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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #312

Updated on June 8, 2020

Don’t Mean to Be Insensitive

I know, this is going to come across as insensitive, but I don’t mean it to be: this is a great time to be a writer! There is so much going on. I find it hard to believe anyone would be suffering from a lack of inspiration right now, what with COVID-19 and the protests in the streets and arguments about the Bill of Rights . . . takes me back to the 60’s. I would wake up every single day while in college wondering what exciting and troubling and fascinating thing was about to happen on that day.

Anyway, that’s how it feels for me right now. I’m terribly aware of the pain around me. I know this is a troubling time for many. But it is also harvest time in the fields of a writer. Get out there with your famer’s implements and get that crop into the silo.

Let’s find out what’s waiting for us in the Mailbag, shall we?

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

Photos in a Book

From Bill: “Bill, we all know HP requires a certain number of photos in be included in our articles, and I get that. How do you feel about the use of black and white pictures in a book of short stories and/or a novel? Can the purpose for photos online relate to the printed page as well? Thanks in advance.”

I think it works marvelously well, Bill, and I’ve seen it in many novels and non-fiction works. There is the matter of extra cost and extra work with the publishing, but maybe the cost doesn’t increase with black and white. I think the formatting is a bit troubling, but still, the effect in the finished product would be worth it, me thinks.

I say go for it! You only live once, right?

If it served a purpose, I would put this picture in a novel
If it served a purpose, I would put this picture in a novel

Google Adsense

From Shannon: “My Google Adsense account shows this message: These sites haven't shown any ads for at least 4 months. If they remain inactive they'll need to be reviewed again. Only applies to AdSense for content. The site listed is Letterpile. And then it's telling me to add my publisher ID to the main hubpages site or earnings may be significantly impacted. What's changed?”

Shannon, it’s my understanding that HubPages no longer uses Google Adsense for earnings. I never got that memo or, as is often the case, I completely ignored it when it came. Several sources I have found mention the end of Google Adsense and HP in collaboration. I don’t know the reason for it. I don’t know why they would send you that message. My only suggestion is to check the comments below, because I have no doubt some of our readers know a hell of a lot more about this than I do.

Pitching to Agents

From Sha: “I enjoyed the videos, Bill. I'd seen your "Resurrecting Tobias" promo before, but not the "Shadows Kill" video. As I was listening to you, I wondered if what you presented on YouTube would be similar to how you'd pitch your novel to an agent. Perhaps you can explain the (pitching) process to your readers?”

Just for you, Sha, because how can I deny a request from one of my oldest friends on HP?

Pitching agents and/or publishers is a bit like taking your best shot in ten seconds. Agents and publishers are overwhelmed by pitches each and every single day of their lives. They do not spend a lot of time on each pitch. In order for that pitch to be effective, it better be an attention-getter in about ten seconds.

That is the secret to a good pitch, the first ten seconds, and you better use those ten seconds wisely. Do whatever you have to do to make your novel interesting in that span of time. Would I use a video like the one you mentioned for Tobias? You bet I would. If I were into this game, I would use whatever wild-assed approach I could think of, and not feel one-bit embarrassed for having done it.

Times have changed thanks, or no thanks, to self-publishing. The old ways of sending a pitch through the mail, or email, really don’t apply any longer. The formats suggested are outdated. This is a dog eat dog scenario you are asking about. Probably less than one percent of pitches ever get to the next stage, which is “please send us the first three chapters of your manuscript,” so that pitch better be a doozy.

Unbiased Writing

From Robert: “I’m curious what you think about biased writing. Do writers have a responsibility to write unbiased articles?”

No, Robert, I don’t believe writers have that obligation. My God, we are surrounded by biased writing. We even see it on the major news outlets.

What I do think we have is an obligation to write the truth as we know it. Yellow journalism has been alive and well for centuries, and it is protected by the Constitution, but that doesn’t make it right. I hate those tabloid newspapers we see at the supermarket. I think it is cheap entertainment which can be harmful, and I just don’t think that is morally acceptable.

Of course, then we can get into an argument about “what is the truth,” which is another bag of worms we don’t touch in this response. My truth may not be your truth, and we see that play out in so many blogs these days, and really, in my mind, if you have a blog you should be able to write your truth without too much oversight, and if you believe the stuff you see online, that’s your bag of worries. Until I actually meet an alien, or have lunch with Bigfoot, I’m going to trust my truth and not those truths.

