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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 155

Updated on June 21, 2017

Greetings From Olympia, Washington

Summer is almost upon us, the weather is mellowing, and the longest sunlight day of the year is knocking on our door. Birds are chirping, veggies are growing, and all is right in my world.

How about yours?

Great questions this week so let’s get to them, okay?

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

Mailbag Book

From Bill: “This isn't necessarily for the mailbag, but I was just wondering, have you ever thought about collecting the questions and answers from the mailbag and putting them into book form? Happy almost three years!”

Thanks, Bill, and yes, I have considered doing that, but it is so far down my to-do list I would not expect to see that happen for a couple of years. I have too many novels I want to write before that happens . . . but thank you for the vote of confidence.

IMPROVEMENT BY OSMOSIS

From Eric: “So a question. Do you think just hanging out with writers makes you a better writer? I like seclusion more than chit chat.”

Interesting question, Mister Seclusion! I’m somewhat of a hermit myself, and in truth I don’t hang out, in person, with other writers. I’m not sure if I would benefit from that or not. Having said that, I know of writers who belong to writer clubs and they swear by the benefits of those clubs.

And having said that, being active in HP, like you are, must have benefits. I know that reading good writing is beneficial, and discussing writing online, like in the Mailbag, is beneficial, and that’s kind of like “hanging out with writers,” correct?

In a purely “literal sense,” though, just rubbing shoulders with another writer will not make you a better writer and it just might get you accommodations in the local jail.

Try different venues for your books.   You have nothing to lose by trying!
Try different venues for your books. You have nothing to lose by trying! | Source

Clarifying Book Signings

From Venkatachari M: “I do not get a clear view of the book signing process even though you answered it in some previous mailbag also. What is it? Why is it termed as a signing? I hope to get some clear perception in your next mailbag.”

Venkatachari M, I’m happy you asked this question. It points out some cultural differences we should all be aware of. I was not aware that in India, book signings did not happen, so I’ll be happy to clarify.

A book signing is usually conducted in a book store. The author of the book will set up a table, and buyers can come to that table, talk to the author in person, get an autograph on his/her book, and purchase the book. It is a way for writers to meet the public and possibly sell more books in person. The book store may or may not charge a percentage of the sales for the opportunity to have the book signing. Most do not, and most independent book stores are happy to carry that book in their inventory for future sales.

Are they an effective marketing tool? Not as much as they once were. Independent, indie writers are not well-known, and money is in short supply, so it is my experience that buyers are still not willing to spend money on an indie writer they know nothing about. Still, it is good exposure for the writer, so it really can’t hurt to try it.

AMERICAN BOOK FESTIVAL

From Manatita: "Do you think it's advantageous to have paid personal, marketing on your behalf, or rather pitching your book, at say, the great upcoming American Book Festival?”

Shoot, Manatita, I had to look it up to find out what the American Book Festival was. Now that I’m a bit educated on it, I can give an answer.

My answer, though, is purely subjective, so take it with the proverbial grain of salt.

I think events like the one you mentioned are a roll of the dice. You could easily pay hundreds of dollars for advertising and not sell one book, or you could sell hundreds, with my bet on the former rather than the latter. That’s just the nature of the book business these days. Indie writers face a very steep, uphill battle in selling books. Buyers still have the perception that indie writers are not as talented as those writers who have a major publishing firm behind them. That is not a valid perception, by the way, but I believe it is the perception of a majority of buyers. How else do you explain the continued popularity of James Patterson, who doesn’t even write his own books any longer, and others like him?

If you should choose to do that, my best wishes to you. I hope you are very successful.

Win a Character in a Book

From Mary: “What do you think of the idea of putting anyone who buys a book into a random draw to be a character in your next book? Could this be the newest marketing gimmick? You can keep this for a mailbag question if you like.”

