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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 248

Updated on March 18, 2019

Spring Has Sprung

I always loved that silly little saying. I have no idea why I think it is so clever. It really isn’t, you know, but still it’s cute.

And it’s accurate for our neck of the woods. Spring has arrived with temps in the sixties and seventies, and it is glorious. If I could ask for the perfect location with the perfect climate, year-round, I would ask for Olympia in early spring. Give me year-round temps in the sixties and I’m a contented, happy man.

But then I already am a contented, happy man, so that would just be a bonus.

Welcome to the Mail Room! If you are looking for dissention you’ve come to the wrong place. If you are looking to bash the Liberals or the Conservatives, the Bible-belters or the atheists, you are in the wrong place. This is a place of support. I don’t have time for anything which further drives a wedge between the human race. If that’s your thing, stifle it, please, until you leave the Mail Room. This is a place of answers, of support, and of encouragement.

So let’s get started!

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room!

The Promotion Game

From Debbie: “Bill, I remember reading articles from you, a few years ago, which discussed how to self-promote a self-published book. Do you think that same advice applies today? I’m about to publish my second novel, and I’m wondering how I should approach the marketing. Thanks for any advice you can give.”

Debbie, this is truly a great question, and a timely question.

I published my first novel, gosh, seven or eight years ago. I had to look it up, out of curiosity. It was 2011 when I published “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today.” Shortly after publishing that book I started writing the articles you mentioned, articles based on my marketing education and efforts I was taking to market that particular novel.

If I published that book today, practically none of those articles would be written, and practically none of that advice would apply. That’s how fast the self-publishing market is changing.

Without turning this into a 1,500 word answer, I will summarize by saying you should concentrate primarily on social media, and under social media I am including YouTube, podcasts, vlogs, the whole ball of wax, metaphorically speaking. The world is rapidly changing, and we writers can either get on-board or be left at the station.

If I had the energy and the time, I would devise a complete marketing blitz using social media, and I mean it would be a battle plan comprised of creativity and maximum exposure. I would leave no stone unturned, and I would begin immediately, before I even publish that book. Start building up anticipation now….countdown to publication…..an event the likes of which you’ve never seen…be a part of this exciting literary event….

The beauty of social media is that most of it is free. You are only limited by the clock and your imagination. If you are really serious about making that book of yours a success, it starts NOW! Do some research on social media blitzes and start planning that assault.

And good luck!

So much I did not know!
So much I did not know!

STORYTELLER

From Annie: “Do you think it’s possible to teach someone to be a storyteller? A good storyteller? I’ve listened to some bad ones, and some incredible ones, and I’m wondering if that is something which can be taught.”

This is such an interesting question, Annie. It really is. Please remember, as you read my answer, this is simply my opinion. I make no claims on being infallible. I am far from infallible . . . but that doesn’t prevent me from sounding off occasionally.

I actually believe all people have the storyteller gene. I believe most people, if not all, have been storytellers at some point in their lifetimes. I think we are all capable of telling a story. But good storytellers? Spellbinding storytellers? I think that is a gift, and not everyone has that gift.

Look at it this way: in today’s world of self-publishing, literally anyone can “write” and “publish” a book. That makes them, by definition, writers and self-publishers. They can go ahead and print up business cards proclaiming to the world that they are writers because they are.

But that doesn’t mean they are good at it, nor does it mean they have even a hint of talent in the writing field. Can they be taught to be good writers? I believe most people can be taught to be grammatically correct writers but again, that does not mean they can be taught to be really good writers. At some point we have to give recognition to a thing called talent, and I don’t believe talent can be taught.

Just one man’s opinion!

My Grandma was a great storyteller
My Grandma was a great storyteller

That’s It for This Week

That was as small a mailbag as I can remember, but I thank you for the two questions, and I promise to see you all next week, good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise! Until then, I hope Spring arrives for you all or, if you are down under, I hope a lovely Fall is in order for you.

