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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Sixty-Nine

Updated on October 19, 2015

Is It Coming to an End?

The questions are dwindling and if that trend continues the Mailbag may be on life-support. That’s okay, though; it’s been a great run and all things must end eventually. We’ll see how it goes the next couple of weeks and if I have to pull the plug I’ll do so knowing we had one heck of a good time for over a year.

Let’s get started today with a question about research.

Welcome to the Mailbag
Welcome to the Mailbag | Source

Research and Authenticity

From Linda: “But, as for the mailbag, you never disappoint. I don't know if you have travelled to all of the places you write about, but I sense that you DO take the time to do a lot of research before you gift us with your writing. Do you?”

Linda, I’ll tell you a secret: I’m a little bit lazy when it comes to researching about a place. That’s why I almost always write about places I have either lived in or visited. I’ve lived in five states and I have relatives in three others, so I have a pretty good bank of information already stored inside my head. I’ve travelled to thirty-three states, so that helps. What I do research is the local history of an area I write about, and I’ll also take a close look at an area map so I can get some local street names and points of interest right. I think that adds authenticity to any piece if I take the time to do that much.

In that same vein, I’ve never written a short story or novel that took place in Europe. Simple reason being I’ve never been there and, back to that lazy thing, it would take me far too long to do the research necessary to make my piece sound authentic.

So there!

Most locations in my stories are places I've visited, like the road to Fairbanks, Alaska
Most locations in my stories are places I've visited, like the road to Fairbanks, Alaska | Source

HUBPAGES

From Gwen: “Are you as disgusted with HubPages as I am? Now they have all those bot figures on our Hubs and they are correcting grammar on comments. I don’t understand why they do that stuff. Truthfully it stresses me out and makes me not want to write for them.”

Gwen, I’ll let you in on another little secret: I don’t care what the staff at HubPages does….or is it do? Anyway, I don’t pay attention to their fine-tuning and new strategies. I joined HubPages so I could become a part of a writing community and because it gave me an online platform where I could practice my craft. The HP staff and I have a perfect understanding and agreement: I leave them alone and they leave me alone. I don’t lead a rebellion against them for their little interferences and they let me publish my articles with all of their flaws.

That arrangement works for me and it obviously works for them because they haven’t kicked me off yet.

Finding the right price is an adventure

SELF-PUBLISHING

From Erica: “Bill, do you know anything about optimum pricing for ebooks? I go to Amazon and I see books priced from $.99 to $9.99, and I don’t understand how one decides on a price. It seems to me that selling for less than a dollar is just giving my writing away for free, but who would want to spend almost ten bucks for an ebook? It’s confusing!”

Erica, yes it is!

Kindle will tell you that the best price range for sales and profit share is between $2.99 and $4.99. I don’t know why. I’m not an ebook expert even though I have three of them published. I do know that ebooks are priced lower than hard-cover or soft-cover books for a reason: they are cheaper to publish and the public expects them to be cheaper. This has nothing to do with the quality of writing and everything to do with the laws of supply and demand.

Profit-wise, with 70% royalties, a writer can sell an ebook for $2.99 and make $2.04 on it. That share of the profits is actually better than you would make if you were published by an established publisher and your book sold for $9.99 in a bookstore. Once the cost of publication and distribution were deducted, an author makes about $.64 on a $9.99 book when published the traditional way.

So, bottom line, the $2.99 price point ain’t bad at all, and it seems to be the “sweet spot” with regards to maximum sales.

I’ve had people ask about writing and publishing individual chapters and selling them at $.99 each and I think that’s a great idea. The royalties would be lower but you might make up for it in volume of sales.

A lot of this is guesswork, but one thing you have to rid yourself of is the idea that the pricing of an ebook should be comparable to the pricing of a hardcover book. They are two different animals.

More locations that I have actually visited
More locations that I have actually visited | Source

Another Ebook Question

From Paul: “I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the quality of writing is suffering with the advent of ebooks. There seems to be a flood of ebooks being published by people who really are horrendous writers. Let’s face it, you don’t have to be good to self-publish. I guess my question is: do you agree that ebooks are dragging down the quality of writing today?”

