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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Forty-Seven

Updated on May 18, 2015

Another Monday Another Mailbag

Does anyone remember that old Steve Martin movie where he screams out “the new phone book is here, the new phone book is here?” I don’t know why, but I think about that every week when I’m writing the intro for the new Mailbag. “The new Mailbag is here, the new Mailbag is here.”

Okay, so I’m weird.

Let’s get started before I further embarrass myself.

Welcome to the Mailbag!
Welcome to the Mailbag! | Source

Ebook Reviews

From Carol: “A question...do you know the value of leaving a review on Amazon Ebooks?”

Let’s start off this discussion by stating that I am not an expert on eBooks. In fact, I don’t even like them. I can hear the gasp from here in Washington, but it’s the truth. If I can’t hold a book and feel its binding, then I’m not interested.

Having said that, I know this is the future, so it’s time for me to strap some on and be a man.

Leaving reviews…..the rankings of any ebook are determined by 1) the number of positive reviews it receives, 2) total downloads of that book, and 3) total revenue made.

Obviously, when you take the time to leave a positive review, you are helping the author with his/her rankings on Amazon and that should mean more sales.

But I still don’t like them. J But thanks for the question, Carol!

Leaving Comments

From Buildreps: “What is your opinion about reading without leaving a comment?”

Buildreps, I’ve mellowed over the years on this topic. At one time, I was a bit miffed that some people didn’t leave comments. Today I realize that people are busy living life, and it’s not always possible for them to take the time to comment on every article they read. My mother would be proud that her son is mellowing.

Having said that, I think it is the best thing you can do for a writer and I encourage everyone to do so. It not only gives confidence and encouragement to a writer, but it also builds community. I learn about my readers through their comments. We become friends by commenting on each other’s work, and for me, writing is all about building community and forming relationships. A writer without a fan base is a very lonely writer. I comment as often as possible because I care about the people I follow. I hope they do the same and feel the same about me and my articles.

I’ve seen more and more people joining HubPages who “friend” people but never stop by for a chat or a comment. Personally I don’t understand doing that, but my understanding isn’t terribly important, now is it?

Unfortunately I'm not the only William Holland who is a writer
Unfortunately I'm not the only William Holland who is a writer | Source

Same Name

From Babby: “A question for you Bill. Subject: Same name authors and writers. How does an author or writer distinguish oneself from the other one or two authors and writers in the literary world with the same name? Full names? Initials? A mixture of both? Change your name legally?”

Babby, this question is a first, and it’s a good one. This actually applies to me. There is another author out there by the name of William Holland. When I first started my writing career I did a Google search and there he was. So I started signing my articles William D. Holland. Problem solved. I do think it is best for online exposure if you are the only one using a particular name, so if at all possible do so.

I don’t think we can totally avoid this situation, and I’m not a big fan of changing our name. Just be consistent. If you are a writer, use the same name on all of your correspondence. Eventually the cream will rise to the top and you’ll get your recognition.

PRIORITIES

From Lawrence: “Here's a question for you. I know as a writer we've got the 'bread and butter' work to pay the bills. Once that's done and the mountain of projects you want to do appears in the mist, how do you pick which one to do? I've got a number on the go and flit between them with the result none are getting nearer to completion (it feels like)”

I had to give this some thought, Lawrence. Judging from comments I’ve received before, I don’t think you are alone.

I can only answer for myself. For me, it is a matter of priorities. What is more important to me? For me it’s my novels. I have several ebooks that should be written about the craft of writing, and they are partially done, but my current novel comes first, so the ebooks keep getting pushed down the list. If I were to work on several projects at the same time I would end up a crazy person, and we don’t want that.

This book costs me $6.40 each
This book costs me $6.40 each | Source

The Cost of Self-publishing

From Brenda: “Hi, Bill. I know you have self-published before. I was wondering what it costs to self-publish a book. Say, if your book sells for $12, what is your cost and profit on that?”

Brenda, it seems like such a simple question but in truth, it is a difficult one to answer.

Do you pay for an editor? If so, that can cost you five-hundred or more.

