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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 283

Updated on November 18, 2019

Rain on the Way

I’m writing this on Thursday, November 14, and rain is forecast for this evening.

I’m sure some of you are thinking “so what? It always rains in the Seattle/Olympia area,” but you might be surprised. It actually doesn’t rain that much in Olympia. Our yearly rainfall is something like 53 inches of rain; the U.S. average is 38 inches. It would take me about thirty seconds to name twenty cities in the U.S. which receive more rain than we do.

Where we do stand out, though, is in cloudy days. We only have, on average, 136 sunny days per year compared to the 205 national average. Especially in the fall and winter, it seems like it is always cloudy and damp here. It can be a bit gloomy, even for those of us who have lived here most of our lives.

Now having said that, we are currently experiencing the driest fall in sixty-seven years, and we had, just recently, fifteen straight days without rain, unheard of for this area in November.

I have no idea why I shared all of that. I guess I just felt like it, and since this is my series, well, there you go.

Shall we get to the mail?

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room!

Isbn Numbers

From Lori: “Hi Bill, would you mind another question? Do you purchase your own ISBN numbers or do you get the free one from Amaznon KDP? Can you tell folks what the difference is and what you recommend? Thanks.”

Hi Lori! I always use the free one from Amazon because, well, I’m cheap!

The free one offered by Amazon KDP is a great deal if you plan on distributing solely through Amazon. It can prove to be a problem if you plan on using that ISBN number in independent bookstores, and the reason for that should be obvious: Amazon is a competitor to all independent bookstores. Thus they may not be too eager to use the Amazon ISBN.

You can always go through Bowker and purchase an ISBN which will work anywhere, but last I checked it will cost you $125.

Also, it used to be that the free ISBN was the one used by libraries and schools as in an exclusive contract with Amazon. I’m not sure if that has changed or not.

Your choice, and it all comes down to your distribution preference.

Nasty Criticisms

From Ann: “Have you ever had critical reviews (and I don't mean constructive criticism but the unkind sort)? If so, do you take any notice? Do they make you feel bad? I would think they'd hurt but is it possible to just ignore them? I can't imagine anyone would be horrible to you but there are some nasty people out there.”

Hi Ann! Oh my yes, I’ve received my share of the nasties and yes, they bothered me. I am a writer with a very thin skin, I’m afraid. Like all writers,, I want positive input. I don’t want to be told my writing is terrible. My goodness, who does? I would love it if I could ignore it. If I’m being completely honest with myself, and if I want to grow as a writer, I have to at least stop and consider the criticism. Was it warranted? Was any part of it justified? And maybe I’m not the best person to answer those questions, so perhaps I should have someone else give their opinion on the matter.

It hasn’t happened for awhile now; the last time was maybe five years ago. I remember the person and I remember the article he had issues with. Funny thing is, today we are reasonably good friends on HP. We follow each other and give positive input on each other’s works, so maybe his negative comments long ago were just the product of a bad day.

Anyway, if you are going public with your writing, be prepared. Negative comments by negative people are out there waiting for you, and they may or may not be justified. It’s just part of this wonderful gig called writing.

Far Away Places

From Nancy: “Hey, Bill, I’m writing a novel, and a couple chapters take place in Paris. My problem is I’ve never been to Paris. How do I set a scene, a believable scene, in a city I’ve never actually experienced?”

Nancy, now you know why I write almost exclusively about my hometown. LOL

Actually, the internet has made it much easier to do this than it was “back in the day.” We can now Google “Paris” and thousands of photos pop up for our inspection. We can read articles about specific parts of the city for some background information. Within a half hour we can Google our way to enough information to paint a decent picture of Paris in our prose.

If you are a decent writer, and you are, you have the skills to make the reader believe you have been to Paris. Just trust in those skills. Do your research online and then paint that picture with your pen.

Actually, in my next “Shadows” book, which I’ll write in 2020, I’m taking the gang to London, and I’ve never been to London, so I’ll be taking my own advice when that time arrives.

