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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #313

Updated on June 15, 2020

Stacking Firewood

Did you know there’s a correct way to stack firewood? If that is true, and it is, it would then follow that there is a wrong way to stack it as well.

Am I right, or am I right?

There actually is, you know. It’s in the “Chainsaw Journal,” so that’s like the firewood Bible talking to you. You need to build towers at each end of the row for stability. You need to stack individual pieces so that air can flow between the pieces, thus allowing for quicker drying. And you need to stack in the sunlight, if possible, so that the ends are facing the dominant wind direction, again for proper airflow.

Who’d a thunk it?

Anyway, I’m stacking firewood this week, in preparation for the winter of 2020-2021, and I was thinking of those things while stacking. I was also thinking about future article ideas. I was also thinking of COVID-19. And I was also thinking of senseless deaths on nameless streets in non-descript cities.

Busy mind!

Let’s find out what’s on your collective mind this week.

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

Photos: Fiction or Nonfiction

From Liz: “Do you think photos fit better in non-fiction or fiction books?”

Liz, judging from the history of book publishing, I think the overwhelming number of books with photos in them are children’s books, whether they be fiction or nonfiction. If it is an adult book, the majority goes to nonfiction.

Or so it seems to me! I’m not sure why that trend began, or continued, but that is my observation.

Is there a good reason why adult fiction wouldn’t have photos? Not that I can think of, but perhaps one of the comments below can shed light on it. My own personal opinion is that novel writers try, by the very nature of their genre, to paint a picture using words. Using a photo is almost like cheating if you are a fiction writer.

Bias in Writing

From Liz: “Do you think that it's inevitable for writers to inject their own bias into their writing?”

Interesting question, Liz! Let me just toss this out, and please note this is just my opinion: I think it’s a rare writer indeed who does not inject personal bias into their writings, even in fiction. It is, of course, possible to do so, but I think most writers would agree that they do it. I know I certainly do. My personal beliefs are interjected throughout all of my novels, and I do it on purpose.

Part of my belief system is in every one of these books
Part of my belief system is in every one of these books

Photos in Ebooks

From Francis: “Why are there no photos in ebooks?”

That question is a first, Francis, so thank you for it.

There actually are ebooks which have images, but they are not the norm. The reason for that is because Kindles are e-ink devices, and images downloaded onto them typically end up as grainy images. They are also low-power devices, and images take a long time to “develop” on the screen.

Or so I’m told by the person I asked at Amazon. Since I’ve never tried to add photos in any of my ebooks, I can’t speak from experience on this topic.

Starting a Blog

From Joel: “I’m kind of new to writing. I write an occasional article on HP. I sold a couple articles to an online magazine. I’m looking to expand as a freelance writer. Is there value in starting a blog? Will it help me at all?”

This, Joel, is a can of worms.

Some writers believe that starting a blog will build their audience. Let me say this about that: a blog does not build your audience. The writer does that.

I don’t think blogging is primarily about writing. I think it is first, and foremost, about connecting. Most people don’t read a blog because they love blogs; most people read a blog because they want to connect with people who have similar interests or similar beliefs.

If you want to expand your audience, you will need to learn how to market your blog. If you just want an online “diary” to display your thoughts and your work, and you aren’t concerned with attracting an audience, then for goodness sake yes, start a blog. It’s free, it’s pretty easy to set up, and it’s fun to toss your thoughts out to the world.

But if you are interested in numbers, you’ll have work to do.

Will a blog help you? It won’t hurt you, unless you are a poor writer, which you are not. But will it help you? Only if you learn to market that blog and use it as part of your overall marketing plan.

Good luck!

Why Do You Write?

From Isa: “I’m curious, why do you write? What is your motivation?”

I’m glad you didn’t ask me why you should write, Isa, because I wouldn’t have an answer for you. But you asked why I write, and that one I can easily answer.

I write to connect with others. Period. End of story.

I am an introvert. I have a very hard time connecting with people “in the flesh.” It’s almost painful for me to walk into a room of people I do not know. However, I am a human being, and I need other human beings. Writing allows me to reach out and touch others. Truly, it is my salvation. Without writing I would be a lonely hermit, beard flowing, mumbling to myself and hoping someone will notice me while I hide in my man cave.

Then there’s that whole “I write because it’s my passion” thing.

This is why I write. I see distant horizons when I write, and I want you to see them too.
This is why I write. I see distant horizons when I write, and I want you to see them too.