I love this idea, Mary. I don’t know how effective a marketing gimmick it would be, but for a novelist, I don’t see a downside. You have to name the characters anyway, so why not name them after buyers of the previous book? I think this is such a good idea that I am thinking of doing it when I release my next novel later this year.

TRANSITIONS

From Lori: “I don't know if you've covered on this topic but I'll go ahead anyway. I am writing another story which has moments when a character recalls a scene from her past. It's challenging to make that a clean, smooth transition. I have a character who in the present remembers a scene from her past that is triggered somehow by her current thoughts, actions, or situations. Then I have to take the readers back to the present. Do you have any tips on this?”

It’s an interesting problem but rest assured, Lori, there are quite a few different ways to handle it.

A simple paragraph break with italics designating it as a memory from the past is effective….then a paragraph break before returning to the present again using normal fonts.

Another method used is to simply use a date at the top of a new section . . . “1987 . . . He tried hard to please his father but always failed. It was a battle he knew would last a lifetime as he pushed aside the covers and prepared to help his old man on the job that day ……….. And then start a new paragraph with . . . 2017 . . . He looked at his old man’s coffin and felt no regrets.

Make sense? I’m sure there are other ways to do it, and perhaps our readers will share ways which work for them, but these two tricks will do the job adequately.

Where is the best venue for this book?  I'll tell you as soon as I find out.
Where is the best venue for this book? I'll tell you as soon as I find out. | Source

Coloring Books

From Rachael: “Hey, Bill, how are those coloring books selling at the farmers markets, and do you sell them retail at any stores?”

Rachael, here’s the lesson I’ve learned from the Great Coloring Book Experiment: it all depends on the venue. My coloring books have done poorly at one market, so-so at another market, and then yesterday at a special event at our son’s farm, I sold seven of them, which was very good. They also continue to sell online, so the answer to your question is that sales are doing well depending on where I sell them. Thanks for asking!

As for selling them retail in stores, the answer is no, and the reason for that has everything to do with pricing. The cost of one book plus shipping, to me, is slightly less than $5 per book. If a good retail price for that book is $12, and the retailer wants to make a profit, it means he’ll have to buy that book from me for, oh, say $7. That means I make $2 per book and quite frankly, that kind of profit isn’t worth it for me. I can save all the hassle and sell them at markets for $10, skip the middleman, and double my profits.

Some people might disagree with that strategy and to those people I say great! Go do it your way, and best wishes to you, but for me, it’s just not worth the hassle to go through retail stores.

AND THANKS FOR BEING HERE ONCE AGAIN

Next week we’ll celebrate three years of the Mailbag. I’ll bring cake to the party if one of you can provide cookies, and someone else a drink. Sound good to you?

Thanks so much for the great questions, and thanks so much for the continued support of this series. I’ll see you all at the party next week.

2017 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 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, you are never late. Look in the fridge. There's a big piece waiting for you.

      Thank you dear friend.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 months ago from Central Florida

      Since I'm so far behind in my reading, I'll have missed the party by the time I get to the next mailbag. Nevertheless, I'll be there with bells on. I hope you saved me some cake!

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

      Lawrence.....yuck!

    • profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 4 months ago

      Bill

      Seeing as you asked, it's a cold, blustery day with an icy storm blowing straight from Antarctica (you did ask

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

      Thank you DDE. I may not always be correct, but it is the truth as I know it.

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      DDE 4 months ago

      You have great ideas and have answered these questions with interesting and helpful answers. I find your work to be most informative.

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

      Ann, thank you! Always good to hear from you. 50th? Almost unheard of for sure. I don't think Bev and I will make it. LOL But we can always hope to live until 125, can't we?

      Be well my friend!

      bill

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      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Loved Mary's question; what a good idea of hers! Glad that your book sales are doing well and that you're coming up to yet another publishing milestone. I'm impressed by your output and your success so far, though not at all surprised!

      My world is good, thanks. Just had a few days off to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary which went really well and is a much rarer event these days! How many people manage to do that?!