It all reminds me of that old song by Three Dog Night . . . “well I’ve never been to England, but I kind of like the Beatles . . . “

Faraway places!
Faraway places!

No Experience

From Patti: “I’m graduating from college the spring of 2020. I really have no experience to draw upon as a writer. I’m only twenty. I’ve had a comfortable life. My family is stable. I’ve had two jobs, babysitting and a pizza place. How can I write about different topics when I have no background in anything?”

Patti, I think you are selling yourself short. You have experience in being a human being, in being a daughter, in being a friend, in being a college student, and on and on we go. Twenty years of living is twenty years of experience. You have had emotions for sure. Perhaps you have had heartbreak by now. Perhaps you have suffered loss. For sure you have been happy. Maybe you have danced in the rain or played, like a child, in the snow.

In my opinion, Patti, at twenty years of age, you should concentrate on your writing skills. Write about anything you want to write about. Write about a turnip, or write about a train passing by in the middle of the night. The experiences will multiply with the years, and before long you will have many wondrous things to fuel your writing, but for now learn how to write and develop your own unique voice. That way you’ll be ready when the experiences inspire you.

I’ve been toying with an idea for a new series called “My Town.” You just reminded me of it so thank you, Patti, and best wishes to you.

Book Covers

From Brandon: “I’m terrible at artwork, and Photoshop, and all the other tech gadgets which help people to create book covers. I have a finished book I want to self-publish. Who can I call to make me a cover?”

Well, if you don’t mind spending money, you can always have the folks at Amazon KDP do the cover for you. I think they still do it, but they charge an arm and a leg for the service.

You could go on the HP forums and ask if there is anyone out there in HP Land who would do a cover for you. There is a very nice man by the name of Mike Friedman, a writer on HP, who has done all of my covers. He may or may not take on your request.

Or you can go online and do a Google search for people who do such things. Again, you are going to pay for that service. You might also check with a local college or junior college. College students are always looking to make a little cash. You might find someone there who will work for less.

Good luck!

All but two of these were done by Mike Friedman of HP
All but two of these were done by Mike Friedman of HP

REVISIONS

From Lori: “Bill, the biggest problem I've discovered in writing a novel is that revising is much much harder than writing the draft and that I have no idea what I'm doing. There are so many things to look for and deal with. What is your revision process? Is it the same for every book? Do you have a general time frame? Any other details I should know?”

Lori, the first thing you need to understand and internalize is that this is your book and it is meant to be a pleasurable experience. Take a deep breath and allow that to wash over you.

There is no “correct” way to revise a book, other than the way that feels good to you. My way may not work for you, but since you asked about it . . .

I re-read on the first re-vision, out loud, and correct things which just don’t sound right. At that time I also correct misspellings and obvious grammatical errors.

Then I walk away from it for a week or two. Let it marinate in its own juices while you go off and do something fun, relaxing, and totally unrelated to the book. Trust me, while you do this, your muse will be working quietly on your behalf.

After that much-needed break, I come back to the manuscript and read it again, making no edits at all. I want to see how it feels without the stop and go of editing. Once finished, I ask this question: is it what I wanted it to be? If it is, I’m done except for one more spelling and grammar edit. If it isn’t, I will make changes in structure or storyline until it feels right.

Last step for me: turn it over to a friend or beta reader and get their opinion on it.

Timetable? There is none. My editing process usually takes a good month or two. It might be different for you.

I hope that helps!

The Rain, the Park, and Other Things

If any of you know where that subheading comes from, you win my admiration. If you think you know, without Googling it, tell me in the comments.

We have come to the end of our 283rd installment. The rain has begun. It feels refreshing, but I’m quite certain I will be complaining about it within twenty-four hours. I have a love/hate relationship with the rain. So be it!