Making a Living as a Writer

From Nadine: “How can I make a living as a writer? It seems so highly competitive, and yet you and many others do it. What’s the secret?”

Another can of worms! Thanks a lot, Nadine!

I think you are asking the wrong question, and here is where my education in marketing kicks in.

Instead of asking how you can make a living writing, you should be asking how you can change people through your writing. Allow me to explain that one.

Marketing is all about offering a product which people believe they must have for some sort of enrichment. They need the expensive sheets because they will sleep better upon them. They buy a cookbook because it will help them to eat better. They buy a breakfast cereal because the company tells them the cereal is healthy for them.

Similarly, a person purchases a nonfiction book because that book will somehow change their life. They purchase a novel because that novel will provide entertainment for them. Your job, as a writer, is to provide a product which people will want badly enough to purchase, and those same people will see some sort of value, to them, in that novel.

If you can do that you can make a living as a writer.

Closely tied into that is another goal: provide a unique product. Write in such a way that makes you stand out in the crowd, or write about a topic which makes you one of the few. Figure that out and you are on the right path.

I hope that helps.

Back to the Firewood

What a pain in my patootie! The two cords were dumped in the front yard. The aviary where I stack the wood is in the back yard. That means putting wood in the wheelbarrow, taking it around back, stacking it, and then repeating it about two-hundred times.

I’m no spring-chicken! This is much harder than it was twenty years ago.

But it keeps my mind busy, so there you go.

Have a great week filled with love and tolerance for one another. Remember, if you are looking for a writing coach, email me at holland1145@yahoo.com.

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

      Thanks for your thoughts, Devika! 2008? I think I started in 2007. It's been an interesting journey for sure.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      13 days ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I have come around today to catch up on comments. Making money as a writer is about marketing as you have mentioned and as I have known since 2008 the problem is having to be computer literate and and to know of where to do it. If you get that right then you surely will see sales and an income from writing.Thank you

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Umesh! Thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mona! We are well here, My old muscles are tired, but being tired never killed anyone. :) Wishing you good health and happiness.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      2 weeks ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Enjoyable reading. Mailbox is always like that.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      2 weeks ago from Philippines

      Such helpful information, as always. As an avid reader, I realized that you're right about photos in nonfiction vs photos in fiction. All it took was mindful observation, and yet only now I realize that what you say is true. I hope you are feeling better after having hauled all that wood, and I hope you and Bev are staying safe and staying healthy.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Bill, that's true.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's often hard to tell, Miebakagh!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Were you two people really serious or something?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, we would talk...and talk...and talk. I would love to meet you in the flesh. I can actually carry on a decent conversation with people who interest me, and that describes you for sure.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I was thinking that I'd like to see you in the flesh to watch you being an introvert, but it wouldn't work. If you and I met somewhere, we wouldn't be strangers. We'd talk.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      And I thank you Miebakagh!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I am late in responding, Chitrangada Sharan, so we are even in our tardiness. Thank you so much for always being here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That was one of your best rants ever, Heidi, and filled with truth, especially about making a living as a writer. I would have to stop and think about it, but I believe I made about $150 per week on average. Multiply times 52 weeks and you get what? $7800? Good supplemental income, but certainly not making a living.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Bill, I appreciated your wonderful comments. Thanks.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Your thoughts are worth figurative gold, Lori! I can't imagine being a writer and not loving it. Makes no sense to me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Miebakagh! It is my pleasure to work with such wonderful human beings.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Brenda, I'm afraid that age thing catches us all eventually. Actually, that's a nice thing compared to the alternative of not growing older. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! That two cords will last us two years, so the work I'm doing now will be enjoyed for quite some time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That does pose a problem, William. Hard to stack electricity! lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Thursday Melissa! See how late I am? That's because of that damned firewood. lol

      Have a fantastic weekend, my friend, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a lot, Rajan! I appreciate you being here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! Sorry I'm so late getting here. Work is piling up with my customers. Sigh! Tough problem to have. lol Happy Thursday to you!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Lale or early bird, all benefit from the same wind bottle of our Bill. Thanks.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Some useful set of questions and answers, especially about writing. That was quite helpful. I learnt from your response and also from some of the answers in the comments section.

      I am late in reading this. Thank you for sharing.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      I like this apt answer Bill give to the question. Writing only for money become such a competitive issue with one's self, that one lose balance.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      2 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      My back aches hearing about wood stacking.

