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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Nineteen

Updated on October 10, 2016

New Followers, More Questions, Life Is Good

Unbelievable is all I have to say on the matter of the Mailbag. It just keeps growing. Pretty soon I’m going to have to hire someone extra to carry the excess mail. It’s a nice problem to have, you know?

I hope to see a thousand new Mailbag followers. I always envisioned this to be a safe place where writers could share their thoughts, and where answers could be given. I don’t make a ton of money with these articles. In fact, among all my articles, these Mailbags are always at the bottom of the HP scoring file….but I think they are valuable for anyone interested in their craft….so let’s keep it going!

There’s no time like the present to see what is on the mind of our peers, so let’s get to it!

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room! | Source

The Secret

From Eva: “So here is the question: how do you have the time and energy to write books and all these posts? What is the secret? A talent for writing, or good organization, or both?”

Well, Eva, I would hope it has mostly to do with a talent for writing….LOL….but the truth is I’m an extremely focused and organized human being. Some might call me anal, but I choose not to listen to those people.

Seriously, my writing day is broken up into segments, and every segment is devoted to a particular task. I don’t deviate from that schedule…distractions are not allowed. I notify everyone, and continue to notify everyone, that writing is my business, and between the hours of seven a.m. and one p.m. I am not to be disturbed….period! I don’t disturb others when they are at their day jobs, and I expect the same treatment when I’m at my day job, which just happens to be writing.

Remember, too, that I don’t have little kids to take care of, or a paying job for some company to throw into the mix. For me it’s just writing, six hours every day, and every day is broken up into tasks that I am determined to finish.

Is this realistic for all writers? Probably not, but if you are a writer who wishes to make good money, or a writer who wishes to improve your craft, it should be!

INDIE WRITERS AND KEYWORDS

From Venkatachari M: “If I am to publish a book online, say on Amazon platform, does keywords play any role for the content? Do people search with keywords for books? I don't know whether I am the only person to have such doubts or there might be many others.”

It’s really an excellent question, Venkatachari M, one that’s never been asked before.

Ebooks are part of the online game, and because of this, keywords do play a part in the marketing of your book. I would never suggest that you worry about keywords when you are writing your book, whether it is a non-fiction or fiction book, but I would suggest that you need to play close attention to keywords when giving your book a title and when writing a description for your book which will be shown on the Amazon site.

Let me give you a couple examples. If I’ve written a thriller, I will want the word “thriller” to appear not only in my book description but also among the seven keywords Amazon allows me to list for their search engines. If I’ve written a “how to write” book, then “how to write” should not only be in my title, but also in my description and in my list of keywords. This increases the chances of people finding my book when they type in the keyword “thriller” or the keywords “how to write.”

Spend time on this. Do keyword searches to find out how effective certain words are in the search engines. Amazon has several tools you can use to help you choose the best keywords to use in your title, in your book description, and in your list of keywords on the Amazon site.

Hopefully that helps you.

Hyphens in a Sentence

From Zulma: “My son asked why you would use a hyphen in a sentence. What he means is would you use a hyphen to help with the pacing or the emphasis of the text. I'm pretty sure that depends on what you want your readers to experience. I know what I want to say but I'm having trouble finding the right words. Can you help a girl out? Pleeease.”

Anything for you, Zulma!

Actually, a hyphen is often confused with a dash in English grammar. Appearance-wise, a dash is shorter than a hyphen, but that’s just scratching the surface when discussing their differences.

A hyphen is usually a connecting tool…….off-campus parking…..twelve-thirty-six North 18th St…..state-of-the-art design, and there is no spacing before or after the hyphen.

I’m guessing you and your son are really asking about a dash. There are quite a few uses for a dash, but I’m going to concentrate on the main usage of that misunderstood piece of grammar. Dashes are usually used to connect an independent clause with a thought about that clause. Consider the following:

“I’d better pass this test – it’s ninety percent of my class grade – or I’ll be going to summer school.”

The dash can also be used to emphasize a sentence. Consider this:

“Sure, I’ll sign a prenuptial agreement – as long as it’s in my favor.”

Please note that, with a dash, there is a space before and after the dash.

There are other uses for both the hyphen and dash, but I have limited space here to deal with those other options. What is mentioned above are the most common uses of both. I hope that helps!

I'm not getting rich from these books!
I'm not getting rich from these books! | Source

Is It Hopeless?