Have a fantastic week ahead and remember, please, do all things with love.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nithya! Yes, for me, the editing process is much harder than the actual writing of the novel.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that very much, Luis! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you found it helpful, Chris. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      2 weeks ago from Dubai

      Another interesting and informative mailbag installment, thank you for sharing. Handling negative comments is tough, we must not let them get to us. Editing is the tough part after writing, asking a beta reader or a friend to read and give their opinion is a great idea.

    • Luis G Asuncion profile image

      Luis G Asuncion 

      2 weeks ago from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines

      As I read again this mailbag, it is being better and more greater.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      2 weeks ago from Kettering, Ohio through January, 2020

      Good info about ISBN and book covers. Thanks, Bill. Stay dry.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I can handle a couple wet days per week, but when it stretches on, Sha, I become a very grumpy boy. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      An oldie but a goodie, William. Thank goodness a couple of you remember them. They deserve their place in the sun. :) Thanks my friend. Sorry I'm late.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Bill, these mailbags just get better and better. You really do provide a valuable service to your aspiring writer fans.

      I know what you mean about the rain or at least the cloudiness that comes with it. About a week ago we hadn't seen the sun for days on end. Overcast days depress me.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      My goodness, Bill. I know I'm late, as usual, but the Cowsills? Now, there's a memory or two! More good questions and answers. Thank you, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Luis. Thank you for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I am happy to hear that, Devika. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, don't you know, we are not allowed to politely disagree with anyone in the U.S. If we disagree we must be mean-spirited about it or it doesn't count. :(

      Those angels are tired, but I told them to hurry on back to you with love and hugs.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I figured most people don't even glance that far down the article. LOL No surprise that you knew who it was. I had to teach Bev last week about the majesty of the Cowsills.

      Happy Thursday to you!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 weeks ago from SW England

      We're all human, bill. Don't beat yourself up about proof-reading mistakes. Even I have missed errors from time to time!!

      Ann

    • Luis G Asuncion profile image

      Luis G Asuncion 

      2 weeks ago from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines

      Thanks Bill for sharing this article. I appreciate it. You know what I am a struggling writer and willing to learn what I wanted to learn. Again, thanks.

    • profile image

      Devika Primic 

      3 weeks ago

      Hi Bill you encourage writers to write and to be confident in what they do at best.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 weeks ago from North Central Florida

      Yes...I got one of the nasty comments once. It wasn't about my writing. I wish it had been. It was my view on something. My view was wrong and it was not put so very nicely. And yes, dissenting views are fine but there are ways to state them that are more pc than others. (O don't I hate the pc thing....but sometimes we need to be to an extent, maybe????). Had to stop by to see what is cooking here. Hugs and many Angels are headed your way ps

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Bill, it's hardly a challenge if you post a video of the original artists doing the song. Oh, you do make me laugh. :D

      Here's a fun fact: the opening sound of rain was actually the sound of bacon sizzling as the recording of real rain was too faint to be heard on the record.

      By the way, I did know where the subheading came from. I have it on Spotify playlist.

      Have a great day, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Cold this morning, Linda, but no rain, thank the gods. I get tired of the mud out at the farm, you know?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, shoot, MizB, I misread it. Sorry about that, and thanks. I'll tackle it on Monday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      We suck it up and move on, Bill! Never let negativity drag us down.

