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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #218

Updated on August 27, 2018

Giving Back to the Community

People keep thanking me for this series. Thanks for the hard work, Bill. Thanks for keeping this series alive, Bill. Thanks for always being willing to help, Bill.

It ain’t necessary, folks, but thanks all the same.

The thing is, I’m just doing what I was raised to do, namely to help others in my community. To my parents, that kind of community responsibility was as natural as breathing, and they passed that on to their only son.

And HP, to me, is a community . . . it is my online community. HP can talk all they want about mergers and SEO and visibility; they can edit and mess around with ads and do all manner of annoying, invasive things with our articles; but the bottom line, for me, is this is my community, where I was welcomed many years ago, and where I am still welcomed today.

HP may be a corporation to some, but to me HP is all of you!

And community members help community members.

It’s just that simple to me. Support was given to me early on. Encouragement was freely given to me. I’m just paying it forward.

So let’s get to it!

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

Valid Criticism

From Anusha: “That's some great advice and wise acceptance. We do tend to fixate on negative reviews and comments. As conscious creative minds, may be over a period of time we tend to train our senses to ignore such negativity. But then there is an important question. We all do need genuine feedback. But how do we select valid criticism from other nonsensical, useless comments? This critic of our work might not always be constructive, but in my opinion we need to understand our audience. So how do you do it? How can all of us do it in general?”

Anusha, I am far from perfect in this matter. Amazingly I still have thin skin when it comes to constructive criticism, or criticism of any sort. I would venture to guess that is true for most people, let alone creative types. That’s just the nature of the beast called man.

But you are correct, a certain amount of constructive criticism is good for us, and understanding our audience helps in that regard. I have probably seventy-five HP friends who I have known for quite awhile now. I know whatever constructive criticism they give is meant to help, so my reaction to what they say is less explosive than, say, criticism from a couple guys I know, who shall remain nameless, who only seem to survive here on HP to criticize in a mean-spirited way. They speak and I immediately close off from their message, because their message is ALWAYS NEGATIVE in nature.

Another aspect of your question is this question: how do we know any constructive criticism we receive is helpful and should be followed? I had someone criticize my first Shadows novel, “Shadows Kill,” saying it was too violent and I should consider watering it down a bit.

No, I won’t! It was meant to be violent. The whole purpose was to demonstrate the constant struggle of good vs evil, and to do that Evil must be highlighted in all its gory glory.

Or random criticisms by the HP staff when they do an edit on our work . .. is that constructive criticism or meddling?

How do we know? Follow your gut and heart, and try to be honest with yourself. That’s the best I can do.

I’m rambling, and I’m not sure I answered your question, but those are my thoughts.

High Cost of Book Printing

From Venkatachari M: “Thanks for answering my question. Even though I got a picture of it all with your reply and that comment coming from @mckbirdbks, I wonder why it costs so much high and why can't they (Amazon) provide these prints from all countries and from any region on demand. It needs only the printer for them to install at all those places.”

I hate to seem cynical, Venkatachari M, but I suspect it all has to do with the laws of Supply and Demand. Amazon has picked a certain price point, and that price is what is presented to us as a printing fee. If no one paid it, the price would drop. That’s a basic truth of the marketplace. The fact that we are willing to pay printing fees is justification for keeping those fees at whatever level they are at.

I truly have no clue why they can’t provide those printing services from all countries or any region on demand. It seems like a simple matter to me, as well, so obviously I’m missing something. In fact, I just assumed printing services were available to all countries, so your question caught me by surprise.

Average price per printing:  Between $4-$6 per book.  I'm willing to pay that, but is it a fair price?
Average price per printing: Between $4-$6 per book. I'm willing to pay that, but is it a fair price? | Source

The Weekly Mailbag

From Jo: “There is something very comforting about seeing your mailbags every week. So predictable--like the sun coming up every morning. Have you ever missed a week?”

Well, Jo, I’m very happy to hear that. Comparing anything I do to the sun coming up is reason to celebrate.

No, I have never missed a week in over four years now, and I have no intention of doing so. If a week should arrive and there is no Mailbag, you can assume there is a major problem in my life. That’s how predictable and reliable I am.

