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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Twenty-Five

Updated on November 21, 2016

An Observation Before We Continue

Some of you have recently remarked that the questions seem to be getting better of late. I don’t know about better, but I do know we are seeing a rush of questions never asked before, and I find that refreshing and helpful to us all.

So keep them coming!

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

Guest Blogging

From Rodric: “I have been getting unfeatured for putting links into my hubs even when the site relates to what the hub is about if the site is my personal site. How do you prove the site is related? I joined Hubpages years ago to help drive traffic to my sites and it worked. Now just need to guest blog and have guest bloggers. When is it appropriate to guest blog or request guest bloggers.”

There are two questions here, Rodric, and I don’t have an answer to the first one. I don’t know what makes the HP staff tick, what makes them happy, or what makes them unhappy. In situations like that, you are best off asking HP directly. Christy Kirwan is pretty good about responding to a question, so start with her.

As for your second question, my answer is the same as something my dad told me long ago…God hates a coward! The appropriate time to guest blog or request guest bloggers is when you decide to do it. I offer to guest blog from time to time on my blog. Some bloggers take me up on it; some don’t. I’m fine with that. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. I also offer my blog to people who want to guest blog, as long as they stick with the writing subject matter. Some take me up on it; some don’t.

Go for it and see what happens.

FORMATTING

From Venkatachari M: “Bill, I forgot to ask something. When you write your novel, in which format do you write it? And to which format do you convert for publishing? I am presently converting all my blog posts on economics subject into word format as amazon publishers need it in word or pdf format. And it is taking a lot of time. The blog posts are in different font size and also in a different style. So, some lines didn't fit correctly when I selected the justified style for the pages. And many gaps developed between lines or phrases. I am fixing each chapter one by one now. And rectified 15 out of 35 chapters (articles). How do you do if you were in my place? You may reply in next mailbag so that others may also get help from it.”

Venkkatachari, I am in no way a tech wizard. I write all of my articles and my novels in Word format. It is recognized by CreateSpace and by Amazon, and I’ve never had trouble converting my articles or novels to another site. Word seems to be the universal that all sites recognize, so my suggestion is you go that route in the future. If you don’t have Word I don’t feel qualified in giving an opinion, but maybe one of the readers will have a better answer.

Hedge your bets and publish both hard copy and eBooks.
Hedge your bets and publish both hard copy and eBooks. | Source

The Future of Ebooks

From John: “I love how the mailbag just keeps going, Bill. It seems questions about writing are just endless. This may be a question you can answer next week. They say the future of books is eBooks (Kindle etc) and that format will eventually take over from hard copies. With the Creative Exiles poetry anthology..every cent of royalties so far (therefore all sales) have been from the hard copy even though it is also available much cheaper on Kindle. Do you find with your novels etc that the traditional hard copies are still much more popular?”

In a word, John, yes! My sales of hard copies far outdistance my Kindle sales. I don’t know why that is but it is. As for the future of eBooks, I’ve read some articles lately that said the market share of eBooks is currently at about 28%, down from 30% a year ago, and some experts feel that eBooks will level out somewhere around 25% of the total market…but accurate information is hard to come by. The percentage of eBooks worldwide is much lower, somewhere in the 12% neighborhood.

I think the only thing we can say, at this point, about eBooks is that they are here to stay, but I truly don’t think they will ever completely replace hard copies. At least I hope they don’t.

MORE ON BLOGGING

From Pete: “I’ve been thinking of creating a blog, but I’m afraid I won’t have the time necessary to devote to it. What do you think, blog or no blog?”

Pete, your hesitation is borne from good instincts. I think blogging has to be consistent, and to succeed in blogging, you also need to be active in the blogging community. Put it all together and it spells TIME! If you don’t have the time to devote to blogging, and to being active in the blogging community, in my opinion you really shouldn’t do it. Wait until you have the time to do it correctly before starting and then giving up in a month.

A blog, or website, is an important part of a writer’s platform, but only if it is done correctly and professionally. Otherwise it can hurt more than help.

Go listen to real people talk
Go listen to real people talk | Source

DIALOGUE

From Mandi: “I’m working on a novel, and I noticed recently that my dialogue seems stilted and awkward. Any tips on correcting it?”

Mandi, my first suggestion is to go listen to real dialogue. Go to a coffee shop, with a digital recorder, and record conversations around you. That is real dialogue. It is not always correct English but it is real. Remember that your characters need to be life-like and real to your readers, and very few of us speak in perfect English. Go listen to real people and then write like them.