Paul, I agree with the premise but not the conclusion.

There is no doubt that one can find a plethora of poorly-written books on Amazon. My goodness gracious, we all know this to be true. The ebook revolution has opened the doors for any Tom, Dick or Harry to publish a book…or any Moe, Larry or Curly for that matter….but…..

There are also some incredibly gifted authors publishing ebooks. They may be the diamonds in the rough but they are out there, and their brilliance counts much more, to me, than the dullness of those ebooks that would be best used as birdcage liner….if they were real paper that is. J

I don’t think the quality of great writing has diminished at all because of ebooks. I just think the amount of bad writing has increased. Those two conclusions are not mutually exclusive.

And I’ll say one more thing and then shut up: I have read a number of books lately, published in the traditional way by established publishing houses, that were garbage. I don’t know why the editors chose those books to publish and I don’t know why the editors didn’t correct glaring errors, but somehow the books made it to print and I was sucker enough to read them.

There is quality in every industry. There is crap in every industry.

Such is life!

Facing the Unknown

From Ann: “What do you think of using some more unknown words in your writing? Have you done so? I would find difficulty including them if the meaning weren't obvious but there is probably some way of explaining in any text. The richness of such vocabulary is outstanding so I want to use some.”

Honestly, Ann, you answered this one for me. My biggest fear when using rarely-used-or-barely-recognized words is that I’ll totally confuse my readers. Now I say that knowing that surely there are some who will understand the meaning of those words, so I don’t want to insult the intelligence of anyone out there…but the average reader has a limited vocabulary, and tossing in a strange new word will do one of two things: it will force the reader to go get a dictionary, or it will turn off the reader and possibly annoy the hell out of them.

So to answer your question yes, I have done so, but I do so rarely these days and always with some trepidation.

A few things I've learned about writing

That’s All We’ve Got for Today

Thanks to all who asked questions and thanks to all who stopped by to read my responses. Will I be back next week with another Mailbag? If there are questions then yes; if there are none then no.

Only time will tell, but it’s been one hell of a ride and I’ve enjoyed this series greatly.

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 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, Lawrence, believe me, I understand. :)

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Cool! My problem is I often think of a question when I'm writing, but as soon as I've finished the thought train I've forgotten the question.

      Thanks

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Lawrence. Nobody has asked that question before...I'll have an answer for you in six days.

      bill

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Awesome hub here. I've never tbought too much about writing a book, but after the questions and answers about ebooks I might just consider it.

      One question I have is what about non-fiction in ebooks? What would the market be like?

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Enough said for sure, Deb, and I'm with you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you, Sha, but there is no denying the trend. More ebooks, fewer traditional in the publishing business. Sad, but maybe that trend will reverse one day.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 24 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I'm glad that you covered eBooks, as I really know very little about them, and the plan is to keep it that way. For a researcher and scientist such as myself, I need the traditional books. Enough said.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 24 months ago from Central Florida

      I've enjoyed this series too, Bill. As for ebooks, I don't like them for the simple reason that I want to hold a book when I read. I don't want to be tied to the computer and I don't own an e-reader, so they just don't work for me.

      However, many people prefer the convenience of reading on their mobile devices. For that ever-growing population, ebooks are the perfect venue to keep on-the-go readers happy. I'd rather sit outside and read with the sounds of nature in the background. As long as physical books are still printed, I'll be a happy camper.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      tee-hee.....I'm told that is "in" now instead of LOL....I can't keep up with life in order to be diplomatic, Sis!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 24 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      moan.........My bro bill, the ultimate, incomparable "Diplomat!"

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I can say one of two things, Sis.....I'm not holding my breath, or you already are perfect in my eyes. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 24 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OH.....thanks bill. Same "problem" as usual.....ME. One day I'll be perfect.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I'm glad you found this helpful...as for my latest novel, I don't know what the problem is....here is the link....http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Kill-Shadow-Thriller... you, Sis!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 24 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I just know that I miss an installment here & there. I also know you'll forgive me.....Family is OBLIGATED.