Renewed Interest in Blogging

From Rodric: “I let all of my blogs fall to ruin because I don't invest my best effort there. I do so here. How do I get my blogs going again? I am afraid that no one will see what I write if I put them there. I have no followers because I have been lazy.”

Well shoot, Rodric, it seems to me you just answered your own question: stop being lazy! LOL

No, seriously, you actually are asking a pretty valid question, and you have stumbled upon a pretty common mistake with blog writers, namely allowing the blog to die a slow death due to neglect.

One of the first things I learned when I began blogging is that posting on a particular day at a particular time is beneficial; posting randomly is not beneficial. It’s sort of like this Mailbag. People expect this Mailbag to be posted Monday morning at about the same time each week. Your blog should be the same situation. Choose a time and a day and stick with it. Stamp it into the minds of your followers that Rodric’s blog is due out Tuesday at noon, or Friday at eight, and then make darned sure it appears at that time on that day.

The other aspect of this question/dilemma is to re-grow your audience, and that takes some online marketing work on your part. In truth I didn’t even know you had a blog. That’s not on me; that’s on you. I follow other bloggers weekly, but I only follow bloggers who reciprocate and follow me, and who do a sufficient job of marketing so I’m aware of their blog. That’s the blogging world in a nutshell. Give your audience something interesting to read, show them that you are interested in what they have to say, and your audience will slowly grow.

Or it will die on the vine quicker than ignored and neglected grapes.

Your blog should be as reliable as the sunset. If not you will lose readership.
Your blog should be as reliable as the sunset. If not you will lose readership. | Source

So What Do You Think?

Feel free to add to these conversations. I readily admit I don’t know everything about everything in the writing world, but combine all of our knowledge about writing and I’m confident we know quite a bit.

Thanks, once again, for being my online family. You mean a great deal to me, and I hope you all know that.

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, thank you so much. Funny, but I never think of this as me giving back. It just seems like a meeting place for friends. :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Nothing is more satisfying than giving back to the community and you are its prime example. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Devika for your kind words. That was the purpose of this series all along, a community helping each other.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Bill Holland you have put the effort in each mailbag and made it worthy for all writers. It works both ways and giving back to the community is one of those ways too.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Long replies are always welcomed Lawrence. I did know that about CreateSpace. I hope they keep doing that in the future.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I don't know so much about blogging, but neglected grapes die very quickly, either that or the birds have a feast, and we don't

      I've struggled with my blog for the same reason Roderic says, I keep trying, but just have too much going on.

      As for Amazon and printing services, were you aware that CreateSpace did 'authors rates' for books where they didn't pay you a commission, but shipped them at half price? It just took four weeks to get them here in NZ but it means I have made a small profit.

      With the merger of KDP and CreateSpace, I'll be interested to see if this continues.

      Hope you don't mind the long reply.

      Awesome material here.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Audrey, and it's worth quite a bit to me. :)

      Love

      bill

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Gee, Bill, more great questions for the mailbag. This series is informative and fun! I always look forward with anticipation to your answers. Thanks again. For what it's worth I agree 100% with your remarks, "Giving Back to the Community."

      love,

      audrey

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well there you go, Rodric! Kiss that decision goodbye, my friend!

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      8 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      I never thought about it Bill until now. It is only enjoyable when I am writing a book or writing on Hubpages. Oh, my gosh! I did not realize that I don't want to blog. I just don't feel like doing it that much. Between my journal, my books, and Hubpages, I guess I am too worn out? Either that or I just don't want to stand alone on my work as the sole source. I think I am scared to stand on my work. HP gives me money. My blog does not.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rodric, here's one thing I learned over the years about writing: if it becomes work, or it is no longer fun, then back off. Writing should be enjoyable to the writer....are your blogs enjoyable?

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      8 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      How in the halibut did I miss this mailbag?! It had one of my questions in it. I have been so busy posting articles that I let last week slip!

      Thanks, Bill for tackling my question and answering it. I almost do not want to start my blogs again. I have followed yours, though I did not post anything. I will start commenting there too. I actually have several Blog that I let die. I am going to resurrect them.