One way to break this habit that I have found helpful is to give one of your characters a quirky way of speaking, like a nervous mannerism, or the habit of repeating a particular phrase or word when they speak, like “you know,” or “uh, I don’t know, but uh, like it worked out anyway.” This will break up the monotony and get you out of your rut.

Good luck!

One Piece of Advice

From Elaine: “If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting out in writing, what would it be?”

Elaine, this is the easiest question I’ve fielded in months. My one piece of advice today is the same one I’ve given for years, and it is the same one I’ll give ten years from now. Are you ready for it?

Learn how to write, practice your craft, and then repeat.

I’ve seen a lot of writer-wannabees who never improve. Some of them are great at marketing, they’ve got the fancy website going, they blog like crazy, they make pamphlets and brochures and have business cards, but they are mediocre writers at best. All that promotion may get them great sales of their first book, but I promise you, sales will drop after that, simply because the product they are selling is mediocre.

In other words, you can put a dress on a pig, but at the end of the day, you still have a pig for a prom date.

THAT’S ALL WE HAVE TIME FOR

But I’ll see you all next week, same time, same place, for another installment of the Mailbag.

For those who care, my new novel, “Shadows Over A Hangman’s Noose, is about two weeks from publication. Stay tuned!

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 months ago from New York, New York

      Love all your advice, especially that last one about practicing writing often as I couldn't agree more. And the blogging you summed up perfectly as if you can afford to put the time in, it probably won't pay off by any means. After 5 years now, if I have learned anything about blogging that would definitely be it. Thanks as always for sharing and Happy Monday now :)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 months ago from Norfolk

      Very interesting one this week Billy. I keep on looking at CreateSpace and wonder if it is really the place for my writing. I think the thing that is holding me back is the idea that I have in my head that perhaps I won't be able to use enough images to explain what it is that I want people to understand. For most people who are writing a novel, this would not be an issue but I do wonder if it is the place to write a craft book on. What say you? Happy Monday Billy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, Janine! I think it's an important lesson for all bloggers to learn.

      Have a great week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great question, Sally. I'm going to do some research on that and I'll answer next Monday.

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 4 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      But a pig in a tux? With a wig? Can become president? ;)

      Keep the great content coming!

      -E.G.A.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill. Did you notice that two of your questions today were from fellow hubbers who have published (or soon will have) published books? I think a bit of that might just be a reflection on you. You coach and encourage us. Thank you for that.

      (And thanks also to E.G.A. who made me spill my coffee. Laughter is the best medicine).

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 4 months ago from Fresno CA

      Thank, Bill, for all the really great info. I always love reading these.

      Blessings from California this rainy Monday.

      Denise

    • Duane Townsend profile image

      Duane Townsend 4 months ago from Detroit

      Billybuc you're always an enlightening read.

      Thanks for doing what you do.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 4 months ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning!

      Re: Guest Blogging. I go back and forth about guest blogging. I've done it, but never found it to be the hoped-for traffic driver back to my blog or website. But it can help with search due to backlinks from the host site to your blog.

      Here's how I evaluate the guest blogging situation on both sides of the equation: 1) If invited or considering guest blogging myself, I look at the audience of the host blog. If it doesn't fit, I don't do it, even if the site has a lot of traffic. It has to be the right traffic. 2) I rejected most guest blog pitches when I hosted my own blog because I saw them as being squatters on my blog. You should have seen some of the pitches! Oh my! 3) I eventually adopted a "by invitation only" policy with guest bloggers. That way I could hand pick those that made sense.

      Most importantly, host blogs don't want "writers," they want "experts" to guest blog. So if you're not an expert in the topic of the host blog, your chances are not good to guest there.

      Lastly, I have had some links, even to authority sites, in my hubs deleted by the HP staff so that they could move them to these new network sites. I don't take offense at it. One explanation of why this is happening is that spammy scammy blogs often are loaded with links to outside content that are not from your own posts. These get dinged in search engines. So I think HP is erring on the side of caution to protect traffic on HP and the network sites. Just a thought.

      Re: Blogging and Time. I also tell people not to blog unless they have enough ideas and time to blog weekly for six months to a year. They will run out of creative fuel and end up with a dead blog which damages their online reputation.

      I agree, some really good questions are coming in to the Mailbag. Thanks for giving us all a place to share. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      The questions just keep coming and so do the answers. Another mailbag filled with information to apply. May we all be better writers because of it!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Now that, Eldon, is funny! LOL

      Have a Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure, Linda. I almost spit out my coffee when I read Eldon's comment.

      As for other writing books, if I've helped them I'm a happy man. Wait, I'm already a happy man! Well then I'm happier. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      In-between showers here, Denise, but they will for sure return.

      Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's my pleasure, Duane, but thank you for the kind words, and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There you go, folks, Heidi has spoken and you all need to pay attention.

      Thank you Heidi. Stay warm and safe and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Glad the questions keep rolling in to the mailbag every week. I think writers are by nature an inquisitive bunch, so I don't see any reason for this mailbag ever being empty!

      We just had our very first snowfall of the season, but it was gone by the next morning...Hope you have a VERY thankful Thanksgiving!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      HaHa, Eldon is a funny dude. I'm with you concerning eBooks. I do not like them. Another interesting and informative mailbag.

    • Madoline Balle profile image

      Madoline Balle 4 months ago

      Venkatachari M - I am currently using Word and Google Docs for my writing. I save full copies in both, because Google makes it easier to convert to pdf. I have yet to discover which works better, but when I do, I will share.

      Billybuc- I love the mailbag! Thanks for taking your time to answer questions. :)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 4 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always interesting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 months ago from England

      Great advice as always Bill, and to be honest I am not surprised about ebooks. we are a funny species, we get something we love and then we hang onto it for grim death! lol! we love our proper books that we can hold, turn the page and smell the newness off it, goodbye ebooks, sadly.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 months ago from USA

      I like the answer to the last question. There are some well known authors who are simply well marketed and not good writers. I read one book but they didn't fool me twice.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No snow here, Melissa, and for that I'm grateful. Thanks, as always, for being here, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I hang with quality people. What can I say? :) Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Madonline, thanks for sharing that about Google Docs. Good info and I, for one, appreciate it. Come back real soon, and Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 4 months ago from Europe

      I agree that this installment is getting better. Thanks for the update, Bill.

      I wish you a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Larry, and you are always appreciated. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My thoughts exactly, Nell. It's strange for sure but also very real. Give me the smell of a real book any old day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! I have this thing against James Patterson. LOL I readily admit I'm not a fan and never will be...anyway, the same is true of first-time writers or experienced writers...quality counts!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Buildreps, and I wish you a great week as well. Thank you!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 4 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      I buy very few hard copy books anymore. I love them, but they take up too much space. I buy the ones I will read again. I buy the ones from my favorite authors. The rest I buy ebooks. I have carpel tunnel and other nerve damage in my hands and it hurts to hold a book. I have a tablet that I haul with me every place I go. It fits in my purse and I have hundreds of books on it. It does not hurt my hands to hold the tablet, because of small size and light weight. I do not have to hold pages open either. That is why I have ebooks. I had just about quit reading books anyplace but at a table when I got it. Now I am back to my 3-4 books a week.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 months ago

      Great mailbag today, Bill, some great questions and some great answers.. I'm wondering about the future of ebooks, too. When I want to permanently keep a book, I buy the hard copy. Many people don't know that when they buy the ebook, they are not buying the book, just the right to read it. I can lend that hard copy to anyone I please, or give it away, but it is illegal to do that with ebooks, and that does not seem fair to me. When you die, heirs don't inherit your ebook collection like they do your hard copies. We need to educate writers about this and ban together to get the laws concerning ebooks revised.

      Before anyone goes to a public place and begins recording conversations, I would advise them to read this article. There are state and federal privacy laws that govern this, and they differ from the laws governing photography and ownership of images taken in a public place.

      http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/recording-phone-ca...

      I think you are doing a great job educating us about the modern publishing industry, friend Bill. Keep it up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Becky, good to see you again. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience about ebooks. Makes perfect sense to me and I'm so glad you found a way to read books painlessly.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, thanks for sharing that article about recording conversations. Very helpful and I did not know that. I stand corrected. How about if nobody catches me doing it? LOL

      Happy Thanksgiving, my friend, and thank you!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 months ago

      A fellow employee was terminated for recording without permission of the person speaking. It's real tricky, so please don't get caught. It really is serious business, and I wouldn't want to have to take up a collection to make your bail. LOL

      Hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, MizB. I'll be careful and I appreciate the advice.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      I read for the information and inspiration, but sometimes I get answers to questions I should ask. Great service here, Bill. Thank you.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      An approach to formatting 35 chapters all done in different fonts and styles would be to combine them all into one file (Word) then change the whole thing to one font and style. It would be tedious, but likely much quicker than fixing each document then combining.

      You have this mailbag thing down to a science.