Please . . . Please . . . let love be your guiding light this week! It takes very little effort, creativity, or intelligence to be negative and degrading. Love is an action verb, and it requires effort. Please make that effort this week as you do this thing called life.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence, and a very Happy Easter to you, my friend.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 days ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I found this hub a few weeks ago, but then 'lost' it as it seemed to disappear from my phone. Or maybe the phone threw a tantrum, but I needed to watch it this week so I found it again.

      The two videos were great and I'm going to take on board what Julie says about Social Media, but I think I'm with you regarding storytelling.

      Everyone has a certain degree of ability in that area, but some have a gift, and they're often those who just can't stop! Movie makers make the movies because they have to, writers write because the story inside them is 'burning a way out' of them, It's just something they have to do!

      Totally agree with you.

      Lawrence

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, here in Nigeria is 78 which is best. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dee....70 is my favorite temp. I'm just not sure it exists anywhere as a constant, darn it.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, good to note.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      2 weeks ago

      I prefer 70 for a year round temperature but then I live in Florida where 70 is considered cool. You must have inherited your grandmother's ability to share interesting stories. Yes, spread love around this week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You do the same, Miebakagh!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Bill, it's okay. Have a nice time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Miebakagh!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Bill, I agreed with you. Spring is a very lovely season. Thanks.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! May Spring last for many mild months. We deserve it!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Nithya! Thanks always!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Linda, you are welcomed.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Spring is my favorite time of year. It's arrived here, as it has for you. Thanks for sharing the interesting answers to the questions, Bill.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Nithyya, I agree with you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 weeks ago from Dubai

      I agree with you. Talent cannot be taught it is inborn but writing without grammatical errors can be taught. You have ended the mailbag with a great message, thank you for sharing.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Bill, thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Lori! Sorry I'm so slow in responding. Crazy week upon crazy week upon crazy week. Sigh! I had some great storytellers in my life....I believe it's a gift. Some have it, and some are born to just listen. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      They seem to be yes, Mary. I wonder if they are natural or appear to be natural from hours of practice. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always okay, Miebakagh...peace my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      We watch TED talks all the time at our house, Jo. So glad you liked it.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, all the springtime is really beautiful. Thanks.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Bill. It is getting warmer here in Toronto but not Spring yet so do enjoy your beautiful weather. I think you have given a wise answer to the dilemna about gift and cultivation of skills as a writer or a storyteller. I love to listen to gifted storytellers. They are just natural at it.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Bill, it's okay.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shaloo...post hubpages? Interesting question, which I will answer Monday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again,Miebakagh!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Knock that stuff off, Sis! You know I hate it when you get all sweet and stuff.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Always my pleasure, William...thank you kindly!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I truly do appreciate that, Venkatachari M. Thank you so much,and blessings to you always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing, Rodric! I'll have a timely answer on Monday. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Lori, you have learned storytelling from a practical way. You can tell a good story likewise. Thank you, and enjoy the day.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      4 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      Hi Bill, I don't know why, but I have not been getting notifications for the mailbag so forgive me for being hit and miss.

      This was a very helpful installment. I find the prospect of marketing my book overwhelming, so I am glad you addressed this.

      As to storytelling, my maternal grandmother was an amazing storyteller. She sat me on her lap often, or gathered all the grandkids around her and told us stories without books. We were all riveted because of the way she told the story. She used different voices, sometimes when applicable gestures and hand motions, and other things. She knew how to build up suspense. She would pose questions like ¨And do you know what happened then?¨

      My dad was also a great storyteller. He had a different style and he used a lot of humor. My ex, I have to concede, could tell a great story as well. I had a lot of good examples in my life. My gift of storytelling manifested in grade school and my kids and grandkids all enjoyed it.

      This reminds me of books of CD that I use in my car. A story bombs if the reader isn good.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      4 weeks ago from Tennessee

      Love the TED talk again. I may come to depend on those.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      4 weeks ago from India

      Interesting mailbag as always. Here's my question (just out of curiosity): What is the biggest difference in your life post-hubpages?

