The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Ninety-Four
Glad to See You Again
It seems like these last ten on the march to 100 are taking forever.
I’ve decided to keep doing the Mailbag after I hit one-hundred. There seems to be genuine interest in it so why not? Besides, I’m still planning on doing podcasts, and I want to be able to tie the podcasts to the actual written series, so there you go.
And here we go with some more great questions.
Questions from Allen
A Three-Pack: “1). How can you possibly be so Caring and Patient in both Time Spent and encouragement dispersed via your THOUSANDS of replies??
2). Is there ever a time to Just realize that one's real problem is 'Failure to Launch" versus Writer's Block, loss of Muse, etc. etc.?
3). And do you Really, after Thousands of words thrown out there, and Millions of Positive Accolades returned for said words---Truly have some days where you feel "This is one Lonely Gig"???”
Allen, thanks for the three questions, and the compliments. Here are your answers!
Caring and patient? Thank you for that but honestly, I’m just doing what I was raised to do. My parents believed in giving and a spirit of community. “A talent not shared is a talent wasted,” and I can’t tell you how many times I heard that growing up. “We’re all in this together, Bill,” I also heard from them, and I guess it stuck with me. I’m so grateful that people read my stuff. How can I not give back to a community that has been so good to me?
Yes, there is a “failure to launch” syndrome among writers. I know quite a few of them, and the reasons for that “failure to launch” are very real to them and very valid. Some are simply afraid. Some lack confidence. I wish I had magic words that would help them get over the hump so they could experience the joy of publishing their own work…their own creation.
Yessir, writing is a lonely gig. I do believe that, no matter how many comments I receive. Writing is a solitary pursuit, hours alone pouring out words, striving for perfection, fighting the inner-demons, wondering if anyone really gives a damn whether you write or not. I think most of us have experienced those thoughts and emotions, but because we spend so much time alone and inside our heads, we feel like we are the only one who understands. I wish I could meet with all of you once a week, and we could all sit down and share our insecurities with each other, and feed off of our assurances that everything is all right.
A mentor of mine once told me the most dangerous real estate in the world is the six inches between my ears….true words.
Which Direction to Take
From Panita: “If one is looking to be successful, which genre is the best to write in? Which area of writing will find success the quickest?”
Panita, I can tell you that the best-selling genre in literature right now is Romance, but that won’t be my answer to you.
Personally, and there are those who would argue with me, I believe that success (if defined by sales and acclaim) will not come unless you are writing with passion and genuine interest in the subject matter. In all honesty, I could probably write a romance novel but, also in all honesty, it would not be a good romance novel. I have no desire to do so, and that lack of desire, I believe, will show in my writing.
My suggestion to you is to write in the genre you enjoy, the genre that excites you and makes you enjoy sitting down to write, and don’t worry about the success of it all. Success is tied up in so many aspects of this business, including the quality of your craft and your ability to market your work.
Learn to write WELL and learn to market that writing WELL and success will arrive much faster than if you tried to write in a genre you know nothing about and have no feelings about.
Or maybe I’m completely wrong! LOL
Marketing an Ebook
From Brian: “I'm wondering how to market an e-book. A bookshop would not get a cut of sales if you did a reading there. And how would an e-book author show his/her wares at a craft show? Have a handful of chairs and a handful of e-readers and charge by the minute after the first 10 minutes of reading, with the option to buy, for the retail price minus the cost of reading minutes used?”
Brian, that’s the beauty of a site like CreateSpace. You can have your paperback to show to people while you market your eBook. I don’t have a clue how one would market an eBook without an actual book in their hands. I would hate to tackle that problem. So I never just publish an eBook without also publishing the paperback.
The Thrill of Publishing
From Manatita: “I like the look and name of your novella. Here's a question then. Was it really exciting for you getting it published? Much Love.”
Thank you Manatita. My friend is referring to the publication of my “Billy the Kid” novella series, available on Amazon.
Was it exciting to publish them? I would say “satisfying” instead of exciting. I was excited when I published my first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle from Yesterday to Today.” Since then, all other books have been satisfying. I’m also proud of each book. Excited? Maybe it’s just me but no, after the first one, not excited.
From Mary: “I would be interested to know if you or any of your readers have found work using Linkedin either through advertising themselves as article writers or through book sales.”
Mary, great question, and I hope some of my readers weigh in on this.
I actually did get a freelance gig through Linkedin and it was purely by luck. I really don’t use Linkedin that much. I don’t actively promote myself on it, and the one gig I did get was just a business person scanning profiles and running across mine…they contacted me and it worked out. I don’t use the site to promote my books.
Why? I’m just too busy doing other things. I can only allocate so much time to particular avenues and pursuits, and Linkedin is way down my priority list. Not because there is something wrong with Linkedin but because I have other things going on.
“Do you think it is advisable to follow the style of a few writers that one likes in his/her niche or do you think that one would develop his/her own style after writing continuously and prolifically over a long period?”
It’s an interesting question, my friend. I’ll give you my gut response. I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to follow the style of other writers…consciously….but I do think we all do it subconsciously to a certain degree. We can’t help but be influenced by writers we admire; it is only natural and I think that shows in our writing after time.
However, I will always vote for developing your own style and I think that style will, as you said, develop after writing continuously and prolifically over a long time.
For better or for worse, those are my thoughts on that.
Thanks to You All
Remember, if you have a question for the Mailbag, all you have to do is include it in the comment section below, or if you prefer you can email the question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next week, thank you and have a wonderful week of creating.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”