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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Eighty-One

Updated on January 11, 2016

Welcome Back to the Show That Never Ends

That’s how it feels, anyway! Eighty-one weeks…whew! You people sure have a lot of questions.

But not this week….only three questions, which does not make a Mailbag, so I improvised to fill it out and keep the streak alive. Is that cheating? If so, oh well. It doesn’t seem to bother sports fans when their favorite athlete uses steroids, so the fact that I “bulked up” this Mailbag shouldn’t bother anyone.

So, with bulging muscles and shrinking genitalia, we shall proceed. (get it, steroids??????)

The Mailbag is here!
The Mailbag is here! | Source

My Inspiration

From Linda: “Here is my question for you. Which writers have inspired you and why? Easy question, difficult (perhaps) answer. I know that you treasure the book "To Kill a Mockingbird", as do I. (The prequel, not so much.) But I have read and re-read TKAM countless times and never tire of the colorful descriptions and the realistic dialogue.”

Linda, I don’t think anyone has asked that before.

Well, you named my number one inspiration. In fact, a book I’m planning and want to do soon was inspired by TKAM, so obviously Harper Lee inspired me greatly. Let’s see, other than her, James Lee Burke has greatly influenced my mystery/thriller writing, and John Steinbeck has inspired my “dark side” style.

One other writer probably unknown to any of you, F. Paul Wilson, has influenced me greatly with his ability to write sequel after sequel of a continuing storyline and make it all cohesive and interesting. His pre-planning on a series that numbers over twenty books is beyond admirable.

I read a lot as a child, but it was the Hardy Boys and Spiderman sort of reading. I’m not sure if that qualifies as inspirational.

So there you have it. I’m sure there are a great many more, but those were the first to come to mind.

Grammar Rules

From Vina: “When is it all right to break grammatical rules? I know when you are writing dialogue it’s okay at times, but are there times, other than during dialogue, when you can just throw caution to the wind and ignore the rules?”

I was smiling when I read this, Vina. My first response was going to be to break the damned rules any old time you want, but you really can’t do that. Your writing would be a complete mishmash and no one would understand you….and if they did understand you they would refuse to read much of your work because you would be labeled a fool and shunned from the writing community.

Okay, I’ve had my fun. Now let’s answer the question.

I do believe most grammar rules can be broken….for effect…just not often. I was reading an article about grammar written by my good friend Sha, and I was laughing while reading it because several of the rules she stated, I break occasionally on purpose. I do that for the flow of the story, or to set a certain rhythm, or just because I think it sounds better a certain way, even if that way is incorrect. I think it is perfectly all right to do that for those reasons.

But if you are just breaking rules to break rules, or because you don’t know the rules, then I think you are ignoring the beauty of the English language, and if you are breaking rules consistently because you don’t understand them, then you need to learn them.

And yes, in dialogue, anything goes!

Ebook About-face

From Marsha: “It seems as though your opinion of ebooks has changed lately. You mentioned in an earlier Mailbag that you were going to publish many more ebooks and you seemed a bit disillusioned by the traditional publishing business. Is that true?”

Marsha, I really don’t think I’m disillusioned by traditional publishing. I knew going in, with my first novel four years ago, that it was going to be a steady uphill climb with no promise of reaching the summit. I do think it’s harder today than it was four years ago. Hell, I don’t think it’s ever been easy to find a traditional publisher. But the point I’m making is that ebooks are not going away. Any writer would be ignorant to ignore the ebook market. It comprises about 30% of the entire market, so why would you want to just toss away 30% of the possible market?

I’m 67 years old. I don’t have unlimited time left to play the traditional publishing game, so I’m going to rely on self-publishing through CreateSpace and ebooks through Amazon. This is a matter of practicality more than anything else. Whether someone goes the traditional publishing route or the ebooks, route, it still comes down to marketing, so pick one or the other, or both, and then learn the marketing game.

Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction

Late Question Just in Time

From Lawrence: “I've noticed a few writers who seem to serialize novels here on HP and then self publish them, to me this might be a way to go (maybe tweaking some of the chapters so you get something 'familiar' yet different) any thoughts on it?”

Lawrence, I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to exactly this concept. I really think this is the way ebooks will go in the future, and it’s not a new idea.

Anyone old enough to be familiar with pulp fiction will see the similarities. During the 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s, pulp fiction, so named because of the low grade of paper in the magazines, sold for ten cents a copy. Oftentimes they were about hardboiled private eyes or of the science fiction genre, and they were hugely popular because of how inexpensive they were and how entertaining they were. Some of the great writers of our time, people like Edgar Rice Burroughts, Ray Chandler, John D. MacDonald and others got their start writing pulp fiction magazines once a week, fifty-two weeks per year, churning out copy to make a name for themselves.

Why not the same thing in ebooks? Churn out short books, novellas, sell them for $1.99 or $.99 each, keep the same characters in serial form….I think it can work and I suspect it is already being done.

In fact, I’m going to do this with my Billy the Kid character, starting in another month or so, a new Billy the Kid adventure every month.

Did I answer your question?

My Observations About Ebooks and Self-publishing

I’ve got a pet peeve, so bear with me while I express it.

I was surfing ebay the other day looking for a book about raising quail, and in particular about the marketing aspect of it. I came across a book titled “Quail Farming Markets and Marketing Strategies,” so I thought “what the hell” and I bought it.

It was self-published.

It was a piece of junk.

If I had a canary I wouldn’t line the bird’s cage with this drivel.

It was that bad.

I literally read the first page and then threw the book across the room.

I’m afraid this is going to be long-winded and I hope I don’t appear to be a snob.

Writing is a craft. It is listed as one of the Fine Arts. The simple act of writing a book and self-publishing that book does not make one a writer. I’m getting pissed as I write this and think back to that book again. Not only did this person not understand the rules of grammar, but his knowledge of quail was elementary at best, and at times totally inaccurate and/or lacking.

Come to think of it, I am a writing snob.

Writers like that give real writers a bad name, and they also give self-publishing and the ebook industry a bad name. There are some flat-out great writers out there who self-publish, and they should be applauded and read, but there are also some who don’t seem to care about language and its beauty, and they should be, well, kicked to the curb and not allowed back in the playhouse.

There, I’m done!

Buyer beware, or if you prefer, Caveat Emptor!

Beware of this man. He is a writing snob!
Beware of this man. He is a writing snob! | Source

More Next Week?

Well, hopefully there will be more next week. We’ll just have to see if there are any questions, won’t we?

Thanks to those of you who asked questions this week, and thanks to the writer of that quail book for inspiring me to always do my best.

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 14 months ago from New York, New York

      Loved your caveat at the end here and definitely is a lot of great writing to be read out there and then there are still others that I wouldn't indeed line my own birdcage with. But again, we have to sift through it. Thanks again, always for your words of wisdom here and Happy Monday now, Bill! :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 14 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A brilliant write here. I enjoyed reading your story. Every writer would find your advise useful.

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 14 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      Ah! serializing Billy the Kid. That'll sell as quick as hot cakes at a reading rodeo.

      Perhaps instead of 'beware of this man', we should 'be aware' for 'he is writing' and I don't perceive you to be snobbish in the slightest Mr. Holland.

      -E.G.A.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 14 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Lesson: Do not write a how-to book unless you know how to do it and you know how to write.

      Lesson 2: Read user / buyer reviews before buying.

      Have you reviewed that quail marketing book?

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 14 months ago from SW England

      I totally agree about the grammar question. We have to break rules occasionally and it's the breaking that makes that particular point of a story. I also echo -'but not often'!

      Do you change your characters sometimes or do they change themselves? Can you give us an example please? I find that characters sometimes take me down a totally different path and some refuse to be as I want them to be - so I ditch them and listen to alternatives. That's the muse again I suppose. I know you've had a similar question before but it's the concrete example that I'm interested in.