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Bill, I appreciated you. Have a nice time here.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      5 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bro...you know I hate to admit this but you force me. I'm sure Bev would agree, she's quite a lucky lady too! Oh Yuk, I hate it when we get all sweet on each other!! It's sooooo un-sibling-like! LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! i think Bev was more excited about that first book of mine than I was. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Miebakagh....we have a big crowd this week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kim! It's always a pleasure having you stop by.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB! I agree about storytellers. As for weather, we broke an all-time heat record yesterday with 80 degrees. Go figure!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Meanwhile, Heidi, we shattered a heat record yesterday for March 19th....80 degrees!!! So strange!

      As always, thank you for your expertise!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love your advice, Alan! Spot on it is, and I thank you for it. Joseph Conrad...I really should re-read his works. I liked them as a college student. I have no doubt I would like them more now. Thanks for the reminder, and have a brilliant week ahead.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      Spring has sprung in our area also with masses of azaleas in bloom around our fair city. Birds are nesting and our skies are blue. I particularly like the tone you set in your opening paragraphs.

      As for promoting books, I believe that people could learn much from you. Your mailbag is a perfect example of how to use social media effectively. The photo of Bev holding your first book is priceless!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, every one is welcomed to weigh in on the discussion so far. Thank you and enjoy the day.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peg! I fell in love with that smile of hers, and the smile on her heart is even brighter.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I look at Bev and can't believe how lucky I am, but thank you for putting it into words as a reminder for your thick-headed brother.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Never apologize, Janine. You've been here for every single Mailbag. Just get well and enjoy the rest of the week. Thanks so much!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Eman, for sharing about Egypt. I learn about your culture thanks to those stories.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! Master storytellers are like watching a great movie, and that is a talent for sure.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, thank you! Helping anyone do anything is fulfilling to me. I can hear my parents telling me "nice job, Bill."

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      5 weeks ago from Egypt

      In Egypt, Spring always in trouble because of the dusty wind. Our grandmother was telling us stories and my mother as well. We loved these stories a lot. Even though they are not authors but talent. Talent is created with people and can never be learned. Thank you, Mr. Holland, for this enjoyable article.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      I like your insight on story tellers. I agree that everyone has a story to tell. For some, telling it is not important so they won't even try. However, everyone loves a good story, and the loves spills over to the story teller.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      This Writers-Mailbag was especially enlightening. Your words about spreading love and joy around instead of hatefulness. I don't even want to write about Trump anymore. The world news is so terrible, when I hear good news, like someone helping a person whose down, I rejoice. Your ability to help writers must be fulfilling to you, and you do it well..

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Miebakagh, thank you for visiting and for commenting. Welcome to the Mail Bag!!!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi, John, and thanks for the weather update down under. Enjoy the heck out of your week ahead, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Miebakagh....you do the same!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Alyssa, I really appreciate your 10 page essay comment. lol Seriously, I do, and thank you for the two questions, which I will tackle next week. But quickly to your quandry...why can't you write creatively about self-help. I remember one writer in particular...Og Mandino...who made a great living writing short novels with self help as a theme. It seems to me you can do both in your "niche" and I'm sure it would be quite effective. Just a thought!

      Sending you 70 degrees...enjoy!

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 

      5 weeks ago from North Carolina

      Bill,

      I, too am excited for Spring. Here in northwest NC, I have crocuses blooming which gets me excited that those sixties you referenced will be here soon.

      Per Always, your expertise is appreciated.

      Kim

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      5 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I'm glad for your sake you had a light load today. The videos were helpful as well. Thanks for all you do to help us spread our wings and fly.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Pop. I'll tell her you said that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, if we were neighbors, I would hound you until you finally published your novel. I can be a bit annoying that way. :) Happy Spring my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Chitrangada Sharan. I'm glad you found them helpful.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      There is for sure, Mary! There is for sure. Happy Spring/Fall to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! If you love writing informative articles then for goodness sake keep doing it. Where would we be without informative articles to educate us?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Verlie!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You summed it up perfectly, Sha! I knew I could count on you. :)

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      5 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      A very small mailbag indeed, but with very great information and tips on what it takes to be a successful writer.

      Social media is a wonderful platform, as I see it, to promote your business provided you have a large base of fans.

