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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Five

Production Lapse….blame It on Summer

I don’t know about you, but this writer is lagging far behind in production this summer. The weather is just too beautiful and I’ve got far too many outdoor activities and chores to do to kick out my normal amount of words.

And that’s okay! Writers do not live by words alone. Yes, you can quote me on that. LOL

Shall we get the third year of the Mailbag underway? There aren’t too many questions this week but I have strong feelings about the ones we do have…..and two days after writing that, more questions came in, so we have a full bag.

Let’s do it!

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

Answers to writing questions by yours truly

Watered down Quality Hurts Us All

From Chris: “Sometime in the very near future I'll be publishing a book, e-book or both. It will be a collection of flash fiction and short stories. I've looked at flash fiction books for sale on Amazon and find there is a wide range of quality regarding stories. I have a feeling the term "Flash Fiction" is taking a beating and am considering not using that term at all. Do you think words flash fiction as well as the format itself have been damaged or cheapened by writers who publish low quality writing? I am inclined to use the terms short story and short, short story when I finally have something to put on the market. Would you consider that a wise or unwise course to take?”

Chris, first of all, best wishes on that upcoming book. I’ve been a fan of your writing for quite some time now, and I know you’ve got the talent….now on to your question.

I happen to think the entire ebook movement has been cheapened by writers who publish low quality writing and not just flash fiction. Every Tom, Dick and Harry can publish a book now despite the fact that most Toms, Dicks and Harrys can’t write a good grocery list, let alone a novel. Listen, I’ve got nothing against anyone writing a book. I think it’s great therapy for some, and it’s really cool to see your name on the cover of a book, and you can give it to your kids and whoopy and all that, but not every one of those people should be on Amazon. As more and more self-published books flood Amazon, the overall quality of the site suffers. It’s like a cow pooping in a lake. One pile of poop will pretty much go unnoticed during a year, but if fifty cows are pooping, chances increase that you will be swimming in shit sooner rather than later.

Did you like that simile? LOL

I think flash fiction has a problem with structure more than anything else. I happen to love flash fiction, and I love it because I don’t have a lot of time for reading during the day, and it’s cool to read an entire story in two minutes…but….to pay for it? The same thing I like about it, its brevity, makes me hesitate when it comes to actually paying money for it. What is the return on my buck with flash fiction? Not much, quite frankly, no matter how good the writing is.

Now a collection of flash fictions? That might be a different story, excuse the pun. There might be enough there to appeal to an Amazon buyer….or not.

The closest I come is my series of “Billy the Kid” novellas. We’re talking, on average, about 20,000 words each, and I price them as low as Amazon will allow…..they aren’t exactly bestsellers, but I’m going to keep writing them and keep publishing them and we’ll see what happens.

One final note: flash fiction is just another way of saying “short story,” right? Hemingway didn’t do too badly writing short stories. Is there a market for them today? Are they of higher quality if they are called “short stories” rather than “flash fiction?” Honestly, I really don’t know, This literary game we play seems to change rules quite often.

I doubt I really answered your question satisfactorily, but that’s the best I can do on a tricky topic.

Poor-quality writing!
Poor-quality writing! | Source

Converting Short Stories into a Book

From Mary (not really her name but I’m not sure she wanted the question on the Mailbag so there you go)


“Just out of curiosity, when you're posting chapters of what might later become a book on HP, do you edit more before placing them together as a book? I guess, more or less, what I want to know is the process? I ask because I've considered doing that for some projects I've been working on. Thought it might motivate me a bit more to finish somethings I started and keep letting life allow me to procrastinate. (Yes, it's life making me procrastinate, not myself. Not to mention, I am never satisfied with half the things I write and constantly rewrite as I am writing) Another thing that keeps me from actually pushing forward faster is the editing. I am aware of many of my weaknesses and know that an editor would help control that and point out what I miss. People on HP are too polite to do that. LOL They just point out what they like about things. Anyway. . .I'm just rambling now. Haha”

Well, Mary, I’ll ignore the ramblings (yes, friends on HP are too kind) and mention before I begin that I’ve read quite a few of your poems and they are excellent….now let’s get to the question.