Do you pay to have someone design a book cover? Then plan on coughing up a couple more hundred dollars.

Then, what do you mean by self-publish? If you are going the Kindle route and just publishing an ebook, then there won’t be any cost to you. If you want a hardcopy of your book (and who doesn’t?) then it depends on where you get it published. My first book was published/printed by a local company. Each copy cost me $6.90 if I ordered one-hundred, which I did. That cost was also dependent on the size of the book and the type of binding and cover material I wanted.

If you print through an on-demand company like CreateSpace, then again, it will depend on the binding and cover material. My second novel, “Resurrecting Tobias,” was printed this way, and it costs me $6.40 per copy with a retail sales price of $12.95.

I’m sure there are other options out there, but those are the two I’m familiar with.

You will love this video

The Creative Process

From Frank: “I’ve wondered about this for quite some time now, and I was curious what your thoughts are. I’m fascinated by the creative process. I was wondering if you could define it?”

Well, Frank, no I can’t. LOL How’s that for an honest and totally unsatisfying answer?

I don’t understand it at all. I was just having this conversation with a dear friend I just re-connected with. He was my best friend in high school and college, and I haven’t seen him or talked to him in twenty years. Totally lost track of him, and then one day last week he called me and we talked and talked and talked. Anyway, he was amazed to hear I was a writer and blown away to hear I have written three novels. Twenty years ago there wasn’t a hint that my future held writing as a career. I was not a creative person back then, and growing up I showed no inclination towards creativity.

So where did it come from, and why did it wait until I started drawing Social Security? LOL

I really don’t know, Frank. I suspect I had to live life a little bit more, and eventually I reached a level of “life experiences” and my creative juices kicked in. I’ve always enjoyed writing but I rarely did it long ago. I was too busy living life to be bothered with short stories and novels. I loved to read them but write them? That was something other people did. Certainly not me.

So, I don’t know, but I’m very grateful that the muse finally showed up.

Do you want to see the Mailbag continue?

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Adios for Now

I’m sure you’ll hear from me again next Monday, good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise. The question submissions are slowing up and unless things change, the Mailbag will have to end in the near future, but next week I can guarantee. Maybe we’ll stop at fifty-two….one full year. What do you think?

Have a great week of writing.

Have a great week of living.

Do both with flair and gusto!

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      I appreciate the response. And though I enjoy reading my kindle..easy to cart around and instant gratification if I want a new book to read. This whole marketing thing today is a constant enigma. Anyway love the mailbag and love reading all the answers to the most perplexing questions.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      I was totally smiling reading your intro and most definitely remember that line from Steve Martin. That said also love that you are mellowing on commenting as I have definitely, too. Yet, still love the community building aspect of it, as well all this time later. Happy Monday to you and may you have a great week ahead now!! ;)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good morning Bill

      This one was filled with interesting questions..was it not? And of course your candor in answering is spot on. How I do appreciate that. If I ever want an answer that I know will be honest, I know to whom I should direct it.

      Hoping all is well with you and yours and that your writing endeavors are coming along nicely. Mine are stuck in my mind....many things are keeping me from taking the leap but alas one day I know I shall....

      Hugs and blessings and a plethora of Angels are headed your way my friend. ps

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the question, Carol. It is such an enigma that I don't want to do it again. :) Have a great week in the sunshine.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! Is that from "The Jerk?" Now I'll have to go Google it. Anyway, you are the perfect example of community and how important it is. I greatly appreciate your friendship.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow Bill, looks like I am the first commenter. Wonders never cease. Great questions and answers once again. The question about leaving comments was interesting. I always leave a comment unless I feel the hub i badly written rubbish and it's best to say nothing at all..but that's rare especially with people I follow. I always want to know who has taken the time to read my hubs. I would rather they left a negative comment then none at all. There are a lot of people out there with the same name as me too, one a world famous body builder, but I don't think he's an author..just the first who come up in Google searches. Hope these mailbags keep going for awhile yet. Well done. (well there were no comments when I started writing this...took too long..oh well)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I can only imagine how busy you are as a caregiver right now....blessings to you dear friend and yes, if you want honesty, head west until you hit Olympia.

      blessings, hugs and love heading your way

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, John, for being the early bird. Good to see you and I enjoyed your latest poem. Well done!

