ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Sixteen

Updated on October 13, 2014

And Here We Go Again

The wildly popular question and answer series continues. Well, okay, maybe not wildly popular, but this writer can dream, can’t he?

As long as I’m having fun then we’ll continue with these installments. Hopefully, in time, the rest of you will have fun as well.

So let’s get started. I received some great questions this week, and I supplied some almost-great answers, so let’s take a look at them all.

For those of you unfamiliar with the format, you ask questions and I answer them. You can ask them in the comment section below, or you can ask them on my website at www.williamdhollandauthor.com. Either way works for me and will work for you.

It is time, then, to begin.

Welcome back to the Writer's Mailbag
Welcome back to the Writer's Mailbag | Source

Judging a Book By Its Cover

From Brenda: “Bill, how important do you consider the cover of a book to be?”

Very!

Next question, please.

Okay, I’ll be serious.

The first thing a potential book-buyer sees when they are perusing the bookshelves is the cover. If they like the cover they will pick up the book and read the synopsis on the inside of the front cover. If they like the synopsis they will open to the first page and read a few paragraphs, and if they like those paragraphs they will buy the book.

What was the first step in that process?

The cover!

If you are self-publishing, which Brenda is doing, then either pay to have the cover professionally designed, or do it yourself in a professional manner, but spend time on the cover and treat it with the importance that it deserves.

Business License

From Melanie: “I was wondering, if I make money (but not much) writing and doing surveys, then do I need to get a business license? When I did my taxes and put the amount I made in, it asked for my business license, but I don't have one.”

This is another of those questions that has no easy answer. Let’s start this discussion by saying I am not a lawyer or tax expert. What I’m going to tell you here is based on my own experience and the limited research I have done on this subject.

Suggestion #1: check your local and state laws regarding licensing. In many cities, and I would dare to say most cities, a freelance writer who writes under their own name, and not a business name, does not need a business license. That doesn’t mean they don’t have to pay taxes; it simply means they are not a formal business. You still claim income on your income tax statement, but you list it as miscellaneous income and use your social security number as your business identification number. I have been a freelancer for three years now, and I do not have a business license. I have filed my tax reports claiming income, and have never been questioned about it. I suspect, however, if I were wildly famous, and making millions, then I would be noticed by the IRS rather quickly.

The IRS doesn’t really care what you call yourself, as long as they get their tax dollars. The ones who care are your local governments who collect the licensing fees….so…what they don’t know won’t hurt them…or play it safe…there are arguments for both approaches.

Having said all that, I am going to get an individual business license in the near future. Call it playing it safe if you will. Call it a desperate search for legitimacy. Call it whatever you like, but I’ll feel better having one. I say individual business license because my wife and I do have a business license for our “publishing company,” Mutare Enterprises….so you might say I’m playing it both ways in this discussion.

130,000 words is probably too long
130,000 words is probably too long | Source

Does Length Matter?

No, not that length. Get your minds out of the gutter, please.

From Lucy: “Does the length of a book matter? I’m currently writing a book, but I don’t know how long it should be.”

At first, this may appear to be a silly question, but in reality it is not.

If you are trying to get published by a traditional publisher, then 100,000 words seems to be the word limit they embrace. Anything more and it starts to cut into their profit line when talking about the expense of actually printing the book.

If you are publishing an ebook, then I say “hell no, it doesn’t matter.” The book should be as long as you need it to be to tell the story adequately, and not a word longer or shorter.

Of course, if you are a best-selling author with a great track record, then nothing I just said applies. Write a thousand-page book and people will buy it simply because you are a proven winner. I’m sure there were publishers who didn’t want to touch the offerings of James Michener until he became successful, and all of a sudden “Centennial” and “Hawaii” looked like winners.

EDITING

From Maria: “How much does it cost to have your book edited?

So many answers, and so little time.

If you edit yourself, then it costs nothing. Of course, if you edit your own book, you have a fool for an editor, so there you go.

Okay, I’m done being silly. Here’s the thing: you can, of course, edit your own book, but I promise you will miss things. I promise!

You can have a family member or friend edit, but I promise they will miss mistakes. I promise!

Or you can pay a professional editor to edit your book, and chances are they will miss very little, and it will cost you. How much? An average figure seems to be about $25 per hour. A good editor can edit about ten pages in an hour, so divide ten into the number of pages that your book has, and multiply that answer by $25 to get an approximate cost.