Yes, I edit my short stories before making them a book. Perhaps a better word than “edit” would be “embellish. The first “Billy the Kid” novella was a collection of four short stories totaling about 7,000 words. The actual novella ended up being 22,000 words, so you can see I did quite a bit of “embellishing” before I published.

So, you asked for the process. In the case I just mentioned, the four short stories were basically the framework for the novella. I copied and pasted them on one document and then I got to work. I fleshed out the characters in more detail. I did a better job of describing the scenes. I added little vignettes, tossed in a dash of reflection and mixed it all together. By the time I got done, I had myself a novella.

I don’t pay anyone to edit my novellas. I don’t make enough on them to justify the expense. One advantage to having the short stories published on HP first is my readers will make suggestions as the stories unfold, and then I can incorporate those suggestions into the finished book…but the actual editing I do myself and yes, that goes against advice I gave last week that a writer should never edit his own work, but at times, unfortunately, it is necessary.

Did I answer your question?

What to Do When It Isn’t There?

From John: “Has this happened to you? There are days when I just don’t have it. It’s like my brain is fried and everything I write sounds like mush. I know writers are supposed to kick out a certain number of words each day, but it seems to me that mush is mush is mush, and what’s the point of writing mush?”

I agree, John! On those days, don’t write. We have enough mush being published on Amazon. Don’t add to it! The literary world needs more quality and less mush!

Seriously, if it ain’t there it ain’t there! Don’t force it!

WRITING SPEED

From Tarun: “I am posting the question here thrice. If this time also it doesnt reach then I shall have no choice but to send it to your email id. Here it goes - Any idea what should be an ideal typing speed per hour for a writer? I know it would vary from writer to writer but still wanted to have an idea. I have read online about this and some people say they take hours writing (typing) a blog post and others suggest they write 800-1000 words an hour. I myself am able to write 400 words an hour including research. Since we live in a world of deadlines it would be nicer to know what should be an ideal speed one could strive for. Also are there tools which help enhance productivity?”

It’s an interesting question, my friend, and one I’ve never been asked before.

It depends, so much, on the type of writing you are doing. If I have a freelance assignment that requires research then I’m happy if I do 400 words in an hour. However, if I’m writing a novel and the words are flowing, I can also do 1,000 per hour without working up a sweat.

If I were to toss out an average figure, taking into account that different types of writing take longer, and different writers vary in speed, I would say 400-500 per hour is a figure to shoot for, but if you are doing less than that but it’s high quality, then be happy.

The only picture I have of Sheila
The only picture I have of Sheila | Source

Personal Fun Question

From Faith: “I have a fun question for you ...but it's more along the lines of an interview question of you. If this does not qualify for this series, I understand. If so, it may be too late for Monday's Mailbag.

If you were deserted on an island, which three people would you want to have with you? Why? Criteria:

a.One fictional character from one of your books

b.One fictional character from any other book

c.One famous person who is not a family member or friend”

Well, Faith, it qualifies and it was fun, so let’s go.

a) Without a doubt, the character I created I would most like to spend time with is Sheila. Why? The other characters kill people, and I don’t know if I can trust them if they get hungry on that island. LOL Plus Sheila is all about love and damn if we don’t need more of that in this world.

b) Considering “To Kill A Mockingbird” is my favorite novel, one would think I’d choose Atticus Finch for this answer, but instead I’m going to choose Dave Robicheaux from the James Lee Burke series. He is a tragically-flawed man who I would want in my corner and a person I would understand quite well.

c) A famous person? It’s a toss-up between Bernie Sanders and Scarlett Johansson. Don’t ask!

And with That I Bid You Farewell

But just for a week! I’ll see you all next week for another installment of the Mailbag. Thanks for stopping by and if you feel like it, check out one of my Billy the Kid novellas….there are four now, and the last one, “Home is a Dangerous Place,” is brand new, never before seen as a short story on HP.