      Commenting? I would have left here after three days if not for some timely comments by others.

      Have a great week, buddy!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Bill. Speaking for myself, I would hate to see the mailbag end. I've learned so much about writing and, more importantly, how other's write. So many times others have asked questions that I've wondered about but never got around to asking.

      It's great to see how much you're writing has matured over the years and I look forward to your weekly pearls of wisdom. Have a great day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thank you Zulma. I'll hang in here with the Mailbag as long as questions arrive. I guess I could just make up questions. LOL

      Have a great week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      xquizzes....ummmm...thank you????

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I too balked at the thought of e-books, and then I bought a NOOK. I read my NOOK and I purchase my beloved hardcovers from time to time. I am running out of room in my library, so the e-books are great.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks to all the contributors for the Q's this week and to you for your honesty in replies! Hard to think of my Yoda not being creative - ever! Hope you had a great weekend and look forward to the weeks reading ahead! Thanks my friend for another interesting mailbag and definitely keep them coming.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pop! Space is definitely a problem when one is a reader. I sometimes trip over my books. :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, Sensei. But before you do that, here's a question. What is 'women's literature'? And while I think of it. What, exactly, is flash fiction?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Irish! I think my creativity was in hibernation for about forty years. I'm sure glad it finally woke up. :)

      Happy Monday to you. I hope all is well in Ireland. Say hi to the Mickster for me.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma. I'll have those answers for you next Monday.

    • yalul profile image

      Yalul 2 years ago from Philippines

      thank you again for these tips. i feel more confident now reading your posts. now i'm ready to embark on my journey to creative writing land haha!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I read this earlier, but had an article to write. I thought I'd come back to comment before I begin the next one or I may forget!

      I hope the questions pick back up. I look forward to new installments in this series each Monday.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 2 years ago from Europe

      Thanks for answering my question, my friend! Don't stop the mailbag. It's great to read every week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Yalul! I'm glad to hear all you needed was this article. ha ha! Good luck on that journey.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sha! I hope they increase too because I enjoy writing this series. Good luck with that next article.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Buidreps and I'll try to keep it going. As long as there are questions.....

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      I loved the movie "The Jerk" and amazingly enough, I chant that same line to myself every Monday as I go to look for my weekly mailbag! Thanks as always for sharing your expertise!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You've got me laughing, Melissa! THE MAILBAG IS HERE!!!!! LOL Thanks my friend. It's always nice having you stop by.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, lots of good questions (and of course, answers) this week. I agree with you about E readers. Not sure I can even imagine holding one, much less owning one. I love the smell of books, the feel of books. On a rainy day can there be anything more satisfying that curling up in your favorite chair by the fireplace, cat on your lap and well-worn, much-loved book in your hands?

      As to leaving comments--everyone likes to get mail. We all have busy lives, but it takes just moments to send a few words of encouragement.

      Fifty-two would be an amazing number of mailbag hubs. I know you'll make that goal, but what do the rest of us do on Week No. 53?

      Enjoy the sunshine and have an amazing day my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Linda!

      I have no doubt you would all find something else to do if #53 didn't show up. I have never harbored delusions of grandeur. :) Thanks for adding your two cents worth this week. The sunshine is glorious, isn't it?

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      All of us are spread thin, and I think most of us are guilty of skimming from time to time, but I agree. I get aggravated with people who follow and never drop by. What's the point.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 2 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Bill,

      I enjoy your ongoing "mailbag" and appreciate the time you take to address questions and share your thoughts. It takes discipline to set aside a block of time to read all the hubs from those we choose to follow. I have a hard time keeping up and am very sporadic with my responses as well as my own writing. After reading the comments here, I will try to do a better job and leave more feedback. As for the e-readers, I received one as a gift awhile back but prefer the smell and feel of real books too! We have a neighbor who has set up a small curbside lending library akin to a columnar mailbox. This way we can all recycle our favorites!

