ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 262

Updated on June 24, 2019

Cutting My Own Path

“Hey, did you know you started a sentence with the word “and?”

That’s what someone said to me the other day after I had shared a chapter of my upcoming memoir with them. My answer to them was this: “Yep, and I just might do it again.”

Sister Mary Elizabeth from St. Patrick’s School, circa 1955, is probably rolling in her grave right now, so strict she was about proper grammar. Mr. Jahner from Bellarmine Prep is probably dancing a jig with the angels because he’s the one who taught me that grammatical rules are more suggestions than rules.

There is a not-so-subtle message in here for all of you. Outstanding writing is not outstanding because grammatical rules were followed. Outstanding writing is so much more than Chicago guidelines. The ability to connect is always present in outstanding writing. The ability to tell a relatable story, to delve into the human connection, and to find commonalities, all are present in outstanding writing.

And a piece of the author’s soul is apparent in outstanding writing.

There, I did it again, and I’m proud of it!

Let’s see what the mail has for us today.

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room!

COLLABORATION

From Mary: “While I was away, I read the book, "Write, Publish, Repeat", which I recall you mentioning before.

“In that book, the authors discuss their collaboration on books. I found it very interesting. Unlike the James Patterson method, where he gives the co-author the idea and oversees it. The authors, Johnny B Truant, and Sean Platt, each seem to play larger roles in the entire process. My question is, how would a person go about finding a co-author, especially one who has a compatible work ethic?”

What a great question, Mary! And what a great book that is. I highly recommend that read for anyone interested in self-publishing.

How to find a co-author?

Date them for awhile before you take the vows of marriage.

Seriously, you need to go through the courting period and determine if you are both a good “fit” in the arrangement you are proposing. Interview as many as is necessary, because this is an important decision.

But you asked how to find one, and my best suggestion is to either post on the HP forum, or go online and simply do a Google search for “how to find co-authors.” There are quite a few online “writer bulletin boards” where you can post an ad asking for a co-author.

Follow your own path as a writer
Follow your own path as a writer

AMAZON

From Eric: “Which reminds me what kind of "Amazon" or whatever ad things do you engage in here. Are you all signed up on all of them? Is that the dough maker here? (not Linda's dough :-)”

Lordy, Eric, I know next to nothing about this stuff. I know I’m signed up for Google Adsense. Is there anything else we could be signed up for on HP? Help!!! Anyone know the answer to this one?

Making Money on Hp

From B: “What’s the secret to making money on HP? You’ve been around a few years. You must know what HP is looking for, so help me out, please.”

Boy oh boy, B, did you ever turn to the wrong HP veteran with this question. LOL

No, seriously, I know how to make money on HP. I just don’t do it.

First of all, you have to follow the HP guidelines for a well-crafted article. The title needs to be attention-getting. You need to use several different capsules i.e. photos, videos, polls,etc. The length needs to be of the suggested length. Your grammar must be good.

And then there is the Holy Grail many seek . . .to go viral! Going viral is a bit like catching lightning in a Mason jar, but it does happen occasionally. Find a unique way to present information people truly care about. How-to articles do well on HP. Travel articles, cooking articles, parenting articles, DIY articles…those are the types of articles which stand the best chance of going viral.

I could go on and on, but you get the main picture here. It is my experience that the people who do the best on HP are those who pick a field and stick with it, like DIY articles or Going Green articles. My suggestion: choose an area of expertise and then find a unique way to present your expertise . . . and don’t forget to write a good article while you are at it.

And for God’s sake, do as I say and not as I do. I’ve been doing this for what, seven years now, and I don’t make enough to pay for my monthly mocha bill. Of course, I don’t follow any of the guidelines, so that might have something to do with it. LOL Good luck!

Write about things which inspire you
Write about things which inspire you

How to Attract Followers on Hp

From Pauline: “What’s your secret? You have a lot of followers, and judging from the Hubbie awards you have won, you are real popular. I’m a newbie and so far only three people are following me. What should I do?”

Pauline, you have a couple things going on in this question, two of which are not necessarily connected.

Having a lot of followers does not necessarily mean popularity. Attracting followers is just a matter of tossing out honey and waiting for the Pooh bears to show up. You can sit down right now, spend a half hour following 100 HP writers, and probably 50% of them will follow you back. Heck, knock yourself out and follow 200. By the time lunch comes around you’ll have 100 followers. Pretty cool, right?

But you also mentioned popularity and the fact that I have won a few awards here on HP, and the reason for that is a bit more complicated and time-consuming. I believe I have a following on HP because 1) I genuinely care about the writers in this community and 2) because I write thought-provoking articles which people can relate to. I’m like the Will Rogers of HubPages, that kindly old gent who waxes poetically about life, about real stuff we all face as we struggle through our days. I’m not trying to sell anything to anybody. I’m not trying to teach you the best way to mow a lawn or bake brownies. I’m an expert at nothing. I’m just a relatable guy who wants everyone to have a good life.

And that’s what I wish for you here on HP: a good life, one filled with love. Thanks for the question!

Inspirational Quotes

From Shannon: “Ok....So since the last one wasn't for the mailbag, this one definitely can be. What do you feel is the most influential quote ever written by you? It can be anything from a sentence to an entire passage?”

What an interesting question, Shannon. I was wracking my brain for awhile on this one, but then it dawned on me that one theme is intertwined in almost everything I write . . . so I went back through the archives and found this passage from “I Touch, You Touch, We Touch:”

“And when you finally do touch me; when you finally cast off the pretenses and allow yourself to be vulnerable, then two shall be one. And we will go from there and touch others, and hundreds, and thousands, and millions will understand the orgasmic joy of touch, of unity, of….

Love!”

Back to Cutting My Path

That’s all I have time for this week, so I’ll bid you adieu. Thanks for the questions and thanks for being here.

I will leave you with a little Leonard Cohen on this Monday morning . . . just proof positive that good writing is good writing no matter the genre.

“Now, I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing hallelujah”

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)