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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Seventy-Eight

Updated on December 21, 2015

Let’s Get Right to It

We have a full Mailbag this week so you don’t need any introduction or small-talk from me. Let’s do it!

THE SEASONS AND WRITING

From Blond: “I have a question/thought about seasons in relation to writing. Do you feel that some seasons allow one to be more productive? I ask this because where I live in Brazil, our weather is a constant. 87 degrees every day year round. It doesn't instill a sense of urgency to do anything.”

It’s an interesting question, Blond. Since I’ve never experienced constant 87 degree temperatures there is no way for me to comment on that. I do know I write much more during the rainy season here. I have a tough time concentrating when the weather is nice. There is so much to do on the urban farm when the weather is sunny and warm; less farming to do and less motivation to do the farming when the weather is cold and rainy.

I know weather greatly affects people in a number of different ways, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all that a constant temperature would in some way affect you. We humans are affected by climate much more than we understand.

The Mailbag Continues
The Mailbag Continues | Source

Reading Decline?

From Linda: “Do you think there are fewer readers in the world today and perhaps that is why ebook sales have declined?”

Linda, it’s an interesting question but, unfortunately, there is no definitive, interesting answer. Statistics on the number of readers in the U.S. are sorely lacking. There was a government study in 2014 and at that time they said the number of Americans who annually read at least one book dropped from 78% to 74%, so take that with a grain of salt or a whole damned ton of salt.

I personally think ebook sales have declined because, like all new things, they peaked and now are leveling out to a norm. They were the hot new thing and now they are just “a thing.” Again, grain of salt.

PRE-ORDERS

From Colin: “was wondering what you think about the subject of pre-orders - that is, having a book on sale but not yet released. D'you think it makes any difference to initial sales, or is it a case of the writer being a bit optimistic in thinking he or she can generate interest? (I'm particularly thinking in terms of 'new' writers who don't already have a following).”

Colin, it’s a great question. I just wish I had a great answer. There are no statistics proving that pre-ordering is a better marketing strategy than just the usual book release. My own personal preference is to simply publish and skip the pre-order, but that preference has more to do with impatience than anything else. I wrote the damn thing and now I want it published, end of story.

Can new writers build up interest by doing the pre-order thing? I really don’t think so. An unknown writer has no devoted following other than family and friends, and those people are going to buy no matter what. Building up anticipation with strangers is nearly impossible if you are an unknown writer, no matter how good you are. Remember I said nearly impossible; it can be done but you better be ready to do some serious pre-marketing.

Color in Text

From Brad: “Are you really opposed to the use of color text in novels?Let us say, a dusting of color, rather than a full immersion, or submersion. Maybe, it would be more appropriate in e publishing? Again, not being a reader of fiction, I don't know how important is the internal imagination of the reader interpreting the written word.

BTW, there is a condition where some people see text in colors, it has something to do with the brain wiring. Not sure if it is a bonus, or a bummer.”

Brad, I must be getting old. Oh, wait, I am old. I don’t remember saying I was opposed to the use of color text in novels. Oh well, now that I think about it, I guess I’m not against it or for it. I’m a bit ambivalent about it, quite frankly. I think it would be distracting for me but that is a purely subjective statement. If there are some out there with different brain wiring, as you say, then I guess it is what it is.

I do see this as a problem for publishers and that problem is tied into the cost of printing. Color printing is, I believe, more expensive, so that might be why you never, or rarely, see it in novels.

Trimming the Fat

From M Abdullah Javed: “This hub is a good one, the question about the length of eBook has been dealt intelligently, your personal suggestions adds more meaning to it. I think we need your guidance about trimming and editing the contents. As a writer, every word appears precious, deleting the words need a heavy heart to bear there loss. So how to over come the fear of losing words is an important aspect that need to be addressed. Thanks for sharing valuable questions and there answers.”

M Abullah Javed, I love your statement that every word appears precious. I agree with you and would go a step further and say that every word “is” precious….but….although precious, are they necessary?

Proust wrote a novel that was 1.2 million words and over 3,000 pages. Really? A novel? I wonder if there might have been a little fat to trim in that work of art?