      Have a great day! :)

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      52 is a great number. It has really been fun, but, all good things must have an end. Best wishes, whatever you decide!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm not sure what the point is, Larry. I try to be understanding and just accept the fact that not everyone thinks like me. :) Thanks for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, how cool that you mentioned that library box. We have one in our neighborhood too. We all contribute to it and borrow as needed. I think it is such a great idea. Thanks for bringing that up and of course for commenting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill. I'll continue it as long as there are questions but I just can't see making up questions just for the sake of more article fodder.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      I always find these interesting. Thanks for sharing some of your expertise with us.

      I like receiving comments, just so I know who has taken the time to read what I've written.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What a wonderful installment of a much looked forward to series. Please keep on writing them -- just for me ;-)

      It hit me the other day that sometimes after reading a hub, I just do not have a thing to say about it. But alas I do have something to say to the author. I just love to visit with our friends here at HP. I guess I feel a little sad for readers who do not want to converse.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Cute and inspirational. Lovely questions and answers, too.No real comment as such except to say that they are enjoyable to read and enjoy. Much peace.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I'm sure it's just a natural lull, bill. There must be thousands of questions out there.

      How about this one? If you see an interesting situation in real life, how do you convert it to fiction? Do you 'steer' circumstances to suit the story or keep to what actually happened, and why?

      Definition of the creative process? I'll take a shot at that one: taking a mundane situation and making it special enough for people to think it's fascinating, new and different. All to do with the perspective. But that's just my viewpoint!

      I'm still enjoying this series; you're a natural for coming up with the best answers so I hope this continues for some time yet.

      Ann

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      I always learn from the questions and answers; so thanks to you Bill, and to all the askers. I'm also curious about the creative process.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pawpaw. I feel the same way about comments. I want to be able to thank people for taking the time to visit my site.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eric! Just for you? That may be all the incentive I need, my friend.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Another good one, Bill. You came up with a winning idea for starting this Q & A blog!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Billy, bit late today, but better that than never. I found some of the questions very interesting today, food for thought. Thank you.

      Enjoy the rest of your week

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita...I'll take cute and inspirational any old day.

      Peace be with you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I love your description of the creative process. No surprise there since I love just about everything you do. Thanks for that, and for the question, and for the dose of reality about this just being a lull. I'm certainly glad you dropped by.

      Have a splendid week, as I will.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Dora. I love this series and hope it continues until we are both old and gray. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Purely by accident, Rebecca, but thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, you are never late. Thanks for making it here. Loved your new Hub!

      bill

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      I do like your mailbags, Bill, although I haven't had time to read many of them lately. Mr. B had more surgery and we've had some trouble keeping him alive and well. However I have only two comments on this one: Shame on you for not liking ebooks! Maybe I am a big fan of ebooks because I have difficulty with vision, and as much as I love holding and pawing a book, I can enlarge the print on an ebook so I can actually read it. It took some gettng used to, though LOL. You are fortunate to have good vision.

      Second comment: I think a person has to be born with a certain amount of creativity, and some people will never be able to write. I was born into a creative story-telling family and started to tell and write stories at a very young age. When I was in college (the first time) I realized that I'd been so sheltered that I didn't have any depth to my writing so I put it aside. After I had lived two lifetimes in 20 years, I picked it up again in my forties. I feel much more satisfied with it now. The brilliance of some younger writers today never ceases to amaze me. I hold Christopher Paolini in awe, but there are great writers in their 20s and 30s. I could have never done that. However, looking back, I realize that if I'd had a mentor when I was a kid, I might have successfully been able to write children's stories (from the time I was seven or eight years old). So I think sometimes success is in the opportunity a person has and whether or not he or she takes it. Well, break is over and I've got to get back to the real world. Cheers!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday! 1) Costs of self publishing. Yep, the costs for self publishing vary widely depending on the platform used. Have found Createspace to be the most reasonable of all. And don't forget the cost of your time. 2) Reviews/Comments. Yes, they're nice. But I agree, they can be difficult to obtain. So stay positive regardless of the number of reviews and comments! 3) Same Name. Yes, whatever name you use, use it the same way everywhere so there's less confusion. Notice I said "less." It won't be eliminated completely. And if you can get the domain of your name, get it, like yesterday! That can help clear up confusion, too, when people search online.