      Nearly 3 years - I'd bring a lemon drizzle cake and a trifle but I think I might be a week late already!!

      Have a tantalisingly terrific Tuesday, bill!

      Ann :)

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

      All great points, Zulma, especially holding up the middle finger. LOL You and I would get along fabulously well as next-door neighbors. We could sit on the porch sipping our coffees, flipping off the snobs of the world.

      Have a great week, my friend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 months ago from United Kingdom

      Bill, as you may be aware, I am part of a writers' group. Before I joined, I called around to a couple of other groups to get a feel for them. One group met once a week and that was too much interaction for my liking.

      Another group met once a month, but it was made up mostly of students who had taken or were taking the creative writing course at the local college. The group was run by the same man who taught the class. I had visions of people sucking up to the instructor while cruelly critiquing each other. Had I gone with that group, it most likely would have ended with them looking down their noses at me and me holding my middle finger up to them.

      The group I finally settled on meets once a month and is composed of published writers, wannabe published writers, and writers who just want to write. They are a supportive bunch and I feel comfortable sharing my writing with them. That is a key factor for any writer who wants to improve.

      You made a valid point about online groups but sometimes you need the personal touch.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well have a wonderful Latvian holiday,and thank you, Rasma, for finding the time to follow along.

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      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      As always thought provoking. Looking forward to your next. A bit behind but catching up a usual. In Latvia this is a holiday weekend starting from yesterday the traditional Midsummer's Solstice celebrations.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, I marvel at foreigners who learn it so well, and speak it so fluently. I think English is a very difficult language to learn.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Janda, I love the English language, but it sure can drive a person nutso occasionally. LOL

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Okay, Shannon, seriously, I want to know that daughter of yours. Any kid who wants a personalized dictionary is all right in my book. What a kid!!!!!

    • Janda Raker profile image

      Janda Raker 5 months ago from Amarillo, Texas

      I'll defend the English language. The number of languages that it was created from make it a rich tongue with many shades and variations of meaning. Of course, that's also what complicates the spelling and pronunciation. But it's like us, the people who speak it, read it, and write it--it's quite diverse! I love that!

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      shanmarie 5 months ago

      LOL. The English language is enough to make anyone question their sanity...or at least their smarts. ;)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      A totally different discussion for sure, Janda, but it is, for sure, a great time for those with a book rattling in their head and no money to produce it.

    • Janda Raker profile image

      Janda Raker 5 months ago from Amarillo, Texas

      Bill, glad you agree about self-publishing on Create Space, etc. I really feel this is a great time for writers who have books in their heads that they really want to share. Whether it's a family history, a cookbook, a philosophical tome, or a thriller, they should just write it and publish it! (Of course, if they want to make money from their writing, that's a totally different discussion!)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks a bunch, Bill, and I hope your first week of summer is fabulous.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I will try it, Mary, as soon as I return to writing my novels.Thanks again.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I was going to answer in the Mailbag, but now you've done it for me...so thank you!

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, Sis, I was going to answer in the Mailbag, but now MizB has done it for me....I love it when someone does my work for me. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that, Blossom...I will not use a vanity publisher again. I love CreateSpace.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Larry! You are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Janda, my experience is almost exactly the same as yours,and I totally agree with everything you said. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful and amazing to me, Linda! I never would have guessed the questions could remain fresh this long.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, Paula had me questioning my sanity with that question of hers. I had to go look it up to make sure.

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      shanmarie 5 months ago

      MzB, Paula, and Bill (in case you still answer it in a mailbag).....There is also LEAD the metal/element, which is pronounced the same as led and may be the source of the confusion between the spellings. It used to be for me at one point, anyway. So many things to master. English is so confusing!

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      Linda Crampton 5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is another helpful and interesting mailbag article. It's wonderful that there is always something new to think about in each installment.