I will warn you right now: a lot of my writing is biased.
I will warn you right now: a lot of my writing is biased.

Where Is the Podcast?

From Roberta: “Bill, you mentioned a podcast in the making? When can we expect it?”

I honestly don’t know, Roberta. Every week I think “this will be the week I do it,” and then something calls me away from that goal. I know the format. I have the material written for it. I even have a quality microphone to use. I just haven’t done it yet. Thanks for caring. I hope to have something for you in the next month.

And That’s All for This Week

Short but sweet! We all have things to do, so let’s wrap this one up and go do those things. Of course, I just noticed I only have one-hundred words to go to meet the 1250 threshold HP holds so dear, so I guess I could ramble on nonsensically for a few sentences so I can meet that word total and make Google happy, but that kind of manipulation would be beneath me as a serious writer, so I’ll refrain from doing it even though the inclination is mighty strong to tell you about my dogs Maggie and Toby and the recent walk we went on but no, I won’t stoop that low, just to reach a certain word total. I’m a serious writer for God’s sake!

Mission accomplished!

Thanks for the questions. Thanks for the comments. Have a great week as a writer and a great week as a human. And please, remember, do all things with love.

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Devika!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      13 days ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Bill a hub filled with points to learn from and you did it so well

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kari! It's nice to be appreciated. lol

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Hi Bill. I love how you accomplished your mission.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I reckon you just made me smile. Thank you for that. It's nice to know I'm thought of from time to time.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Bill appropriate of nothing here I just thought you should know -- in writing something today which is a technical droll deal I am supposed to add some umph to. I asked myself "what would Bill do?" I reckon that is the highest compliment I could give. Thanks

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I think that is a much more important way to spend your time, Shaloo. Welcome back to HP, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That's why I love watching the BBC and other British productions. That sense of humor, Zulma, is right up my alley.

      Happy Thursday to ya!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad you liked it, Mel! A little fudging never hurt anyone, right?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the two questions, Liz. I'll toss them into the mail for next week. I'm glad I made you laugh. I'm not above cheating a little on HP.

      Have a superb weekend, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL..thanks Linda! I would much prefer wasting words on my dogs than on any other topic.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      3 weeks ago from India

      The world is indeed going through a lot. In India, life is slowly getting back to normal as considerable relaxations are given in lockdown though the corona cases are increasing day by day. I was away from hp all this time and focused more on spending quality time with my family.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, Bill.

      I've always had a dry sense of humour which has been fine-tuned since moving to the UK. It's an art form here.

      Have a great day, Bill.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      3 weeks ago from San Diego California

      Way to do the limbo right under the word total. Another fine mailbag.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      I take your point that we are living through turbulent times (to say the least) and that there's a lot of writing material out there.

      Do you think photos fit better in non-fiction or fiction books?

      I had a notification from Google Adsense around a year ago saying that my account was going to be deactivated due to inactivity. I asked the guys at HP about it. They were looking into it. Then eventually I had a message not to worry about it as HP no longer needed Google AdSense. It was all a mystery to me!

      Pitching sounds like a nightmare.

      Do you think that it's inevitable for writers to inject their own bias into their writing?

      Your podcast is an encouragement to me, as it's good to find someone else, like me, who never finds enough hours in the week to get everything done.

      I laughed at you making the word count.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I think that ending an article by mentioning Maggie and Toby is almost always a good idea! Thanks for sharing another interesting installment in your series, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again Miebakagh!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I completely agree with you, Venkatachari M. Thank you for sharing that thought.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, it may well be you are "too" sensitive, although I believe that to be admirable. My wife is, too, and I wouldn't have her any other way. She makes me a more caring and loving person.

      Happy Wednesday, my friend. Take good care of yourself.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Dora, and thank you for always being here. Be well!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree with you, Bill! an unbiased travel writer would be basically worthless to me or anyone else.