I’m having a little fun at Proust’s expense. Back to the point: Are all the words necessary? Are three adjectives enough or are two more than adequate? Is a sentence clumsy? Is a sentence too long for the mood that is being portrayed? Too short? Is every character necessary? Is every subplot necessary?

An author will always feel as you do, that every word is precious. That’s why an impartial editor is so valuable. They ignore the precious nature of words and concentrate only on what is necessary.

Book Length Again

From Brian: “So if, after I trim the fat, I have a novella of under 40,000 words, what might I do with it if an ebook needs to be at least twice as long? Are not ebooks a profitable to the author market for novellas, assuming mastery of the form? Would I do better to submit a novella to an online literary magazine, in terms of either income or number of readers?”

Brian, from what I understand, novellas do quite well as ebooks. Most of them sell for ninety-nine cents or one-ninety-nine. The length of an ebook is more important when talking about maximum length; those listed as novellas and described as such in the synopsis can do well selling low and selling volume. Again, as I mention to all who ask about selling books, without a good marketing plan it doesn’t make any difference what you wrote or how long it is. Write the book you want to write, write it well and then learn how to market it successfully.

Get it? Structure????
Get it? Structure???? | Source

The Structure of Writing

From Eric: “Wow that numbers breakdown on the length of novels is cool. Who would have thought there was a science to this art? Well that just sets up my question. I know in being a house painter that the prep and setup are 80% of the job. Give me a numerical breakdown as to how much time you spend on the structure of a writing compared to that time spent creating, please. I kind of need a guiding breakdown of what good writers do.”

Eric, it’s just not going to be that easy. Sorry!

Writers are independent cusses on the best of days. I know writers who spend weeks and weeks writing the outline of the novel. They then spend weeks and weeks writing character descriptions. Then there are writers like me who don’t outline at all but do spend time with character descriptions.

So there are a lot of answers to this question and I don’t know which answer you want. I can tell you, for me only, that I spend about two weeks planning the novel, and almost all of that time is spent interviewing my characters until I get a real feel for them as “real people.” Once I know the characters and have a basic plot in my head I just start writing. After that the characters take over and tell the story.

How’s that for nebulous? If you are an “outline kind of guy” then you might spend weeks or even months writing the entire outline of the story, and that wouldn’t be unusual at all.

That’s It for This Week

I had fun; hopefully you had fun. Let’s do it again next week, shall we?

Thanks to all who asked questions. I’ll see you next Monday with some more thoughts on this wonderful craft we call writing.

Merry Christmas to all, or Happy Holidays to all, or Pax Vobiscum to all.

That was exhausting!

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Rajan! Thank you Sir!

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 21 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      It's always educative to read your mailbag Bill. I sure enjoy reading it. Thanks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I hope you have a great time in Georgia....part of my family is from Macon, not that it makes any difference. :) Mr. Green Jeans? Only you would think of that. LOL Thanks for the hugs....love back atcha!

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      Paula 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bill.....I want to try to get to your hubs sooner just so I don't get dizzy going down twenty floor scrolls.........Have been at my son's in GA. not many visits here. I'm sure I wished you & Bev & Gang a Happy New Year.

      So, if I'm so sure, why am I here doing it again? Shhh. keep the secret please. Really hope all is well in the Bill-Bev household. I should mention all your critters too, but you've collected more than Mr. Green Jeans! Peace & hugs & Love...Sis

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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Actually, Lawrence, I'm writing your answer as we speak. :)

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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I think it would be good to look at, but the thought only really crystalized as I read the hub.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, it's interesting you asked that question. Serials have been on my mind all day. Thank you for allowing me to voice my thoughts on it...next Monday. :)

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      After reading this hub I can identify with most of the questions. Last night I was thinking about 'outlines' and realized that over the last few years I've had about half a dozen outlines on my computer that then broke down and never got any further!

      I've noticed a few writers who seem to serialize novels here on HP and then self publish them, to me this might be a way to go (maybe tweaking some of the chapters so you get something 'familiar' yet different) any thoughts on it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I honestly can't remember seeing colored text in a book. I'd be interested to see it and gauge my reaction to it.