      An early Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      We do indeed, Ruby! The heart always knows best, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I always appreciate you stopping by, Chitrangada Sharan. Thank you very much for your support and kindness.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nikki! I may just do that when it is time for that book. Thanks for the offer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Good suggestion, Meg, about the student. And thanks for sharing your experience with the KDP cover creator. I've never used it but I may have to with this next book.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Alyssa, I can't believe anyone would send you a negative comment. What would you ever say that would stir up negative feelings? People! Blah sometimes! lol Thanks for always being here. Your sunshine arrived and I'm grateful for it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is always my pleasure, Dora! Thanks for non-asking it. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It was a big one, Manatita. Hope for the future, perhaps? Thanks my friend, and peace and love always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Pamela, it seems like the negative people are multiplying quickly. Sad, but hopefully the cycle will change. Thank you always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Devika, best wishes with that flooding. Stay safe. There are drier days ahead.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      We've had quite a lot of rain lately, but according to the weather forecast it's going to be sunny for the next few days. Thanks for sharing some more things to think about in this installment of the mailbag.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      3 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      No, no, Bill that was a question about one or more ISBNs, not a criticism. I don't know the answer. But thanks!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I think we have all experienced our share of negative feedback. It’s unfortunate, but comes with the job I suppose. Another great edition of the mailbag. Have a wonderful week.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      I liked your answer to Patti. We all draw from our life experience's. Who would ever think I would want to write? Nursing was my life. We go where our heart's take us.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Quite useful and interesting questions in this mailbag and your answers are always helpful.

      Revision, constructive criticism or otherwise, writing about the places, we know fully well—all relatable topics.

      Thanks for sharing another wonderful mailbag. Have a good day.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great points, Flourish! Ask questions, appear interested, and really listen...those things go a long way indeed.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise! I will pass that on to Brandon! I'm sure he will be pleased.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB! Regarding ISBN, when I publish with Amazon, I only use one ISBN for both ebook and hard copy. I was never told to do differently. Maybe I've been wrong all of these years???? Sigh!

      Anyway, I love your friend who moved back from Seattle...it's all in the perception, I guess.

      Happy Tuesday my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann I wish I had an answer to that question. It drives me bananas when I miss a mistake during my editing process,and it always happens. My latest novel had two errors, and I'm still grinding my teeth over it,,six months later. :(

      Wishing for you a brilliant Tuesday, my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point about friendships, Mary! Thank you for mentioning that, and blessings to you always my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! I hope this finds you dried out and enjoying some much-deserved UK sunshine.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      3 weeks ago from London

      Thanks Bill for such great series!

      Love each bit of it. Quite compelling questions and answers this week. And yes, for your ‘Shadows’, give me a shout if you need any help for London Trip. Good luck for this.

      Happy rainy day my friend!

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      3 weeks ago from Northern Ireland

      Great article. I use the free kdp cover creator for my books on Amazon. I like it, though it may not be to everyone's taste. As for the 20 year old student, she knows about studying. What's hard, easy, tips, techniques, student life, etc. I was not a good student when I was young but returned to study after I retired and loved it.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Another fantastic mailbag! I think the very nature of putting yourself online invites comments from all areas.. mostly positive, but quite a few negative. I've had a few, but I typically just laugh at it and move on. Constructive criticism is so important, though, as it helps us grow, but if people are just being negative for the sake of it.. as my husband's grandfather always says, "it takes all kinds." haha! I use that phrase all the time. I love it. Interesting knowledge about ISBN's. I never thought about those. Another nugget of wisdom to keep in my back pocket. Thank you for giving us insight into the revision process. I like your method. I'm going to adopt it for myself. As always thank you for this weekly get-together. Sending you some sunshine from Ohio. Have a wonderful week!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks to Lori for asking my question about revisions. Thanks for your answer, Bill.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      3 weeks ago from london

      Feels fuller this week .. more promising and some really cool questions and answers. I really loved how you dealt with the question of the 20-yr old. Sweeett!!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      I almost always read even my articles out loud. It is amazing what you pick up that way, even when you have done a spell check. No one likes negative comments but it happens as there are many negative people. My mother always said, "If you can't say something don't say anything at all." LOL

      Have a great week, Bill.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Rain in Croatia for many days and many streets have flooded. However, the weather you have created an informative and useful hub on all Mailbags as listed.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      I would suggest that Patti talk to others about their lives. Real conversation about strife, triumph, fear, heartache and other personal stories will give you all that you need to write creatively. People I barely know tend to tell me things. It’s a matter of questioning and listening. Most people have deep, meaningful and complex stories.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Hi Bill,

      You can tell Brandon I would be interested in working on his cover. There were a lot of good questions this time. I didn't know about the ISBN. I've always let them provide one but didn't know I could purchase one and how much it might cost. Interesting info.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      3 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Good questions and answers today, Bill. I bought an ISBN number years ago for a computer program my husband wrote. As a postscript, I don't think I saw this in your answer, but if you are publishing both an ebook and a hard copy, they will need separate ISBN numbers, won't they? I suppose one could use the KDP freebie on an ebook through Amazon and buy a separate number for the hard copies that would allow it to be marketed through bookstores, etc.?