      I will be honest, I fear that I won't have enough content to keep them all active. I do like taking a day and it is the day I post my blog or blogs. I could take my failed attempt with Turn Comments into Articles here on hubs to a blog entry! You are such a Writing Stud!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! Wishing you a brilliant weekend, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thank you Ms. Dora! The Mail Room is always open to you, no matter the day.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      8 months ago from Ohio

      I love the section about criticism. I think you were spot on with following your gut. I also agree with keeping up a schedule on the blogging front. I think it helps to have that predictability.. when people love what you do, they know they can expect to see it about the same time every week. Thanks, Bill, for another great mailbag. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 months ago from The Caribbean

      One of the good things about your Monday Mailbag is that it is still accessible on Friday. Thanks for being so consistent in your effort to help other writers from your knowledge and experience. If anyone is qualified to say "Stop being lazy" it's you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like your approach, Rinita...humility is equally important. That is so true, and beautiful. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      it's an interesting point, Bill, that HP is not a blog....a blog certainly offers more freedom than HP...I enjoy doing both, but time is always a problem for me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, truthfully, I don't do well with criticism at all. I don't do it to others and am quite happy if they leave me alone...but close friends are welcomed to critique.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love your attitude, Zulma. No wonder we are friends.

      Thanks...cloudy day, comfortable, a good day to get outside and take care of some chores.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, that may be far too close to the truth. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mona! That was very, very sweet of you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, in the school of life, you will graduate with honors. Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks always, Genna my friend. I'm still working on handling constructive criticism, but I'm getting better.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, your question/suggestion is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. lol I'll have an answer for you Monday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Suhail, thank you for sharing that story. I appreciate your take on this matter and you sharing a personal perspective. Hopefully that blog will see more traffic soon.

      Peace,

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point, Peg! Criticism stings all creatives, I'm afraid.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And I greatly appreciate that you read them, Manatita! Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! I love your statement about HP friends, and also about some writers not so confident. All true! Just another reason why I like you so much.

      Wishing you a triumphant Thursday!

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you.Chitrangada Sharan, and thank you for being a member of this community.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      8 months ago

      I see the criticism related questions coming up again and again. I like your answer - follow your heart. There are some people who excel at writing, and are yet so complacent that nothing except criticism comes out of their mouths for fellow writers. I am personally cautious about such people. Having talent is not enough, humility is equally important. If we can identify these people early on, it becomes easier to weed out destructive criticism. Thank you, Bill.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      8 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Interesting questions this week. Regarding criticism, it is difficult to sometimes take it as constructive. I get lot of criticism on a few hubs and I have stopped responding to most of it. I still read the comments and to learn from them, but sometimes the criticism is just mean and I refuse to engage in that.

      The question on blogging is also interesting. I have many friends and family who insist on referring to HubPages as my blog. I tell them it’s not a blog, which they don’t seem to get. I don’t have a blog simply because of the reason you mentioned, which is I don’t have the time right now to consistently post to one. I agree with you that this is important to being successful.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      8 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, late to the party, and happy to report that Portland is now safe and secure.

      Criticism is something that I struggle with. Perhaps it's all in how the message is delivered. When offered in love that's one thing. It's the ugly spiteful stuff that shouldn't bother a bit (because it always comes from someone you don't know and who doesn't know you, right?) but it cuts deep.

      I have nothing else to add to the great comments you've received except that I too am happy to be a part of this HP family.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      8 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hey, Bill.

      When it comes to criticism I have one rule: you can critique to your heart's delight so long as you can offer suggestions on how to improve the piece. If you cannot, please keep your opinions to yourself. I find it a great way to avoid time wasters. :)

      Have a great day, Bill.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      8 months ago from Tennessee

      I think sometimes we who are a 'little' older have trouble taking criticism from those who are younger. How dare one of these young whippersnappers tell me how to write!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      9 months ago from Philippines

      Dear Mr. Bill, I LOVE your Writer's Mailbag. There is so much to learn from you, you are and will always be a teacher at heart. You make this community special. I like the idea of being part of your community. God bless you and Bev and your family, plus, of course, you love urban farm:)

    • profile image

      Michael Milec 

      9 months ago

      Other experience with criticism ( by someone from previous century):

      when constructive criticism coming from good-natured persons, it's always welcomed and appreciated.