      11th Jan already! My life is whizzing by too fast and I'm not getting enough done. So now I'm leaving the computer for the rest of the day until I've done 3 things which have been waiting for at least a week!

      Have a barmy (or balmy, as you wish) Monday, bill.

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I learned my lesson, Janine, and it only cost me $2.99, so oh well. :) Thank you my friend and Happy Monday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE. Very kind of you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eldon. I don't know why that book annoyed me so much, but I think I'm over it. :) Love the reading rodeo idea thought. :) Have a great week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Not yet, Brian. I'm cooling off first. I don't like to write in anger, and I'm still angry. :) Thanks and Happy Monday to you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      It's always good to hear what other writers have influenced and inspired others, Bill. I wouldn't say I was inspired by literary geniuses but growing up I read a lot of escapist novels by people like Edgar Rice-Burroughs, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Steele Rudd, and Ian Fleming. Great questions...that must have been some book on quail.

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      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Without a few broken rules (a few?) we would not have the Sound and the Fury by Faulkner or Beloved by Toni Morrison. But the self-published ebook on quail farming broke the rules as well. Big difference. By the way, you have every right to be a writing snob. As I read that paragraph I was going to correct you for using the word "literally", but I believe that you truly DID toss that book across the room.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I did, Linda, but I was in control enough not to throw it at anything that could break. :) Thanks for being here and your question.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, I was a big comic book guy...loved Superman and Batman. :) Thanks my friend.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Yeah Bill....so was I.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 14 months ago from Missouri

      Bill I love your take on things and getting inside your head; you always seem to have just the tidbit I am looking for. Thanks for giving inspiration once more to keep going and "fight the good fight". Every time I feel like I am overwhelmed, under-appreciated and fed up with the process you have something to get my mind back on track. Thank you Sir. Take care and watch the weather out there!

      Mike

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Ann, how I wish for balmy! This has been a very damp, chilly winter, and today is no exception to that. My old bones need some warmth soon.

      Thanks for the question. I'll give you a concrete example in a week, as soon as I think of one. :)

      Happy Monday my friend. Good luck with that to do list.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, that speaks volumes about you and I. :)

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 14 months ago from Nibiru

      lol...sorry about the quail book billy...maybe you should write one and self publish and show them how its done man. I don't by stuff on ebay nor do i promote it on my hubs. Nice read

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mike. Glad I could be of help. As for the weather....I need some warmth. It's just too wet and chilly this winter for this old boy. :)

      blessings my friend

      bill

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      William Kovacic 14 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I disagree, Bill. I think three questions does make the mailbag. It's just a little lighter. Once again, an interesting and educational time. Keep on on ranting!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 14 months ago from England

      Great advice as always Bill, I just wish I more hours in the day to do my writing on here, let alone write a book, long story! annoying relatives, stress and other stuff at the moment, but always a pleasure to read your work, nell

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      Louise 14 months ago

      I love reading the mailbag it always inspires me I am in the process of editing all my hubs which are a mismatch of everything as well as starting a blog titled the FitLife.Thank you for inspiring me to continue here on hubpages as well as my new venture

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 14 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! It would have been a whole lot happier on my end, had that game ended a little differently yesterday. I'm still kind of in shock, and I'm not even a die hard football fan. Ah well, pick yourself up and shake it off. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us each and every week!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Clive. Believe me, the temptation to write that book is weighing heavily on my mind right now. :) I could do better in a week's time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill. Obviously I was wrong because, well, here we are. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell. Almost all of my relatives are dead so I get to pass on the annoying part. :) Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Louise, you are very welcome. Thanks for following along and for the comment. Good luck with the editing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, it was a horrible way to lose a game. I can really sympathize. Thanks for being here again...stay warm!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 14 months ago from Norfolk

      Interesting read Billy. I had a similar experience with my first download of a kindle book a few weeks back. I felt a little cheated, so little for not much money. There really is nothing like feeling the pages of a book fresh off the press, not sure whether my tablet feels or smells anything like a new publication.

