The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Sixty-Five
So what’s happening in your life? Email me and catch me up on the latest….firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m serious about this request. We are a community. We are writers. I believe in building community and I love personal connections. So, email me and let’s build a connection. No strings attached….just one human being wanting to know another on more than a surface level.
On another note, how do you feel about guest blogging? I’ve got a writing blog and I’ve got an urban farming blog. I’m always looking for guest bloggers, so if you’re interested, email me and let me know.
And with that out of the way, here’s this week’s Mailbag, delivered to your doorstep with a smile and a howdy!
From Melissa: “Now a question for you: If you reach the point where you can't find an agent or publisher for your book would you self-publish? And if you're answer is yes, would you consider enrolling it in Kindle Scout first? If you haven't heard of it, please check it out. With your fan base, I believe that you would have a really good chance at this! Even if you don't get selected, it helps get the word out about your release.”
Well, Melissa, to answer your first question yes, I would self-publish. I’ve already self-published two novels so I’m not against it at all. In fact, I may reach the point, very soon, when “Shadows Kill” will be self-published.
As for Kindle Scout, I had to look it up because I was clueless. Would I consider it? Sure! Why not? It seems like a win-win situation to me and who knows? Lightning might strike and I’d get an advance and become famous.
Thanks for the link. I encourage all of you to take a look at Kindle Scout.
From Eric: “Bill how do you fend off this co-dependency between the writer and the audience. You seem to have a good stiff upper lip and a good strong back. But do you find yourself changing what you write in order to please the reader? You seem to have the "brutal honesty" part down. But how do you keep from "watering down" so as not to offend in general? Is it a constant effort to seek the balance.”
Eric, it’s a very interesting question and I thank you for it. My first gut reaction was that I don’t water my writing down, but if I’m being totally honest then I can’t say that. There are some topics I don’t write about because I either don’t want to offend or I don’t feel like fighting with my readers, and that’s definitely watering down, isn’t it? I won’t write about religion. Period! It’s a no-win situation for this writer and I don’t see why I should bother, knowing that it is no-win.
However, let’s look at your question with regards to all the topics I do write about. There are still quite a few controversial topics I have written about and I can tell you that I haven’t watered those down. Topics like politics, sex trafficking, homelessness, I have never hesitated to give my opinion on those topics.
One reason is that I’m confident in my abilities as a writer. I’m only at HP because I love the community and because it gives me an online platform while I perfect my craft. I’ve built up a pretty loyal following over the years, so loyal that they will stay with me even if they disagree with me. That kind of loyalty comes from mutual respect. As friends and peers, we allow each other to disagree and still respect each other when we voice our opinions. Quite a few of my followers don’t agree with me, but they are at least respectful and polite. I can handle that. I don’t care if people disagree with me, but I do care that we are all respectful of one another.
Have I answered your question? I seem to be rambling.
I wrote an article two years ago about child abuse at Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota. Some of the comments to that article were brutal. I was called every name in the book and some that were just made up on the spot. I didn’t care because child abuse is wrong, it does occur on that Indian Reservation, and what I wrote needed to be read.
Do you have a message? Is it an important message and does it need to be heard? If you answered “yes” to those questions then write the damn article and be ready to handle the fallout.
From Brianne: “Hey, Bill. I know you are trying to get published the traditional way and have been for quite some time. My question is do you ever get discouraged by all the rejections? I’ve been trying for years and never gotten a nibble, and I’m beginning to think it’s a waste of time.”
Brianne, I feel ya! I really would love to give you an uplifting, supportive comment here, but I’m all out of them. It is damned tough trying to get an agent or publisher, and it’s getting tougher every year. I’ve got to tell ya, even I’m getting discouraged and I may start self-publishing all my novels from now on and save on aspirin from the headaches I have querying agents and publishers. I’m a pretty positive guy, but I’m losing my positive attitude about traditional publishing.
I know. I’m being a bummer right now and I apologize, but that’s how I feel. Traditional publishers are taking on very, very few new writers. I understand why and I get it from a business standpoint. From a writing standpoint it’s discouraging and I’m running out of years to play this game, so maybe self-publishing and ebooks are the route I’ll follow from now on.
From Bill: “Maybe you could consider this for the mailbag. How do you go about setting up book signings? If I have a speaking engagement somewhere I usually take books along to sell afterwards, but I've never scheduled anything for just the purpose of selling. How, when, and where do I go about this? Thanks in advance!”
Bill, thanks for the question. I actually know something about this. J I don’t know how it is in your part of the world, but here, the independent bookstores are very happy to have book readings and book signings by local authors. I just walk in, ask to see the manager, give him/her a copy of my book and ask for a date and time. I haven’t been turned down yet.
Libraries are eager to have book readings, but some not too fond of the book signings where selling is involved. But readings lead to sales so why not do it?
I’ve also had success with businesses that are not bookstores. Small shops, cafes, coffee shops…especially coffee shops…will sometimes have local authors do readings and signings. Go approach them and you just might be pleasantly surprised.
More Next Week
The winds of change are blowing, weather-wise and in life in general. That’s why I like doing this series….it provides a constant all of you can count on. I love change but I also love some anchors in my life. This series is one of my anchors.
See you next week!
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”