      Loved your paragraph on rainfall today. Last year Arkansas had above average at more than 70 inches. It hit 71 inches at North Little Rock where I live, and at least half of that poured through my roof, I think. LOL Our record here was 80 inches in 2009. Reminds me of my friend who moved to Seattle, only to move back in a couple of years because it just rained too much there. Have a fantastic week, my friend. It is going to be like a June day here this week, so I plan on having one.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 weeks ago from SW England

      Thank you for answering my question(s)! I agree with you but then I've only had a couple of bad reactions to hubs, never with anything bigger as I haven't written any novels or published stories (only poems). When I do (notice the 'when', not 'if'), I'll be much more protective of my work, I'm sure.

      Others' questions were interesting. Proof-reading is a bug-bear with me; why do so many writers obviously not do it?! It doesn't take long and it makes such a difference.

      Have a dazzling day, bill!

      Ann

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like your advice on no experience. I did think that, too, when I look at my life and how easy it has been but when you look again, there are many things you can write about. At times, we participate in other people's experience because we know them and they are our friends.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      I smiled at your comments about rain. We have a lot in the UK, but recently more than the average, causing flooding in some areas.

      You give so much great advice in this issue. I hadn't realised about the free ISBNs.

      I think having a thick skin has to go along with publishing writing, especially these days with the internet.

      On the other hand the internet can be a great asset in researching settings, as you suggest.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Mary! Thanks for the info. I love that word "trolls." It's perfect for those unhappy people who have nothing better to do than tear others down.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      3 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      For book covers there is a site called selfpubbookcovers.com that have covers starting from $69.

      Regarding criticism, there are trolls lurking. I listen to Brene Brown's when she quotes "The Man in the Arena" speech. It puts things into perspective.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the Google, Melissa, and Happy Monday to you. it's good to know that the bestselling authors also get criticized. Misery loves company lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      To each his own, Eric...even Gabe! Me, I"m leaning more and more towards lovey dovey, and I'm probably better for it. At least Bev thinks so. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      All good tips, Lori, and I thank you for them. Hopefully the question-askers will read your comments. Thanks bunch.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You are ahead of me by far, Shannon. I'm afraid I'll never see Europe in person. Sigh!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      3 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! That was a nice assortment of questions for the week. In regards to the nasty comments or reviews, I read that no author is immune. Even the best selling authors or writers that we consider beyond reproach have had their share of critics. Developing a thick skin sounds about as necessary as a rain coat on Mt. Waialeale on Kauai in Hawaii ( I googled it, they get 460 inches a year)

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      I like the part on nasty comments. My technical offline writing is just set up so that a bunch of tight ass lawyers sit around and criticize it. Everyone has an ego in those meetings. And who can best criticize harshly is the winner. hihihi

      I like about self editing/revising. The one I am working on now has a great editor. Gabe. He does not like the "Lovey Dovey" parts though.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      3 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      That was one of my favorite songs in the 60s, or was it 70s?

      Bill, your advice on revising sounds like a good one, thank you.

      To Nancy: I wrote a book on two continents, the US and Poland. I had a wonderful experience researching. I even did research on polish names and their meanings. It was all so interesting. It takes a lot of digging and I surprised at how interesting it was.

      To Patti: I was writing stories from elementary school on up. Ideas from stories come from all areas of life. The only thing you need is to be alive and creative.