      I often see on my twitter feed, promoters looking for writers and I have wonder if you have thought about going this route - or do you use twitter to promote your books?

      Have a good week Billy.

      Sally.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 14 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I was a comic book freak when I was a kid, my favorite, Archie and Wonder Woman. I wish I'd saved them, they're worth a lot of money now. I have three inches of snow with more coming tonight. Burr..Where is my muse when I need her? Thanks for all you do for us.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 14 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      I like your 'quail' story, Bill - and yes, it's so true that some writers think it's absolutely fine to churn out crap (of course, they may not realize it's crap, which is even worse). In the last couple of days I've noticed several instances of people making the most basic of mistakes - like a couple of guys on Twitter who put the title of their new books in their spiel - and spelled the title wrong! I mean, if you can't get that stuff right...Anyway, another good one. Keep on truckin.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 14 months ago

      This is why I avoid buying e-books. In any case, I prefer reading real books. E-books are just not for me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sally. Honestly, I hardly use Twitter at all...don't really understand it, and I know how silly that sounds in 2016. :) Maybe I should pay more attention to it.

      Have a super week!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I read Archie and Wonder Woman too...Veronica was hot! LOL Stay warm and safe...just rain here.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Colin, I'll be laughing about that the rest of the day..misspell your own title? Oh my goodness!

      Thanks for the chuckle. Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You and me both, Swalia! I love the feel and smell of a real book. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 14 months ago from south Florida

      Do not buy an ebook in haste,

      It may become a total waste.

      A person versed in matters quail

      May not know how to write a tale.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 14 months ago from Brazil

      Another interesting mailbag.

      Regarding that trash you bought, I think it you should write a review, if you haven't already done so.

      In fact, a question for a future mailbag (or a response here is okay too).

      Do you write reviews as a method of ensuring quality, especially with books. I know there are many 'paid for reviews' but it is really the only measure of quality when a publisher is no longer involved.

      It sounds like you were a victim of a great title in a niche market. Something I think we all strive to get right.

      Look on the positive side, there is obviously a gap in the market for good quail info. Perhaps you have space in your schedule to research and write one?

      Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, even when you aren't writing, you're writing. LOL Love it!

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 14 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Another useful mailbag... I kind of liked the 'rant' to finish it off. Love to hear what is on your mind! THANKS! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! Sometimes a guy just has to rant and then let it go.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Blond, it was my fault completely. I know as well as anyone that there is junk out there in the self-publishing world. I should have checked up on it....oh well, live and learn. And thanks for the question. I'll answer next Monday.

      bill

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 14 months ago from Florida

      I love your welcome introduction, and your ending observations. They made me giggle, and I love to laugh. Of course, your answers to the mailbag questions were good too. I always feel odd when reading what others feel about staying in line with grammar rules though. Eeeeekkk!! You probably hate the way I write. I don't purposely make mistakes, but I know I do. I will say I try hard. I promise. However, I could probably use a few classes in this area. I'm super rusty! What can I say, I'm southern!

      Anyway, great read!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 14 months ago from london

      Yes Bill,

      A great downside when it comes to bed e-books. Some really bad ones out there. Perhaps somebody will tighten up sooner or later. Great Hub, and here's wishing you have more questions next week, to continue this beautiful mailbag series to 100 at least.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...well Missy, you have a built-in excuse if you're Southern. My uncle was from Macon, Georgia, and he would always greet me with "what's the haps, Bill?" I still laugh when I think of that. Thanks for stopping by and the kind words. I'm really not a grammar Nazi but this one book I bought was just over the wall bad.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita...it seems to me there must be a way to have some quality control at Amazon, but evidently they don't share my thoughts.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I really felt your pain over that book. There is some kind of violation like violence when you sit down to read a book and it stinks. A serious breach of trust.