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

More by this Author


Comments 82 comments

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 5 months ago from New York, New York

With you Bill on lagging a bit with the nicer, summer weather. I have tried to get ahead as much as I can though, as we will be leaving for Disney this Saturday and will be offline for all of next week. But still have been tempted to play a bit more with the weather indeed being so nice. But, of course, had to stop in and read your latest installment here. wishing you a very, Happy 4th of July today and week ahead, as well now!! :)


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 5 months ago from Massachusetts

Hi Bill. Everything seems to slow down in the summer. Between the garden, nice weather, work, there just never seems to be enough time for everything. But, I enjoy it all and being outside puts me in a happy mood. Another great week for the mailbag. Have a wonderful fourth.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Aww, thanks Janine! I appreciate the visit, comment, and I wish you a Happy 4th of July!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Right on,. Bill. Being outside is great for whatever ails us. Happy 4th my friend.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 months ago from England

Great advice, and yes I wondered if it sounded better saying short story too, and I do think it does. but that's just my opinion. Wish we had the lovely summer over here, its getting pretty depressing, constant rain, purely because of the Jet stream. sounds like a plane! lol! enjoy your summer Bill!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

I'm just imagining the thought process behind Bernie v. Scarlett.


PAINTDRIPS profile image

PAINTDRIPS 5 months ago from Fresno CA

Okay, so half the time I look up and see, "Oh wow, billybuc has published another mailbag... I can put off reading it for a few days...." that's when I just can't stand it and have to read it now. And why? It's because of great comments like "some people can't write a good grocery list let alone a novel..." You give me the best laughs, that's why! And half the time I'm not sure if I fall into the grocery list column or the good writer column but I'm tickled to imagine my name in either one. Thanks for the Monday morning humor!

Blessings,

Denise


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Oddly, Nell, I think short story sounds better as well. Marketing is all about perception, and I think 'flash fiction" gives the wrong perception, for whatever reason. Anyway, thank you and best wishes with that miserable weather.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Flourish, that will give you something to think about the rest of the day. LOL Thanks for joining me on this 4th


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Denise, I'm glad you got a chuckle out of my silliness. Heck, I'm not even sure if I belong in the grocery list column. LOL

bill


Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 5 months ago

Bill, this was a fun mailbag. I would think that part of "how many words do you write in an hour" would somehow be dictated by whether or not you hunt and peck, can knock out 120 WPM, or fall somewhere in between haha. I feel that when the creative juices are flowing the writing comes easily. But as you said anything involving research really slows down the process.

Flash fiction (or short stories)--Stephen King has done pretty well in that category as well. Yes he has written 1,000 page stories but his list of novellas or short stories is amazing--well over 100. I would think that short stories would be an easier sell; how many people want to commit to a 1,000-page story?

I hope you have a great (and safe) 4th of July.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 5 months ago from Oklahoma

Sometimes when it's lush outside and there's so much beauty around, it's torture to stay in and be a writer:-)

Have a wonderful 4th!


social thoughts profile image

social thoughts 5 months ago from New Jersey

Bill,

I hope that Mary knows how much we all suffer from constant editing and feeling we're never quite done. I have the habit of overly editing my work. Eventually, we just have to set it free and hope for the best. Just as you say, "embellishing" is part of that process. I'm sure we're all guilty of that. Sometimes, that's a good thing, though!

Your answer to question "C" of the "Personal Fun Question" made me laugh! I like those!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Linda, I found that question to darned near be impossible to answer...it varies so much from writer to writer and project to project.

Have a wonderful 4th. I'm sure you'll eat well!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Larry, it's 10:30 and the sun is out. I figure I can keep writing for about two more hours and then it's time for fun.