I said an average figure. You can find editors who will do the job for less, and you can find editors who will charge more. Shop around, but remember the old adage, “you get what you pay for.”

Do something else when your brain isn't cooperating
Do something else when your brain isn't cooperating | Source

Brain Blockage

From Pete: “I’m stuck on a part of my book. Without getting into specifics, there is a situation one of my characters is facing, and I’m not sure what to do and how her response will affect the rest of the book. What should I do to un-stick my mind?”

How many writers out there have experienced the same thing as Pete? Let’s see a show of hands. Quite a few, as I suspected.

This falls under the category of shoulda, coulda, and woulda. This is where an outline of your story comes in pretty darned handy. If you have a detailed outline of your novel, then you won’t get stuck….but….most of us do get stuck, and few use a detailed outline to write a book, so, Bill, give us the answer, please!

Fine, you don’t have to be snippy.

What I do when a brain fart overcomes my creative process is I walk away from it. I close out my Word doc and I leave it alone. I tackle other projects, or I go for a walk, or I take a nap. A funny thing happens when I walk away from the problem. My subconscious mind never lets go of the problem, and even though I might be chopping wood, the problem is being tackled without me really thinking about it. Then I’ll be eating dinner and the solution will just pop into my head.

Honestly!

You are too close to the problem, Pete. Walk away!

Are these articles helpful to you?

See results

More Next Week

I’m having fun, you’re having fun, the whole darned bunch of us is having fun, so I’ll have a new installment of the Mailbag for you next Monday. In the meantime, I want you thinking of some great questions so I can be thinking of some adequate-but-not-great answers to those questions.

TTFN

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, as always, Deb. :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      More good info, as always!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Besarien, thank you and it's nice to see you again. I'm glad you figured out that up button, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 3 years ago

      Hi again biilybuc! I'm not qualified to critique from a writer's standpoint obviously, but from a reader's perspective, I think you are nailing this! Especially appreciated your response to bradmaster's question.

      I have often seen a little smart breaking of the rules convey a lot of information elegantly. You are right though that less is more. I started Push by Sapphire when it first came out. Page upon page of misspelling effects on top of the dark emotional content stomped my enthusiasm flat.

      Once again, thank you so much for hubbing writer's Q and As. These are an invaluable resource for us constantly on the hunt for ways to improve. I am so new I don't even know my questions yet, but am learning a lot from what others ask. I did just figure out today how to vote up. So, voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Social...sorry about losing the comment last night on your hub....I said I would have proudly sat next to you in the coffee shops of the 60s and helped change the world. :) High compliment my friend.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 3 years ago from New Jersey

      These questions and your answers give me a lot to think about! Thank you. I hadn't even considered how being a paid writer (outside of a corporate setting) can impact taxes. I should have! I love the part about how getting away from our writing can help it. That was a common conversation in many of my writing classes in college. Once we're on autopilot we find the answer(s)!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, thanks for the question, and the answer will be in Monday's installment of the mailbag, but for right now, the quick answer is no, I never refer clients to HP. Most editors, agents, and publishers do not take HP seriously, plus they are much too busy to be following links to another site. :)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Billy,

      Your latest hub sent me over here to ask a question - unrelated to this hub, apologies for that, but one for the above series.

      I am curious - do you ever send prospective clients to HubPages to view your writing or do you always send an enquiry letter with the proposed project or article?

      Thank you

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, I love interacting with my "peeps" on HP. What better way to spend a day? Thank you and I hope you are having a splendid Sunday.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      The vote is in: we are still having much fun reading your posts on this series. So glad you are not tired of writing them. Thanks again for the wise words of advice.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, DDE! Thank you!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Your hubs are always helpful and interesting. It enlightens readers thoughts about writing and more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda. I appreciate it.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Way to go, Bill...I appreciate your mailbag...lots of useful information :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma and I hope the computer problems get corrected soon. I appreciate you and I'm glad you find these helpful.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you so much for these Bill. I'm keeping note of the ones that are most important to me. Once my PC problems are behind me I'll be tackling that poetry e-book. Hope your week is going great. Looking forward to more and passing this on.

    • mathira profile image

      mathira 3 years ago from chennai

      billy,

      Yet another useful installment for me. I always had doubts about how much words an eBook should have. You clarified it. I did not know that the look of the cover meant a lot. You have made me aware of it. Still a long way for me to go. At least some light to show me how I should do it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, vkwok. I hope my light keeps shining for a number of years, and that you keep finding it worthy of following.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for always being our guiding light, Bill!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      As always this was informative and great fun to read, both of it in ample amounts. Thanks my friend.