      Which brings me to my question. Anxiety over publication is normal. I get that. But that does not change the nagging worry over "Is it good enough?" Now I know you have no rational fear of such things but I would bet even you get that feeling. How do you overcome it?

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 14 months ago from New Jersey

      Bill,

      I like these questions! Reading about which authors have inspired you is lovely. :)

      The grammar question made me smile. Just tonight, my coworker was talking about how his teacher wants his class to do more grammar work. He's a senior in high school. I agree that some of the grammar rules are meant to be broken, but considering how most teens write, these days, I think high school teachers should be more focused on the basics. Don't you?

      As for your comment about lazy writers who self-publish and give decent writes who self-publish a bad name, I have an ex who did that. I was young and assumed if his work was published it must be impressive. That was until I read it. He can spell and knows grammar, but his idea of an action scene was one in which the main character is about to be killed, but suddenly survives out of nowhere....

      Like you, it inspired me to never half-ass an ending.

      Can't wait until next week!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 14 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I think you should learn everything you can about marketing and raising quail and write your own e-book. In fact you could probably write an entire e-book series about backyard farming, gardening and being self sufficient. Anyway, glad to see the mailbag here for week 81. Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, it's a good question and I'll try to have a good answer for you next week. Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, I do agree there has to be more of the basics taught in school. I taught middle school science and history most of the time, and I graded their grammar on papers and demanded they follow the rules of grammar...and believe it or not, some parents thought that was being too harsh. LOL Go figure! The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

      Thanks, as always, for following along.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Bill. I probably could do that but I'll be darned where I'll find the time to do it...but thank you!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your mailbag hubs are interesting even when you don't have many questions to answer! I aways learn something new from them. I've never heard of F. Paul Wilson before. Thanks for introducing me to a new writer.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Alicia. Thanks for always being here. If you do read him, begin at the very beginning of the Repairman Jack series.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 14 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Reading your mail bag is always an educational experience and spiced with humor in your own style it makes for a delightful reading as well.

      Thanks for keeping us entertained, Bill.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 14 months ago

      A great read Bill! Great advice about grammar rules too.

      I have yet to read from anyone that my "grammar is atrocious" . This is a good thing, I hope. I admit, I do get stuck sometimes on using "your and then you're on occasion. This year, I promised myself to master things in the English language I am a little weak in.

      You mentioned questions. I have one for you, Sir. :-)

      When you take a book you have labored over for years, and you try to set it up via create space. Why does it seem to not look right? I am still holding a grudge with Amazon. So, this isn't an option. I so wish you would think about being a source for writers to have they're e-book's published, or created with! Awesome reading....blessings~

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so very much, Rajan! I appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jo! I'll answer your question next Monday, but I can almost guarantee it's a formatting error of some sort. More later...thanks again.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, sometimes I want to cry over these "don't-care" writers making it bad for others who put forth an earnest effort. Some Christian wives write because the followers of their big-name husbands will buy their books, and I think how they mess things up for no-name women like me who try. I guess we cannot let discouragement win.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No, we can't, Dora, but I certainly understand your frustration. Thanks for voicing it. I hope it serves as a reminder for everyone to give it their best each and every time we write.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 14 months ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      I guess it is safe to comment now, as it has been more than a day since you confessed being Mad. Don't shoot I am reloading! lol

      E book writers must be like the Real Estate people. When the market is hot, everyone is in real estate, the professionals are still there when the market cools down.

      Is there a YELP for E Books?

      That would make it difficult for a bad writer to sell many books.

      -----------

      As for grammar and its rules, hmmm, There is that saying, "Rules are made to be Broken", I used quotes here, but I think even without it, the quote should be implied. My opinion.

      Also notice that I like to capitalize for emphasize, if I want to make sure that it is seen by the reader. Many people Skim their literature, and the capitalization is much like a Road Sign on their reading journey.

      Once again, I must admit that I know little to nothing about Novels. Most of my reading and writing has been on the technical literature, and non fiction. Technical information has to be more tedious and boring than a Fiction Novel ripe with all of its interesting characters, and stories testing the limits of the Reader's Emotions and Imagination. Of course, the better written it is, then the better the picture it makes in the Reader's Mind Eye.