      Glad I caught this one because I truly benefited, bro. Your answers on ebooks is great info to have. In my quest to get closer to that "book," it seems a good idea to tap out a few ebooks first. I'm impressed at the profit!

      Speaking of......why can I not find your latest novel on Amazon? Sis

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, you speak from experience and for that reason your thoughts on ebook pricing are....wait for it...priceless. :) Thanks for sharing. And about the bots...I don't take it personally at all although quite a few Hubbers are. I just find them annoying to look at. LOL

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 24 months ago from Chicago Area

      Still in Mailbag catch-up mode...

      Re: Damned Edit Bots (again). Please, people, do not take Mr. Edit Bot's comments personally! It is not a judgment of your work. It is merely a standard by which HP can help improve the site and the traffic for us all. And, if even this kind of minor editing causes you emotional pain, you have too thin of skin for this "business" and might be better off just writing for your own pleasure and enjoyment outside the public view.

      Re: Ebooks (again). The advent of the ebook hasn't caused the glut of published garbage. It's likely always been around. Now it's just that people have more places to publish their garbage that wouldn't have had a prayer in the past.

      Re: Ebook Pricing. Totally agree that the price of ebooks is not reflective of the value of the material in them. True, the public perceives and (thankfully!) understands that it takes more money to produce a physical book than an ebook. For my books, the physical ones are in the $15 range. So I am not going to price the ebook version at the pitiful $0.99 or even $2.99 level. I put them in the $7 range which is a little less than half of the print cover price. If doing both print and ebook versions, you must evaluate how the price of the ebook compares to the print so that the ebook doesn't seem too cheap.

      Ciao!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You betcha!

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      Thanks Bill, I appreciate that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Brad! Popularity is highly overrated. :) I always appreciate your viewpoints and questions.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      Thanks for your hospitality

      I only mention that discard because most of my opinions are probably different than the majority. I always think that they are valid, but usually not popular based on years of experience.

      Have a great weekend

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad to hear it, Frank! Thank you again!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith. You have certainly helped keep this series alive with your fine questions, and I appreciate it...and all you do.

      Blessings and hugs heading your way

      bill

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      oh and another thing I meant to add, the self-Publishing answer was very helpful... Frank

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Dear Bill,

      It seems I must have put my mail on hold while being away here ...However, I am so glad to be back to HP Town and checking my mailbag.

      I can so relate to writing about places I've been because for me it seems all five senses come alive when I think of those places to where I am smelling, tasting, hearing and seeing all the sights. It surely does make it all the more real. I don't think the writing would be the same if we attempted to write about a far away place we've never been, but I'm sure many great writers do just that very thing. The exception would be a fictional place that we dream up totally in our minds ...now, that is fun!

      Oh, I do hope this wonderful series doesn't come to an end just yet, but it certainly has had a great run. I will rack my brain to come up with an interesting question for next Monday.

      Peace and blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I would never disregard it, and I happen to think it is a great question and a valid point. I'll have an answer for you a week from this Monday since the next Mailbag is full. Anyway, thank you for a quality question, one that all writers should read.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      I have one for the mailbag.

      Subplots!

      How important do you think that subplots are to make a fiction story popular?

      If we take out the subplots in most stories that use them, would the readers balk?

      My wife who is the Reader, yes Captial R. loves them. And I the Non reader, Capital N think they are for most cases a waste of time. I would prefer to have a prologue, than a running inserted into the plot regression subplot.

      So am I once again, the one percenter on this one? When do you think that the subplot became popular?

      I have seen the subplot in various strengths on TV shows and movies, but I don't know how common it is in books.

      The subplot that I am talking about is not the kind where the writer is telling one story, but the reader is supposed to know that the real story should be understood from it.

      I never did well in school with those stories.

      As usual, you are free to disregard it entirely. I am serious.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Larry! Such is life. I have no doubt things will change again. We all adjust.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very helpful, as always, especially the section on Ebook pricing.

