books they can churn out the better, so we are seeing more and more ghost writing. Now, to be fair, the featured author (Clancy, Patterson) is most definitely involved in the process. They will usually write an outline of the book, establish parameters, and make sure the ghost writer is being true to the plot . . . so it could be argued that the big name author is doing some of the writing. But as a general rule, if an author is publishing more than one novel per year, you can be pretty sure they are not doing all of the writing.

I’m sorry you were cheated and to me this is cheating. It is a brilliant marketing strategy, and millions of buyers fall for it each year, but it is still duping the public and I consider it underhanded.

Just my opinion!

Of course, it could be argued that the publisher has fulfilled his obligation by announcing, right there on the cover, who the real author is, but seriously, when Clancy’s name is in large, bold print, and the real author’s name is in much smaller print, is that or is that not underhanded? The publisher is counting on the buying public noticing the popular author’s name and nothing else.

In other words, read the fine print before shelling out $15.

That’s It This Week

It’s just as well; we all have things to do, so let’s just shut it down now and get busy. I’m not too concerned with hitting HP’s suggested 1250 words.

By the way, HP’s insistence on 1250 words is an interesting topic all by itself. For the articles I write for customers, the guideline established, and recommended, by Google is 500 words minimum…no more than 750…so why 1250 for HP?

And just this last week Google announced that Meta Descriptions cannot be over 160 characters long…the meta description is the short synopsis which usually appears on the search engine, a short summary of what the article is about. Suddenly Google has changed the game rules once again. I’m sure this rule change is based on solid research and data-crunching, but how is the average writer supposed to keep up with all that? And is HP keeping up with all the rule changes?

Just curious!

Have a great week and thank you for stopping by for a visit.

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      You are a wise man, Lawrence. I tend to agree with your analysis. I do think it is important that people are aware of these things; otherwise it is a bit underhanded for the unsuspecting.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      10 days ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I just watched the video you put up about the way James Patterson writes so many books, and to be honest it makes sense.

      Personally, I'm one who always checks the small print on these things, and I've often noticed the two authors names on the books, the only reason I haven't bought them is usually I've not got the money, and I rarely buy books for full price.

      I can remember years ago, the publisher of the James Bond books put the rights to write the novels up for sale, John Gardner, an English writer of some renown got the 'gig' before David Benson and some were so good they were turned into movies (Goldeneye and Licenced to Kill)

      I see where Patterson is coming from, and in some ways, it's a great way for an 'up and coming' writer to establish themselves, but as Gardner said, "I'd rather be remembered for my own work".

      I wouldn't feel cheated, but I tend to check these things out beforehand.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The quick answer is no, I know of no rule about quantity published....more tomorrow.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      2 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Bill, I have been going through all of my older articles and converting them to shorter 750 to 1250 words bit sizes. Ever since Eric made the observation on one of my articles that it was long. Reading what you mentioned about the suggested length of Hubpages articles, I went to work. It is fun, but I am publishing the material at like ten articles a day. I have changed the content and pictures, but will Hubpages flag me for putting out too many new materials? Is there such a rule?

      Oh, I look forward to the next mailbag.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Counter-productive for sure, Bill, but HP never checks with me to see what I think, so there you have it! lol It will be a cold day in hell before HP does check in with me, too.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Now that is funny! I don't think I've ever read the work of the ghostwriters. I see that other name on the cover and naturally shy away from it.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I am shocked and disappointed to hear how widespread this ghost writing is. I have always been a huge Tom Clancy fan and I am going to go check my Clancy books to see if there is a ghost writer listed.

      One more thing. The suggested word count of 1250 words does seem high to me. My thinking is always be concise and to the point so as to not bore readers. Extending an article to 1250 words when the article does not need it seems counter productive.

