The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Ninety-One
One Step Closer to One-hundred
Nine more to go. I’m not sure if I’ll continue this series after I reach one-hundred. I guess I’ll just let all of you decide that for me.
Let’s get started and then we can all move on with our day.
Oh, someone asked about my next “Billy the Kid” novella…..I should have it published by mid-April. I still don’t have a name for it, but that’s the least of my problems.
My first novella
From Mary: “Specifically regarding voices and when, if ever, a person should bring in a reader to do their podcast. I say this because I listen to audio books regularly and some of the people reading are excellent and some are so bad I can't bear to listen to them. They tend to have nasal voices or sound like they need to blow their nose. Then there are also the people who mispronounce words!”
This wasn’t so much a question as an excellent point.
Let me add another point to consider, especially if you are reading a section of your book that has dialogue…..have two people read the two pieces of dialogue, so there are two distinctive voices speaking to each other, like in real life. I think it is much easier for the listener to follow along when you do that.
I’m still tossing around the podcast idea. I’m sure I’ll do it but I have to find a way to juggle my time and make time, and right now that is infinitely easier to say than do.
But I will persevere!
From Eric: “Short is cool. And that brings me right to my question. Multiple short paragraphs. I get the basic concept of a paragraph beginning and ending in a separate chain of thought. But I see styles of writing where almost every sentence is a paragraph. What up with that? Is it legal?”
In fiction, Eric, everything is legal, and all’s fair in love and war, as well.
I understand what you are saying, and I’ve seen examples of it myself. Just speaking for me, myself and I, I don’t write that way and never will, but the only reason for that is because I have developed my own rhythm and style, and a series of short sentences, or short paragraphs, do not work with my style. That isn’t to say it won’t work for others, but not for me, thank you very much.
Something to consider: the writer controls the rhythm of a story, and he/she does it by length of sentences, length of words, etc. My main concern with the style Eric is talking about is that it reads fast….there is no way to slow up the pace if you follow that short paragraph formula. Just something to think about.
From Chris: “I've started drawing two newspaper-style comic strips lately -- "The Dinkledorfs" and "Attack Of The Words" -- and am considering how to market my work, make money, etc. Print industries are changing so much, so rapidly, so I've been thinking about how the Internet and digital technology are changing the game for artists and other creatives. My current thinking is that I might actually not even look at my comic strips as the products themselves. I'm thinking of my cartoons as mini-advertisements from which I will try to sell physical products on my blog -- things like coffee mugs, t-shirts, printed books, stickers, etc. So, like Charles Schultz with the Peanuts franchise, I would try to get my comic strips out there to the masses, and hopefully many of them will love my characters and purchase related products.”
Thanks Chris! For those of you reading, this is part of the “lost question” I mentioned last week. Happily Chris saw my confusion last week and sent me the question again. Actually this is just part of the earlier question…he was also trying to figure out how to market the actual comic strip.
Now I’m not familiar with marketing comic strips. I have zero experience doing so…but I do have some experience in marketing, so let’s work from that common ground.
You have to be careful not to blur the lines here. It seems to me that the comic strip is the product you start with…without name recognition, or at the very least familiarity with the comic strip, the mugs, stickers and t-shirts don’t have a prayer of selling. Your first job is to sell that comic strip….and by “sell” I mean get it out to the masses so that the masses are familiar with it. IN other words, be very careful not to put the cart before the horse.
This is a great time to be a comic strip writer, or so it seems to me. There is a rebirth of that genre. I go to the library and there is a complete section for zines, and many of those zines are of the comic book style. Now, I know nothing about how to format a comic book for self-publishing on CreateSpace, but I know it is done successfully, so do some research on that if interested.
I can sum up by saying this: I think there is a very real market out there for comic strips, and your idea of following up with promo items like mugs and t-shirts is a great one….but, in my opinion, your initial efforts must be in promoting that comic strip for all you are worth.
From Pam: “Is it possible, in your opinion, to write a children’s book without a traditional publisher or agent, and be successful?
Seriously, of course it is. I have a friend in Arizona who has done quite well with three such books, and she has self-published all three…..but….
She has worked her butt off to be successful. She has scheduled readings…book signings….she has traveled to nearby cities and gotten her books into independent bookstores….she has approached local radio stations and public broadcasting stations and arranged to be interviewed….she has set up a booth at local street fairs and carnivals….
In other words, she became her own agent, publisher and marketing guru and done the hard work herself.
You can have the same success, Pam, but it requires a commitment to marketing that most writers don’t have.
Do you have it?
I hope so!
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Another Short One
The questions are dribbling in as we approach one-hundred. Maybe I’m being told something. LOL
See you all next week for another installment of the Mailbag. Have a great week of writing, and I have no idea why this switched over to bold type.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”
I only need twenty more words to hit the magic 1250 for HubPages, so this is my attempt to shamelessly do so without saying a darn thing. Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm having fun, how about you?
Now I'm done!