      And I just looked at your Hub, about Mistakes Writers Make on HP. 138 comments and counting. You have stirred up a hornets nest. A couple of years ago, I unfollowed a couple hundred people, as I could no longer do their work justice.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for answering my question, Bill. I personally have never purchased an eBook. I have downloaded a few free copies of very old classics etc but still haven't got around to reading them. I love the smell and feel of holding a book in my hand and physically turn the pages. I understand where Becky is coming from though. If people have carpel tunnel or arthritis etc, eBooks would be much easier. So they have their place. Other questions were interesting too.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! You are appreciated, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Mike, for the suggestion about font and styles. Good information! As for commenting, we all do what we can, and I'm going to delete quite a few very soon.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Mike!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the question, John, and the comment. I have only read one ebook and it drove me crazy to do so, and we don't need me any crazier than I already am. Unless I have physical reasons for reading an ebook, it won't be happening.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 4 months ago

      I love your advice about writing authentic dialogue. I have read so many books, too many, where the dialogue is awkward and actually painful. I write dialogue from time to time, and I am still not satisfied. I'll keep practicing and hanging out with real people.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 4 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Interesting to read the questions and how you replied. The first story from Rodric relates to me. I have one UN-featured hub and tried editing it several times but it stays UN-featured. I have already many links going to this post and have already well over 230 visitors, so for now I just leave it. I joined Hubpages 3 years ago to help drive traffic to my Novels but never knew about the earnings. Today I will keep adding articles if I feel like it, but I rather add post to my blogs since they are not plastered with adverts. My blog post does have links to my hub articles, but more as a service to my blog followers for extra reading if needed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's not easy to do, Pop, so you aren't alone in your frustration. I struggle with it daily and I've got ten books under my belt, so hang in there and keep up the great work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great information, Nadine, and I thank you for it. Honestly, I've never cared about HP and their criteria. I don't care if I'm featured. I'm only here to be a part of the community and to practice my writing. Period!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 4 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I have the word document and used to do work in it. But while blogging, I create all my posts in blogger or at HP, I directly write into the text capsules without going to word. So, I had got this problem of converting the blog posts into word now. But, thanks, Bill for replying to my question and for the advice to do them in word in future. I will follow this advice from now onward.

      The questions are all interesting in this one also and you replied befittingly.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 months ago from Central Florida

      I'd like to add to your response to Venkatachari's question regarding formatting. When you choose the justified format, it creates spaces in order to make the left and right margins even. This is why it doesn't translate well when moving to a publishing format. Everything I've ever read about formatting the written word is to use the left justified option. If you look at all these comments and even the article itself, they are justified to the left only.

      Happy Thanksgiving Bill, Bev and all your readers!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. I'm glad you found the answer and discussion helpful. Blessings to you always, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a bunch, Sha, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your son. You are appreciated greatly, dear friend.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Bill your mailbags always have great advice and things to consider. This is about the third Monday in a row that I am beginning to realize that I am starting to have problems catching each week by the tail. I am now in the process of attempting to create a schedule for myself which might or might not make things easier for me. If I run into any trouble or have any problems you know I will be asking you some questions. In the meantime hope you and Bev and your wonderful menagerie have a Happy Thanksgiving! Bless you all.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 months ago from California

      What a great mailbag! Have you put any pictures or graphics in your books? Thinking about doing that in a chapbook and struggling with formatting--I hope you and Bev have a great holiday in case I forget to tell you that--you are always an inspiration to me and I thank you for that

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your mailbag hubs are always interesting and useful. I know I've said that before, but it's always true! Thanks for continuing to create more installments, Bill. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A brilliant write here. Tips for all writers and lots to ponder on about writing a book. Practice is definitely the way to improve on that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rasma, I'm always here, my friend, so if you need help I'm a message away from you.

      Thank you so much, and even in Latvia, I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey no, I never use pictures or graphics. It appears to be relatively simple to do, but for me, it also appears daunting. :) Happy Thanksgiving my dear friend, and thank you for adding to the beauty of the world with your poetry.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, that is very sweet of you to say, so thank you very much for your loyal following.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure it is, DDE! Thank you so much, and may blessings follow you wherever you go.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 4 months ago from New Jersey

      Bill,

      So many good questions and great answers, this week! I found connections in all of them.

      Have a great week. I hope you have some nice family time!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks, Kailey. I hope the rest of your week is, at the very least, tolerable, but let's shoot for happy. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 4 months ago from london

      A great write and very interesting questions, Bill. I did comment twice, including a piece to Venkatachari M yesterday. But they have both disappeared. Love to the family at this time of giving thanks and praise.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill your comment about not being a James Patterson fan gave me an idea for a question. He, and it seems an increasing number of writers seem to co-author books e.g. James Patterson and Andrew Gross, Steven King and Peter Straub etc. Do you think both authors actually collaborate on the writing of these books, or does the lessor known author write the story and just have the more famous author add his name to increase sales? I can't imagine how Patterson for instance can publish books so frequently, maybe he employs others to write books in his name as well. I have read a few and they don't always seem like they have been written by the same person.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita! There seems to be a problem with comments. I've had trouble answering the comments. HP gremlins at work.