      It is always an education and a pleasure being here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you klidstone. It's always a pleasure having you stop by.

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 3 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      "If you edit your own book, you have a fool for an editor." Best line ever, Bill! I just love the humour. The information is pretty damn good, as well. Thank you. :))

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad this was helpful, mathira. Thank you for visiting this morning.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doris, I just love writing and I love this community. How could I not have fun? :) Thank you!

    • Doris Dancy profile image

      Doris H. Dancy 3 years ago from Yorktown, Virginia

      Hi Billy, I can tell you are having a lot of fun with this and that makes us smile and have fun with you. Besides, your answers are awesome and 100% right from my perspective. Stay cool.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, I always love having you stop by and drop some important comments. You are right of course...treat it like the business it is. Thank you my friend, and I hope your week is progressing nicely.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Good advice to check on one's state/county/city business licensing laws. As well, even writers will need to decide what business structure (proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC, S-corp) they will need. Each one has various tax advantages and disadvantages, in addition to various legal protections. Consult a CPA and/or a business attorney for more information and advice. Yep, if you're gonna get real about writing as a business, be a business!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so mucuh ChitrangadaSharan. I'm glad you are enjoying this series.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I'm learning as well.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Another informative and important hub with questions and answers, which are relevant to all writers.

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm learning a great deal from your Writer's Mailbag, Bill. Thanks for creating it and for continuing to add to it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So glad you are enjoying this, Dora. I am too. Thank you!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is serious fun--the best kind where we have fun while we learn. Great job, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, you are very welcome. I love my followers. Great questions inspire me.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Iris, I will...the next one is just about done. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Merrci. I'm glad you found this entertaining and useful.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      This was my first, but I can see I will have to go back and read prior installments. Fun and interesting! And nice of you to do it too.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      More good stuff, Bill. Honestly, some of the questions I would have never thought of, but they're all things we need to know and can learn from each other. Of course, what good is a question without an answer? So thank you for supplying the other half of the equation. Well done, my friend.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Yep. Keep these coming, Bill. I always look forward to them.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Rhonda. I don't know where I came across that nugget, but I've heard it several times since then. There must be some truth in it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mari, you crack me up. I've never heard that before, so if you coined it, nice job. :)

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Great tips and advice, as per the norm. I'm loving the one about the word count limit and how it cuts into publisher's profits. That's a good one and I of course had no idea. Can't wait for the next installment!

    • profile image

      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      The length of a book is just about as important as the length of a hotdog. It doesn't matter. It just has to feed me. Thanks, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, you are never late to my party. I saved you a seat because I knew you would make it. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, I don't think that is strange at all, mainly because it happens to me. There are times I need to just get out of the way and allow my characters to tell the story in their own words....and thank you for being here faithfully.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Billybuc.. yes I may be late to this installment..but Im still as educated..:) I love these installments and will not miss one...:)

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      First, I do have to agree with your intro and say this series is wildly popular. I enjoy it so much, I look forward to signing into HP every Monday after work just so I can read your newest words of wisdom.

      What to do about brain block? I'm one of those people who even if I had a detailed outline, I'd still get stuck at least once somewhere along the line. Usually I walk away for a few minutes and one of my characters will scream at me to do this or that. Yes, it's strange, but my characters do talk to me in my head. Twice that has caused me to make a big change in part of the plot, but it worked out in the end. I have some pretty smart characters.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Bill, that's one heck of a question, and something I've never thought about....I will try...thanks for the challenge.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Michelle. Have a great week my friend and yes, I think an ebook on this topic might be happening.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary. What a unique title for a book...I'm glad it is doing well for your daughter.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Another good week of questions and answers. These short ones add up nicely. I'm still "in the dark" about what constitutes a "good cover" - everyone, including me, says you "have to have one!" I only know one when I see one… I can't describe what it is. Are you willing to try? Maybe next week! THANKS! ;-)

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Bill this installment wrapped up many of my questions - from the cover to the editing costs. You surely have us waiting for that Monday bit of information. Maybe think about combining the questions and your responses for a self-help book :) Have a great week. Until next time.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      I don't believe I will ever write a book, but my daughter wrote about the lost art of barbering. I and some of her friends did the editing. She self published the book, and it is doing fairly well.