      I liked your last answer. My oinion is that if making money is the priority there is a higher risk of compromising your true voice. You risk writing what you think others want to hear, or you try to write in the style of another. It may or may not work but one reason i write is I want to share my perspective, voice whats in my heart. Just my thoughts.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Good to note.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      2 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      What? It's Wednesday? Okay, mark me tardy to the Mailbag.

      Re: Photos for Fiction or Nonfiction. Photos for adult fiction steal the benefit of imagination for readers. Photos in nonfiction need to be informational, relevant, and add value. "Decorative" illustrations for nonfiction must go! I ranted on the photo topic (inspired by the Mailbag BTW) in a whole separate post.

      Re: Bias in Writing. Inescapable.

      Re: Photos in eBooks. Photos, again! In eBooks, if the photo is high enough quality, it can look good on a current e-reader or app. But there are two problems that plague them. One, formatting. They eat up the screen because they need to go in a separate paragraph. Text shouldn't be wrapped around it. Two, photos are megabyte heavy. Lots of authors don't realize that file size fees are taken out of their royalties on KDP. So the bigger the file, the less royalties. And let's circle back to the previous question. Do you really need photos if they don't provide value for the reader?

      Re: Starting Blog. Now? Well, you have between 500 million to 1 billion (if you add in Tumblr) other blogs to compete with. Agreed, do it to connect with other people with the same interests. This is why you need to pick and stick with your topics, and not be all over the place.

      Re: Making a Living as a Writer. The key phrase in the comment is, "... yet you and many others do it." Many writers think other writers are gaining a lot of financial benefit from their writing. They might not be! All you have to do is look at my Self Publishing Survey data from 2016 and 2018. In both surveys, about 73% of writers make less than $1,000 a year from their books. Another survey found that traditionally published authors made, if I remember right, a few grand a year on average. A large share of writers do not make a "living" from writing. It's a side hustle or just part of their income. I blame the blogging era for this persistent myth that writers can make a living by writing, especially online. And what's interesting is that those bloggers really didn't make it from writing; they made it off the advertising. Making a living from writing is a multiple streams of income scenario.

      Okay, I've ranted enough. Back to work. Have fun with your firewood!

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      2 weeks ago from Washington Court House

      What a great write.

      I love how you explain why you write. I often wonder if that connection is what keeps us going.

      I can talk to others but i rarely let anyone see the real me.

      Glad you finished stacking your wood. I had no idea it really mattered on the direction or placement.

      Spring chicken ? Awe...I thought we all were. Giess that's why I can no longer do things like before...but I sadly don't want to admit it's my age.

      Have a great day !

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Bill, I appreciated you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Flourish. I don't want to discourage anyone from trying to make money, but writing should always be about passion.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, you are always welcome to rummage around inside of my brain for more information like stacking firewood. Just don't get lost in there.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The sun is coming, Greg. As I write this I can see blue sky. It's almost blinding. lol Thanks for weighing in...Tacoma to Phoenix, Arizona, thank you Steve Miller Band.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Stick with me, Alyssa. I'm full of useless information like the proper way to stack firewood. lol Happy Tuesday my friend. May your week be filled with love and happiness.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I do too, John! Long live your bias!!!! :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hooray, Ruby, and congratulations on that new hair cut. Now you can breathe easy and get back to daily living. :) Be well my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      We all have that ability, Miebakagh. I look forward to watching you grow as a writer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Awareness is the first step in change, Miebakagh! I am sure your next article will reflect that awareness.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Meg! What a great reason to become a writer. I don't think I've ever heard someone say that before. I'm smiling.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Nithya! Living in Dubai, I doubt you would need to know about firewood stacking. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's all good indeed, Manatita. I will pass along your greetings and suggestions to Bev. For her, and for me, thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I wish I had grandchildren to help me with this firewood. :) Thanks for being here, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      People need to laugh more, Miebakagh. I'm just trying to help them to laugh.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Miebakagh!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      When we lived in Wisconsin in the mid-1970s, we had a face cord of wood delivered and stacked at the cost of $23. We kept ourselves busy with the rest of the work on our property by doing everything else ourselves.

      You certainly do not need a gym membership with everything that you do! Enjoy those fires this coming winter!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Well, Bill. Thanks for another mailbag and the bonus on stacking firewood. I guess I better get started. The only problem is I have electric heat - and boy, is it expensive!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      2 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! That was a pretty overflowing mailbag today,must have weighed a lot!