      Technical writings are Data using Verbiage to describe things that are complex, and tedious because of its details. My point is that a different approach might transfer the technical information more easily that writing it like you would a novel.

      While, I still find most of the technical papers written with large paragraphs, with words flowing endlessly in procession without distinction, it seems that my ideas are not popular.

      There is an exception in the technical books on computer programs. More precisely in those self help books on how to run your computer, or some of its programs. There is a Visual Approach to these books in the form of actual screenshots of the computer operating system or programs like Microsoft Office.

      This approach is colorful as is your computer screen and it is easier than finding Waldo.

      I don't know if it can be applied to Fiction, but I understand that many of the new spy, murder, mysteries, etc. have more technical and intricate story lines. Probably due to the inclusion of today's technology and the use of the Internet.

      I can once again see the front of the Barn, so I must be done on this subject.

      --------------

      As for communication, which is the ultimate reason for grammar and its rules, what about the Bible?

      How does a book that contains no punctuation, not even spaces become so well read, and popular. Yet, it has been translated into many languages that have many different rules of grammar, and most importantly the original time frame for the Bible(S) are so different from today in modern countries like the US.

      I don't believe that anyone really understands the bibles, as there are millions of people preaching their version of understanding everyday since they were first published using the printing press.

      Is this an exception to grammar rules?

      :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, great comment. I'll take your last question first...the Bible exists in its own genre and a separate world than the rest of literature. Rules do not seem to apply to that piece of writing. I know not why.

      Technical books....there is a proliferation of novels now that are bent in the direction of technology. They can be hard to read at times for those of us with little technological leanings but it is popular now and increasing.....I think someone should write a textbook in the form of a novel...now that would be a fascinating read.

      But what do I really know? I'm just a fiction writer. :)

      Thanks for taking the time to share so many thoughts...I really do appreciate you.

      bill

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 14 months ago

      Loved your tirade, Bill, and I have to agree with you. I've noticed that many of the Kindle ebooks give a few sample pages to peruse. I try to always look at these if I'm not familiar with the author. I agree that much self-published ebook work is drivel, and we have to be careful. I have Amazon Prime, which gives me access to one ebook per month from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. I've lucked into a few writers with good stories, but their writing needed improvement. I've read their sequels because of their imaginations, not their writing. I've also gone to some of their websites and made some constructive comments. At least I hope they've taken them as constructive.

      Breaking grammar rules: I break them when I write in colloquialism or dialogue, but not in formal or feature writing. What PO's me is that the breaking of some grammar rules is becoming the norm. For instance, using the plural "they" for a gender neutral singular pronoun or the antonym "comprise" for "compose."

      Brad's gripe is a good one. I applied for jobs as a technical writer before I got the job as legal editor. What I learned then was that if a person knew the product, he or she rarely was a writer. If the person was a writer, he or she didn't know the product. One of today's problems is that many technical manuals are written by ESL writers, especially Asians where the product is made. I suspect that some may be written in Mandarin or some other character language and then translated by a program rather than a human being. I could be wrong.

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      Shauna L Bowling 14 months ago from Central Florida

      Thanks for mentioning my grammar tips article, Bill (I think!). Honestly, I break the rules when appropriate, but I do so more in conversation than in writing, with the exception of dialogue. Which compels me to comment on the man in the first video. He says dialogue is not conversation. I'm confused by his statement. When I write dialogue, it's conversation between characters. What's the difference? Can you explain to me what he was getting at? Did you understand his logic? Agree or disagree?

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I didn't understand his logic at all. I was hoping one of you guys or gals would explain it to me. LOL I guess we're both in the same boat called "Confused." Thanks for the article I referenced. The tips were all good ones.