      Happy New Year, Glimmer!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 21 months ago

      Interesting question about the use of color in books. Not something I've ever thought about, but I do like color in online text. I think it might be weird to see something in color when reading a book, but hey, it might jazz things up a bit. As for seasonal writing, I like the winters, probably because I'm indoors a lot more and can work on my projects!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's very nice of you, Deb. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Holidays Audrey, and thank you! I think you'll see my writing output lessening very soon.

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      Deb Hirt 22 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hope you're having a great Christmas. You certainly give us Christmas every week with useful material like this.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 22 months ago from California

      Happy holidays to you Bill! Hope you are doing well--I will never understand how you get so much writing done!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Holidays, Larry, and thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! We are having a very quiet holiday season. We'll see all our kids in installments throughout the next week, so no big meal for all at one time...and that's fine. As long as we touch base with them all at some point.

      Merry Christmas to you, my friend. You are appreciated.

      bill

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 22 months ago from Oklahoma

      Another wonderful mailbag.

      Happy holidays, Bill.

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      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      Great mailbag! Printing in colour has another positive; dyslexics have difficulty with stark contrast (black/white). They are able to read with less stress when the page is covered with a coloured overlay, best blue, green, yellow (depending on choice). This lessens the contrast, therefore making it easier on the eye and therefore easier to read, so taking away the stress. There was a time when Irlen lenses were the thing but overlays work just as well! If black print is necessary, it's much better to read it on a cream background.

      However, it would be rather expensive to colour text and I presume that idea involves several colours, though I've never heard of it before. Interesting concept.

      Great to read this; I've been away from hubpages yet again - seem to spend a lot of time catching up!

      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, bill, celebrating with your lovely family. May I wish you all the best of times as well as a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

      My heartfelt best wishes are sent fleeting across the pond.

      Ann

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I'm so sorry to hear about your health issues. That morphine can be nasty stuff. I have had a number of friends who had a tough time after a hospital stay. Feel better soon, my friend, Merry Christmas and thank you for thinking of me.

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      MizBejabbers 22 months ago

      Gosh, Bill, I'm not sure how many mailbags I've missed. I'm just popping in to say "hi". I went into the hospital for "simple" surgery on Dec. 1, and the doctor removed 18 inches of my sigmoid colon. The worst part was coming down off the morphine, resulting in terrible headaches and nightmares. I'm trying to remember some of the nightmares to see if I can make a hub or two, but I think amnesia is kicking in. I'm sobering up now, so I'll try to catch up on the ones I've missed after Christmas. I still have gifts to wrap. So you and Bev have a Merry Blessed Christmas and a Great New Year. I plan to. I'm alive!

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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      Linda Crampton 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the fact that your mailbag hubs answer great questions that I've never thought of. Thanks for another installment, Bill. Merry Christmas to you.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That made me laugh, Flourish. Thanks for that.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jo! I gave up worrying about word count, especially here at HP. I tell it like it is as finish it. I'll let others decide the value in length.

      Merry Christmas once again!

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. Thank you! And thank you for the quick summary of technology with regards to color. That was definitely the abridged version. Just between you and me and the fence post, I doubt the extra cost of adding colored print is terribly exorbitant. I think it's just an excuse the publishing houses use to save any penny they can. :)

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Blond! The rain continues here and I'll gladly share it with you. :) Merry Christmas my friend.

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      FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

      No color in the text for me. If you have to resort to that, the words need tuning up.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 22 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, just thought I'd stop by to dip into this fountain of knowledge. And what a well! About your answer to the question on book length, I have gotten myself in a right state attempting to adhere to a particular word count; now, I just write my story and worry about trimming the fat later. As always exceptional work. Once again, have a fab Christmas.

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      bradmasterOCcal 22 months ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

      I questioned whether you were opposed to color text because in my original broaching of the subject which was previous to the one you are now responding, there was a silence on your part.

      As for the price of printing color text in a book, that is why I suggested E Publishing as the way to go.

      I can see it as a distraction to many people. In technical book, especially those that give a how to on technical computer program, they have used a Visual Approach. Basically, they reproduce what you the user would see on the computer screen, and it gives a step by step process.