      Have a great weekend Bill.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Funny one here. I was looking for a book yesterday and saw a couple of Clancy and Cussler. By golly I like the ones better with the other writers.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You can do either one, Rinita! If emailing is easier you can reach me at holland1145@yahoo.com

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Rodric, I think it is perfectly normal, but I'll add more to that answer on Monday. Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You just squeezed it in under the deadline, Zulma. I'll get back atcha on Monday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Natalie, it doesn't seem ethical to you because it isn't. That is simply bait and switch in my opinion, one of the oldest flim flam tricks in the con business.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's always nice to hear, MizB! Thank you! As for ghostwriting, I just can't condone it for best-selling authors. There is no way that isn't underhanded.

      Thanks for returning. That's been happening quite often of late. A glitch in the HP system no doubt.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mr. Happy! Yes to cheating on ghostwriting novels,, especially or bestselling novels. That is just too underhanded for me to give my stamp of approval on.

      You are always appreciated, my friend. Have a great weekend!

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      2 months ago

      Reading past work has often been a source of inspiration for my present work. I agree it is an interesting exercise.

      The information on ghost writers was brand new to me, and I am aghast! I feel it is not just unfair to the reader, but also bad for the morale of the ghost writer. I'd never be happy doing it.

      Bill - if I have a question for your mailbag do I mention in the comment section or send you an email separately? Thank you!

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      2 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Bill, I have done that before and was greatly rewarded for so doing--re-reading old books that is. I plan on resurrecting a few by making a second edition. I am still editing my memoir after almost a year of tinkering with it. There are always things I want to improve. Heck, it is even the second edition. I need to move on to the other works I have started, but I am stuck in this editing quagmire. I am going to have to let go and let God... If it is good, it will touch lives. That is my biggest hope with my writings. Is it normal to have a writing philosophy like that? I don't want to make money only, I want to change someone's life. So far, I am not making money.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      2 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hey, Bill, a thought just occurred to me.

      We all know how important it is to edit and tweak our writing till they're just right. Is there a mandatory point at which you should stop? Left to my own devices, I could edit my stories from now until the crack of doom and still be at it afterwards. How does one know when good enough really is good enough.

      I realise this is subjective and would really like to know how other people know when it's time to stop editing and start publishing?

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      2 months ago from Chicago, IL

      I have been annoyed for some time over big name authors using others to write their novels for them. I used to enjoy Patterson's books quite a bit but notices that they had changed at some point before realizing they weren't actually being written by him. It wasn't that they were bad, just different and not sounding like his voice anymore. I have since met one of the authors who "co-writes" his novels and he said that Patterson gives them a detailed outline of the novel he wants written then reads what they come up with chapter by chapter verbally giving general revision notes for them to fix the narrative. So I suppose it could be argued that the ideas, characters and plots are his so it's his novel. I won't dispute that. I just think it should have the real authors name in big letters and say something like, "Based on the ideas of James Patterson." I think they also only get an upfront fee for writing the books then he gets all the royalties from sales. It just doesn't seem like an ethical practice to me. Thanks again for a great Mailbag.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes you do, Eric. Lately some comments have disappeared. I wish HP would find them.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's an interesting phenomenon, Manatita, and not one I'm fond of.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's all silliness, Genna, when the whole purpose of creative writing is to enjoy the process and not random measures.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm sure you are correct, Kristen....it is big business for sure. Just so we, the consumer, are aware of it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bait and switch...Peg,that's a perfect description. Thank you for being here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've never heard of Steve Berry...thanks for the tip, Alyssa! Have a great Thursday!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      2 months ago from Beautiful South

      My first post got lost somewhere, Bill. If it shows up, just delete it. We've been having so many lightening storms this week that I didn't know I wasn't signed in. Another big name who is a disappointment: George R.R. Martin. You'd think since his blockbuster "Game of Thrones" series was ghostwritten, they would have had time to finish it and not leave the reader hanging.