      Have a wonderful week!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Another great week Bill. More great questions and equally great answers. If the Mailbag does have to end I think on the one year anniversary would be appropriate. You're so close to 52 weeks it would be a shame to end it before then. Now, don't get me wrong, I in no way want to see it end but I know you are getting ready to move on to grander endeavors. Keep them coming, at least for five more weeks :). Have a great week.

    • melissae1963 profile image

      Melissa Reese Etheridge 2 years ago from Tennessee, United States

      As always, this is great. Good advice.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I always look forward to your comments. You are right on with the comment about creativity. I feel the same way. How these youngsters are able to write so well at such a young age is beyond me. About all I could write when I was twenty-five was my name on a bar tab. :) I hope Mr. B. recovers soon. Best wishes to you and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, I can now rest easily. Possibly the biggest mistake I made when I joined HubPages was choosing my nickname instead of my real name. Almost 1000 articles credited to this billybuc fella. Duh!

      Happy Monday to you. May you have an enjoyable and profitable week ahead.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill! I'm too stubborn to call it quits before the magic 52, so we know there will be at least four more mailbags. After that we'll just have to see. Congratulations on winning the HOTD. I meant to tell you that and then promptly forgot.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Melissae!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hahaha ...I am so happy you mentioned Steve Martin and that movie, because I do that a lot at work and people look at me strange ...then I explain and they get it, except for those too young to remember that move, the nerve! LOL I am even bold enough to do an imitation of him running in a goofy manner ...

      That is a really good question about the multiple names of writers. There is already a well known writer, poet, performer, artist ...you name it, she does it, from Atlanta named Theresa Davis, much to my surprise ... (don't ask me why I thought of that name ... : )

      Is that Frank Atanacio who asked about the creative process? If so, I think he does great with his creative mind and how it processes words into flash fiction, especially. I think the creative process is unique to each writer ...how we see the world, what inspires us individually i. e. a song, event or even just an object LOL

      Oh, I do hope the questions keep on for the Monday Mailbag series to continue, but a year would be a great stopping point if need be. As Ann has stated, I am sure there are still plenty more questions out there.

      Happy rest of Monday, what's left of it...

      Peace

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      The priorities question shows one of the values of deadlines. If a teacher, producer, publisher or agent is expecting a promised second draft by tomorrow morning, that's a clue as to priority and focus. Any tips on how those of us without such real deadlines can emulate having them? About the closest I come is having thoughts like, "I should contribute a story to the writing group for a change." Do you challenge yourself with writing progress deadlines, such as to show your wife at least one revised chapter of your current novel in progress every Friday evening or whatever?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I can always count on you for a great comment. I'm so happy to know others remember that Steve Martin line. I still laugh when I think of it.

      No, it wasn't Frank Atanacio....that guy is way too creative to be asking that question. :)

      Thanks my dear. With any luck the Mailbag will continue for many weeks to come.

      blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, another great question. I'll try to have a great answer for you on Monday because you deserve it. Thank you so much, my friend.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      I read your comment about wishing you had not chosen a pen name, and I think for your books you were wise to use your real name. However, I want to assure you that for websites like HP, Billybuc has a greater hook for new readers than William D. Holland. That's the old ad writer in me talking. Billybuc drew me in to read your first hubs, and your good writing kept me. Believe me, my pen name catches more readers than my real name, which is even more staid than yours. Mine is so common and boring that I'm thinking about not using it at all when I get clear of my job. I'm thinking of taking my mother's middle name and maiden name, Elaine Partee. It's pretty and it isn't boring, but it does sound kind of like a romance writer, so maybe not so good?