      Happy Hump Day my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, me? Stay out of trouble? Come on, girl. All you have to do is query Bev on that one. lol

      I like that idea, the protagonist pitching the book. Why didn't I think of that? Oh well, it probably wouldn't have made a difference with my books. But cool idea nonetheless.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      No problem, William. I appreciate the questions. They keep the Mailbag flowing week after week after week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm very happy you recognized my integrity, Zulma. I think it is vitally important here on HP. lol You crack me up. At first I thought you were being serious. Very dry, my friend.

      Happy Hump Day to ya!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm afraid we will have to just live with it, Miebakagh. HP really doesn't much care about their writers, or so is my experience.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Jason, did you really just say "Coolsville?" I laughed out loud at that. I haven't heard that since I was cruising Main Street in my '69 Camaro.

      Thanks for being here!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      I agreed.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      3 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      This is one more wonderful addition to your mailbag series with some great questions as well as your replies.

      Regarding the pandemic and the violent incidents happening around, it is a sorry state of affairs due to lack of good governance as also the inhuman behavior of authorities concerned.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      3 weeks ago from Canada

      Hello Bill, Yes indeed it's a good time to be a writer with the changes we are seeing daily, but honestly I am overwhelmed, and writing has taken a back seat while I just try to process what the heck is happening. Maybe I'm too sensitive, I don't know.

      Meanwhile I did find your author's page on Amazon, thanks for the heads up. We have a different Amazon in Canada, and I've been toggling between the two which only adds to the confusion. I'll get it sorted out eventually.

      Wishing you a great week, keep those questions and answers rolling in!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Lori! I'm actually surprised HP has lasted this long. I would be quite happy if they would stay in business until I die. I don't want to find a new place to roost.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm not either, Shannon. My solution is to just ignore it. That way I don't feel so stupid.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I've seen exactly the opposite with my earnings now that Maven is the new sheriff in HP World. My earnings have gone down the toilet. I guess that leaves me with writing out of passion as the only reward. I can live with that. LOL

      Thanks always, my friend. We are currently at 52 degrees and raining. We will be happy to share.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You are always appreciated, Miebakagh! Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Summed up perfectly and succinctly, Peggy. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise. If I made you laugh I met my purpose for the article. Blessings to you always.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      We are doing well, Nell! The same to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, say it ain't so? 95 degrees there? It's 50 here. Damn!

      Happy work week to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ramble all you want, Alyssa, on this 50 degree, rainy day. My God, where is summer????

      You are always welcome here, my Ohio friend. Have a great week and good luck with that hurdle/fence.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad you got a chuckle out of it, Meg! I was laughing while I was typing it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is interesting, Ann, that we don't see black and white drawings or photos in novels. I wonder why along with you. Seems like it might be a very unique feature for a writer to try.

      Hmmm! Now if I could only learn to draw. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I think that's a dilemma many writers have. Pretty normal, really, and I don't see it as a bad thing.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Ruby! I'll have to schedule a HP walk with my dogs soon. They kind of got pushed aside of late. I promise soon, okay?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for that, Linda. Having never used a photo, I was in no position to give a definitive answer. And I agree with you, black and white is detailed in a way color never can be.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great points, Eric! I loved Cronkite! What's in the third drawer? Just curious!

      Gotta be PC and can't offend anyone in today's world, you know. What a crock of b.s.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for all the serious suggestions you share. You help us focus on what's important to a writer.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I occasionally use black and white photos and it does work well. Of course it depends on what the picture is of and whether using a color photo would have a better affect. Concerning unbiased writing, as I often write about travel destinations and my opinions about the sites, I would say I am almost always biased. Every destination is not wonderful and it is my job to tell it like I see it. Have a wonderful week, Bill.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Bill, thanks for answering my pitching question. I wasn't necessarily referring to using a video as your pitch, but now that you mention it.... I was referring to using your protagonist's persona to do the pitching for you.

      As far as photos in books, I think it depends on the type of book. Certainly, children's books need them. I don't think adult fiction is the place for pics or photos, unless perhaps the story is about lost treasure or something of the sort. A drawing of an ancient map might enhance the story. I think non-fiction is a good home for photographs, if as Heidi mentions, you have rights to them. In the book "Imagine This: Growing Up With My Brother John Lennon", there are many photographs in the middle of the book. Pictures of John and his family when he was young, early photos of him and Paul when they first started playing gigs as teens, and so much more. The book is a treasure trove in and of itself, but the photos really bring it home.

