ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 272

Updated on September 2, 2019

A Short One Today

Sorry about that, but I needed to make a quick trip down to Ashland, Oregon, a trip which could not be avoided, so the Mailbag is a bit short today. Such is life. I tried to get to all the questions which were submitted, but if I missed any in haste I apologize. I’ll do better next week.

Kids are returning to school, the heat of summer is at least shortened by the early setting of the sun, there is a hint of fall in the air in the early mornings, and the Farmers Almanac has issued its winter forecast. Another year is coming to an end, leaving many of us to wonder how 2019 could have passed so quickly.

Now we turn our attention to the holidays, heaven forbid, and all the preparations we have to make before the snows arrive and the sun no longer provides us with the heat we need.

Such is life!

Let’s do this Mailbag before melancholy spreads like wildfire.

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room!

A Mailbag Book

From Tarun: “An idea haunts me the past few days, if you could compile all the mailbags and condense them in a book form. Just an idea that haunts me and I wanted to pass it onto the original owner so that the ghost can prey on you ☺️ Stay there Bill, the writing fraternity needs you for all the sanity that you have to offer.”

Tarun, the word “sanity” is rarely used in describing me, but thank you.

I would love to grant you your request, Tarun, but I have no idea where I would find the time to compile that load into some organized book. Perhaps it wouldn’t have to be organized, per se, since the individual Mailbags are not organized . . . I don’t know. I’ll keep the idea alive in the back of my brain, and if time allows I’ll do it. That’s the best assurance I can give. I have three novels which are screaming to be written, and let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger.

Sweating the Heat

From Eric: “Now let me ask you a very serious writing double question. Do you have to turn off your computer in extreme heat and do have to wipe your hands off on a towel so as not to sweat into your keyboard?”

Eric, what extreme heat? You know about extreme heat. When I complain about it, the temp is 90. You see triple digits on a regular basis.

My computer is like me, ancient. I think I bought this laptop eight years ago . . . maybe longer . . . and it keeps on ticking. I would be afraid to treat it with special care now. It’s used to neglect, I’m afraid.

I wonder . . . does heat affect a computer? Actually I believe it does, and it is called oxidation, and it can really mess with the electronic components. The serious answer to your question, then, is keep your computer cool during the hot summer months. I don’t think you have to turn it off, but AC would be nice, and if not AC at least a fan.

As for those sweaty hands, good luck!

Summer is fading quickly
Summer is fading quickly

Writers Conferences

From Bert: “What do you think of writers conferences? Are they worthwhile to attend?”

Bert, I’ve only been to one, but I loved it. I’ve been to more teacher conferences than I can remember, and I loved all of them as well. I can’t remember ever going to any conference when I came back feeling like it was a waste of time. Any old time you put a couple hundred people with similar interests into a confined space, something good is bound to happen, or so I believe.

If you received nothing more from a conference than a feeling of comradeship, in my opinion that would be worth the price of admission. By all means, if you can, go to a writers’ conference. I guarantee you will find value in it.


From Annie: “Bill, what do you think of podcasts as an additional tool in marketing my books? Is it worth the time?”

Annie, I love podcasts. I wish I could find the time to do them on a regular basis. Are they worth the time? I think so, yes, if you are willing to put the time in to promote them, and if you make quality podcasts. Remember that anything you do to promote your books is an extension of you and reflects on you as a writer. Do a shabby job on podcasts and it says you are a shabby writer. Whether that is fair or not is not important; it is a fact you must consider before you begin.

I am very quick to judge a company or an individual based on first impressions. Oftentimes that is the only impression I will get. A farmer selling his tomatoes out of the back of his ’89 Ford pickup may have the best tomatoes in the world, but chances are I’m driving by him without hesitation. He needs to work on his marketing before I’ll stop.

The same goes for podcasts. They are you, so make them outstanding or don’t bother. File that under Marketing 101 and don’t forget it.

Help, I’m New to All of This

From Beth: “I’m just about to start out as a writer. I’m not sure what that means, or how to really go about it, but I’m going to start with a blog and go from there. The problem is this: what should the blog be about? Should it be about my passions, or should it be about my writing career and journey along my writing path?”

Well, Beth, first of all, best wishes with your writing career. I remember starting out almost ten years ago, and it was pretty exciting getting up daily and being in control of my writing future.

What should your blog be about? Why set limits? I have a friend who has eight different blogs. Heck, they are free on Wordpress and other sites, so why not? If you want to do a blog on your passions i.e. gardening, hiking, whatever, and a blog on writing, by all means do it. What’s stopping you? I have two . . . I’ve had five others . . . I say have as many as you can handle.

And that’s a key point . . . have as many as you can handle well. Blogs need regular maintenance. Your followers will need constant stimulation or they will go somewhere else to find it, so if you decide to have three blogs, make sure you have the time to maintain three quality blogs. Otherwise don’t bother because you will be doing more harm than good. People will lose interest, you will have branded yourself as sporadic, and all hope will be lost. lol

Best of luck! I’m excited for you. I hope you update me from time to time and let me know how you are doing.

The dawning of a new writing career....very exciting!
The dawning of a new writing career....very exciting!

That’s All I Have Time for This Week

Sorry about that, but this trip needs to happen. I’ll do better next week, promise. Until then, start working on that to-do list. Winter is right around the corner, and it’s not waiting for your approval.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, 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:

Show Details
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 or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
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)
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.
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)