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      Hi, Bill. This was another interesting mailbag! I love the response on leaving comments. I don't know why more people won't leave them. I like the community here, too. On the other hand, have you noticed a lot of ignorant people are more likely to leave insulting comments? As I've said in the past, they tend to show they didn't understand what they read, anyway, so it's mostly pointless anger coming from lack of knowledge on the subject.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      47.. and going strong.. the questions were good and the answers useful.. I didn't think I'd ever see a dumb question.. but here in number 47 it rears its ugly head.. a dumb question.. Do we want the mailbag to continue? oh please.... what a dumb question...

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 2 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Thanks for answering my question Bill. Another thought provoking mailbag. Can't imagine an end to the mailbag. Writers and would be writers alike always have questions. Thanks anyhow. If it must end, you left a storehouse of good Q&A for all to ponder for years to come.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Billybuc, as always I am in total agreement with you. Thanks for giving us an idea what the cost of hard copies are. As you know, I am writing a novel - which is the hardest thing I have ever done - and I hope to get it finished and published one day. Thanks for being such a wonderful inspiration and role model :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Miz B. I appreciate your thoughts on this. I'm still torn...I do like the name you are considering....Partee sounds intelligent. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, I've gotten pretty good at ignoring those angry people. It just isn't worth my time to argue with them or defend myself against them. I choose to live a happy life and if people don't like me, or what I say, that's too bad for them.

      Thanks for stopping by. You are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, I stand corrected. That was a dumb question. LOL Thanks, buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the question, Babby. We'll just have to see what happens. If the questions continue then so will the Mailbag.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Martie. It really is my pleasure, my friend. Good luck with that novel, a great accomplishment when finished.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Bill, well, well, well. So you've worked yourself out of the Mailbag business by answering pretty much every question about writing imaginable. Just teasing. Your insights have helped many here to become more grounded and confident in their own writing. Well done and thank you for having such a giving spirit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Chris. Right now it's on life-support. We'll see if it recovers or we have to pull the plug, but I appreciate your kind words, my friend.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Your Mailbag series is a genuine winner, Bill - you manage to keep me on the page until the very end. No easy task. And the questions you receive are more and more pertinent and personally meaningful. That is surely a sign of trust on the part of your readers.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great questions and answers. Always look froward to reading this series.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Awesome as always! These are all great questions and answers. Regarding reviews - I have a personal policy to never write a bad review. If I don't enjoy a book, then I simply don't write a review. But, if I enjoy a book, I write a review to help boost recognition and sales for the writer.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Once again, this is a helpful and interesting hub. The mailbag series is a great concept, Bill.

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 2 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Have the same policy MarleneB. The old adage, "If you can't say anything nice...". On the other hand, if it's a good read, I certainly don't mind saying so.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Got another one. How do you get to know your characters? Do you draw from life? Do you have a vague notion about them and just let it slow cook till you have a fully developed character? Do the characters tell you about themselves while you take notes? I'm curious how you do come up with the beings who people your novels.

      You may have done a hub on this subject already and, if so, could you leave me a link to it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, drbj! I love writing because of the connections it gives us with our readers. If I've accomplished that then I'm a happy camper.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur! The fact that you look forward to this series means a lot to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I like your policy. I just don't see the point in bashing another writer. We are all struggling in one way or another, and a kind word means much more than a criticism. Thank you for mentioning that.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I kind of got lucky. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for agreeing with Marlene, Babby! I always try to. She's a good human being.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, to tell you the truth, I don't remember if I did a hub on this. LOL I'll answer in the mailbag, though, because it's a great question. Thank you!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      This was a very informative article Bill. You have chosen to write about something that will definitely keep going. If your mailing list is dying down it may be because of the time of year.

      I do not know why I did not begin reading this from the beginning. I will have to catch up on this.

      I voted this up, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill, that was quite the river crossing. You leapt from boulder to boulder and reached the other side safely. So many questions that would require page after page to answer. When I had books printed, I contacted a printer oversea, the cost with including shipping was roughly half of every U.S.A. quote. These days the Creaespace, on-demand option is what I recommend. Very low cost of entry, if you do all the work yourself.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kevin, I'm just happy you are here now. Thank you for your kind words. This was a very popular series and I hope it continues.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mike! I appreciate your thoughts on CreateSpace....loved the opening about the river crossing.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      Hi Bill - I don't leave comments on everything I read. Sometimes I read it and move on, other times I read and share. It all depends on my mood. I can't imagine how much time I would spend if everyone who read an article of mine commented. I think some people feel they have to comment on absolutely everything. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to get comments, just sometimes there isn't much to say. That was a good question and a good answer from you too.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, when I first came to HP, I tried to be one of those who commented on everything. It became impossible, and the more I tried the less my comments meant to anyone. Now I pick and choose....as you said. We can only do so much.