      Once I was young, inexperienced tossed into a real world of self-supporting, a little of provision sustaining me to dream upon, has been an ancient literature verse a motto for a suppositional success:

      .. “If you ignore criticism, (correction, instruction) you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.”

      This worked for me all days of my lengthy journey.

      ( In school of life I will graduate at very end)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      9 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Another helpful article, Bill. Thank you. "...a certain amount of constructive criticism is good for us." Absolutely! I value constructive criticism sometimes more than praise, for this is how I learn. And I agree about HP existing as a living, breathing, thriving community. Thank goodness it is. The corporate aspect is something that best resides "behind the curtain."

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, I don't blame you at all for being alarmed at such high shipping costs. That is unbelievably high, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And I appreciate that, Rajan! Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I model myself after the U.S. Postal Service. :)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      9 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Regarding criticism, I too have a thin skin but am learning to listen to advice. However, I don't always act on what is said. Everyone can be critical, but not everything they say is helpful. Before I act on their advice I want to know where their expertise lies.

      Just this week I had a negative comment on an article about growing duckweed! I took great pleasure in deleting his nasty and ill thought out comment.

      I have a question for you. I know that you do videos, have you thought of turning this mailbag into a series of short videos?

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      9 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      Hello Bill,

      I read your mailbag frequently, but do not often leave comments. This time I just wanted to write about something I read that interests me immensely - 'criticism'.

      I am unable to understand what is wrong with writers getting negative reviews and even 'destructive' criticism. A blogging friend of mine, a well known dog lover whose valuable comments were sought by people writing books, such as by Mark Derr for his book titled 'How the dog became the dog', left blogging complaining that people got on his nerves with negative comments. I told him writing destructive / negative comments is on the foolish readers, ignoring them is totally on you.

      Yes it takes energy out of you reading them, but ignoring them is as easy as it gets.

      He is now back with a changed name of his blog, although I am seeing almost non-existent following at the moment. But at least he is writing on things he likes best - wildlife of West Virginia and Ohio and, of course, canids.

      Regards,

      Suhail

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Eman. They are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, if you are happy with that, and it meets your needs, that is all that's important. Carry on my friend. You are doing well in my opinion.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There isn't much to send you, MizB, but I'll see what I can do.

      Nice summary on meddling. I like it and I'll adopt that way of thinking regarding HP.

      And thank you for your kind words. I'm like the neighborhood mother who always brings a dish to any occasion. I do it because I love doing it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes there is, Mary! Now i must go check out your latest. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! You are appreciated by little old me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am happy you feel good enough to return to HP, Pamela! The audience will grow over time; just keep writing.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Tuesday Melissa! No, I'm not familiar with it, but I'll check it out and comment in the next Mailbag. Thanks a bunch...stay safe in those storms.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Verlie! Your attendance here is greatly appreciated.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      9 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Good morning, Bill. Glad to read your musings today and also your take on criticism. I remember hearing Oprah say, regarding criticism, that she might get a thousand kudos for a great show and hear from one critical viewer. Still she found it hard not to let go of the one criticism, reading it again and again. Even someone as successful as she is finds it hard not to give in to those who choose to be negative.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      9 months ago from london

      I like Jo's question and your answer made me laugh. So that's always 'cool' for me. Not like New York. Ha ha.

      Thank Bill. I didn't want to say that, but like you, I was brought up to be grateful. LOl.

      P.S. I loved all your Shadows and Billy the Kid series.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      9 months ago from SW England

      Amen to your answer regarding criticism. We have to concentrate on the positive and, for us at HP, that also includes concentrating on our lovely friends here who help and support us. That will be a constant because I know my constant friends won't let me down; I trust them and I admire them. I just have to bash those negative niggles on the head when they appear.