      Sorry things have slowed down a bit. I hope things pick up for you soon.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The power of suggestion, drbj! :) Thanks for always being here and being so supportive.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Thoughtful questions and excellent answers, Bill. I was fine with it all 'til I got to "trepidation." Now I'm trepidated for sure.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      you are very welcome, Alicia. Thank you so much.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The section about the pricing of ebooks was especially interesting and useful, Bill. Thank you for sharing the information.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well shoot, Kailey, I hope you start feeling better soon. Thanks for stopping by despite how you feel. Glad I could make you laugh. I don't know what to tell you on the traditional publishing. It surprises the heck out of me, quite frankly; and the quality of the writing in many cases is elementary at best. I sometimes wonder why I even try to attract a publisher. :)

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      I'm sorry for being a little late with reading this week. I'm still recovering from this cold, so everything goes slowly for me.

      Haha I had to laugh about your response to the HubPages bots. I'm quite annoyed by them, personally, so to see someone just not care amuses me. I admire you for that! I am with Gwen. Maybe, we can learn to be more like you in time!

      Haha Also, had to laugh about the E-Book publishing line "or any Moe, Larry or Curly for that matter.." I love it!

      The traditionally published books with horrible errors is surprising; especially, considering editing is so difficult to break into in the publishing world. One would think those holding the titles are the best. How depressing!

      I sincerely hope the mailbag continues!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Blond, it's always good to see you. Great question by the way....I'll include in next week's mailbag, which is now overflowing. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Mike! I know when I die I'll have a lot of time for breaks. Until then I think I'll just keep churning out the work....and good luck with your new book. Exciting news for sure.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Another interesting mailbag.

      I was pleased to see the break down and explanation about the pricing of books and ebooks.

      With regards to using 'unknown words', I enjoy seeing them because it keeps things interesting and makes the brain stop and think.

      On a similar note, or possibly for a future mailbag question. (If in fact you do carry on with it.) What are your thoughts on made up words? These could be exclamations of shock, delight or horror, or just random words in a conversation. Everyday we are hearing new words on the street, in your opinion should these be included or are they possibly too short lived and likely to date our writing?

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill. Yet another great bunch of questions and more so answers. I see I received an honorable mention in the comments. (Thanks Ann.)

      The questions may be slowing down as you keep piling on your own work schedule. With work and three series going your readers may be giving you a break that you deserve.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Informative and very helpful thank you

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. Yes, it looks like we have another week coming up thanks to great followers. Have a terrific week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I greatly appreciate you always being here. As for the publishing business,I will never understand it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Brian. I can always count on you for a great question. Stay tuned!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you PS! All is well here and no, I had no idea this series would last beyond one week. Shows you how little I really know. :) Blessings and hugs coming your way, my friend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Another great week for the mailbag. It would be a pity for it to end but as you say, all good things come to an end. I think I spotted more than a few questions in the comments so hopefully you're back next week for another addition. In the meantime have a wonderful week.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      To think that the traditional publishers will publish garbage, but reject better products; no way to figure out how they do what they do. Interesting information under Self-Publishing. Thanks!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I hope the Mail Bag questions keep coming. I will miss this series if you discontinue it. Here is one: For the best combination of income to live on and quantity and quality of creative writing output, which is the best sort of day job: teaching writing; writing for hire (newspaper writing, ad copy writing, grant writing, etc., or something unrelated to writing?

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      I have enjoyed it too even though I have not every single one....it is quite a collection...and look at you ...I bet you never thought you would write so many....

      And what a storehouse of information of all of us to refer to....

      Hoping all is good in WA tonight....sending you and Bev and the chicks (haven't heard much about them lately...is it time?? lots of hugs and many blessings via the precious Angels who never tire of making the trip.

      ps

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just a strong distrust of politicians and heads of state, my friend. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      He he, Bro. (Chuckle)

      That was a sharp one!

      Can't help it. God wants me to be a jester, a tease, but no, I must not do this at your expense. My apologies. Still, I did not know that you held such strong sentiments!

