The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 293
A New Laptop
I definitely need a new laptop. I just don’t have the money for one. My current one has served me now for ten years. It has three keys which are missing . . . the key cap broke off of them . . . the “e,” and “s,” and the “a.” Do you know how many words have e, s, or a in them? LOL
I could get mad about it, but what am I doing to do? Lemons to lemonade, my grandma was fond of saying. Quit your whining, my dad would say. Bottom line, having the key caps broken has forced me to slow down while typing, and slowing down has allowed me to concentrate more on what is being typed.
So in a weird way, this major annoyance turned out to be somewhat of a blessing.
But I’m still buying a new laptop in the spring. It’s not that much of a damned blessing. LOL
Let’s find out what’s in the mail today, shall we?
Memoir to Movie
From Linda: “Congratulations on your book. I'll be ordering a copy soon. Here's a question--if your memoir was turned into a movie, who would play the part of Bill?”
Linda, my HP good buddy Zulma suggests Tom Hanks for my part, and I try to never argue with Zulma, so I’m going with Hanks. I’m sure he would jump at the chance to play me, right?
“And the Blind Shall See,” coming to a theater near you soon.
More on Coaching
From William: “Bill, With your coaching service, do you include marketing, or do you just deal with the written word? I'm working on a manuscript I hope to complete by June that no doubt will need polishing, but my main problem is marketing.”
William, thanks for thinking of me. I have a degree in Marketing. I’ve owned businesses. I’m actually pretty good at it. And I hate it!!!!!
The answer is no, William, I do not offer marketing in my coaching service. I highly recommend Heidi Thorne, another HP writer and marketing guru. Her articles about marketing are invaluable and I think you’ll like her no-nonsense approach to marketing for writers. Heck, buddy, I just updated my profile on Amazon to include all of my books; it has been inaccurate now for about four years, so it’s obvious I don’t like marketing too much.
If you have specific questions about marketing your book, you can certainly drop me an email and I’ll be glad to answer as best I can at no charge . .. that’s what friends do, right?
I’m still adding clients to my coaching enterprise. I have four now and I’m looking for two more if you know of anyone.
Can Anyone Write a Novel?
From Sara: “I keep thinking about writing a novel, Bill, but I don’t know if I have the expertise to do it. What do you think? Should I try? Should I look for help from someone? Should I give up on this nonsense?”
The answers to your questions, Sara, are yes, yes, and no!
Anyone can write a novel. You sit down, you tell a story, and after about 70,000 words you are done.
Having said that, not everyone can write a good novel; writing a good novel requires an understanding of plot structure. It requires an understanding of pacing and voice. It requires the ability to make scenes and characters come alive. If you do not have that ability yes, you should look for help from someone if your goal is to write a truly good novel.
Hell no you shouldn’t give up on this notion. Writing is therapy and writing is storytelling. There is a rich tradition of writers writing just for the sake of writing. I love to sing. I’m never going to be good enough to win “The Voice,” but I still gain great satisfaction out of singing. Should I give it up? Of course not, and you should write that novel if that’s what you want to do, if for no other reason than it will please you to do so.
From Andrew: “I know you’ve written quite a few novels. Do you have any regrets about any of them? Would you rewrite any of them now to rectify those regrets?”
What an interesting question, Andrew, one which hits home with me. The answer is a resounding YES, and the book I would rewrite would be my first, “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today.” That book was my first attempt at writing a novel, and it is very, very rough and at times poorly written. I absolutely love the story, and I love the characters I created, but I don’t like my writing style and voice in that book.
In fact, my wife Bev wants me to rewrite that novel, and what Bev wants Bev gets. It is third on my novel to-do list, and its sequel is #4, so if I live another three years you are liable to see the rewrite and the sequel published.
Thanks for asking and stay tuned!
From Peter: “I wrote a novel two years ago. I think I sold maybe twenty copies of it on Amazon. Now I’m thinking of making it an audio book. What are your thoughts on that? Is it worth my time to do so?”
I don’t know, Peter, is it?
It all comes down to the impetus and reason behind it, Peter. If you are going to make an audio book in hopes of humongous sales, I think you need to be slapped alongside the head with a good solid whack of reality. There are very few “overnight successes” in literature, and I mean “very few as in almost non-existent.” If your goal is to make money by making an audio book, I think you need to step back, have a stiff drink, and re-think it.
But if your goal is self-satisfaction, or to enjoy the spirit of adventure, or to dabble in something new just for the heck of it, then by all means get thee to a microphone. I’m all for it, and I think whimsy is a great reason for trying new things.
Audio books are gaining in popularity, as are podcasts. People are too busy these days to sit down and read a book. They want to be entertained “on the move.”
Let me put it another way: anyone getting into writing to make thousands of dollars has a screw loose. Anyone getting into writing for the pure joy of writing will always have my blessings and encouragement. The same is true of podcasts and audio books.
Mother Nature in the Pacific Northwest
Mother Nature evidently is not happy with us here in Olympia. She has unleashed the fire hose on us, non-stop rain, four days and counting. Weather like this is good for writing. It washes away all the excuses one has for not writing. You can’t go outside anyway, and there is only so much housecleaning one can do, so we might as well write.
So write I shall! Thanks to everyone for the questions this week. If you have a question for the Mailbag, you can include it down below in the comment section, or you can email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a brilliant week, all of you, and thank you for your friendship and support.
And to those who purchased my memoir, “And the Blind Shall See,” thank you from the bottom of my old heart.
2020 William D. Holland (aka bilybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”