      I think our personalities definitely come out in our writing, especially fiction. It's called "finding your voice." In fact I think the greatest compliment I've been paid is when someone (an academic PhD) told me that she liked my stories and said "you've found your voice." I think you've certainly found yours, my friend.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      2 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "I’m actually reading one of my own novels right now, “Resurrecting Tobias,” as sort of an exercise to compare my writing five years ago to my writing today." - I find this quite fascinating. I have been writing since I was ten years old. At that time I just had a journal. Nonetheless, I have now been writing in one form, or another, for almost three decades. So, I do like to look through my writings from the past. It is an interesting way to see how I have changed, or not changed.

      "How much do you think our personality comes over in our writing?" - I fully agree with You here. One';s personality will always come out in writing. Unless one is writing "how-to-books", or instructional manuals.

      "So no, I am not getting financially rich at the markets" - Maybe if You wrote on agricultural topics, gardening, etc. I imagine those might sell at a farmer's market. This is just a plain, uneducated opinion though.

      I have mixed feelings about writers who use ghostwriters, or writers who have entire teams of people working on a book. Here, I have in mind Margaret Atwood, a Canadian writer. I was shocked when I first found out that Margaret Atwood has a team of people who go out and do research for her and with that work done, she begins her writing. That to me is cheating lol Are You doing the work, or are other people doing your work and You just stamp your name on it? : /

      "I’m not too concerned with hitting HP’s suggested 1250 words." - I did not know about this. HP has a minimum word limit? Geez ... I try not to pay attention to all the nonsensical HP rules. Otherwise, I get all worked up at how some people try to control the creative output of others.

      Thank You for your writing. It is always appreciated. Cheers!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I cannot find my earlier comment. But I know I posted it because I am following this mailbag. Oh well. But do know I have read and as always have come back to read many of your great reader's comments.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      I use to think that Ghostwriters were just that. In fact I know a good writer whose name never appears on the book. She makes good money too.

      In that sense, many of us may have read books that the so called author did,nt write and never knew the real author or even the difference.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      2 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Bill. I'm hard on myself as well, so I can definitely relate. Thank you for the tips on marketing. The popular use of ghost writers was surprising. By the way, I didn't realize that HP was now "suggesting" 1,250 words as opposed to Google's 750. Gees. It's challenging enough to write when we don't have these measuring cups to contend with.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, I'm not too sure about small potatoes. I've seen two co-authors of his serial books like Grant Zamprecos is one of them. Too bad they get away with it these days.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Another good one, Bill. I like your take on ghost writers and author name dropping or bait and switch. Also like that you are reading your own work and finding it worthy. That's a wonderful thing.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      A fascinating mailbag this week. I didn't know about this ghost writing with big name authors. Definitely something to think about. When I was younger, I devoured Patterson novels. Nowadays, I have to really make the time to read. I love historical fiction based on real events, like Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series. Have a great week, Bill!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for commenting again, Venkatachari M. That has been happening lately, comments disappearing. A glitch in the HP system, no doubt.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great example, John. I had forgotten about Bourne. The thing is, in that example, I've read the work of Lustbader, and it is obviously not Ludlum...the style is much different.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Where is my comment? I couldn't find it here that I posted after Linda's comment and before John Hansen.

      I told that our own personality always pop's up through our writings and we can't hide it. And, that I haven't come across any ghost-written novel in my collection of around 40 novels with me.

      It has been a great mailbag eventhough it contained few questions, all enquiring and informative.

      Thank you for one more nice mailbag, Bill.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I found the forum that addresses word length and the hint boxes when posting. Here's the link:

      https://hubpages.com/community/forum/339838/change...