      Om Shanti!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Emese, thank you for those kind words. I enjoy the interaction on this series and I suspect it will continue one way or another.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      They did for sure, Bill. Thank you for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, I think I'd rather meet you than the Queen...no offense to Her Highness. :) Thanks, my friend. Peace be with you.

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRéka 2 years ago from The Desert

      Hi, Bill, this is a great series, hope you continue.

      I've been reading most of your mailbags, sorry about not commenting, most of the time I was reading them on my cell phone and it won't let me log in to comment. Anyway, I haven't had questions, because reading your mailbags answers them before I can ask them or even think of them. I'm still new to all of this and I found that I learn from your mailbag series, both from your readers' questions and your answers.

      Hope they keep coming. I know where to go for answers when I will get to a point when I'll have questions. Thank you for helping new writers.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      More great stuff this week - as always! Somehow I am going to guess that your readers will rally with a bunch of questions to keep the mailbag filled. Thanks again for another installment!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Seems gentler and sweeter to me this week, and nice e-book questions.

      Please come to London, and I'll take you to see the Queen. Perhaps you'll meet Ann, too. Bring Bev. Oh, and the dog. (Can you do that?) Not sure, Bro.

      I hope you make the hundred. Cool!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, you got that right...HP is our site. I love it!

      Great questions and I know the answers...stay tuned, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Flourish, but I know it's a concern for many. I say raise the standards and not lower them.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. It certainly helps this writer to have seen so many states. I do think it adds an element of authenticity to the writing.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      I seriously doubt we're getting too smart for your help!

      HP is our community. Oh, I knew there are staffers that run this place, but it is the writers and friends that encourage each other and work together that make this place home.

      Question about self-editing on CreateSpace, if you will. I'm having the devil's own time trying to get my formatting straight. Is there a secret I'm missing or have you not used CreateSpace?

      Question 2 re: book covers. Do you just choose random illustrators for your book covers or do you personally know people who do book covers?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Don't be afraid to use an occasional word that pushes the reader to use his or her iPhone to look it up (some will).

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, thanks for your thoughts on pricing and of course, just for being here. Great question and thank you for keeping the Mailbag going another week...I'll have answer for you in seven days.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      The comments have enough good questions for at least one more mailbag. Great! Hope you'll be able to continue. I could certainly relate to the research question, of course. I've lived and worked in something like 17 states and traveled in nearly every other one. Been to Europe twice, but don't write about it by choice!! ;-)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      That was cool about the pricing and profit margins. Makes sense. I started a profession once and was told and statistically it was true that there were too many in a given spot. That is where I chose because I knew that most would not care to be anything but mediocre. A good writer looks better among a sea of bad writers than all alone.

      I think fancy pantsy words are cool I wish more writers used 'em.

      OK now the question:

      I am reading a book now where the author is quite confident. It is in an area that requires a whole lot of thought. Anybody who is paying attention knows the field is dynamic and illusory at times. But this guy speaks with such authority that when reading I find myself just accepting his position. You exude that confidence in your writing when opining. Do you work at it or is it just a reflection of your personality? Is it a style or writing technique one can adopt or a "self" deal?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lipnancy, I'm not surprised by that at all. Thanks for mentioning it....this is a tough business for good, serious writers. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, you do make me laugh. Thank you for that. Your comments on HP are right on....blew a gasket....very true.

      Thanks for the question. I can always count on you.

      I hope you have a terrific week ahead. The rains have settled in for the remainder of the year, I'm afraid.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So do I, Vellur. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Reynold. I was chuckling at your comment although I'm not sure why...being paid less is the song of all writers, it would seem.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 2 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I am with you on the quality of some e-books. Just thought you would like to know that there are guru's out there who teach people to buy lengthy articles from websites and publish them. The problem is these writings often come from people who do not know much English, and are not reviewed by the publishing author.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks for answering my question, bill. I do agree but I'm going to have a go anyway, with a hub about the subject! It might work but if it doesn't then at least I'll have tried.