      Good thing stacking firewood keeps you in such good shape and you can do all the heavy lifting required. :)

      Thanks as always for taking the time to answer all our questions. Have a great and productive week!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 weeks ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      The mailbag is always a learning experience for me. Never thought of writing as a product marketing. Very interesting!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      I agreed.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      3 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      I would have never guessed that there is a proper way to stack fire wood. But, after reading the process it does make sense. Great questions this week. I do think there is almost always bias in writing, it’s just human nature. I really like your answer about making a living as a writer, I think you nailed it. Have a great week, Bill.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      FlourihAnyway, that's an encouragement. Thanks.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      There’s probably a right and wrong way to do everything. instead of trying to make money people should focus exclusively on a passion or objective they believe in. If they do this effectively the money will often come. If it doesn’t then at least they tried and had some fun.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Stacking firewood sounds like an interesting process! Thanks for sharing the information and for another installment of the mailbag, Bill. It's always interesting to read the questions and answers.

    • boxelderred profile image

      greg cain 

      3 weeks ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Bill - another fine edition of the Mailbag. The why of writing answer you gave is a great one, and it applies to me as well. Introverts need people, too, just in different ways. I particularly enjoyed the view into your mind while stacking wood. As you know, I can definitely relate to that trip, my friend. This AM while cooking I went from high school teachers to fishing to Atlanta and back to Tacoma (but not Philly and LA) and then Olympia where your weather is the same as mine. That might be welcome news for you because we will see the sun later this week.

      Happy Monday, and have a good week.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Hello Bill! Happy Monday!

      I would've guessed that there was a correct way to stack firewood, but if someone had asked me before today, I wouldn't have been able to give them a reason why that is. As the saying goes, you learn something new every day. :)

      Another fantastic mailbag this week! Thank you!

      Have a wonderful week!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Another good mailbag, Bill. Always good advice. I write for much the same reasons as you. I also feel that any day that passes without me having written something, was lacking something. Writing is so satisfying, and I hope my bias shows in everything I write.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Bill, you got an early start for stacking wood. I know it's summer, but it's still chilly here. I guess that old adage is true, ' The early bird gets the worm ' I have some good news, my beauty shop reopened and I got my hair cut. That's about all I know. Waiting for a journey with Maggie and Toby.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Hi Bill, I found the mailbag useful this week. It confirmed what other writers have been sayying. Be the few among the crowd or make the story unique. Thanks for sharing.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Hi Bill, as I walk across, the window seems to be ajar and I look over the mail bag for a note for me. Yes, Bill, something catch my eyes. How to write uniquely and making the story stands out, or better still be the few in the crowd. And yes, I got it. I hope my next article on the waiting line receive a good touch of it to fly higher! Have a nice week too, Bill.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      3 weeks ago

      Why write? I wanted to become an author so I could write books like the ones I loved to read! There were never enough of the books I liked to read in my local library, somehow, they came to an end after a few weeks perusing the shelves and no matter how hard I looked, my favourite authors hadn't written any more. It was useful that Gollancz had a particular colour and design of book jacket for the sci fi novels and I found a few new writers that way - but there still were not enough!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 weeks ago from Dubai

      Interesting questions and answers. Great advice on making a living as a writer. I never knew that there was a specific way to stack firewood, it must be tough to go all the way back to stack them, take care.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      3 weeks ago from london

      I truly echo your sentiments and I humbly pray as much I can ... one can always do more. Some of my pilgrimages were cancelled. All's good. Who knows the ways of Heaven? Tell Bev that I have every confidence in her ... that Spirituality lies in goodness and not in books. I feel that she has a very noble Spirit. Much Love.

      P.S She can strengthen within by listening to some soft soothing music. Celestial Rapture is a good piece. Pax Vorbiscum.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      I remembered long ago when my husband's father complained about how he could carry only two logs up to the cottage. It is part of getting old. I'm glad we have grandchildren who come for vacations in the summer to do the heavy work. I love to write because, through it, I can express myself better. I don't do very well in conversations.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Bill, I see you loved a good sense of humor!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela. If I'm doing what Heidi is doing, I'm in good company. As for making a living as a writer, it's a bit unpredictable, and I think that makes it a bit nerve-wracking at times.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's probably good for me, Sha. I just wish it would stop raining. :) As for those kids you mentioned, I'd have to pay the little beggars, and I'm too cheap to do that...I meant to say frugal, not cheap. :)

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

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

      Hi Bill, I found the mailbag useful this week. It confirmed what other writers have been sayying. Be the few among the crowd or make the story unique. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, you had me laughing again at the thought of my dogs pulling a cart filled with wood. They would just stand there and look at me. Probably laugh at me as well, which would not be good for my self-image. lol

      But it's a wonderful image in my mind as I head outside to do more work.