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Once you are looking for it, Linda, it becomes very obvious. No good writer can do more than one book per year.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And Jo, I'm so pleased you found the time to stop by. Thank you so much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      To the tune of millions of dollars, Kristen! Oh well, in the grande scheme of things, I guess what Cussler does is small potatoes, eh?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sha! I suspect I miss quite a bit by not taking part in forums.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! Yep, the 1250 limit really isn't a problem for me. Random changes to policy is, but rarely does HP contact me about policy. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I really appreciate that,Pop!Thanks so much!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, you are correct about ghostwriters. My only problem with it is it seems a bit misleading, but I guess that goes under the category "Buyer Beware!" Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I didn't realize that, Dora, or I had forgotten it...thanks for that input.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Why drag it indeed, Chitrangada Sharan! Thank you for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! I suspect the 1250 HP guideline is random. It doesn't match up with Google parameters.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A short but sweet mailbag, Bill. Interesting questions and answers. I know a lot of other famous writers have done collaborations or had their books written totally by other writers. Robert Ludlum is another case (The Bourne Series and Covert One) were continued after his death but still have his name in bold as the main author. Eric Lustbader now writes the Bourne series.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The information about ghost writing was very interesting, Bill. I'll have to watch out for this when I go to bookstores.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      2 months ago from Tennessee

      Bill, I am so pleased that you can read something you've read earlier and think 'not bad'. And I'm so pleased that I actually got to your mailbag the day it was written.

      Great topics here. Regarding Ann's question, I think it's always good for a writer to have a voice that we can identify.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great mailbag Bill. Like you, I believe my writing has vastly improved since a couple of years ago. And I'm so much closer to getting my dreams to come true, another step closer of landing an agent this fall. As for Patterson, when I won a contest a decade ago or so, someone told me on the phone that yes he wrote his earlier books before he co-wrote them by someone else by the outline he writes. Clive Cussler is another writer who has a co-author too. Like I told my dad, yes he's a cheater and he gets away with it every year.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, that's what the forum was about: that the reminders and boxes are no longer at the top right when posting a new hub. I haven't posted in a while, so I wouldn't know. I'll have to see if I can find the discussion and lead you to it.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      2 months ago from Hollister, MO

      That latter comment on Google summary length caught my eye. I noticed a while back, after a break, that the Hub summary space moved from 200 to 300... now you say Google wants only 160. Wow! Curious.

      I've gotten used to writing to the 1250 words for my stories, so I'm pretty happy with it. Works well for me.

      I've had the same experience going back and reading my early novels. Some parts are really well written. The challenge, as you say, is to reach that level as much as possible. Neat!!

      This mailbag was neat, start to finish!! ;-)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      2 months ago

      I loved Resurrecting Tobias!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh hell, Larry, I always doubt my writing abilities. LOL I figure I always will, buddy.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, if HP knew you like I know you, they would never delete your words. :) Thanks for trying.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Melissa! I'm afraid it's become the new norm in publishing circles, and I don't like it one bit...but I don't think my opinion counts for much. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! Monday comes round again with more heat here, and although I'm not happy about it, there is very little I can do to change it. :) Powerless I am!

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Truth, Mike, and I don't need anything that makes me lazy.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 months ago from Oklahoma

      That's always the question, "Am I good enough?"

      Been writing now on some level for over 20 years to no great success. One eventually has to doubt themselves.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      2 months ago from Texas

      Well, Bill, looks like HP just does not like it when I comment on your mailbags. Another one disappeared.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      I was interested in your comment about personalities shining through their writing. I studied English literature and as students we were encouraged to look for what the writing told us about the author. As a young child I was keen on creative writing, but the studying killed it, because I am essentially a very private person. I didn't like the thought of people figuring me out through my writing. One positive aspect of ghost writers is that they can continue a popular series of books after the original author has died.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, when I started on HP, the suggested maximum length was 1500. Rules seem to always flexible. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, your views and all things necessary for our benefit.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for sharing another interesting installment of the mailbag.

      I agree with your views in the first paragraph, and it’s important to analyse ourselves.

      Another interesting point you made, and I agree that a writer’s personality does get reflected in his/ her writings.

      Regarding the 1250 words rule of HP—Sometimes it becomes boring. And if you have made your point in 500 to 700 words, why drag it!