      I do hope your mail-bag continues. Like you, I don't like 'series', but only those which follow-on and therefore require us to have read the previous ones. Stand-alone works, like the mail-bag, like 'The Carriage Driver' and my 'Take a Word' series which are fine because they do just that, stand alone.

      I find HP annoying, especially as they now want to take us by the hand through each and every capsule; when I saw that I blew a gasket! When I'd calmed down, I deleted their format and carried on as usual; that made me feel much better! Is this a site for writers or a site for those who will eventually have to be told exactly what to write? (That wasn't meant as a question for mailbag, btw.)

      I know the good and true writers here will stick with it and do their own thing, thank goodness. There are still quite a few and of course I have my favourites. Now who could they be, I wonder?!

      Ah, I have a question! When you've finished a novel, do you celebrate? Do you have a favourite meal or go out on the town or what? Or do you just get down to the next novel without taking a breath or a break? Maybe Bev insists you take a break!

      I'll stop rambling now; I do have a tendency for that, so I'm told by my nearest and dearest. There I go again....

      Ann :))

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      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      A great series and I hope it continues. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I with you on your Hub Pages tweaking stuff. All these organizations are always tinkering around and it is best to ignore most of it and live a life! Amazon has a thing called VAT. In that I just began releasing my eBook\ children's series last month I found the 35% option paid more. Reason: large file size ( art) The VAT is their cost of sending the book to the Kindle. Yep--another way to get paid less!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, thank you so much. The internet makes research so easy these days. Even describing something like a battlefield is possible by doing a little reading of soldiers' letters. :) I appreciate your very kind words.....I always try to remember the five senses when describing a location....if I do that usually it turns out all right.

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      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I certainly hope this is not the end of the story. Jodah might be correct though--you're such a good teacher that perhaps we're getting to smart and we know all the answers? .....Nah!!! That will never happen.

      Thank you for answering my question. The beauty of your writing is that when you describe a location, you take me (the reader) there with you. I can feel, smell, and almost taste the environment. Have you really been there? I have absolutely no idea, but you sure as heck have me convinced. (For example, you have written eloquently about being on the battlefield but I know that you did not serve in Nam. Nevertheless, I'm sure that those who were there would be moved to tears by your words). That's the mark of a great writer.

      Thank you for another great mailbag. I do hope there is at least one more. The artist (and former budget analyst) in me appreciates round numbers.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, thank you. As for your question, you may be writing on that site right now, but let me give it some thought. We'll see what I come up with next Monday.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope so too, Melissa. If not I'll have to bug you with some other articles instead. :) Thanks so much for always being here.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, i always enjoy your comments. Great points on tech words and words of elegance. i remember listening to Buckley during the 60s and not having a clue what he was talking about, but mesmerized all the same. :)

      Good luck with the social issues. If you solve them you can be a millionaire and idolized by millions. :)

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Questions may be dwindling Bill because you have been so helpful in providing all the answers. I still found this weeks questions interesting especially Ann's about using different and lesser known words in her articles, and the one about eBook pricing. That was what I struggled with deciding on when I eventually published mine, and I think I will have to reduce it again to get any sales.

      One question you may be able to add to your next mailbag is:

      As you know I don't have a niche in my writing, and don't want to be restricted by one. Is there any type of publication or place where my type of haphazard unpredictable writing would be suitable? Somewhere that would welcome random content..probably not.

      Anyway thanks for another great mailbag and hope it continues for some time yet.

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      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Thanks as always for your timely mailbag. I know I and many many others look forward to it each week, so I hope a plethora of questions arise for you to answer. Have a great week!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Buildreps, thank you! It may just be seasonal...we'll see what happens over the next couple weeks. Maybe your suggestion is the answer.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, thanks for the information about the ebook dictionaries. As for HP, I understand there is a way to disable the bots but I don't know what that is...but I'll find out by next week. Have a terrific week.

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      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      Bill

      Another jewel in the mailbag.

      My humble comment on little used and not ones that are a part of the junk draw of words carried around by us, can be made understandable from the context of the moment in the story.

      Unless you are using words like dearth.