      I know whether I've written well or badly so HP shouldn't bother me so much but there will be some writers who are not so confident even though they are good. Confidence comes with time and practise (including practising having a thick skin!) so I would urge that they don't give up or worry about criticism.

      Your mailbag certainly is a regular comfort to all us writers who look forward to that notification every Monday. Long may it continue, bill!

      Have a tuneful Tuesday!

      Ann

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      9 months ago from New Delhi, India

      I liked your opening paragraph and share the same views—HP is a writer’s community and I enjoy interacting with them.

      Again, interesting questions and answers in this installment too.

      You answered Anusha’s question very well.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      This is one more interesting and helping mailbag with lots of good advice from you.

      Regarding criticism, I alway read it completely and take everything good from it. If one is simply bullying or intending to trouble you without valuing or enjoying your work, you can simply ignore his comment or even block him.

      Regarding high cost of Book, I do not complain about the real printing cost. I am complaining about the other charges of shipment and customs duty that are to be paid by the buyer simply due to the reason of non-availability of printing facility in his own country. I had to pay $18.45 for a single copy of my book whereas the price is fixed at 5.49 Dollars only. So, the shipment took $7 and the Customs took $5.44 per one single copy. That's why I was alarmed.

      Anyway, I wrote to Amazon regarding this and they assured to look at the suggestion of installing printing facility in India also on receiving some more requests from other people. Let us see what happens and when.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      9 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Great going as always Bill. I always look forward to your weekly mailbag. Thank you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I appreciate the fact that you post your Mailbag articles so regularly, Bill. More than four years of publishing the series is an impressive accomplishment.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Wonderful questions and answers once again, Bill. I agree with you that it is the wonderful community here that keeps me around. I spend much more time here than places like Facebook etc. As for blogs. I am a failure at them. I think I have started three now but just can't seem to keep up posting regularly so they are virtually dead. Almost everything I post online is here or The Creative Exiles, and I am happy with that. Have a great week.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Like you Bill, I find a community here and I enjoy the people I have come to know. It is like sharing my cup of coffee with a group, whoever post hubs that day. What I have learned is the need for regularity in my posting hubs and also in my website. There is something to regularity.

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      9 months ago from Egypt

      The valid criticism is always constructive. We must accept so that we can improve our works. Thank you for this useful mailbag.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Good afternoon, Bill. Your little soliloquy on writing your mailbag made me realize something. It is popular because it provides us with a lifeline to this writers' community. Writers come and writers go, but you are here just like the sun coming up. You really do throw us a buoy each week, and I thank you.

      Re: In your answer to Anusha you questioned whether HP's criticism was constructive or meddling. In my experience it has been both. Although I'm an experienced writer, I am still a neophyte when it comes to online writing and SEOs, and I appreciate any criticism in that corner. However when they change the meaning of my sentences, that is meddling. How's that for an answer?

      It's cooled down to 92 degrees this week, and the weather is drying up. Hope we don't get under another burn ban. Send us some more of your Washington rain, will ya, my friend?

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      9 months ago from UK

      I agree completely with your opening comments about supporting each other in Hub Pages. I have greatly valued the help and suggestions from others more experienced than me.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Bill,

      I really enjoy your mailbag. I care about so many people here also. I left for a couple of years when I had 2 back surgeries that were difficult.

      I have been writing again for several months. I upgraded my previous hubs first. I have to build up my audience again also, just like you mentioned with the blogs. Many people have left, but I am finding many newer good authors. I am finally back in the rhythm of the past with regard to time spent writing.

      Thanks for all you do.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      9 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! I enjoyed catching up on the mail as always!

      Recently, I bought a writing "bundle" which included several ebooks, webinars, etc but the main reason I purchased was because it included a year's subscription to prowritingaid. I was just curious if you had any familiarity with this software or others like it? I know this doesn't replace a human editor, but it certainly could help polish your work a bit before letting someone else get their hands on it! :)

      Have a wonderful and productive week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, your last sentence had me laughing. Yes, there is a lot of data out there for sure. lol

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      9 months ago from Canada

      Hello Bill, Monday again! I am impressed with the broad reach of this weekly column, and much appreciate the venue for discussion. Write on!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My quick answer, Shaloo, is you should write about that which gives you pleasure. Of course, a longer answer will be coming next Monday, so thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, as always, you are appreciated. I wish I had the time to follow all of your advice. I know I would be a better marketer if I did.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Afraid, or wise, Eric? Criticizing negatively opens us up to the same, and that just doesn't sound all that appealing to me.