From Patti: “I read somewhere that there are millions of Ebooks published each year. Millions! With that many on the market, and that many being added yearly, it seems to me it’s pretty hopeless for a writer wishing to make money in the publishing business. Is that an accurate statement?”

YES!

Next question?

Seriously, Patti, do you want me to sugarcoat it or give you the ugly truth? The odds of making “good” money from publishing Ebooks are slim. They aren’t non-existent, but they are slim, which brings us to a truth many new writers need to commit to memory: if you are writing simply to make money, you really need to have a reality check with your CEO.

Can “good” money be made by publishing Ebooks? Of course it can. I’m simply saying that for every story of success you hear, there are hundreds of thousands of stories of “failure” with that as a goal.

If, however, you are writing because you love the craft, and you love to add to our culture, then any money you make is a bonus of sorts, and I would submit to you that you are never a failure.

So, Patti, why are you writing?

A good writer could write an interesting story about clothes drying on a line.
A good writer could write an interesting story about clothes drying on a line. | Source

Good Writers and Boring Topics

From Ann: “Do you think that a good writer can make a success out of any old subject? Something really boring.... and I'm desperately trying to think of one! I know - watching paint dry! I might start a challenge but I'd like to know what you think first.”

My goodness yes, Ann! A good creative writer could take “watching paint dry” and run with it. Not that I consider myself a great writer, but as soon as I read that topic I started writing a story introduction in my head.

When I was teaching school I issued that challenge to my students. I would have them name a topic and I had to “write” an opening paragraph within a minute. They never stumped me.

That’s just the way a creative writer’s brain works, right?

Great question! Issue that challenge and I’m there.

More Next Week?

I hope you’ll join me next week as we field a whole new set of questions about writing. Winter is right around the bend, and that means increased rain, increased snow, and increased cold. In other words, perfect writing weather.

Oh, before I forget, someone asked me to recommend one of the best poets on HubPages. I did give her a recommendation via email, but I won’t do that here. That is bound to end in hurt feelings without intending to do so. The enjoyment of writing, and of poetry, is unique to each individual. What I like in poetry will be different from what you like, so I prefer to simply say, for the record on this site, there are some very good poets on HP and I hope you find them during your own travels through this site.

As always, if you have a question, include it in the comment section below, or you can email it to me at holland1145@yahoo.com. Thanks to all who asked questions this week.

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc) #greatestunknownauthor

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 9 months ago from New York, New York

      Definitely a great problem to have to answer many question share, but than again I wouldn't expect any less, because you truly are a wealth of writing knowledge for all writers. Thanks Bill for always being so helpful with your advice and all you do for us fellow writers, here. Happy Monday now, my friend!! ;)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is my pleasure, Janine. I love the Mailbag and I love that so many people, like you, are so faithful to it. Thank you dear friend.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 9 months ago from Norfolk

      Goodness, all those books do look amazing. I don't know how you do it! It really would be lovely to think that that were profitable too. I have begun researching createspace myself so here is hoping I can produce on of my own felting books this coming year.Have a great week Billy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm rooting for you, Sally! I don't know if it will sell, but I know it needs to be written. :)

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 9 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Mondays never cease to amaze me. The mailbag is an education in itself. Always good questions - always good answers. Did I do the dash thing right?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Bill, you did it as well as I can do it.. Thanks for the example...and for being here. You are appreciated.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill this is great stuff. I just checked in my word program. If you add a space it goes auto into dash if you do not then it remains a hyphen. I misuse my dashes. But I was slow in the 100 meter dash also.

      I know that you use notes to capture your thoughts sometime. I have trouble with that as my mind races a little too fast. Got any advice.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, you have me actually looking forward to Winter. Another good mailbag sir. (And no mention of Niume this week).

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 9 months ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning and Happy Mailbag Monday!

      Re: Keywords. As you've noted, even for fiction, keywords are essential so that the Google and Amazon search gods put you in the right place to be found by potential readers. Within each subset of fiction or non-fiction there are even more subsets. Example: Thriller (as you note for your books) could be further categorized in such things as "paranormal" or "political" thriller. This really takes some thought. But placing these in descriptions and finding appropriate categories can really help a book or eBook's visibility.

      Re: eBook Fortunes. True, the fortunes from eBooks can amount to beer money at best. However, as just discussed, categorizing and describing any eBook properly can really help bring it more visibility via online search. And then, of course, you have to promote it yourself! Whole other topic...