      To Brandon: You can get free, public domain photos from Pixabay, Unsplash, freepix and others. You don't have to cite the author although it's a nice courtesy.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 weeks ago from Texas

      Just remember to "mind the gap" when you take your gang to London, Bill. LOL.....What stood out to me when I was in Europe were the internet cafes. Everywhere, at least in the big tourist cities we went to: London, Paris, and Rome. About like the currency conversion places or random souvenir shops. I can also tell you that Paris is far less romantic than its touted for being, at least in my opinion. London reminds me of large American cities and Rome had the best little hidden pasta place I've ever ate at. Of course, that was back in January of 2003.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I would never say that, Linda, and you are correct about nasty comments . . . they are humbling for sure. lol I'm so tired of being humble. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Kari, you've raised a good question. I'll have to do a little research on that and tackle that one in the next installment. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh God I love your rants, Heidi, and congratulations on being so early on a Monday. What a huge accomplishment! :) You know I'm teasing, I hope.

      I'm with you in ISBN and book covers....don't put the cart before the horse. Learn how to write well and then worry about that other stuff.

      Thanks a bunch, Heidi!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I've received my fair share of nasty comments and, like you, they really sting. But perhaps a bit of humbling is good for us now and again.

      Wow Bill. London? Another way to gain usable knowledge for a place you've never been is the Google maps panoramic 360.

      Cover design really isn't all that difficult. I've not taken one class in Photoshop or Paint (you're going to say "it shows" ??) and I did the cover for my book.

      Have a great Monday my friend.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      I never realized you had a choice for ISBN. Is it possible to get an Amazon one first and later change to the paid one? If you do I assume you would have to change the number with Amazon.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      3 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      I'm so proud of myself! You've just posted the Mailbag and, tah-dah, I'm here. Good way to start the week. Here we go...

      Re: ISBN Numbers. An ISBN number is an ISBN number. So I, too, use the free ones from KDP. It does get pricey since you have to have a separate ISBN for each edition: print, eBook, and audio. Why some people get so flustered about using the free KDP ISBN is that it ties the book to KDP, not the publisher. For most self published authors, who cares? Would they really want to handle fulfillment for bookstore or library orders by themselves? I've done that and it's a pain. So I never use my own anymore.

      Some authors think that an ISBN imparts some sort of legitimacy or magic on their books. It doesn't. It's an inventory barcode, people!

      I have so much to say on this. I've done a post on ISBN numbers and a recent video about the ISBN nonsense for those who want more of my rant on the topic.

      Re: Nasty. Reviews come in all forms. Good, bad, and nasty ugly. If you don't want bad reviews, don't publish. Remember that the Latin root of publish means to make public. Only hermits are free from ridicule.

      Re: Book Covers. This is another rant subject for me. I think authors spend far too much emotion and money on their book covers. They buy in to the "people buy because of the cover" myth. Maybe back in the days of bookstores, but not now when you see a mini version of the cover in Amazon search results. So with the exception of the first edition of my first book years ago (which I republished with KDP later and then created my own cover), I have never, ever hired a designer for my cover. Though you don't want your cover to look junky, the free Cover Creator tools in KDP are good enough in my opinion for most self published books.

      People buy books these days because they know the author and his or her work from being online. To presume that your customers are so primitive as to be totally swayed by the cover is ridiculous. People are label and product description readers these days. Spend more of your time and energy on creating a kick-butt book description, title, keywords, and other things that really matter in today's online retail experience.

      I've got to quit before I go into full rant mode. Thanks for listening. :) Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I swear, Janine, you are always leaving for Disney! You might as well live in Florida, don't you think? :) Happy Monday my friend.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      3 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Ironically, I am reading this one on a Monday morning and it is raining here again in NY. I think it has been one of the rainiest Novembers so far here. So there is that. But getting a lot done work-wise before we leave for Disney at the end of this week for a short family holiday vacation of sorts.But still had to stop in and wish you a very Happy Monday and week ahead now :)

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