Happy 4th to you, my friend.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Kailey, I'm glad you enjoyed the answer to "C." I had just watched "The Avengers" and Scarlett was on my mind. LOL Have a wonderful Monday, Kailey!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 5 months ago from San Diego California

I'm definitely not as "enlightened" as you are. I would answer that I would like to be alone on an island with Nicole Kiddman - purely platonic, I would just like to sit there and look at her all day. I'm pretty basic that way.

Thank you for not polluting our literary lake with cow leavings. Please don't poop in our pool, we don't swim in your toilet. I love your similes. Great work. Happy 4th!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 5 months ago from Texas

You're hilarious! I didn't care if my name was used or even that you included the entire email. I just hadn't intended it to be included in the mailbag when I included the "ramblings". LOL

Yes, you answered it. Thanks. You're right that embellishment is probably a much better word.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 months ago from Southern Illinois

I like Bernie too, and I like your answers to all the questions. I like the title flash fiction better than short story. Some short stories are tooooo long. Happy 4th.


Homeplace Series profile image

Homeplace Series 5 months ago from Hollister, MO

Useful and interesting start to the third year of mailbag, on the 4th of July. Thank you for sharing!! Have a great one!! ;-)


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 5 months ago from london

Continues to be very enjoyable, so I can understand the need to keep this going. Great questions and excellent answers.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 5 months ago from Chicago Area

Since I'm free to spend my July 4th holiday as I choose, I've chosen to stop in on the Mailbag. How's that for a dedicated following? :) Some fun questions today, too.

Re: Flash Fiction. I'm not really into the whole fiction market. But from my observation, flash fiction can be perceived as a writing exercise. So who wants to buy someone else's homework assignments? ;) I think it's better to market it as "short stories."

Re: Editing and Fiction. Yes, I agree that an editor can be valuable for ALL written works (I just edited a book of poetry). But sometimes the cost is just not justified. I get that. Again, it depends on the market and what goals you hope to achieve. If the manuscript is going to Big Publisher for a nice fat advance, then it might be worth it. On a smaller, self published or experimental work, do the best you can if you don't have the bucks. (Confession: I've done it, too.) And remember that on platforms such as Amazon's Createspace, you can upload corrected and updated versions at any time. Love the do-over capability!

Re: Writing Speed or Typing Speed? This is actually two issues. Writing speed will vary widely from day to day and from topic to topic. Typing speed will mirror writing speed. But if a writer is looking to improve her typing speed to keep up with her writing speed, there are a number of typing tutor software programs out there which can really help.

Kids have it so good these days! When I was learning to type in high school, we were still using manual typewriters which weighed about as much as my car. The mechanics of these monstrosities could jam up if you didn't develop a typing rhythm. So we would type to music. The typing cha-cha was my favorite. "a, a, a, l, l, l, cha, cha cha." Laugh if you must. But because of that training, I can touch type really fast to keep up with my brain (which is way faster) and without looking at the keyboard. So there! :)

Have a Happy and Relaxing July 4th!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Mel, thanks so much and Happy 4th. I'm glad you got a chuckle out of this one.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Shannon, I was going to ask you if I could use it and then I got lazy, so there! Glad you didn't mind and I'm glad you got a laugh out of it all.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Ruby, I said Bernie AND Scarlett! LOL Don't want to leave her out of the party.

Happy 4th my friend and thank you!


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 5 months ago from Alton, Missouri

I love the questions she asked at the end! If I were to choose one of my favorite characters from one of my books to be on a desert island with me, I would choose Elizabeth because I would love to hear all of the smuggling and spy stories that are not written in Soldiers Don't Cry. A character from another novel? Rhett Butler (I do like the bad boys.) Real person? James Forten. Most people don't know he is, but look him up, he was an amazing historical figure!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 months ago from South Africa

Profound and useful, as always. Thank you, billybuc!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 5 months ago from southern USA

Happy Fourth, Bill!

I'm so late to the celebration here, but I appreciate you squeezing in my late, yet fun, question. I can understand your answers of Sheila and Scarlett Johansson, perfectly well LOL. And your hopelessly flawed character too. So funny that others joined in the fun question in their commenting.