      Anyway, this Mailbag forum is amazing and we're grateful for your contribution to our community! Thanks and have a wonderful week ahead!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 9 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      That is a mighty fine Writer's Mailbag installment. It is also a nice array of book titles displayed. Quite the accomplishment.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 9 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, I always love your posts here at HP, my friend. Whether it's the mailbag or short stories, more power to you and your writing schedule. I did have a question to ask you off the tip of my tongue this weekend and now I forgot. Maybe I'll shoot it over to you by this weekend. Great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, great line about the 100 yd dash. Too funny, buddy. Thanks for the question...stay tuned for the answer and Happy Monday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, did you miss the Niume reference? :) I'll make sure I rectify that next week. Looking forward to winter? Wishful thinking my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, my job on the Mailbag is to answer something and then hope you agree with me. LOL I'm on pins and needles each week until you show up and verify what I say.

      So thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks, Mike. Someone did a hell of a job on those book covers!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kristen, your short-term memory sounds like mine. LOL Thanks for the visit and the kind words.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 9 months ago from New Jersey

      Bill,

      I love that you have a schedule. It's inspiring. I hope to figure one out for myself. I am either distracted or writing the day away.

      I think you receive a question asking why writers do what they do if there's a slim chance of fame and fortune, each week. Or, perhaps, every other week? I'm working on my book because I want to share my ideas with my name it, or a pen name, as well as have more work to show potential clients. Plus, the writing process is a fabulous adventure!

      Your class sounds like it was fun. :)

      Take care, my friend!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 9 months ago from SW England

      Thanks for squeezing in that question from me, bill. I kind of anticipated your answer but I wanted to confirm what I thought!

      Ok, I'll issue the challenge but that will have to wait for the weekend.

      These great questions keep on coming and your answers are always superb. They help all of us, not just the newbies.

      Ann

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      Melissa Propp 9 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! It's also Columbus Day Observed, so no school--and no mail. So glad you don't use the postal service for your mailbags! I'm amazed but not surprised that there seems to be a never-ending flow of questions for you. This writing thing is hard!

      Wishing you a productive week! Till next time...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, thanks for sharing what's happening with you....good reasons to write and yes, a fabulous adventure, writing is. :) Enjoy the trip today, young lady.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 9 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I always learn something from the mailbag. I'm not sure I always put a space before and after a dash. I will now. Thanks for all you do to help us become better writers...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I'm glad to hear the challenge will be set. I'm looking forward to it.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday Melissa! It's a great day to be alive in Olympia. I hope the same can be said for Minnesota.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 9 months ago from Alton, Missouri

      In Patti's question, is there hope, I think the problem that many writers have is the question "if there are so many books on the market, how do I get people to read what I write?" In the same token that there are millions of books on the market, there are also 7 billion people on the planet. The truth is, the only way for a writer to get people to read what they write is to write quality books and articles and then go to the places where people who read what you write hang out and introduce yourself to them. Look for specific audiences and then appeal to them. That's the way it is for ANY business including the writing business.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 9 months ago from southern USA

      Happy Monday Mailbag, Bill! Although it's Columbus Day and no mail delivery, we can count on you to still deliver the important mail! My mailbox is usually full of junk mail, whereas your mailbag is overflowing with useful mail.

      Interesting about the dash and hyphen. We tend to use the hyphen more so in legal writings.

      The newbies are great. And I'm happy they're discovering the Monday Mailbag. I'm discovering new and amazing writers of short stories here, and trying my best to support them as was done for me when I first joined here.

      Wow, look at you and your impressive amount of books you've published. I have hope you'll reach the targeted audience to read your fabulous books and we'll all be saying we knew you when.

      So true, a great writer can make a boring topic into an exciting read.

      Blessings

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 9 months ago from london

      Great! Great! Another awesome Mailbag. I love the questions and answers.

      I have one question. My brain is all fried, all right. But didn,t you once have some evidence of sweat and toil on your mailbag pic?So I hope you laugh at this one. Which writer has a clean computer desk? (Chuckle) Stay happy!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      We both learned, Ruby. I had to review the rules on that one. The old brain doesn't retain grammar rules like it once did. Thank you for your kind words.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 9 months ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Seeing all your books together brought a big smile to my face you are amazing! Your mailbag is such a wonderful idea that just keeps on growing , keep it going my friend always interesting questions and answers to read and learn from. Hugs to you and Bev xxxxx

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great advice from one who has been there and learned from experience. Thank you Donna!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, we don't let silly things like holidays slow the mail. This is much more important. LOL Thank you dear friend. I hope all is well in your part of the world with that hurricane finally a memory. Stay well and happy...hugs heading your way.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I did laugh, Manatita...good one, my friend.