      Regarding storytelling, I consider you as one among those successful storytellers that I have come across. I am very much fascinated by your talents that I notice reading your book, chapter after chapter.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, all, I am a Nigerian. Spring is equally here. We are having slight rainfall. But April will be a disturbed month for fisherman like me. It is the season of sardines appearing in the rivers, creeks, and open seas.

      Currently, I have finished writing a good story on it in poetic form. It awaits edit, review, and publishing. Thank you all, and have a great day!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      A very short and sweet mailbag this week, Bill, but the two questions were excellent. Glad to hear spring has sprung in Olympia and the weather is perfect. We have finally received some decent rainfall here at the start of Autumn so hopefully, it is the start of a nice wet season. Have a great week.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      5 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Your mailbag was short this week, but its saving grace was the two very important questions, the promotion game and storytelling. It seems as if promotions are changing as rapidly as the weather. Thanks for more information.

      I think some people are born storytellers and some are not. My father was one such animal. He was very good at making up children's stories and tall tales, but he wasn't a writer and never wrote any down. He was also a former school teacher (before entering the army in WWII), so he had no excuse. Such a pity.

      Our weather is great here, too. It's staying in the 50s and 60s, and I hope spring doesn't spring a six inch snow this year like it has in the past. Love the picture of Bev. Have a great rest of the week, my friend.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      5 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Monday (while it's still Mailbag Monday)!

      Re: The Promotion Game. I published my first book in 2011, too. And, yes, the promotion game has changed dramatically and continues to change rapidly. I agree that social media still is the place to build your audience, but not necessarily build your book sales.

      Organic reach of book promotions from your Facebook Page (don't do it from your personal profile since it's against FB Terms) is at an all time low and doubtful to return... ever. They want you to "boost" (a.k.a. pay for) your posts to get in people's news feeds. And just in the past couple of days, the tech news is reporting that FB is steering their attention away from news feeds and moving to more private messaging features. So for many authors, this will be another huge shift. Stay tuned for developments on that.

      Like you, I could go on for 1,500 (maybe 15,000) words on book promotion issues. But I'll step back from the soapbox.

      Happy Spring (or as we say in Chicago, "Wow, ain't it great it was in the 40s today?")!

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      5 weeks ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Bill, this week's mailbag is timely for me. I am wondering how to promote my book and determining what my next move will be with other projects I have been jumbling around in my head. I am still revising some older books for the final time before moving on to the new.

      My writing style has changed so much in the past five years--even the last five months. I look back at what I have written and cringe at the mistakes I have made. I am glad that you mentioned that you would write different articles in today's climate as opposed to ten years ago. Social media is the way to go, which is why I dread the future because of my inconsistent use of that medium. Forging ahead anyway because writing is in my bones, your help and encouragement lights the way.

      My temperament in writing has shifted from fiction to nonfiction. I have about nine books that are incomplete in the fiction category but all I want to do is write about serious things. I feel a need to get those other books about, but the drive is not there. What are your experiences with changes in writing desire, if any?

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, thanks for sharing. Enjoy the day.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      5 weeks ago from Ohio

      Hello Bill! Please send some of that nice weather my way. haha! Fabulous mailbag this week! I love your advice on using social media as a way to market your book. I've always wanted to write one, and I've had a few ideas here and there over the years, but nothing substantial enough to turn into a full novel. While I've always loved writing, and I used to write poetry and short stories, all of the fictional stuff fell by the wayside as I got older. One of my goals this year was to return to those roots, but here we are, mid-March and inspiration hasn't struck just yet. I'm also a little worried about posting those types of writing on HubPages. I used to post all types of my writing when I first started my account in 2011, but considering what my account has turned into: a collection of self-help, fitness, and beauty how-to's, I wonder if it would be confusing. I'm pretty sure you answered a question along those lines recently, I actually just paused this comment and went to go look, but couldn't find it. I realize that's just an excuse to not tackle the goal, and it probably doesn't matter at all if I posted something different. The worst that could happen is people don't like it. So now that I've rambled, I do have a question. (Two actually.) Please forgive me if you've answered it already, but what are your thoughts on sharing different types of writing, the ones that are out of the norm for your account? When you get your ideas for your novels, do you always have an entire story line in mind or do you get inspiration as you continue to write? I apologize for this 10 page essay comment. haha! Have a wonderful week!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 weeks ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      I'll be back to watch the videos and thanks for the insight into self-publishing. It is a rapidly changing field that is difficult to keep up with at best. Any help is welcomed.