I can see making short stories into a book series of some sort, but am clueless as to how one could turn flash fiction into some sort of publication. Well, maybe a collection.

As always, another Monday Mailbag full of interesting questions with great answers.

Peace and blessings


Buildreps profile image

Buildreps 5 months ago from Europe

Same like you, I'm way down on my original schedule. But I don't realyy care about that. We are enjoying life as it should be done, billybuc! Have a great week.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 months ago from Riga, Latvia

Thanks for more helpful advice. Hope you and Bev had a wonderful July 4


Jodah profile image

Jodah 5 months ago from Queensland Australia

Loved this week's questions, Bill. In regard to Chris's about Flash Fiction vs Short Stories. If it's in regard to a hub, I choose to read one that calls itself "flash fiction" before "short story". The amount of hubs that I have to try to read, flash fiction and poetry is quick, and some short stories are really just too long for my liking. The funny thing is that I prefer a really long novel and like to lose myself in a good story. I like your choices to share an island with. Two people I'd choose are James Corden (Late Late Show host) and Aussie Actress Margot Robbie (from Wolf of Wall Street, the New Tarzan movie, and Suicide Squad). She is also from Dalby, about an hour from where I live.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 months ago

I too may have less time for writing this summer because I am now a farmer! I rented a raised bed at my community garden and I am off and running!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Bill and a late Happy 4th to you and your family.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Manatita! This series just keeps itself alive. I'm just driving the bus.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Well Heidi, thanks for spending part of your holiday with me. Loved your thoughts on these topics....I, too, learned on the old typewriters. In fact, the first business course I taught was typing, so I'm well-aware of which you speak.

Happy Tuesday, my friend.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 5 months ago

Well, Bill, another mailbag, and published on a holiday, too. I salute you, my friend. This one contained some refreshing new subjects, too. BTW, the question from John: I would like to know who wrote the rule that a person should write some every day. When our brains don’t want to work, it’s like building a fire under a balking donkey to get it to move.

I’m surprised at your choice of famous person. I wouldn’t want to be stranded on a desert island with anyone who exhibits as much anger as Bernie because I see enough of that in my life already. Not Hillary because she can be so cold-shouldered (I had to deal with her when I was a reporter), nor Trump because he is an a$$hole. Spare me the politicians! LOL If Michael Jackson were still alive, I might choose him because he appeared to be so mellow, and he could sing to me. Have a good rest of the week.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thanks for playing along, Donna! Interesting choices.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you so much, Martie. It's always nice to see you.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Happy 5th, Faith,. and thanks for the fun question. Yes, a collection of flash fictions is the only way it would work....or at least that's what I think, but who really knows?

blessings, my friend.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Enjoying life for sure, Buildreps, and those are my plans for the future as well.

Thanks my friend.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Rasma! We had a very lazy 4th, exactly what we needed.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Interesting, John! I love James Corden...great choice. As for the flash fiction comment, I do agree with regards to HP. I just don't have the time for long, long articles/stories.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Hooray, Pop! Very exciting news. Best of luck with that raised bed, and thanks for being here. Happy Late 4th!


mpropp profile image

mpropp 5 months ago from Minnesota

Happy Belated Monday and 4th of July! I was without internet connection yesterday, so I'm catching up today...You always get such interesting questions, but I like the personal at the end the best! Scarlet, eh? :)

Have a great week!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Well Bill, I certainly like your simile. That says it all. Thanks for more good and helpful advice. Yes, I know. I'm a day late - too many fireworks!


Tarunponders profile image

Tarunponders 5 months ago from Roorkee, India

Hi Bill,

Thanks for nailing that down quite well. I can now heave a sigh of relief knowing fully well I am not behind competition and next time can say it with confidence that I do 400 words (including research) an hour to a client. Many a times you live in ambiguity regarding what the competition delivers and this one clears all doubts. Happy belated 4th Bill. And thanks again for that insightful answer.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 5 months ago from Shelton

Billybuc, I enjoyed the ebook answer.. it made me listen and you are right about the who and harry's who put out books.. you hit it on the head my friend thanks for this installment..:) Happy Summer


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

MizB, I understand completely your reluctance to share an island with a politician. LOL I think I'll stick with Scarlett!