      I'll have to come back to watch the pitch video. I'm curious to see what she has to say.

      Have a great rest of your week, Bill and try to stay out of trouble!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Bill, thanks for taking my question. It makes sense to me. As always, I enjoyed the questions and your input, especially on the pitch question. Thanks again.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      4 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Bill.

      We're in the middle of a pandemic, something that hasn't been seen for about 100 years. People are taking to the streets just like the summer riots of '68. But did you know that in 1919, there were race riots taking place across the US? It's referred to as Red Summer. What is it about the 100-year mark that makes Nature press the reset button, forcing us to do a lot of reappraising?

      I'm glad to see that your are a man of integrity. No faffing about with filler material in order to meet an arbitrary criterion. You gotta respect that.

      Have a great day, Bill.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      This is terrible. It explains why some of my followers were not on HP again. I do not write for the money when I was introduced to the freelance platform. Wien I began to earn, suddenly it is gone like the old. Squddo. Google's. AdSense is much better than Amazon.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      4 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      I did not know HP was no longer using Google Adsense. That explains a lot.In 2018 I made $600. I'm bringing in less money than I have in years. I was starting to doubt myself. I don't write strictly for the money, but now that I am retired I could really use it. Now Amazon is being flaky. I hope HP doesn't go under.

    • Nicoartz profile image

      Jason Nicolosi 

      4 weeks ago from AZ

      Hi Bill as always your mailbag made me smile and provoked thought. You're never short on material and great advice. Writers should have plenty of topics especially these days.

      Ya, I also missed that memo. I had no idea that HubPages no longer uses Google Adsense. Ouch.

      Also, I found that bit about "pitching" interesting. Nicely explained.

      By the way, I dug those black and white photos. Coolsville.

      I personally can't stand the news. I never could. I feel like it's all a bunch of propaganda. Everyone's one out for the $buck$.

      Say hi to Maggie and Toby for me. Give them a treat too. I'm sure they deserve it!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      4 weeks ago from Texas

      Thanks for looking into that, Bill. I didn't know that HP had stopped adsense, although it does sound vaguely familiar. Maybe I heard or read about it and then forgot. It sounds like the two are still linked on my adsense side and I need to delete it somehow to stop the message since I can't do anything from the HP side. I'm not very tech-savvy when it comes to inserting code snippets into sites and such.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Short and sweet, but lots of thoughts to chew on this time, Bill. I've said before that I rarely ever view the videos on hubs, but maybe I'd better go back and watch your promos. I might learn a thing or two.

      Biased writing: OK, I got my journalism degrees in the 1980s right at the tail end of honesty in journalism. We were taught to keep it impartial; to keep our opinions to ourselves unless we were writing editorials. If we couldn't do that, then we should go to work for somebody who shared our opinions like a religious newspaper or a blatantly biased publication like American Spectator.

      I read Heidi's comment (I always try to learn from her.) I agree with her on the money issue. I don't keep up with my ratings or earnings, but since Maven has been signing our paychecks, I've noticed an increased in the amount of money I've been receiving. That inspires me, so I'd guess I'd better get off my hiatus and start writing again.

      It's been hot this week, but that tropical storm is coming through, and I got very wet trying to run errands today. Even the chickens are relieved that it's cooler. Have a good rest of the week, my friend.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Bill, this week's mail bag is a study. Thanks.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      I agree that writers should have plenty of inspiration these days. As to photos in a book, that is almost mandatory for young children's books. It is also perfect to illustrate those about history or biographies. As to fiction, I enjoy making my own mental images about what I am reading. As far as your dogs, photos are always welcomed!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      4 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      You make me laugh. I don't hold those 1250 word goals so highly. If I get in the ballpark, I'm happy. But then, I never was much of a ballplayer. Great mailbag even if it was "short."

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Great advice as always Bill. Hope all is okay with you and Bev. keep safe.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      4 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! It is a sunny 95 degrees here today! That is crazy for MN in June...but then again, these are crazy times!

      I like your last paragraph. :)

      Have a great and productive week!