      Loved the photo of your wife!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      5 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Oh that sweet wife of yours with the cute smile! Mom & Dad would LOVE Bev to pieces! You 2 are lucky to have one another and such happiness. Hugs to you both from SIS!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      5 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Well Bill, as you say, you can teach grammar and all that jazz. If a writer can't hang a story together then it's curtains. Teach English instead. I always had problems with my English teachers. No understanding of drama or imagination. One of my English teachers caned me for writing an adventure story when she told the class to write an account of (wait for it), "A Day In The Life Of A Trapeze Artiste". Get up, train, perform, go to bed. I wrote an adventure because what did a twelve year-old know about a day in the life of... anybody?

      We don't get caned for flirting with historical fiction, or taking readers through an era we know precious little about because the monks who wrote their diaries or chronicles weren't very generous with their details. So we read between the lines and fill in the spaces left by the monks, like the monk who set down his rendition of the 'Beowulf' saga (pron. 'Byov-Ulf' or Bear-wolf).

      A story writer guides the reader through the story he/she writes at the same time as 'educates'. It is a sort of education, as the reader may not have been down that road before. The writer puts a certain amount of detail down, but doesn't let detail bog the story down. Just enough to light the corners, direct the eye, lift a veil or two, look over the shoulders of the main protagonist(s).

      Look at the story from the point of view of someone who knows a thing or two about what you want to tell, and from the point of view of a complete outsider. Mostly tell a story that could be told in any setting, era or place on earth - or beyond. Try reading Asimov, Tolstoy, Deighton and Conrad (Joseph), see what prose style suits and see if you can train yourself to stay in that frame of mind for a few pages... then longer, like a few hundred pages.

      KUTGW (that's "Keep up the good work) Bill.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      5 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I am so sorry for the delayed comment today. My kids, husband and I all took turns this past week being ill and under the weather. So, today has been crazy as far as trying to catch up and still not feeling 100% here either. But I couldn't let this Monday go without stopping in and just saying a simple, "Hello" and of course wishing you a wonderful week ahead. Warming up here, as well btw. But not nearly in the 60s or 70s yet. So, please send some of that our way east if you can ;)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      5 weeks ago

      I love the picture of your beautiful wife!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      5 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! So glad that spring has sprung for you! I can see my spring in the near distant future. By end of the week we might be in the 60's. Can't wait!

      I am amazed at how much the self-publishing landscape has changed just over the last few years...unfortunately, I am one of those people that likes to study it and study it--but never get around to actually doing it. One of these days! Till then, I am going to continue to enjoy every one else's writing and live vicariously through them. :)

      Have a great and productive week!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Happy Monday Bill!

      Both the questions in this mailbag are useful to the writers and your answers, as usual are helpful.

      Thanks for sharing another wonderful installment. Have a wonderful week.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      5 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      I love your first section, no trolls allowed in the mail room. They are counterproductive.

      Not only do I love the questions you receive, I also love the comment section. I agree with Pamela, for me, I think I'm better at writing information articles than fiction.

      There's room for everyone in this writing game.

      I'm glad spring is with you, have a great week.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Bill, I really liked the fact that you set the tone of what you expect for comments, and let love reign as you said at the end. I am glad Spring has Sprung for you and Bev.

      I like the questions and answers today. I wrote about 2/3 of a book a few years ago, reread it and tossed it. I love to write informative articles, which seems to be more related to my skills. I haven't tried writing fiction for quite some time, but I did in high school a few decades ago. LoL English courses were always an A for me, but that does not mean I can write a compelling piece of fiction.