Always good to see you, my friend. Thank you!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Melissa, I think we are the only part of the nation not having severe weather. Good luck, thank you and Happy 4th!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Glad you liked that simile, Bill. It's one of my favorites if I do say so myself. LOL


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Very true, Tarun! It's hard to know when first starting out in a new business. Thanks for the question and best wishes to you.


annart profile image

annart 5 months ago from SW England

Entertaining as always, bill. I always thought 'Flash Fiction' was a more trendy name for a short story, seeing as they vary so much in length in both cases. Maybe that title has become a little outdated now; I like Chris' 'Short short stories' idea. They could be 'Compact Stories' or 'Cut to the Chase' stories but I like Chris' idea best.

Great question from Faith! I like your answer too.

Busier than ever but need some time to write; I know what you mean about the call upon your own time. I've decided not to fret about it but to turn out some quality if possible, when I can.

Ann


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thanks Frank and happy summer to you.....I never want to sound like a snob, but there are some people who shouldn't ever be read in public. LOL


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

So busy, Ann, and I thank you for taking the time to visit. My goodness, there just are not enough hours in the day for this writer. Well, I'm not sure what I can do about changing the whole time thing. Nature tends to have final say on that. LOL

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friend.


Babbyii profile image

Babbyii 4 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

Always worth showing up for the mailbag Bill. Thanks for sharing a little of your time on these gorgeous summer days. A fun Mailbag.

On John's question about when it's just not there; I absolutely agree that one shouldn't try to force it. Go do something else until 'It' returns. It also helps to have other hobbies or interests.


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 4 months ago from United Kingdom

'As more and more self-published books flood Amazon, the overall quality of the site suffers. It’s like a cow pooping in a lake. One pile of poop will pretty much go unnoticed during a year, but if fifty cows are pooping, chances increase that you will be swimming in shit sooner rather than later.'

I like that simile a lot. lol

Just out of curiosity, is the background on the cover of '12/59' real? I only ask because the ceiling of my living room is that same pattern.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you for joining me on this summer day, Babby! You are always appreciated in the Mail Room.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Zulma, you crack me up. I have no idea where that background came from, believe it or not. A friend did it and I never asked him about that....but now that you say that it does look like a textured ceiling. LOL


DDE profile image

DDE 4 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Always a useful and informative hub from you. I haven't been around working my summer job.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

DDE, thanks for taking the time to visit the Mail Room. Much-appreciated.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Bill, I kept seeing comments on #104 so I thought you hadn't published an new Mailbag yet. Sorry I didn't get here sooner. You thoroughly answered my question. An honest opinion is what I wanted and what I got. Well, I did get a pile of cow poop I wasn't expecting, but I grew up on a dairy farm, so I know what to do with that.

I think the term flash fiction here on HP has some value. It communicates length to some extent. When I publish a FF story on HP, it is always a maximum of 1,000 words. That is important to people who want to read, but don't have the time for a 2,500 word or longer story. Thanks for your opinion about FF on Amazon. I value your opinion and thank you for sharing it.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

My pleasure, Chris. It's a sticky wicket as I see it, especially on Amazon. In all honesty, I don't think there are any authorities on ebook publishing as of yet. It's still too new and changing all the time. As I mentioned, there are anthology and short story writers who are doing quite well on Amazon, but they are few and far between.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 months ago

I do prefer short story to flash fiction writing. Seems as if summer is absorbing time but you still manage to keep delivering this important mail.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Dee, thanks for your input on the flash fiction question. It's funny what a name does, isn't it? I guess not so funny...marketing is based on perception.


