- Books, Literature, and Writing
The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Four
Happy Anniversary to Us All
Two years, my friends, and thanks to all of you. Someone please pass the cake and ice cream. All this celebrating has me hungry.
What does it all mean? Darned if I know, but it’s been fun at the very least and hopefully, for you, never boring.
Okay, enough of that. Let’s get started on the third year, shall we?
WORDS TO A PAGE
From Venkatachari M: “Regarding the number of words, I got some confusion. How many words make a page for a novel.”
I’m afraid there is no good answer to your question. The number of words per page depends on the font, the line-spacing and the size of your page. For my novels, publishing them on CreateSpace for a 6x9 page, I get between 250 and 300 words per page but again, if that was single-spaced, it would be 500 to 600 words on the same page, and if I used a different sized page, the word count would be different as well. Make sense?
Now, if your next question is how many words in a novel, the standard range is between 75,000 and 120,000 words for a full-length novel. And if you want to know how many pages that is, I’ll let you do the math.
Thanks for the question!
My book on writing
Mixed Signals from Hp
From Ruby: “I have a question. I felt really good when a few of my pieces were chosen to go to other sites, especially since HP emailed me about it and added only exceptional hubs were selected. Then my score dropped. Why? What causes a score to drop? Glad you're hanging in there. We need you to build out esteem since in reality we are babies in an adult body. LOL”
Ruby, I swear, I wish I had an answer for you. Just between you and me and the fence post, HP drives me crazy if I allow it to do so.
I have heard this explanation regarding your question: when a hub is switched from one site to another, there is a lag period on Google; it’s like your internet scores freeze for a day or two, and in fact may fall, before the internet gods recognize it once again on a new site and the scores then start rising. I have no idea if that’s true. Quite frankly, the whole thing could lead me to having an ulcer and so I don’t give it any power over me. HP doesn’t much care what I do and I return the compliment to them.
I have another question: who declared the staff of HP as writing experts? What qualifications do they have to declare our work as “exceptional” or not? Just curious!
No, I do not say that with any bitterness, because I’ve had quite a few articles chosen as exceptional, but really, what does that mean? This whole scoring system that HP has seems so random to me and thus insignificant and unimportant…..but really, what do I know?
From Faith: “Oh, I have a simple question about using internal dialogue in writing. Should it always be in quotes or is it best to just use italics? Or does it depend on how long the internal dialogue goes on? Well, that's two simple questions LOL.”
This is an interesting question, Faith, but I’d expect nothing less from you.
Interestingly, there is no definitive answer for this. It seems to be a matter of individual tastes and style. Grammatically, either one is correct. One word of warning, though: if you use quotation marks then you must use correct punctuation as if someone is speaking.
The other option is to use words like “she thought” to designate internal dialogue. The only problem with this technique is over-use which leads to redundancy and boredom. So if you go that route don’t go that route too often.
Personally, I use italics, but again, that’s personal taste and nothing else. I’m sure someone is going to say that, definitively, you must do it this way or you must do it that way, but I’ve seen it both ways in novels by traditional publishers and famous writers, so I say hogwash! Do it the way you are comfortable with. Just be consistent.
How Much Longer?
From Jarrod: “You’ve mentioned you are 67 years old. How much longer will you continue to write?”
To borrow from Charlton Heston, and it pains me to do so, I’ll stop writing when they pry the pen from my cold, dead fingers.
From Jenny: “You’ve mentioned doing a podcast of this series. I was wondering when we could expect it?”
Jenny, I have this problem and the problem is ME!
I don’t want to do something unless I can do it well. Podcasts are foreign to me, and it’s taking me a long time to reach the comfort stage of doing a podcast. Oh, I could do one today. It would take me, literally, about a half hour to produce and publish…but it would be of horrible quality and I won’t do that.
Soon, Jenny, is my answer, which is better than I don’t have a clue.
From Alana: “Why do so many freelance writers fail and go back to 9-5 jobs?”
Alana, this answer is, again, purely subjective. I don’t have statistics to prove it by and I doubt there are statistics. This is just my gut reaction after five years of freelancing.
At first glance, freelancing looks easy to many. They begin with the faulty premise that anybody can write, or because they won a writing competition when they were ten, and their middle school teacher told them one of their essays was exceptional, they think they have what it takes to make money in this business.
They quickly find out that there are literally millions of people out there…I dare say tens of millions….who believe exactly the same thing. In other words, the competition is fierce in the freelance world.
Then we have the problem of plummeting pay. Five years ago, when I started, the competition was not as tough, and writing gigs paid more. Now we have a lot of desperate people willing to write for pennies compared to dollars, so it has driven the price down for freelancers. In other words, we have become our own worst enemy.
Some have unrealistic visions of writing. Being good at writing requires long, long hours. It must be treated like a business, and quite frankly, there are a lot of writers out there who are miserable businessmen and women.
Freelancing requires marketing skills. Many writers have zero marketing skills.
I could go on but I think you get the point.
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- Artistry With Words | Helping writers to spread their wings and fly
Helping writers to spread their wings and fly
The Future of the Book Industry
From Mack: “What do you think the book industry will look like in five years? Will we see a resurgence of traditional books, or will Ebooks continue to take more of the market share?”
Mack, how the heck would I know? LOL
Seriously, things seem to have stabilized in the publishing business. Ebooks reached their zenith a couple years ago and now the market seems to have stabilized. I believe there will always be a market for traditional books to the tune of a 70-30 market share in favor of hardcover or paperback but again, I have no crystal ball.
MORE NEXT WEEK
It’s been real, folks, and I thank you for it. I’ll see you next Monday as we begin our third year of the Mailbag.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”