      Have a great week Bill.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 weeks ago from Canada

      LOL, try fairly old maid...Thanks Bill, got a laugh out of that last line, but sincerely appreciate you supporting my dreaming.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, I gotta tell ya, if that is a dream then I prefer it over reality. That's what a book of poems should look like, in my humble opinion. Poetry is personal. Poetry touches each of us in a special way. Poetry is music and birds singing and flowers budding, and as such it should be packaged with tender-loving care.

      Hold onto that dream, my friend. I think it should become a reality, and I will want to buy a copy, of course.

      Enjoy your week, Fair Maiden!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, the quick answer to your question is those people are in trouble in today's publishing world. :) Sorry about that. As for singing, I lean towards your opinion, knowing full-well that Audrey will tell me I'm wrong.

      Thank you always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, that's actually a fascinating observation, so much so that I'm going to discuss it in next week's mailbag. Thanks for the idea.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Look at you, Eric, with your piercing question. That's a dandy. I'll give it my best shot next week. As for campfires, I miss them. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I think often there's a fine line between those who can tell a good story and those who can pen a good story. A good writer/storyteller must know how to use inflections, translate emotions, and grab the attention of the reader. It takes a talented writer to animate his/her story on paper as well as a raconteur does it in front of a live audience.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      No we can't, Flourish. It took me a long time to realize that, but there is great joy in that final realization.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 weeks ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, "Spring has Sprung" the birds are singing and winging, sunlight is bringing warmth...looks like we made it!

      Marketing one's creativity, what a challenge. Especially for me, because I am not a social media person. More of the 'write, and they shall find you' kind of dreamer. Hub Pages and one other poetry site have been my testing grounds online, to get my toe in the water so to speak. And though my aim, initially was to find an 'audience' for my work, what it ended up being was so much more rewarding. I found a community of wonderfully creative people. A never ending stream of writers works to enjoy, and a venue for readership, and feedback in my own journey. And it's almost free, as you say, except for the original investment in a computer, and the monthly cost for cable.

      While there may be a 'published' work in my future, I don't visualize it being marketed online except within the small circle of friends and writers I've got to know here. Other than that maybe the bookstore in my small town would sell a few.

      I have this vision of a book of poems on handmade paper with the

      pages hand folded, hand cut and simply stitched together, at least that is the prototype I imagine. Which is just about as far away as you can get from online publishing. What a dreamer!

      Have a great week Bill!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      5 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, this Mailbag was short, but full of good stuff. I agree with you on the marketing, but what if you are a social media (or computer) dunce?

      Talent can be nurtured but it can't be taught. You have it or you don't. For example, I know that Audrey (vocal coach) will probably disagree with me but I feel there are some people who simply could not sing their way out of a wet paper bag. There's a sweet lady who (often) sits right behind me in church and glory be she couldn't hit a note with a sledgehammer.

      I love your intro--there's no room for hatred in your Mailbag. Kindness and support and love fill every corner. Have a great day my friend.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      5 weeks ago from San Diego California

      I have noticed, through my own literary endeavors, that the audience who reads my mailman articles in droves is really not much interested either in my book reviews or the chapters of my novel I publish on my blog. I have a niche audience, and they cannot be coaxed out of their niche. It is frustrating, but I am hoping that one day a tiny stray spark will start a brush fire. That's a good analogy for California, I suppose, which is not quite as damp as your lovely Pacific Northwest. Great mailbag!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great answer to the storyteller concept. I grew up a great deal around camp fires. Oh boy there were some yarns turned. One of my favorite things to do is to tell stories to classes of young people. They get read to alright. But they love the novelty of someone just telling a story.

      With my kid's though it is eye rolling and "dad you said that one 3 times. Lol.

      Bill you talk a lot about the weather. In fact you tell stories about it. I think that is because you are a farmer. Do you think most writers actually lean toward a slant that comes from there vocation. I am thinking of Hemingway and Clancy and even the dark Poe. And should they?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 weeks ago from USA

      My grandfather was a short little Irish man with piercing blue eyes who make an interesting story out of anything mundane, and he acted it out in an animated fashion as he told it, too. Several family members have that gift. I do think it's a gift, and it can be nurtured further with encouragement and practice. But if you don't have it, good luck trying to fake it. It's just not gonna happen. We can't be good at everything.

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