      Happy Holidays my friend, and blessings always!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, I was talking to Bev about this last week. My own personal opinion is that the unknowns do most of the writing, but it's worth looking into, so I shall, and an answer is forthcoming. Thanks, buddy!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 months ago from Brazil

      Interesting mailbag questions, I can relate to the dialogue not sounding correct, sometimes the author will go back and forth between characters, unnecessarily. Recently I nearly tossed a book down because of the poorly written conversation. His characters couldn't speak more than one sentence at a time. I felt like the author was just trying to use up page space.

      I have a question for an upcoming mailbag. What are your thoughts on virtual assistants? You've always said that a writer has to wear many hats if they go the self publish route, marketing being one which is necessary. To expand the marketing reach what would you see as a point at which one would hire in extra help, if ever.

      I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, we did have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope the same for you. Thanks for the question. Never had that one in almost three years. Nicely done! Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Another great week for the mailbag Bill. Will make this short as we are getting ready to board. One comment, I have given serious consideration to starting a travel blog, and at some point I am certain that I will. The reason I haven't gone down that road yet is exactly the point you brought up, TIME. Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, despite what the Rolling Stones said, time is not on our side. :) Happy travels, my friend, and I hope that travel book of yours is written soon.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      It is just plain rewarding to read the mailbag. Thankyou.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Eric, and thank you for always being here when I deliver the mail.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 months ago from SW England

      Hi bill! On the subject of e-books, I love them for holidays because I can pack a load and they still only take up the space of one kindle! However, better than 'real' books? Never! Holding a book, being able to flick back and forth with ease if necessary, just the smell and feel of one, cannot be replaced. A book is a friend, it sits on the shelf and keeps you company, it has a wonderful cover and it can be in hard or paperback copy. You can't put an e-book on the bookcase.

      Lately I've heard several broadcasts on the radio saying that a substantial majority of people are still buying the real thing and that it looks like the trend isn't going to change; far from it, it seems, as you say, that e-books have an even smaller percentage of sales this year.

      In short, they have their place but are no substitute for the age-old, tried and tested, well-loved book. In hundreds of years, what are people more likely to find - an old book or an old kindle? Enough said.

      I seem to be reading your mailbags backwards but at least I'm getting there. Hope you have a great week, bill!

      Ann

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, good morning from snowy Olympia. I love your statement "a book is a friend." I think that says it all perfectly. I can't imagine life without my friends. :)

      Happy Monday dear friend, and thank you for weighing in on the book controversy.

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      Dianna Mendez 3 months ago

      Interesting note on the future of ebooks. I still prefer hard copy but I am from an older generation. If they could replicate a hard copy virtually that feels and reads like the real thing -- now that would catch my interest.

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      True, Dee, but until they invent such a thing, I'll just keep reading hard copies. Thanks a bunch.

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      Lawrence Hebb 3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Great stuff here. So I'm not unique in seeing more hardcopy sales than I expected!

      I just think people enjoy the feel of a book in their hand, I know for me, having a Kindle app on the phone is great, but still feels a bit 'odd' reading a book that way, especially if I've used most of the battery writing or replying to comments, it's just nice to dig into my bag and pull out a real book!

      Ive also struggled with time for the blogging. Not sure what the answer is but at the moment I'll just keep doing what I can, and write a blog post when I can.

      Lawrence

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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Larry. Struggle is our middle name as writers, so you must be doing something right. :)

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      Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      You are right about practicing. When I was writing my thesis, my mentor was upset about my first submissions so I finally sat down with him, analyzed a paragraph and started writing my paragraphs based on his recommendation. I sometimes forget to follow those insights when I write rapidly but when I do, I am often assured the article would be good.

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's good advice, Aesta, and I thank you for sharing your experience. Happy New Year to you.

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      Lawrence Hebb 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Just reading the comment by aesta today reminded me of something I read in John le Carre's book 'The pigeon tunnel'.

      He said the toughest editors he ever worked with weren't in the publishing industry, they were the 'classically trained, public school educated senior people at MI5!!!

      He said he learned more about how to write from those reports than any writing class!

      It just shows, when writing, let's use all we've been taught!

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great story, Lawrence. I still remember lessons the nuns taught me in elementary school. We are a conglomerate of all the lessons taught to us over the years. Mix in a little life experience, and passion, and you've got a writer.

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      Lawrence Hebb 2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Amen to that:-)

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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Lawrence!

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