    • Janda Raker profile image

      Janda Raker 5 months ago from Amarillo, Texas

      In response to Bronwen's post about books published by a vanity press, things are much simpler and less expensive now. If you use Create Space, the publishing arm of Amazon, you can publish your book at no cost; you pay only for the books you buy, and there is no minimum. (Some other publishers do this also.) The cost of shipping can dictate how many books you'd want to buy. The more you buy, the less each costs to ship. And you can set the price you want to charge for each book that is purchased by online shoppers. I've published two anthologies of flash fiction, including several other authors, one through a small press that paid us, the authors, and the second through Create Space. I much prefer the second experience.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 5 months ago from Oklahoma

      As always, very helpful.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Oh, so many of those questions sent my mind off on a tangent! Once I belonged to a writers' group and it was interesting to hear the work of other people, but then our time is not infinite and there's so much I want to write about, that I, too, prefer the hermit approach. For Manatita, I had a couple of books published by a 'vanity' publisher in the USA, paid lots for the books, then lots to go to a Book Fair in China; result: no extra sales.

      A very interesting hub.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      MzB.....How nice of you to rescue me! Well bro, looks like you're off the hook. Never fear, I'll think of another way to bug you (it's merely a little sister's job!)

      Great, clear & concise explanation,MzB. I feel vindicated because I just used "led" in my writing, in the appropriate place. This site is loaded with helpful Brainiacs (which BTW, is not an official word!)but it should be.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 5 months ago

      Bill, Paula put you on the spot and I didn't see your answer, so I'll answer her. Led is the past tense and also the past participle of the verb lead (pronounced with a long e). The only time lead is pronounced with the diphthong eh is when it is referring to the metal, lead. (And I have Mirriam Webster to back me up on that one.)

      HOWEVER, the pronunciations can be confused with with plead and its past tense pleaded, which is in the legal usage pronounced pled. You can also spell it pled, which is not the preferred spelling. So, don't we all just love English!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      I hope you do try that idea, it will be another tool for your guerrilla marketing strategy. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

      Thanks for sharing that video about making coloring pages, I have watched a few but this explains it well.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Another great week for the mailbag. Definitely a few questions that I don't recall seeing before. Have a great week, looking forward to the big anniversary.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 5 months ago

      She is 10. Her teacher thought she was hilarious, too. They did this thing where each kid had to write a sentence using certain words or grammatical structures they were learning and she usually wrote something that made her class laugh. She'd come home and make me laugh, too. They say she is my Mini Me; maybe she will also have a love of words. Hell, she's the only kid I know who wants a personalized dictionary for Christmas. Seriously. That's what she's already asking for. LOL But in this instance, she made her brothers laugh at me!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, that is hilarious! How old is your daughter? It would be funny no matter how old she is, so thanks for the laugh.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, that means a lot to me, that you are always here. Thank you for that. Enjoy that vacation and know that I'm jealous. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Not really that different, Bill! Italicize the present and be done with it. :) Thanks as always, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Lori! Glad my answer made sense....always good to have you visit!

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I was kind of hoping you would arrive with chocolate chip. Come on!!!!

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      Linda Lum 5 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, another great mailbag, and the comments add to the fun. Mannatita is bringing the cookies? I guess I don't have to concern myself about baking then, right?

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      Lori Colbo 5 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      What a full and wonderful mailbag. So many good Q & A's. I love Mary's idea and also the one about compiling your mailbags into a book. Thanks for answering my question on transition. It was very helpful. Keep on keeping on.

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      William Kovacic 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for taking my question. More good stuff, Bill. I especially thought Lori's question was interesting as I'm wrestling with the same problem, but in a different way. Most of my story is based on memories with a call back to the present once in a while. Should I italicize the memories (although that would be most of the story, or should I italicize the present or none of the above? Something altogether different? Or just leave it? I know you have some thoughts!

      Another great week with the mailbag. Thanks, Bill.