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 14 months ago from United Kingdom

      You know that jerk that always corrects your grammar? That's me. I think after all these years it's probably a reflex, but I can't stand to hear or read a language being mangled. Having said that, I am guilty of occasionally breaking a rule or two. Usually, it's because to apply the rule strictly would disturb the flow or change the intent of the sentence. Then I have to break the rule for the sake of style. Writing is, after all, an art not a science.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 14 months ago from United Kingdom

      On and by the way, be thankful you are a snob. Otherwise, you'd be theat hack writer that ruins it for the rest of us. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton

      Billybuc the beginning of this mailbag was worth the visit.. be it only three questions.. you had me floored with laughter before I had the chance to read your hub with a sincere face.. LOL until.. you bulk up again.. or not :)

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, what great comments. This is why I started the Mailbag, to hear from those writers who had experience in the real world, and your comments just inspired me to keep this going. The whole thing was getting old and stale in my mind and then you came along. Thank you so much, and thanks again to Brad.

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Zulma, and in that case, I think breaking the rule is definitely called for. Thanks for mentioning that. You, a jerk? Never!

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....great thought, Zulma!

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bulking as we speak, Frank. :) Glad you enjoyed that.

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      Heidi Thorne 14 months ago from Chicago Area

      Wednesday and I'm here for the Monday Mailbag. At least it was this week.

      Re: Ebooks (again). Agreed, can't ignore the growing trend. But people still like print, too. I say do both and keep everyone happy. :)

      Re: Ebooks (the upside). Just think if you could've purchased the quail book in ebook form, it might have been cheaper (maybe $0.99) AND recycling it would have been as easy as hitting Delete.

      Hope you're having a great week! We're chillin', literally, with temps around 1 degree in the AM here in Chi-town.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, as always, your voice of experience rings loud and clear. Thank you! We are having fall-like weather now. Who knows what comes next? I'm sure it will be interesting at the very least. Enjoy the rest of your week.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 14 months ago from Europe

      There's the mailbag! I must have missed it in my e-mail. Well, I have a question for next week. As you probably know my dear friend, I'm busy writing a book about the "Greenland Pole and the Pyramids". I will make an ebook of it, but honestly I want to be it a classical book, with great pictures and drawings, and that's not possible with an ebook. Do you still need a publisher these days for a classical book? Maybe you can explain your opinion about this? Thanks a lot.

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Buildreps, thanks for the question.....I'll have to include this in the following Mailbag since this current one is full...what do you mean by a classical book? That phrase has me confused.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 14 months ago from Europe

      I mean the old fashioned A4, or perhaps A5 sized glossy hardcover books.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ahhh, all right....thanks for the clarification, Builldreps. I'll have an answer for you in a week. Thank you!

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      Deb Hirt 14 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      The last sentence was definitely the best, but I doubt that he reads your material. Caveat emptor, indeed.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 14 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Inspirational and helpful as always.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 14 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always enlightening.

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lesson learned, Deb. Lesson learned. :)

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      As always, thank you Rasma!

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, I really appreciate all the support you gave me this weekend.

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      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      There really was a lot to mull over qith this hub. Thanks for the reply, I'd not really thought of the old 'penny farthings' or 'pulp fiction' as the same as the ebook or serializing it.

      By the way I've got two more to add to your list. Charles Dickens serialized a few of his novels and Ian Fleming! Yep Britain's greatest spy was 'pulp fiction'

      Having said that it makes an impressive list though I don't think many will be buying the book about quail from the writer you mention!

      Thanks for the input

      Lawrence

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 14 months ago

      I have yet to break my ebook phobia...I love the feel of reading a book, turning the pages etc...but my husband buys them all the time and complains about some of the junk he comes across. At least it's cheap he says. BTW, interesting teaser at the beginning of this article. I believe you wrote an article about good openers that draw people in.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, thanks for those additions...Ian Fleming? I was not aware. Fascinating!

      Thank you as always...have a wonderful weekend!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I did do that, Glimmer! Thanks for noticing. :) I won't buy ebooks....same reason as you. I doubt it will change.

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