      Always happy! The same wish for you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hugs to you and the Mickster, Irish, and thank you! A whole bunch of books no one is reading. LOL Such is the life of a writer.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 9 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Another great mailbag and lots to ponder. I am terribly excited about my success so far on NIUME and that is making me realize how important my writing is to me and the only real pleasure I need is to have people enjoy what I write. BTW I finally took the big step because I was doubtful about poetry on the site and my latest has now been featured.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rasma, I just looked at your numbers on NIUME and you are doing quite well. Congratulations! I started off hot and have since cooled down, but in truth I just haven't devoted enough time over there. I'll change that shortly.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      How interesting that these are your lower traffic hubs. It is SO difficult to determine what will strike people's fancy. In the end you have to enjoy it or it'll be more like drudgery.

      I like the idea of challenging people to make boring topics interesting. Basically that is the challenge with certain types of business writing.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 9 months ago from Oklahoma

      Glad to hear the mailbag is still going strong.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 9 months ago from Dubai

      Another great installment of questions and answers. Read and learned more, thank you for sharing.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 9 months ago

      I am going to spend the rest of the morning pondering the hyphen and the dash. I may have to measure them to get the full meaning. Thanks for giving me something to think about other than this election.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Flourish! I see things go viral daily online and a lot of them, I think HUH?????

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Despite my tinkering, Larry, yes! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, too funny! Actually I'll bet I misuse the hyphen/dash daily and don't even realize it, so you're not alone.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur! I appreciate it very much.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, it always amazes me why hubs that receive lots of comments (proving their popularity) often get a low hub score, whereas other hubs with virtually no comments get a high score depending on what hoops have been jumped through. Another good mailbag here, and good to see some new names asking questions.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for that, Bill. I had forgotten that dash and hyphen are two different things with two different purposes. And, I didn't know you're supposed to put a space before and after a dash. Do you use dashes often? If so, does it mess up the format when you self-publish like putting two spaces after a period can?

      And while I have you,

      'When I was teaching school I issued that challenge to my students. I would have them name a topic and I had to “write” an opening paragraph within a minute. They never stumped me.'

      I seem to recall you saying that you were not a creative sort till the last few years. That quote up there says otherwise. Would you care to comment. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is interesting, John! There was a day when that sort of thing would bug the hell out of me, but now it's like "whatever" and move on. :) Thanks for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I rarely, if ever, use dashes, Zulma. Probably because I'm afraid of misusing them. LOL As for your other question, I'll answer it on the Mailbag, Miss Smarty Pants. :) I actually have a valid response to that. Stay tuned...and thank you! I went to your website and couldn't figure out how to follow it...any clues or help would be appreciated.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      Website??? Not really sure what you mean. That is, I have some websites (deadsites, more like) but I don't know which one you're referring to. I'm not trying to be a smart*** here, I truly don't know.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      websites, blogs, whatever they are, you've got them listed on your Facebook page, but for whatever reason I can't find a follow button.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      Oh, right. I'll look into that, thanks.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You betcha! It's just that I can never have too much Zulma. :)

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 9 months ago from Massachusetts

      What a great week for the mailbag. So glad that the box is overflowing. Disappointing that this series does not generate a decent income, it certainly should. Have a great week Bill.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      You are adorable. Anyway, I managed to get to these sites from FB and trust me you're not missing a thing. I haven't touched them for, literally, years. (Hence, the term deadsites.) I need to think about what I want to do with them. I'll most likely delete a few as they are no longer relevant. Maybe I can recycle some of the posts. Yes, there are possibilities here. Thanks for reminding me of these, Bill. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Such is life on HP, Bill! We work with what we're given, I'm afraid. Still, I think this series has value, so what do I really care what HP thinks? Thanks for being here, my friend, and Happy Wednesday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, it's been a long time since I was called adorable. Thanks for taking me back to the glory years. LOL Well, if you ever start a blog that actually has life to it, let me know. :)