      Now, I live in the technical publications, and I am ignorant about fiction novels. Perhaps, the new century children would find it more familiar if color was used in books. They don't even know what is a typewriter, a coin operated pay phone, or a dot matrix printer today.

      I worked on computer systems, even the large IBM mainframes, and the displays were white text on a black screen, and they didn't have lower case characters. Later, they had screens that were inverse, having black characters on a white screen. Then they had some amber, or green screens, although this was still considered monochrome.

      When the IBM PC came out with color on the screen, I was in computer heaven. These computers were running Megahertz speeds instead of Gigahertz, and disk storage was 10 or 20 Megabytes compared to the Terabyte storage of today.

      Mega is a million

      Giga is a billion

      Tera is a trillion.

      Just in case.

      My point is that things change as technology changes, so why not books.

      I really liked it when they started to colorize some of the classic black and white films.

      With technology and e-books, you can make layers of colors for different attention to the text, and you could then also make it just black and white. This is something that you can't do with printed books.

      Now, we even have 3Dimensional printing, it is more like modeling than printing, but that is another change from the old.

      Vehicles today are computer devices with wheels and an engine. Another example of change by technology to the classics.

      I gave the color text a shot, but I won't be blue or get red in the face because it didn't fly. But if it works for some entrepreneur, I might get green with envy. lol

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 22 months ago from Brazil

      Thanks for answering my question, I can surely relate to the work on the farm. I long for some rain when I can have a good reason to stay put and write.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours and I look forward to the next installment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kailey! I can't imagine not writing fiction. I have written my share of non-fiction articles, but a whole book of it? I don't think I could do it.

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      social thoughts 22 months ago from New Jersey

      So many great questions! I miss when I would write fiction. I love reading the questions and answers about those who still do. I just can't bring myself to write it, anymore. The last time I wrote it was for my college classes, and it was fun taking the time to "get to know" my characters while taking walks around my neighborhood. Ah..such a joy! Looking forward to the next installment!

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, let's hope we are both healthy and productive in 2016. If I can do that then I'm a happy camper. Thank you, buddy!

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pop and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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      Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

      ok then, I just said I got more out of the length again.. these bags are so worth the read.. can't wait until what next year brings Happy Holidays!!!!

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      breakfastpop 22 months ago

      I always enjoy these hubs and this one is no exception. I, too, love a rainy day for writing. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I've never seen it either. Now that Brad mentions it, I would love to see it and see how it affects me. :) Merry Christmas dear friend.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vicki! I've always tried for a very personal "voice" when writing, but it's nice to get affirmation like that. Merry Christmas to you!

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, thanks as always for your intelligent comment. I will Google Proust. I'm curious for sure.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aesta, a new writer, an unknown writer, will have a tough time of it. It comes down to marketing and dogged determination.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Merry Christmas, Heidi! Thanks for confirming what I suspected on a number of points. I trust your expertise and my readers should as well.

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      Shauna L Bowling 22 months ago from Central Florida

      The print color question kinda threw me. I've never seen a novel written in anything but black ink. I think any other color would be distracting. My mind just isn't trained to read long text in colors.

      Interesting mailbag this week, Bill.!

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      Victoria Lynn 22 months ago from Arkansas, USA

      I love how you answer all these questions so personably and so helpfully. The question about color in text struck me. I had never thought about it before. Personally, I think it would be distracting. Interesting hub!

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is amazing, Bill, because this was going to be a one-time thing and done. :) Shows you how much I know. Thank you my friend and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thanks for your thoughts. I'm late getting over to your latest. Be patient with me.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I really appreciate that, Letstalk...thank you so much. I don't know where it comes from or how I do it. :)

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      Brian Leekley 22 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks for your good sense answer to my novella ebooks question.

      I read REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST by Proust (more recently translated as IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME) while I was in high school. It was my bedtime reading, two or three pages at a time, for months. I have read many beautiful novels, and that remains a strong contender for most beautiful. It is actually a suite of seven novels that have repeating and varying motifs like the movements of a symphony. It is a slow paced work and definitely not a 'page turner'. (Proust takes seven paragraphs to describe his hero/narrator eating a cookie. To read that passage online, Google on: Proust cookie tea pdf.)