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      Melissa Propp 5 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy "Monday" Bill! Okay, its really a lazy Tuesday because I'm on vacation this week, but wanted to catch up on the mailbag delivery... Coming up on three years?! Wow, I just got an email from hubpages announcing my 5 yr anniversary, time flies. I haven't added any new hubs in several years, but still need to catch up every Monday!

      Hope you have a great week!

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 5 months ago

      Bill, you make me laugh! If bumping shoulders with the likes of you landed me in jail, at least I would be in good company. Counter charges, you see. LOL Thanks for that.

      So if you want a laugh in return....no stories of falling on my face while taking out the trash this time.....But....picture this...the nurse suddenly said, "Who did that?" And she's pointing to the dry erase board where they share the information for the various people coming in and out of the room, sounding a little shocked. The room falls silent, the nurse laughed, and my daughter finally said that she did it. It being a message on the board under the heading of "Goal Today?" She wrote "To become a human, if that's what they're called." And then we all laughed and my son informed me that my face turned red. I actually felt the heat from it! I can't even remember the last time I laughed like that.....or got embarrassed for that matter.

      But I have needed the laugh so bring it on; I am good with that!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      So, Sis, is this a challenge? Are you calling me out in front of the entire community? Well I'm up for the challenge, and now you can just wait a week for the response. How do you like them apples? LOL Hugs you whacky woman!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I hope at some point in your illustrious career as an educator, you taught 3rd graders...because here comes a circular question from one!

      We all know the past tense of READ.....is READ, while being pronounced, RED. While we're instructed by "some" that the past tense of LEAD....is also LEAD & pronounced LED, I SEE it everywhere, written even by great authors as LED, (including you, bro) So, is this correct? WHICH is correct or is it a double standard word? Is there such a thing a a double standard word? WHY does this one 4-letter word bother me so and besides YOU, where can I find the 100% accurate answer???? Please Lead me in the right direction so I know I have been Led,LEAD by an expert. Is there an example of another word that follows this logic? This is not logic, is it?

      (It's been a while since I've bugged the crap outta you, bro, so today is a good day for it!) It's a sign of my love............Sis and I really want an answer. You're too far away to give me a noogie!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! I wish we indie writers had help behind us, but more often than not that is not the case.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know about genius, Mike, but interesting approach for sure. Bev's hand? You mean you don't think I could make it look that nice? LOL Right on, buddy!

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. Great point about the master class video...I wonder if there are more introverts today than back in the day? Maybe just a shortage of time. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great points made, Janda! Thank you for sharing your perspective on it. Much-appreciated!

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. I'm happy my answer about book signings helped you, and thank you for the question. May your summer be filled with wonder and surprise.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 5 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Another wonderful mailbag with interesting questions. Thanks for the nice reply to my question. Now, I come to know the book-signing procedure. It is a good trick for marketing the books. I don't know whether it is practiced here or not. But, I didn't have the knowledge of it.

      The idea of exhibiting books at Book Festivals as suggested by Manatita is also a good method if it does not cost too much in getting the place there.

      The tips provided for transitions in the time periods is very useful for writers like me.

      The season here is summer mixed with rains. One week back it was very hot. Now, the weather is cloudy since 4, 5 days and raining at evenings or nights with day temperatures falling to 30 degrees.

      Thanks for this wonderful mailbag and wish you a pleasant summer season.

    • Janda Raker profile image

      Janda Raker 5 months ago from Amarillo, Texas

      About the idea of meeting with other writers--I think it's almost imperative! I've been in critique groups with fellow writers for more than twenty years. Most of these writers have been published. And most find that the members of the critique group can help clarify their writing, avoid mistakes in plotting, improve on word choice, etc. Amazingly, a writer can read and reread his/her own work, but the fresh reader can catch obvious problems. Finding other writers that are compatible is definitely worth the effort, imo!