      Thank you once again and good day to you!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      This may have been a short mailbag week but it was interesting all the same. Sometimes good articles are less than the recommended number of words and occasionally they require more than the maximum recommended word count. Guidelines are just that and should not be set in stone.

      It was interesting to find out about all of the ghostwriting that is done with respect to well-known authors.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      2 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Short mailbag this week but always interesting. The ghost-writing question is interesting...I knew about Patterson "collaborating" with lots of authors to write books, but wasn't aware it was quite so prevalent...

      Hope you have a productive and awesome week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Sha. They really should change their programming then so it doesn't still direct us to 1250 when posting an article.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shaloo, HP is what HP is...we will not change it. All we can do is go along for a ride, I'm afraid.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I could not agree more, Flourish! I understand why it is done but I do not agree with it at all.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree with you, Mary, and I love that you purchase books of local authors. There are some very good ones out there.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I recently read in one of the HP forums that the 1,250 word count is no more. According to Christy Kerwan, the minimum count is now 800. Sometimes even 600 words will fly if that's all an article needs without adding a bunch of fluff to meet the minimum.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, you are so incredibly talented, you could write in any genre you wanted, and that I am sure of.

      Thank you for the visit and great comment. Stay cool as the heat descends upon us once more.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I'm a bit weary of Google changing the rules. It doesn't affect me at HP but it sure does in my freelance business.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 months ago from SW England

      Yes, I noticed HP and Google changing the rules yet again! I've decided to just write what I write and if they object I might do something about it, or just delete an article and save it for other/better things!

      Thanks for answering my question with such a fascinating answer. I enjoyed 'Resurrecting Thomas' because it showed your character through his own views and it was enlightening. I personally don't think it's possible to not show one's own character, no matter how hard we try, and that's probably a good thing.

      Monday comes round again, today with marvellous sunshine; have a mischievous one, bill!

      Ann

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Good morning Bill - Resurrecting Tobias is a story the reader will remember long after finishing it. By definition, that is a good story. As for ghost writing - why didn't I think of that? It would have made things so much simpler.

      That 1250 word rule actually makes us lazy. A short story, in the olden days, was 5,000 words or more.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      The ghost writing feels like turning in someone else’s term paper and putting your name on it. It should get you sent to the principal’s office for punishment.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      2 months ago from India

      Every week your mailbag brings new information. I wasn't aware that HP has now suggested 1250 words for the hubs. Most of the writing sites require articles of 400-500 words. I wish HP would have given an explanation too!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      This maybe a short mailbag, Bill, but something close to my experience. We just bought two books in the Farmers' Market as we often try to do because we want to encourage the local writers in our area. I would rather do this than buy another of the recent books of some of our favourite writers which are ghost written anyway. I think some ghost writers are great nd they should write in their own names but if you want to have more sales,I think the popular authors name in bold do help.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      2 months ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, there are no meta descriptions in my life that I know of. I'm pretty sure our personality comes through in any genre, if not directly, then somewhere in the subtext of the words, or in the 'theme' of the piece.

      I haven't written a lot of fiction, just a few short stories, long ago. Some of those characters are drawn from 'me', and other 'real' people, but I wouldn't want the reader to view them as me. I think I would write differently now, not quite so naïve, I hope.

      Poetry is a whole other realm where metaphor blurs lines with reality. I'm not good at metaphor, but I do tell realistic stories in poetry that are not my own, and about characters that are not me. Hoping to get back to fiction writing one of these days. Thanks again for the mailbag Bill!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill I heard about the meta descriptors going back to 160 about a month ago. I'm not worried about my old stuff. Maybe it will give me something to do during the winter months.

      As you said, a light mailbag this week, but good questions (and of course, answers) nevertheless. I always look forward to my Monday cup of coffee with you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww thanks Janine! You have a great week as well.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      2 months ago from New York, New York

      Just had to stop on in to wish you a wonderful week ahead now! Plus, I always look forward to some mail on my Monday morning from you :)

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