      Peace my friend! Those books should be there soon.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! I have found myself covered with a dark cloud of late because of the news. It's hard to shake this "funk" I'm experiencing, and I'm not sure how to shake it off.

      Sigh!

      Have a great week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, I'm laughing about stacking the wood in a design. That is funny and yes, it says quite a bit about you. Thanks for the question about blogging. I'll share my thoughts next Monday.

      Until then, have a fabulous and safe week.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Food for thought indeed, Manatita. It is a lesson I have struggled with in the past. Better at it now. Bev, not so much. She is a worrier. She has work to do.

      Blessings to you always, my friend. One man's death and diminishing...many deaths and more diminishing. I am so tired of hatred, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, congratulations on retiring from the job. That's great news, or I assume it is. Thank you for your kind words about Tobias. I hope he brings you enjoyment and entertainment.

      Now I really must get back to that wood in the rain. :) Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! I'm sorry to report there is a great amount of wood still to be stacked. I don't tackle jobs like that with the vigor I once did, I'm afraid.

      Have a wonderful week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Linda! I agree, Janine was cruel. And profound? Me? You just made my week, dear friend.

      Stay dry! They tell me summer weather is approaching. I can't see it from where I'm sitting, but Shannon on KOMO swears by it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm very happy to hear that, Rosina. You are welcomed all the time here, and appreciated.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      God, Eric, if I had the money, I would gladly pay a kid to move this stuff for me. It's not nearly as fun as it once was for this old man. :) Technical stuff and heartstrings? Stay tuned for the next Mailbag, buddy, and have a great week ahead. Could you send us some sunshine, please?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It makes perfect sense to me, Ann. I read a lot of Leo Buscaglia's works, and it seems to me he used drawing/photos to enhance his works. It can be done with great effect, for sure.

      Happy Monday my friend. The rain is falling and summer is a no-show so far.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, you didn't have to mention sunny and warm. We are fifty and raining, thank you very much. lol Happy Monday my friend.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Stacking the firewood definitely sounds like a hard job. Maybe the exercise is healthy. LOL!

      You and Heidi have both recently written about photos. I personally do not think photos are necessary in an adult fiction book.

      This mailbag is interesting as usual. I would think it is probably very difficult to earn a living through writing unless you have a job at a newspaper, magazine, etc.

      Have a good week, Bill.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Bill, stacking firewood sounds complicated. I feel for you having to make so many trips from the front of the house to the back. Are there any kids in the neighborhood who'd be willing to help you? You can still maintain social distancing in the haul and dump exercise.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      3 weeks ago from Toronto, Canada

      "Did you know there’s a correct way to stack firewood?" - Knew about some of those things but did not go as far as checking the direction of the wind. Haha!! That seems a bit much but hey, if one wishes to be as efficient as possible then, that would most likely help.

      "Is there a good reason why adult fiction wouldn’t have photos?" - Maybe because photos are not fictitious ... I don;t know.

      "If you just want an online “diary” to display your thoughts and your work, and you aren’t concerned with attracting an audience, then for goodness sake yes, start a blog." - I am basically the best example of this, haha!! I'm making no money. I'm not building an audience but ten years later I'm still here... God knows why. Haha!!

      “I write because it’s my passion” - Ohh, there You go: that's why I'm here. Haha!!

      "Similarly, a person purchases a nonfiction book because that book will somehow change their life." - Yes! Value: what value do You bring to the reader? The writing has to offer something.

      "That means putting wood in the wheelbarrow" - Put the dogs to work already! All You need is a harness and a 4 wheel cart. Then You watch, or clap, or something.

      Best of luck!!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      3 weeks ago from Brazil

      I can relate to the work you're doing. I've been out with the brush cutter this morning.

      However, I've found an easy way to till the soil, I throw broken corn in the area I want cleared and let the chickens out.

      The recent global events and an overload of media coverage has left me not wanting to do anything.

      Still, it's a bright sunny day and the grass and weeds need cutting.

      Have a great week.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Great mailbag this morning with lots of twists and turns. I've stacked firewood before but never concerned myself with wind flow or sunlight. My biggest concern was that it not fall over. Obviously, I'm a novice at wood stacking. Although I did think about stacking a design into the wood for fun. Shows where my mind was.