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      Mary Norton 22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      It seems the magic of ebooks has gone after millions have bee published and a number are not written well. There are some though that have made real success. When it engages readers, it will get promoted by the readers themselves. I wonder how true this is as I have no experience. Maybe those who have may make a more intelligent comment.

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      Heidi Thorne 22 months ago from Chicago Area

      Thought as a Christmas present, I'd actually comment on the Mailbag on--dare I say it--the day is posted?

      Re: Writing in the Rain. I LOVE rain. And I am most creative when it is raining. Sunshine doesn't distract me for the usual reasons ("I wish I was enjoying the outdoors!"). Super sunny days are just sensory overload. And with the El Nino rainy winter we're having so far, I should get a lot done.

      Re: Fewer readers. I've seen the numbers, too, that show a decline in the number of readers. But I don't think it's due to ebooks. I'm going to guess that reading directly on the Internet (blogs and the like) has had an impact on the consumption of books.

      Re: Pre-orders. Yep, only works for those authors with an amazing existing fan base. Otherwise, just publish the darn thing!

      Re: Trimming the fat. "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." -- Pascal. Writing "tight" takes time. Editing "tight" takes more time... and the intestinal fortitude to trash what's trite.

      Merry Christmas to you and everyone in the Holland House! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us here on HP!

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      Bill De Giulio 22 months ago from Massachusetts

      Interesting questions this week Bill. The Monday Mailbag has become a staple for many of us. I reckon by now that you've probably answered over 400 questions since the beginning. Amazing! A very merry Christmas to you and Bev.

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      William Leverne Smith 22 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Late arrival... good discussions. I'll vote no on colored text. Hard to read. distracting, expensive in print. Perhaps for limited use in some ebooks for special interests. While on ebooks, agree with our: Marketing is still the key! Have a Merry Christmas, and see you next week!! ;-)

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      McKenna Meyers 22 months ago from Bend, OR

      Bill, you write in a way that everyone feels they know you. That's such an amazing talent.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't remember seeing it, Frank.

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      Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

      billybuc.. before I comment again was just wondering if my first comment went through :(

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      M Abdullah Javed, it is my pleasure. Thank you for the question and blessings to you always.

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      muhammad abdullah javed 22 months ago

      Thanks for answering my query. I am convinced with you Sir. Thanks. The rest of the questions are interesting but the two queries about the season of writing and the reading habit needs our attention. Your answers to those important questions have provided us with a base to discuss them further. Thank for your enlightening answers Bill Sir. Thank you very much.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mona, good to see you again, my friend. Thanks for stopping by. I hope the end to that novel of yours comes soon.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, be the best writer you can be and I'll be a happy peer. :) Thank you my friend and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Marlene. The questions do keep improving; they are keeping me on my toes.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 22 months ago from Philippines

      Hello Billybuc, nice to be here reading you again. Thank you for describing your writing process. The idea that you spend two weeks doing the outline, and then interviewing your characters is most helpful. As you can see, I have not finished my novel two years later. But your articles are seeds that I believe will produce a harvest. Just wish I worked as quickly as nature.

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      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Really cool, the more you teach me about writing the more interesting it becomes. You actually help motivate me to write more, thank you. Your answer to my question was spot on as I really want to be like Bill and your answer told me how -- in a way at least. Merry Christmas

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      Marlene Bertrand 22 months ago from Northern California, USA

      There are always wonderful questions asked on this page and the answers are truly valuable. I really enjoy reading the mailbag.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, thank you so much. I always doubt....probably always will...but affirmation like that definitely helps.

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      drbj and sherry 22 months ago from south Florida

      If you ever doubt, Bill, that you are considered a definitive source of relevant information about hub, story, e-book and novel writing, just refer to the range of questions your adoring followers are constantly asking about. That is a remarkable achievement, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Colin, I think established writers, those with a loyal following, can benefit from pre-orders. The rest of us, I'm afraid, see very little benefit from it.