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      4 weeks ago from Ohio

      You can always ramble on about your dogs. Maybe add some extra pictures, too. :) I'm sure I'm not the only one who enjoys that, haha! Thank you for the gentle nudge. You are correct, no one should feel uninspired right now. I've gotten the writing bug back, but sometimes it's challenging to form words into sentences that are interesting, you know? It shouldn't be that hard, with so many words at our disposal, but that's the fence I'm up against at the moment. Fingers crossed I can jump the hurdle (or maybe the fence will just magically disappear) in the next few days. Now I'm rambling. Wishing you a warm, sunny, and wonderful week!

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      4 weeks ago from Northern Ireland

      LOL, love that last but one paragraph! You are so right that this is a good time for writers - at least for material.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 weeks ago from SW England

      Yes, Shepherd's illustrations made those books (my childhood favourites) along with the lovely stories and poems, and lots of children's books have wonderful illustrations, but I haven't seen so many in adult books. But why not?! We deserve extra entertainment too don't we?!

      I meant to say before that newspapers and even the BBC (dare I say it) are so biased - there is not much professionalism left any more and certainly more supposition than fact, sadly.

      Ann

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      So much bias for my taste these days. I don't really like those tabloids that invent stories just to get people to buy. I find them harmful. however, if we always remain on the safe side and not disturb people, will we ever become great writers? I am not very good at disturbing people so this is my dilemma.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      I agree with your thinking about bias. I no longer watch Fox news or CNN because they are so biased. I think it's ok to write about a subject that is definitely bias, if you believe what you are writing is true. Have a great week of writing and don't forget to take us along with Maggie and Toby.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Good stuff today Bill (as always). I can tell you that with Amazon/Kindle self-publishing the cost of printing will NOT increase if you use black and white photographs. I think good black and white photography is very powerful. I don't know what the science is behind it, but it seems to me that you can see more detail in a B/W photo than in full color.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Hmm, so pitching was your position yes? Seems like most everything better grab someone in ten seconds or forget it.

      I had a question like that of pictures. Thanks for your thoughts there.

      I am not ashamed to be interested in the exciting times. I have compassion and empathy but those are in the top drawer, socks and excitement are in the middle drawer, I have to know how to separate them or I get all confused.

      I worry that we self censor too much in the name of being sensitive. I don't think of Cronkite as being sensitive. At least when he reported.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Good luck with that job, Janine. Hopefully the day will come soon when you can return to your previous lifestyle. Best wishes to you, and thank you always.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      4 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Couldn't agree more and of course I chose this time to actually take a full-time job doing website design and tech work. Don't get me wrong I love what I am doing, but writing has taken a back seat here for now. Still, I love checking in on your writing, as well as my other writer/blogger friends, too. Thanks, Bill and Happy Monday now :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, peace to you as well. Thank you for centering us this morning, and for always being a voice of peace. You are appreciated, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Chitrangada Sharan! I love your declaration about keeping things positive. Amen to that!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great stuff, Heidi, and I appreciate it and I'm sure all others appreciate it as well. From your lips to God's ears, my friend. Thank you!

      No such thing as unbiased writing. I totally agree!

      Happy Monday my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Greg, I'm with you 100% about news reporting. Thanks for stating your thought so eloquently. I'm not a dummy. I can figure things out quite nicely. I just need the news, the actual news, without the fluff opinions. I have serious concerns anytime someone like Jeff Bezon buys a newspaper like the Washington Post. What are the odds his newspaper will be unbiased? Just sayin'

      Take care, buddy, and thanks!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for being here, Flourish! I only leave to walk the dogs daily. Other than that I go to drive-in services like banking and that's it. And honestly that suits my personality just fine. :) Happy Monday my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Congrats on your recent successes, Rosina. May your best days as a writer be ahead of you, easily within reach.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Milne use drawings in his Winnie the Pooh series? Seems to have worked quite well for him. :) But what do I know?

      I hope you are well, my friend. Stay positive and keep spreading your light. It is appreciated.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela. The Supreme Court did amend the 1st Amendment just a bit: we can't say something which causes direct harm to others. Of course, even that can be confusing and argued.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, you got me there. What is a serious writer? I am going to assume that even tabloid writers consider themselves to be serious writers. Thanks for putting me in my place. :) By the way, I'm heading to the Post Office today to mail your books. They will be on the way this afternoon.

      Peace my friend

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      John, I'm with you regarding increased freelance business. This is as busy as I've been in a year or two. It's nice to be wanted, eh?