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 9 months ago from Europe

      As always very interesting to read. It's basically one of the few reasons why I come back to HP lately - to read your mailbag, Bill. Thanks for your contribution!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am honored, Buildreps. Truly honored. Thank you!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      Hi, Bill, better late than never, I guess, and I think I missed your mailbag last week so I'll have to go back and catch up. I've used dashes in the manner in which you describe, but I've wondered about using them professionally, and I like them. But in some of the books I've read, some authors are using ellipses instead of dashes for the same reason. I've pondered this because the little three-dot ellipses are properly used to indicate words or sentences left out, and it could be confusing. We did use them in radio copy to indicate a place for the announcer to pause. Just sayin'. Have a good 'un, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, is that what they are called? I use them all the time and didn't know their proper name. LOL Now I learned something on the Mailbag. I love the Mailbag!!!!!! Thanks my friend and I'm glad you found the time to visit. Much-appreciated.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This edition of the mailbag contains some useful and interesting information, Bill. I'm glad that you're continuing the series. It's always helpful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad too, Alicia! I look forward to our get-togethers. Thank you!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A great mailbag with great questions and equally wonderful, great answers. Thanks for clarifying my doubt regarding the use and importance of keywords while book publishing. All the answers provided above are of much worth to us - the writers.

      I have been late here because my computer gave up for three days and just got it repaired.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good to see you back among us, Venkatachari M. Thank you and I'm glad I could help you with that great question.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      Bill, thanks for your answer, so here's more. A lot of people don't know that a proper ellipse is just three dots. If it is at the end of a sentence, a piece of punctuation is used, like a period or question mark. In that event, it may appear to be four dots. A coworker of mine knew how ellipses were used, but she thought that you were supposed to use a dot for each missing word. I discovered that one day when she used seven dots! LOL

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Miz, even I also don't know that. I always wonder why those dots are used. So, it is a good puzzle to be answered by our wise brother, Bill. I will be waiting, Bill, to know this secret.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, that is hilarious. I'll mention the ellipses in the next Mailbag just in case others don't understand them. Thanks for the laugh.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M. I'll have a little bit about them in the next Mailbag. You aren't the only one who doesn't understand ellipses.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 9 months ago from Brazil

      Wow, everyone of the questions today I can relate to.

      I recently was asked to proofread an article where the author used, what I thought were hyphens in lieu of other punctuation. Now, I know they were actually dashes she was using. To be honest, the article looked like Morse code.

      With your scheduled writing time, I can now see how you are as proficient as you are. That coupled with the drive and your talent explains a lot.

      I have a question for a future mailbag. I was asked to describe the taste of something (cashew juice) and I believe, failed miserably. I have watched wine connoisseurs describe wine before and been amazed at either their sensitive palates or gift of the gab (not sure which). I once heard a UK wine buff describe a wine by saying, "I'm tasting strawberries, hay and a bit of gym shoe."

      Just as an exercise, if someone had never tasted apples or apple juice, how would you describe it?

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 9 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      Bill,

      I really appreciate the question and your answer regarding usage of 'dash' in writing.

      Now I know it better.

      Regards,

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 9 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for providing the inspiring example of "an extremely focused and organized human being." I admire you also for taking the time to be so helpful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, that's doesn't look like a question as much as a challenge. LOL I'll see what I can do tomorrow. I love that description of wine; the gym shoe is a classic!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad that helped, Suhail, and I appreciate you taking the time to visit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to do so, Dora, and you are appreciated as well.

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      Shauna L Bowling 9 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, you mentioned that The Mailbag is a low scorer for you, which surprises me, given the amount of comments posted each week. Have you ever looked at the stats to see how many views the Mailbag gets from outside HP and from where they originate?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have not done that, Sha. I guess I could, but honestly, I've never really cared one way or another. I just keep this going because Hubbers seem to find some value in it, as do I. For me that's enough. Most of my real concerns and efforts go into novels these days. The Mailbag is just a way for me to stay in touch with my base and to help others if possible. Maybe I'll do that this weekend just for the heck of it.

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      Martie Coetser 8 months ago from South Africa

      billybuc you are indeed an extremely focused and organized human being.

      Ever thought of publishing the topics raised in this series on a page in your website - titled "Most frequently asked questions by creative writers". With links to the specific hub, of course. Sharing the page frequently in Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc., you may attract a lot of readers and increase your income at Hubpages.

      Now this is merely a suggestion :)

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      Lawrence Hebb 8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I had to smile here, when I read Ann's question I started to do the same, I'd got as far as the first sentence and an idea 'where to go' with it!

      Great stuff.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Martie, amazingly, I've never thought of that. Thank you so much. You just gave me another job to do this week. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think it's pretty common for us writers, Lawrence. Creativity never rests.

      bill

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