      There is a dearth of knowledge in using that word because like the word epitome most people will not guess their correct meaning. I learned the hard on these two words alone.

      The problem is that both of these words seem very powerful, but if you didn't already know their meaning you don't have much hope of guessing it right, at least that was my story.

      You have a better chance with words like, terse compendium. This is a tidy twosome of words, and they just sound good, as well.

      This age of technology has added complexity to our once simple stories because now you need to understand some common technical jargon. Of course, this occurs in stories where technology is the theme or relevant.

      Homonyms like Bite, and Byte bridge the gap between the old and the new. Everyone has probably heard of the ones and zeroes, but maybe not by its container known as Bits.

      Of course only an in depth technologically assisted fiction writer would even attempt to include or immerse the reader in boring technology terms. Michael Crichton did in his book, Jurassic Park. He went deep into DNA, while the screen play just glossed over it.

      For many, the technology details in the book overwhelmed them, while the movie simply enlightened them while entertaining them.

      My point is that today the unknown word is more often the technological word. Technical people use the word art of jargon as a shortcut to a fuller explanation. The premise being all the technical people already know what is its meaning.

      The problem there is that, it seems that every one has a slightly different understanding of the words, or phrases based on how it was learned by them.

      People like William F Buckley, and Spiro Agnew used volley after volley of hundred dollar words, and you didn't have a clue to what they were talking about, but it sure was eloquent.

      John F Kennedy spoke with elegance, and the meaning of his words were not only profound, but easily understood by his listeners.

      Thanks for the break, and now back to politics and social issues.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts on this, FatBoyThin.....I agree with everything you said. It's all simple supply and demand. The rules of the marketplace haven't changed in quite some time. :)

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      Buildreps 2 years ago from Europe

      You've tons of fans out here, Bill. Many people like this series, same as me, although I'm not completely consistent in visiting every mailbag. It would be a pity if the mailbag would stop because of a decreasing number of questions. Maybe its just seasonal or maybe if this trend would continue you could consider to publish a mailbag once in two weeks or so.

      Thanks for your great answers and loyalty:) Have a great day.

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      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Great article, Bill. I hope you will keep receiving enough questions to continue this series. Is there a setting where we can opt out of this editbot business? It changed the pronoun “your” to the contraction “you’re” in one of my sentences. Coincidentally, either word would fit, but the meaning is entirely different. This autocorrection made me look foolish because the sentence became out of context.

      You gave a very good answer about the price of ebooks. I usually read two to four books a month, mostly ebooks, and I usually don’t pay more than $4.99. There are some that I would really like to read that cost $9.99, but why should I pay that when I can get the paperback or sometimes a used hardback for less. As for using unknown words, the advantage to an ebook is that (at least on Kindle) they have a link to a dictionary. Just put your finger on the word and the definition pops up. You really ought to try a Kindle or a Nook. You might just like it! Have a great rest of the week, my friend.

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      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Concerning Erica's question, I think those prices are about right - Mark Coker at Smashwords has done quite a bit of research into pricing and he reckons that 2.99 and 3.99 are the optimum price tags. And as you say, folk don't usually want to pay very much for ebooks anyway. Those writers knocking their books out at 8, 9 or 10 dollars a shot, are probably reaching fewer readers, whereas if they went with a lower price, they'd maybe sell more books and therefore reach more readers. And as with everything else in the book world, it ain't a good idea to price yourself out of the market. Great Hub, as usual Bill.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I don't want it to end; it's like an old friend. All I need is questions for it to continue.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Louise and I hope you find the winning combination out therre.

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      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Aw, Bill I truly hope that this isn't the end of you amazing series as I think there will always be questions about writing as a craft, but still if it is I am glad I know where to find you if I do have a question of my own. Thank you as always for being so kind in all you share with us. Happy Monday now ;)

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      Louise Barraco 2 years ago from Ontario

      I enjoy the mailbag as I am trying to figure out my next steps in writing hubpages is getting a bit more confusing then I would like but I'm going to stick it out and try something else as well thanks for all your help I will keep you posted as to what comes next for me