      Thanks for your two cents worth. I appreciate it.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 weeks ago from london

      You are doing the right things, Bro. You are also saying the right things. We are feeling the pain because we are not centered ... because we have not followed 'the middle way.'

      The book The Song Celestial, tells us that the Seer is in such equipoise, that things around him cannot shake this centering. So we need some inner work. Let us pray for healing for ourselves and others to anchor in that sweet gaze of Love.

      I enjoyed this mailbag a lot! You seem to be in full flow! Yes, we need that injection of laughter ... of energy to propel us forward into the midday sun. Peace, Bro.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Happy Monday Bill!

      I agree with your opening paragraph. So much is going on in the whole world, unfortunately not good news from anywhere. But we have to keep ourselves positive. Therefore, whenever I write, I want to write about positive things. It helps me, and I hope it helps others too.

      The questions and their answers are helpful, as always.

      Thank you for sharing. Wish you a good week. Stay Safe.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      4 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Some heady stuff in today's Mailbag!

      Re: It's a great time to be a writer. Anytime is a great time to be a writer. There's always so much material! And if you can't see that, well, maybe you're not looking. Or expecting divine "automatic writing" to kick in. When I read the news, I always think, "How does this affect me?" or "How does this affect my readers?" That usually gets the brain cells going.

      Re: Photos in Books. Well, for most books, I wouldn't recommend it. It adds little to text-based content. Some of the manuscripts I've reviewed had so many junk, superfluous photos in them. I deleted them all, much to the surprise of the authors. For example, if you talk about people using computers, you don't need to show a stock photo of someone using a computer. We know what that looks like now.

      You have to have a pretty high quality photo (300dpi minimum).

      But the rights issues are the biggest problem. In order to include it in your book, you have to have written permission for that specific use from the rights holder, as well as any releases for the subjects in the photographs. If you use royalty-free stock photography, read the terms and conditions VERY carefully. A lot of sites will weasel out of their legal responsibilities. A good media liability attorney can help sort it all out so you don't get sued for copyright infringement.

      Re: Google AdSense. I think I remember seeing something about this, too. But, like you, I just looked over it. HP is part of the Maven network of content properties. So they're running the ad show. From my experience, the commissions have been better than they've ever been since the acquisition.

      Re: Agents. The problem isn't pitching to agents. It's finding the agents to pitch to. They are very hard to find. I once heard at a writers' conference that they hang out on Twitter. I've yet to see too many of them there. You can understand why they don't! Every good or nut-job writer would be hounding them mercilessly.

      Re: Unbiased Writing? There is such a thing? Even the "unbiased" media outlets are biased. If you're not the media with at least an intent to be unbiased, you have a bias. And it will be obvious to everyone.

      Re: Podcast. We're waiting patiently.

      Well, gotta run and get this week going. Make it a good one!

    • boxelderred profile image

      greg cain 

      4 weeks ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Bill - I love black and white photos in books, particularly if they are pertinent to the story, the essay, the work at hand. Some measurable amounts of history were captured in those photos; and as has often been said, the photo tells a thousand word tale. I love reading history books, stories, articles that include black and white photos.

      I was interested to hear in the Google AdSense Q&A that the program might have been discontinued. I'm new enough to HP that I don't understand the complete set of implications here, so I'm going to be watching intently to see if there is more concrete news on that front.

      The last thing I'll comment on is the writing bias question. Yes, we all have our own view of the world, and that is more than fine, part of the art, acceptable, a reality we can't avoid. What has changed so dramatically in my lifetime, however, and I mean since about the late 80s/early 90s, is the advent of completely biased news sourcing. I remember the days when "we report, you decide" was a thing, and a thing I admired and trusted greatly. You tell me what happened, I'll figure out how I feel about it on my own. We've drifted so far away from that now in this hyper-partisan world we're living in that it takes an hour to read 10 different biased stories about the same event before I can figure out what actually happened and decide how to feel about it.

      That's a long way to go, I know, but where I was traveling was here: I wish that all news organizations had a common, shared understanding and responsibility similar to the hippocratic oath: if you are a journalist reporting what's happening, just provide the facts. I don't know what the oath would look like, and I don't have any idea how to enforce it (self-policing is part of it, I guess, just like in the field of medicine), but I do know that it would be welcome from my perspective. At the end of the day, if you opine, you are not a journalist but a pundit. The former group needs a defined set of standards to which they should steadfastly adhere and be held to account by, and the latter group needs to wear a nametag that says they are propounding only.