      I admire anyone who can write a book (you included, of course)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      manatita, thank you. I'll tackle your question in next Monday's installment. I appreciate it my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, it's really amazing how that happens, but it does, in fact, happen. Thanks for sharing that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dr Billy, I haven't seen the research, but I know it is true. I have my experience to "prove" it.

      As for the outlining, I have learned to do it, although mine is a bit rough compared to many.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Much-appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, have a great extra day off. Sigh! On holidays I miss having a regular job, but that's the only time. LOL

      Thanks for reading this wildly popular series. :)

      Enjoy your restful Monday.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, you make a very, very valid point, and your example of the Horse Whisperer is right on. I loved the movie; not so much the book. Thanks for that observation.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      Thanks Bill.

      Great stuff as usual. Here is my question: Can you make this Publishing business work? What can of genre are you trying to attract and can you deal well with the marketing aspects?

      Another excellent write in these series. Shalom!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Yes indeedy your hubs are helpful. I can relate to walking away, then all of a sudden, I remember whatever it was I needed. Funny how that happens....

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Bill, thanks again for the fun Writer's Mailbag.

      Llet's emphasize the outline more. Some professionals write a screenplay first and then translate that 100 page outline into a novel. When you do a screen play, you have first ten pages called the "tunnel" to get the main character introduced and put him and her into the predicament that he or she will face in the story. Then, the story shifts to getting the main character in a worse or more panic-like situation.

      With novels, in particular, if you cannot do the outline, then you don't know the storyline. The outline should be your discovery process, where the character comes alive with a personality. That personality (to get to the question asked) will handle the situation in a particular way. You should be able to picture it like a movie running through your head.

      As far as "sleeping on it," I found that my unconscious mind solves the most troubling things in my sleep. And it wakes me up at 4 am and I write it down. Sometimes in the morning it takes me a while to understand what I wrote (bad penmanship).

      The underlying psychological issue here is that the unconscious mind can deal with about 12 issues at once. The awake time mind and only deal with 3 or 4 issues at a time. This is true stuff, from the research on it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I have no idea how the brain works. I'm just grateful that it does. :)

      Great question about illustrations. I'll get back to you next Monday on that.

      Sending you the warmth of friendship on this Monday.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I would have grabbed that book to. Kind of like a pet rock. LOL Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jo! Mutare is Latin, I believe, and it means "change." Long, long story after that. Maybe I'll write about it one day.

      Have a great week my friend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Dear Bill,

      I am so glad you are having fun with this "wildly popular" series of yours, and that is really all that matters, plus coupled with the fact that it is helpful to many! So, it just doesn't get any better than that in my mind.

      I am enjoying a long weekend, so I have this Monday off. Yay!

      The questions posed are wonderful and your answers are as well.

      Hope your Monday is peaceful.

      Blessings always

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I'm enjoying these installments! People are asking some really pertinent questions. And you're doing a fine job of answering. I can think of a great example of someone who had an experience like Pete but chose (in my opinion) the wrong way out. In The Horse Whisperer, the main character of the book who is a real person by the way, commits suicide at the end. It was totally out of character and I think the author did it for shock value, but to me it took away the essence of the whole character and thus, the whole book. The director of the movie that starred Robert Redford changed the ending and again, in my opinion did a much better job of portraying the character. It doesn't happen often, but in this instance, the movie ending was better. How the characters relate to circumstances has to jive with their own personalities.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      It's amazing how one's mind can work things out when it's left to its own devices; almost as though it doesn't need you - "Don't pester me and I'll get back to you when I'm ready"! I can back up that answer of yours because I know it works. Those fantastic computers in our heads do magic whilst we're busy doing just about anything else.

      I have a question for you. What do you think about illustrations within adult fiction, either drawings or photos?

      Hope your Monday is wonderful & that the week continues that way, bill.

      Ann

    • Ericdierker profile image

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

      A grand job indeed here. I saw a plain brown paper bag type for a cover once. I grabbed it but the book stank. They had me with the cover but lost me with the title.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      JD, thanks for the giggle, priceless! Bill, another beauty, you were right first time, your mailbags are definitely a big hit. The questions are always appropriate and useful and your answers always interesting and fun to read, oh yeah.. and pretty awesome. :) So ..Mutare Enterprises hey?..Sounds good, tell us more.

      Have a lovely day, my best always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LMAO...DJ, we have to meet one day. I swear you are the funniest human being alive. Settle down...I believe, and I've said this before, that quality writing will always win the day...so keep writing my friend and screw the length. :)

      Weekend is gone....blessed Monday is upon you.

      bill

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Mailbag Monday, so soon? Where does the time go??