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      Brian Leekley 5 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Back in the 60s and 70s my father met regularly with other Chicago-Milwaukee area used book dealers. He also met with fellow poets. My mother met with other doll collectors, and I met with fellow owners of Commodore 64 computers. When my wife was a minister, she got together with other ministers. These days she gets together with other quilters. I am in a creative writers group. Whatever the business, craft, or hobby, those in it seem to enjoy and to benefit from getting together with fellow enthusiasts to talk shop and glean helpful tips.

      These days it can be difficult to choose between getting together with peers or watching a master class video on YouTube.

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      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill - Yet, another great installment. Looks like Bev's hand in fixing up the farmer's market booth. Let's see (?), an online, book signing, lottery to be a character, selling quail eggs... marketing genius, I say.

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      William Leverne Smith 5 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Indie writers need to do their own marketing, book by book, is the message I get interwoven through each of your answers. I agree. Your consistent message is very good. Hope all can see it. Thanks, again, for finishing off the first three years with a winner! ;-)

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Buildreps, that cultural question made me step back as well. I had no idea. I just assumed book signings were universal.

      Live and learn, my friend...thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Alyssa, I adore seclusion...until I get so fed up with myself that I need people. LOL Thank you for being here.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, you ought to see me when I'm working in the yard and I cut my finger on the fencing. Nothing angelic about what comes out of my mouth then. In fact, those who have known me for years....they would never choose "angelic" to describe this boy...but thank you for the moment with the angels.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I remember that, Martie. Jealousy will show up, for sure...great point....amazing to me that offense was taken, but oh well. I'll never figure out my fellow man, so why try? Thanks my friend.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, Miz B, if I knew how to bake, I'd bake you some cookies right now for that lovely comment. Thank you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Manatita. Without great questions this mailbag would be quite empty weekly, and that just would not do at all. :)

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a cool idea, Flourish, and I think I'm going to try it. I like your thoughts on a small mention in the back as well. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, I would oppose him simply because of his name. :) Much too difficult for this Yank to remember, so I'd toss him overboard at the earliest possible chance.

      Always a pleasure having you stop by. The farmers markets will continue through October. By then I should have a decent amount of humility built up.

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      Alan R Lancaster 5 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Who knows your book might fly off the trailer back at the farmers' market. Give it a go, Bill (there's always something that 'jumps my queue').

      As for giving readers the chance to appear as a character in my next book, d'you think they'd wear being 'Svyatopolk' or 'Yuri'? It's enough trying to remember how to spell the former. I've got to dig up some eastern Slav and Rus Christian names for it. Of course they could be an English huscarl or thegn on the way east with Ivar and his friends to join the emperor's Varangians in Miklagard. How about that for an adventure into the past. Would you (readers, as well as Bill) like to see yourself in 'WANDERER - The East Beckons'? How about Arnwulf of Exanceaster (Exeter)? That might suit you, Bill. He'll be another dispossessed thegn from southern Defna (Devon). Your given name 'William' is the opposition.

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      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      I've read a book that based characters on real people (names only I believe) who won a contest and thought it was neat because at the back of the book the author told a little about the real person and how their name got to be in there. Very neat idea.

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      manatita44 5 months ago from london

      I'll bring the cookies ...:)

      I know one English professor who is very traditional and does not like Lori's style. Still, she admits that more and more people are doing it these days and that it works quite well for some. No rule against it.

      In my book I start by telling how I met Sri Chinmoy, then I break the paragraph and go back to being in England and the experience I had, before all this happens. Worked well, according to my readers.

      Thanks for answering my question. There are book markets and festivals everywhere and America has quite a few!! You did not know, eh? Aaahhh.... Ha ha. Great questions and answers, Bro.

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      MizBejabbers 5 months ago

      Bill, Eric gave me a LMAO moment. I thought we were hanging out with writers here on HP. All I know is that this place takes me away from my mundane editing job. It gives me a sense of direction and a feeling of home. I can't say enough how I appreciate others like you who offer friendship and encouragement, even if I don't get to write very often. So, to all you beautiful people, especially you, Bill, I say "Thank You."