      Thanks my friend! It was nice to have you join me for Monday coffee.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      I became less sensitive to criticism as a result of a very feedback crazy company culture of a Fortune 500 company where I worked for more than 5 years. Some of the most brutal criticism flew in the name of self-improvement. I learned how to let it not bother me quite as much personally and see it as data. Lots of data out there!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Same here, Mike! It's just not worth my time to criticize. We have far too much of it in the world as it is without me adding to it. Thanks my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I really appreciate that, Pop...the feeling is mutual.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      9 months ago from India

      Valuable advice about blogging...Many bloggers including me are not much into promotion and this is indeed one big mistake. I have two blogs. One is specifically about astrology but the other one is where I post articles, poems, sketches and whatever catches my fancy. This year I have been reading a lot and most of my blog posts have been about books. Do you think I should focus on a particular niche rather than witong about so many different topics?

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Hello Bill - The mailbag is here, it must be Monday. I don't take criticism well, therefore I don't criticize others work. My process is much simpler, if the work is not to my liking, I do not return for more. Have a good week.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      9 months ago

      I feel the same way about HP. I have made so many friends over the years, and I treasure every single moment. Billy, you are definitely one of the friends I treasure.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 months ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning!

      Re: Valid Criticism. If it is constructive and helps you take a look at your work from a new perspective, then it is valid, even if "negative." This very topic was addressed in one of master marketer and business philosopher Seth Godin's recent Akimbo podcast, "Shun the non-believers." You'll love the thoughts on Space Odyssey: 2001. And you thought you had critics!

      Re: High Cost of Printing. From my experience, it appears that Amazon/Createspace has limited printing facilities, but main ones are in the USA. It does not have printing capability in all countries. So that's why it's so expensive outside the US due to the shipping needed to fulfill orders. Even though it's Print On Demand, the equipment is expensive and extensive and needs to have dedicated facilities, supply chains (for paper, ink, etc.) and labor. As you've noted, the laws of supply and demand dictate where these facilities will be placed. As some of these non-US markets grow, then I think we will see expanded and less expensive options available in them.

      Re: Resurrecting Blogging? True, blogging takes continued effort and marketing. And if resurrecting a blog effort, you're starting from scratch. That takes patience, like years of patience and practice. And the blogging landscape has been changing, getting more competitive all the time. So these efforts will be even tougher. The question becomes, what do you want this blog to accomplish? If it's just the guilt of "being lazy" or checking off a To Do item, it will be a frustrating journey. Do it because it's fulfilling your need for expression or connection.

      And, yes, thank you for being our fearless leader for the past 4 years of the Mailbag!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Fantastic. You know I am at the ready every Monday at 06:30. You are so consistent that you may have an issue there. Probably like loving what you do ;-)

      This baby is readable multiple times. Venkatachari M's comment/question is so cool. It did some Deja vu on me. We worked our buts off at the end of the crazy last century to give "dotcommoners" rights. https://internetfreedom.in/ We are free from some tactics we just don't know it.

      I am afraid to criticize negatively. Is that bad?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sally! Truth be known, I am not very receptive of criticism, for the reason you gave.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I don't know about amazing, but I'll certainly accept your compliment in the spirit it was given.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      9 months ago from Norfolk

      Funny how I don't even like the word criticism:) I guess I was born with a thin skin and never take kindly to criticism. It is so easy to give and so hard to take. The nice thing about 'growing up' though is that most times you can do things your own way and let the rest slide off your back. I am glad. You have a great Monday Billy.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      9 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, you are an amazing gentleman, and for that, I will always thank you for always telling it like it is, as well as all your help and friendship over the years. That said, just had to stop once again by and wish you a wonderful Monday and week ahead now :)

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