      Who is that masked creature in front of the snow laden trees?

      So, NOW you tell me that anything over 100 thousand words may not be

      the length a 'publisher may embrace'? Surely, you jest! Couldn't you have thought to tell us this, oh, I don't know, maybe 30 thousand words ago!!?? You mean, I could have just said, "He went to war, and came home."

      Wait a minute....you probably meant to say anything over 100 thousand PAGES. That's what you meant to say. Isn't it?? Before you answer, I

      think it is only fair to tell you my right eye is twitching and beginning to itch. My toes are tapping and there is no banjo music playing.

      Be very gentle in your answer, Mr. Bill. This has been the weekend from hell!!

      Thank you,

      DJ. ^..^

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      bradmaster, what a great line at the end of your comment....window dressing for books, is the sizzle for the meat. That says it all my friend. Thank you!

    • profile image

      bradmaster from orange county ca 3 years ago

      billybuc

      I don't read recreational books, I only read technical books that will help me in my job or some how useful.

      I prefer movies to novels.

      Having said that, when I go to the book stores, I will glance at fiction when I see an interesting cover. What amazes me when I see thousand of books in the store, and I wonder how they pick which books make it to the store.

      I also wonder, how many of these books will never be taken off the shelf, not even for a perusal.

      My wife is an avid reader of books and the newspaper. While this is not my thing, I have been pretty successful in buying her new novels that she likes. These were my picks from authors she had not previously read, or sometimes even heard about them.

      So, in my case the front and back covers of non fiction books are very important to me. It doesn't mean that, I will buy the book. But, it is the reason I will take it off the shelf, and investigate it further.

      I used to read before I went to college, but after two hundred and fifty semester units, I was burnt out on reading books.

      I realize that text books are not the same as reading for pleasure, but I don't really get involved in fiction. I envy the way my wife can get totally absorbed in her books. She likes mysteries, and intrigue stories, and she becomes part of the story.

      Window dressing for books, is the sizzle for the meat.

      Thanks

      bradmasterOC

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All true, Sha, and you took the correct and safe path for sure. One would do well to read your comment if they are considering being a writer...that's the way to do it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Melissa....I have no artistic ability at all, so it is good there are those out there who can help me with covers. I'm just a writer. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I appreciate you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Brie...mine collect dust too, but they feel good. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks breakfastpop, and I will.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, when I decided to work for myself I filed for a Fictitious Name. I paid $60 and that secures my business name for five years before I have to renew. I then took that to my city and got an occupational license. It cost me $105 and must be renewed every year. The only reason I went through this process is so I can deduct business expenses and a portion of my overhead since I have a dedicated office in my home. I fill out all W-9 forms using my name (not the business name because I don't have a separate bank account for the business) and social security number, as sole proprietor. My SS number is also the number that appears on Schedule C Profit or Loss From Business and Form 8829 Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, which are attachments to my Individual Tax Return.

      Without having the Fictitious Name in place I wouldn't be able to take these deductions. I'm sure some people do, but I don't need the IRS breathing down my back. This makes it all legal and raises no flags with Uncle Sam.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Very interesting stuff this week. In regards to the cover, there are a LOT of artists out there who are selling their services for not too expensive. I've seen them being sold for as cheap as $5 (on fivver) up to $300-400. Obviously, you get what you pay for...but for someone who really has no money to invest and no talent at completely creating the covers by themselves, there are options.

      In regards to the business license, I had no idea! Thanks for explaining this. I look forward to Monday mornings and reading your series. Keep it up! :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Wonderful advice as always Bill and wising you a wonderful birthday again today!!! :)

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 3 years ago from Manhattan

      Even though I'm not writing a book (I've written two and they are collecting dust under the bed!) I find these very informative.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      Keep up the public service. I always find the questions and answers useful. Voted up, billy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, your story is one people would do well to hear....this business is so fickle, and success is often being in the right place at the right time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and Happy Monday to you.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      I remember writing my book in the 90s and marketing it. It was so easy. Phone calls and letters. I have spoken of the book before. I was lucky with my topic--It was hot then and everyone was going in the gift basket business. However, that wave has crested. I wrote a second book on the topic and never published..as the internet had come about strong. And that was not my strong area. Also others followed suit and there were many books on the business. I was the first and that helped a lot. My cover was great and had a prof. artist do it. It looked great in the bookstores. To me the cover is where it is at. People have a short time to get interested..and of course the title.