      Have a wonderful week and thanks for the question.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Melissa! You and me both, my friend. Nice weather is a major distraction for this boy. I get my best work done on days like today, wet and chilly. :) Merry Christmas to you and your family, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Bill. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita, my friend and brother. 90 degrees? it would take more than a bamboo hat to make me comfortable in that weather. :) I'm afraid I've spent far too many years in the chill and dampness of Washington.

      Have a blessed week!

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      Colin Garrow 22 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Great answer to my pre-orders question, Bill - that's kind of the way I was thinking, though I reckon established authors might build a few 'pre' sales if their previous books are already in high demand. I have a little problem with impatience too, but maybe it's a virtue in this case, since making the book available has to be better than having people wait. Cheers.

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      Melissa Propp 22 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday and Happy Holidays! That was a really interesting question about how the seasons or weather might affect you...Being from a place that has all 4 seasons (but winter is the longest!), I think I would find it incredibly distracting to have beautiful warm weather all year round. I would want to be outside absorbing the sun! Maybe that is the bright side to living somewhere cold, you don't mind staying inside and cuddling up with a good book (or laptop for writing) in front of the fireplace.

      Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

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      William Kovacic 22 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Absolutely, Bill. I had fun. I always walk away with something I can use - and I find so many things I really never thought about before that are necessary. Thank you, Mr. Holland, for broadening my vision!

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      manatita44 22 months ago from london

      Well done Bill and Questioners. All great stuff! Javed's question stood out for me, as he is talking about words being precious. Sure right, bro. For many of us. Yes, Bill, I liked your answer too. People tell me that every word of my poems are meaningful. But I also drop some. I suppose I look at them, and chose for most impact or effect, and drop the rest.

      Well, perhaps you can motivate me. I have my Blossoms of The Heart Poetry just sitting there in numbers. I know what to do. But how do I stop writing and get on with it? One for next week. Peace.

      P.S. The sun in Grenada is at least 90 degrees, Bro. Do you think that you will survive there? Come! perhaps I'll lend you a hat made of bamboo or coconut straw. He he.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, John, and Merry Christmas to you and yours down under.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Buildreps. Thank you very much.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eldon, it's always good to hear from you. Thanks for your thoughts on seasonal psychoanalytic. I lean towards your way of thinking on the matter but bottom line, what do I really know? :)

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      John Hansen 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Well Bill, I have read another mailbag. Now I can say, "I came, I read, and went away wiser," in the art of writing. Thank you and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas.

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      Buildreps 22 months ago from Europe

      That was an intelligent and smoothly written mailbag from your side, Bill. As always it's an interesting read! Thanks a lot! :)

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      Eldon Arsenaux 22 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      Greetings Bill.

      Specific questions in this mailbag certainly felt cohesive. Seasons, color, editing, and creation (time) seemed to revolve around a central tenet; that is, how do we rest assured with what we are doing? Is this right. Is this crucial, expedient, etcetera.

      I think readers respond to you because you provide assurances, whilst admitting the subjectivity of your responses. That I admire.

      "Writers are independent cusses on the best of days." I think that's a swell answer in summation.

      Seasonal psychoanalytic. I remember reading a report on the affects of seasons on patients and psychologists. We're not sure why we feel what we feel (though we can claim the contrary), but how we feel is typically more concrete. We don't know why we see a color-as-feeling, but it seems there are forces of feeling at work within the writer's mind that are extrinsic to it. But the brain is not pure causation. You may write a character based on a real person, but of course, that person ceases to be 'real'. Creating structure or character for a story shifts from internal to external, and vice versa. I don't know which works best, but I reckon most've the time it goes beyond my reckoning.

      As always, glad to see your Monday Morning Mailbag gears going. Get mine going too,

      -E.G.A.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I can taste those cookies from here. :)

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      Linda Lum 22 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill - Good Monday morning to you. Another enjoyable read from you (thanks for answering my question). Now, it's time to bake cookies. I'll try to come up with something for next week's mailbag. I love your perspective.

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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you as always, Janine, and Merry Christmas to you and that wonderful family of yours.

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      Janine Huldie 22 months ago from New York, New York

      Aw, wonderful and helpful as always, Bill. Happy Monday and Merry Christmas to you, Bev and your family, as well now!! :)