Eric Dierker 4 months ago

Great stuff, as usual I learned a whole lot. That stuff about short stories versus flash fiction is very interesting. Shoot I even have trouble sometimes on which category to publish a hub.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is an interesting edition of the mailbag once again. It's always enjoyable and informative to read the questions and your answers.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 months ago from Brazil

Hi Bill,

I too was confused by the term flash fiction. I don't know if I am getting old but what was wrong with calling it a short story? The world has gone crazy with its 'trendy spin' on things.

An interesting mailbag as always.

Question: Do you have another non-fiction book in the pipeline? Perhaps, raising quail or a cookbook with quail recipes (eggs and or meat).

Have a wonderful week.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

I know, Eric. At times I think we all make it much more difficult than we need to.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

I appreciate that, Alicia. Thank you and have a wonderful week.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Mary, thanks for being here and thanks for the question. That makes two questions...it may well be the Mailbag is on its last leg....oh well, it was a great run.

Enjoy life this week, Mary! You deserve it.


Babbyii profile image

Babbyii 4 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

Hi Bill! Found myself looking for the latest Mailbag in a panic. I'm sure I wasn't the only one. Maybe we will have to resign ourselves to the unmentionable last leg, maybe not.

Was thinking about John's question all week. Decided to share a few of my favorite things I do to encourage myself out of a non-writing slump. I hope you and others will share a few too.

1. Try my hand at a different genre. Usually I prefer non-fiction, but I find that just experimenting with a different genre can be enough of a challenge to wake up my slumping writing spirit.

2. Enter writing contests. Many are theme driven and can be a mini vacation for the mind forcing you to explore beyond the familiar and many have zero entrance fees.

3. Tackle some of those household to do lists. Every writer on earth knows that many of the best ideas tend to show up when you are fully involved in something else.

4. Get out into the community. Go to a town hall meeting. Visit a nursing home, senior center, take a friend to a concert or do something you've been meaning to do or go. You've got the time now - if you're not writing.

Have a great weekend Bill!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Great suggestions, Babby! Thanks for sharing them with us. This is why I love the Mailbag...writers helping writers.

Happy Friday my friend.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 months ago from Shelton

did I miss a mailbag.. like this week's? don't see it on my feed and I don't even see it on your home page..:)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

There were no questions, Frank...the first time in two years that has happened. Thanks for checking, though.


Deb Hirt 4 months ago

As far as flash fiction or short stories, I think they would do well. They would be especially good in a high school English class, since many kids have short attention spans. If Chris Mills or Frank Antanacio did book and marketed them to schools, it would be a fabulous way to get kids to read. How's THAT for an honest answer? We'd still have books and a great service would be done for school curriculum.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

It's a great answer, Deb, and one I think would work well. Hopefully Frank and Chris as paying attention. Thank you!


Lawrence Hebb 4 months ago

Bill

I'd agree that the people here on HP can be 'too nice' to want to criticize, but they're well worth listening to. They come up with some great ideas!

I wrote my novel the same way you describe, the HP articles totaled about 30,000 words but after I'd finished (I'd planned to add 6,000 words) I ended up with 45,000 words that seemed to do okay on Amazon's lowest price region (not sure if this'll help anyone) but it's all about ;building a brand'

Actually that's maybe a question to look at, how long does it take for an average author to 'build a brand'? I've heard it said that it takes four or five books when a traditional publisher takes you on (at least they plan for that) so what do you think?

Lawrence


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Lawrence, thanks for sharing your thoughts and asking a question...good question, by the way. Hopefully I'll have a good answer for you on Monday.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 months ago from Central Florida

This mailbag had a slightly different flair to it. I love your answers to Faith's interview questions. Great installment for the beginning of year three!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thanks Sha! I really do appreciate you finding the time to read my stuff. You do more than most of my family to support me. LOL


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 months ago from Central Florida

That's sweet, Bill. We've been friends for a long time now. Friends support friends, right?


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

They do for sure, Sha!

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