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      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Good to see there are also others who believe you should publish this series of questions and answers.

      A couple of years ago I wrote (and published in Hubpages) a 'soapy'. The characters were fellow-hubbers, all living in a commune. They had to deal with the disappearance of the main character. Now this was quite a challenge, because the main character was not supposed to disappear. Due to jealousy he actually took offense when I introduced his opponent. Lol! Those were the days! So, naming your followers/clients may not be such a good idea.

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      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Your a good man Bill Holland. There is this sense in the Mailbag, of someone casting aside their own gains and really caring about other people. Perhaps this is not so rare - but doing in consistently along with your Artistry with Words is amazing.

      What would you think about starting out at least one answer a week with "What an idiot" or "you are a moron". I mean can you be a little less angelic and a little more human?

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      Alyssa 5 months ago from Ohio

      A great set of questions! I have to agree, I think this Q&A series would make a great book! I'm also glad to know that I am not the only one who enjoys seclusion. I do enjoy chatting with other writers online, though. :)

      Great tips on transitions, too!

      Happy Monday and have a wonderful week!

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      Buildreps 5 months ago from Europe

      I believe you're becoming an authority on the many questions nowadays writers have, Bill! I wasn't aware of the many cultural differences between writers. It's an interesting mailbag as always.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Denise! Wishing the same for you.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Heidi! As long as my fingers can type and my heart is beating, the Mailbags will continue.

      Happy Summer to you, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you bigly, Shyron! LOL I couldn't resist using that word. Seriously, thank you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Chitrangada Sharan, thank you so much. As long as people are finding these interesting, I'll continue with them. I think we all find value in them.

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      Chitrangada Sharan 5 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Such interesting questions and answers this week! Enjoyed reading and let me congratulate you in advance for the completion of 3 years. Sounds fantastic indeed!

      I have said it earlier and want to say it again, these mailbags do enrich us as writers to a great extent.

      Thanks for sharing !

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      Shyron E Shenko 5 months ago from Texas

      Bill, you mail bag is very educational, I do enjoy them all and read questions that I would not have thought to ask.

      Blessings my friend.

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      Heidi Thorne 5 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday!

      Re: Rubbing Shoulders. I have tried a few writers' groups. The people are lovely, but I can't say that I walked away with any particular benefit aside from socializing. I enjoy writing alone with the happy chatter of a coffee shop in the background. Or maybe it's the caffeine? :)

      Re: Transitions. These can be tough. I reviewed a book that did them quite well by inserting details (clothing, environmental details, etc.) so that readers could tell the time shift, in addition to chapter breaks.

      Speaking of time, almost to the 3-Year Mailbag-versary. Keep the good stuff coming and have a great week!

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      Denise McGill 5 months ago from Fresno CA

      As always, very educational. Have a super Monday.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks John! Yes, I loved Mary's idea about naming characters in a book. Now I just have to remember it long enough to do it. :)

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      John Hansen 5 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Another week, and another mailbag. It seems to be a bottomless pit of questions, Bill. I do think the random draw to become a character in the next book has some appeal. Adult coloring book popularity just seems to be going from strength to strength here in Australia. Have a great week, Bill.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exciting times for you and your family, Janine. Oddly, your schools are getting out the same time ours are. That usually doesn't happen. Loving the long days and darkness at ten. And loving your faithful support.

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      Janine Huldie 5 months ago from New York, New York

      Love the idea of compiling your Mailbag Q&A into a book and seriously hope you do consider doing that down the road. Also, summer is seriously knocking on our door now, too. We have one last week of school for the girls and next Monday is the first official day of summer vacation. The following week is 4th of July with my husband working only 2 days out of that week and then we are off to Disney for a week after that. So, excited for a bit of down time to hopefully enjoy all the summer weather and times have to offer. I have been working over time here to plan/schedule ahead to do just that. So, it is almost here and can feel the excitement building. Happy Monday now, my friend!!