      As for blogs, I have one because I read somewhere that I should for building my audience. However, I haven't built an audience there. I have a much more substantial one here on HP. Would you suggest I give that blog up as being a waste of my precious time? Just wondering.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      3 weeks ago from london

      Yes, Bro. Sad ... sad. Frankly, I'm affected in my Ealing home in West London and you are affected in Olympia. This is because John Dunne is right. 'Each man's death diminishes me.' After all, Spirit is a collective Consciousness. 'Nuff said.

      Since non-fiction tend to be more personal, I would say its better to have more photos in them. Liz did not mention children, but they are naturally more spontaneous, childlike, full of curiosity and simplicity. Adults are interested in intrigue and speed ... in getting the thing done.

      Wear long matted hair and sit in a cave in the Himalayas. Add an ochre-coloured robe. You'll not only be noticed but get people paying obeisance or pranams to you bro. Lol. Great no?

      Say, you like that photo of Bev more than me! Lol again. I think I must have done two poems and a fiction piece on it.

      Nuff now. Guruji teaches us to never worry about things we cannot change ... that whatever happens in Divine Providence is always for the best, as there is no alternative. Food for thought. Peace.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      3 weeks ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, that firewood project will keep you busy. Take it easy, don't hurt your back, (wise words from an old firewood stacker).

      Your book 'Raising Tobias' arrived. First impression: Nice book design, great cover, and appreciating the larger font. Just launching into the story now. Intrigued with the prologue and introduction of characters. I'm happy to have it now because I am looking at some down time from online until I get a new device. Also, I'm retiring from my job in the next couple of weeks, what a better time to read Bill Holland. Cheers Bill take care.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      Thanks for answering my questions, Bill. I hadn't thought of children's books, but you make a very valid point. For the youngest children, the pictures are more important than the words. I agree completely about the words painting a mental picture in adult fiction.

      I asked about bias in writing because, as an English student, I was often asked 'What do you think this passage/poem tells us about the writer?'

      I hadn't even considered the absence of photos in ebooks. You make a good point in your answer.

      I was interested in your comments about blogs. I'm sure Heidi would have a view on this subject.

      You've got me questioning my motivation for writing now.

      I really appreciate the approach you take to the question about making money from writing.

      I hope you got the wood stacked and that you get some more students to coach.

      Have a great week, Bill.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill. First, I must say that if Janine was a true friend, she wouldn't rub it in about "warm and sunny" while we're having the wettest June on record.

      OK, now that I have that off my chest . . . good mailbag--perhaps a little light but so was my mailbox. I think if e-books had been available when J.R.R. Tolkien was writing, he would have used photographs.

      "Instead of asking how you can make a living writing, you should be asking how you can change people through your writing." Wow Bill. You don't have to do another thing this week. That my dear friend is profound and will keep my thinking about MY writing for a very long time.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      3 weeks ago

      Wow! Bill, there was a lot to learn and educate me in this mailbag. I liked the questions and the answers too as always. Thanks for sharing. I will keep myself updated every week as I think I am finding a lot of value in the series.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Bill I used to go around staking wood for old folks -- you are depriving a 12 year old a living at 250 an hour ;-)

      Thanks for the insight about pics in books. Gabe is just leaving graphic novels for standard and he seems to like them better - just saying.

      I like your two categories of motivation to buy a book.

      Do you get to write any technical stuff with an aim toward tugging at heartstrings?

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 weeks ago from SW England

      Great questions this week, as always.

      I have an e-book by my favourite-by-far non-fiction writer, Robert Macfarlane. That has photos in it, indeed all his books do. They provide a background or illustration to the specific places he's writing about. I suppose the advantage is that it adds depth to the reality he's writing about. Having said that, his writing is far more spiritual than fact - he writes about the connections between nature and man, its spiritual influence. Perhaps that's why he adds a picture of the 'real' place to have the contrast or show you some of the reason behind his thinking. Does that make sense? I know his writing is the only non-fiction I devour and savour; it has a poetry and spirituality to it way beyond many fictional pieces.

      Good luck with the wood-stacking, bill! I'm sure lots of writing will come from all that thinking as the pile grows!

      Ann

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      3 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Stopping in on this sunny, warm Monday here to check out your latest mailbag and advice, as well as wish you a wonderful Monday and week ahead now, Bill!! :)

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