      Another great mailbag, Bill. Thanks for illuminating the flight path.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      I didn't get a memo about Adsense earnings but I have noticed that earnings have decreased. I am spending time during the pandemic writing and sleeping. Wondering how many others are writing more, protesting, or both? I'm not exposing myself to the virus in a large crowd given my risk. I barely leave my house.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      4 weeks ago

      This was certainly a short and sweet mailbag, Bill.

      I really like your idea about pitching an agent/publisher within the first 10 secs. Maybe it will help me sometime in future.

      And about writing biased articles, I am all for it. I write such articles in EzineArticles.com, and today also, one article that I authored got published in Computers and Technology section. You can have a look over my articles on my website that appears on my profile page.

      Have an enjoyable, busy Monday.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 weeks ago from SW England

      Yes, lots around to think about and therefore write about at the moment. I'm trying to concentrate on the positive but things seem to be taking a down-turn one way and another; sad times.

      I've thought about photos with written stories. There are a few out there but generally I've been taught that a story should be able to stand on its own. Whilst I agree with that, I don't see why we can't illustrate it for enhancement or for authentic interest. Short stories are a prime example as there is often a particular inspiration for them, e.g. a photo! I have hundreds of black and white photos from my Dad, mostly wonderful, historic, family ones as well as mood-shots of landscape and objects such as farm vehicles. Now and then I fancy a fabric of stories around those. One day maybe.....

      Thanks for another entertaining mailbag, bill.

      Ann

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Happy Monday, Bill!

      I have never understood Google AdSense and it doesn't pay much anyway. I also got a memo sometime back back but I didn't really know what it was saying, so I ignored it.

      I do not pay any attention to the tabloid newspapers at the grocery story. I could honestly not care less about the lives of movie stars.

      Also, I think the 1ast amendment means we can write or say anything we want and that is a freedom I cherish. It was a pleasure reading your mailbox today. Have a great week, Bill.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      4 weeks ago from Toronto, Canada

      "wondering what exciting and troubling and fascinating thing was about to happen on that day" - We're only half-way through 2020 and we've had a plethora of intense international events as well as internal events within individual countries. I think this year is totally wild!

      "Photos in a book" was what I would look for first as a kid: just flip through all the pages to look for photos. If there were cool photos, the understanding was that that was a cool book. Simple, huh?

      "Agents and publishers are overwhelmed by pitches each and every single day of their lives. They do not spend a lot of time on each pitch." - Having worked at a small publishing house here in Toronto, I can say that this is very true. There simply isn't the time to go thouroughly through every piece of work writers pitch.

      "cheap entertainment which can be harmful" - Yes. Those scandal magazines are like cocaine. It's all hype, outrage and You get it all quick, in short-banging headlines ready to be snorted quicklyat anytime. Ohh look, some celebrity is having an affair!! It's a moment of high and then, we have to chase the next moment of high, the next outrageous, inflamatory story. But it's us ... we are the ones buying that garbage. It is "we" that we need to talk about. Where does this bring us? Why do we do this? Why is this acceptable but snorting some cocaine while we're having lunch is not? I beg to differ.

      "My truth may not be your truth" - "The truth is rarely pure and never simple" - Oscar Wilde. I'm gonna quote this till I die.

      "that kind of manipulation would be beneath me as a serious writer" - What constitues a "serious writer"? Just curious.

      "Mission accomplished!" - By my count after this sentence You were only at 1239 words, so not the 1250 HP would like You to be at lol Such a rebel!! Haha!! Just messing around but You see, I will count words if I have to.

      Thanks for the writing. Cheers!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Only a few questions this week but good ones, Bill. I agree with you about the great material for writing at the moment. It is all around us. People also seem to be requesting so much more freelance writing services at the moment. I have almost more than I can handle, getting new assignments and customers every day. The covid-19 has only increased demand for that.

      I agree that black and white photos would really add to a book of short stories. Yes, HubPages no longer uses Google AdSense, just the HubPages ad program. I didn't get the email either, that I recall, but it has been discussed in the forums.

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