      Thank you and and Happy Thursday to you!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill,

      Speaking of a dumb question, I may have one for you, and it may not be worthy of the next Monday Mailbag LOL ... when writing a noise or sound, is it better to come up with a word to describe the sound or noise, or to describe it in comparison with something so all will have the idea of the sound in their head? For example, "Eeeks"... is that fine? Or would it be better if we described the sound, i.e., "When Susie saw the terrifying reflection in her rearview mirror, she let out a high-pitched scream as if she had just stepped on a mouse." Hopefully, you understand what I am trying to express here, maybe? Well, maybe the question topic should be ...How to express yourself in a concise manner. Haha

      Peace

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, it's a great question and it also is one of my pet peeves when reading the work of someone else. I'll include this in Monday's mailbag...thank you...wonderful question.

      Pax vobiscum, my friend.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Oh mercy Bill, you can't end the mailbag! That would be like pulling Dear Abby out of the newspaper. We love reading it and learn so much. The questions asked are truly from the heart and your answers so honest and spot on.

      Why can't you have a book on Kindle and in book form? I know a lot of people are using Kindle's (not me of course), and there are a lot that want a hard copy so why not do both?

      Okay, here's my question: How do you determine the average cost for say an editor, an illustrator etc., and is it still possible with all the authors out there, to get lucky and have a publishing company actually pick up your book and publish it? (I'm not saying that'll happen to me, it's just a rhetorical question.)

      I see you're stretching your Latin again too! Lastly, in response to your Pax vobiscum to Faith may I add "Et cum spiritu tuo"?

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes you may add it, Mary, and only an old-time Catholic would know what you are talking about. How many times have I said those words? Anyway, the mailbag is full this week but I'll include your question in the following week, okay? Thank you! As for a Kindle book.....where is the time when I need it? My novels keep calling me and that's what I'm doing, is trying for the traditional publisher.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Thanks for the reply. I kind of realized that's what it would be, problem is the priorities change but then change back if that makes sense.

      I'm someone who hates to leave things half done but there are days when the muse us telling me to leave the half done work and when I don't listen, well you don't want to read those articles!

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Lawrence and you are welcome. I think you are speaking for a great many writers. It is a common statement I hear.

      Blessings always, my friend

      bill

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I can definitely see people not leaving comments. Happens all the time but doesn't let us know what they liked and want to see more of. Good installment. Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! I understand it too; I just wish it weren't so. :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 24 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. They happen, but they can also start up again. Just see what the future holds.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb! The future is never boring so I'll wait anxiously.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 23 months ago from Missouri

      Do you ever have a character that just won't do what you want him or her to do? I have a minor character (supposed to be, anyway) that want to take center stage, and it makes it hard to write the story I planned.

      I enjoy the Mailbag. I don't always get to read it every week, but when I have time, I do a marathon session to catch up. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, what a great question. The answer is yes, most definitely. I ran into that in my last novel. I was tempted to kill the character just to get him to behave. LOL Thank you for being here. You are appreciated.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 23 months ago from United Kingdom

      Gee, Bill, that seems a bit harsh. If your character was that anxious to get his story out there, maybe he needs a chapter or a book of his own. It could be an interesting addition to your series. A literary spin-off, so to speak. Just saying...:)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Zulma, I need another lifetime to write all the books that are inside of me, but we can always hope. Thanks for the suggestion....now where did I put my timer? :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 23 months ago from southern USA

      Whew, I am so glad you don't think it a dumb question LOL. .... Bless you and peace be with you too. I look forward to your answer.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Not dumb at all, Faith, and I look forward to the answer. LOL

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