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A Review of "Mr. Holland's Mailbag," by Bill Holland

Linda has a passion for writing about many topics, including food, history, travel, artists, and authors.

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"I truly had no clue what I was starting when I posted the very first Writer’s Mailbag. I had a backlog of questions people had asked me, and I thought I would just post an article with the answers." – William Holland

Introduction

And so it began. The anthology, “Mr. Holland’s Mailbag is the culmination of 7 years, 400 Hub Pages articles, and more than 500,000 words.

Bill’s writings cover the basic mechanics of writing and questions about grammar, sentence structure, and freelance writing. Week by week word spread about Bill’s series on the internet, multiplying the number of visitors to his weekly answers, and the complexity of the questions grew proportionately.

Bill’s weekly series delves into the mysteries of marketing, the importance of blogging (and how to do so effectively), and how to find your authentic writing voice. He discusses eBooks and self-publishing, writing memoirs, and how to develop and craft believable characters. Bill coaches on cliches and similes, plots and subplots, how to avoid (or end) writer’s block, validation, authenticity, and journalistic ethics, using life experiences to gain inspiration, and finding your writing Muse.

Cover of "Mr. Holland's Mailbag"

Cover of "Mr. Holland's Mailbag"

Each volume of “Mr. Holland's Mailbag consists of many entries from the online series. Volume 1 spans roughly 2 1/2 years of advice to writers (entries 1-130) and Bill as the newly presented purveyor of writing knowledge. The questions are simple, and the answers are to the point. Bill is a man of passion for writing and teaching those who want to become the best writers possible. Read, ponder, and apply what this volume offers—especially for you new writers!

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In the 2nd volume, we have the answers for entries 131 to 260—approximately 18 months of questions and answers (January 2017 to June 2019) for inquisitive writers. Bill Holland answers some of the questions with the help of his writing community developing around The Writer's Mailbag. During this period, the fame of the series sparked international interest. With a growing audience and more complex questions, the series continued to grow and improve with Bill's writing style and answers. Bill’s premise for the Mailbag:

The Writer’s Mailbag works from the assumption that if one person asks a question, then there are others wondering the same thing ... There is no central theme other than all of the questions pertain to writing.

The third and final volume consists of entries 261 to 400. The chapters in each book are similar, but the content in each volume shows questions and answers from different people; some people asked more questions than others. One thing consistent with Bill for seven years of the series, His perspective:

When I was a child, I did not know what it meant to “see the truth.” It just was. I was experiencing life and just trying to move forward without any major pitfalls. As a teen I suspected there were truths, but I wasn’t completely sure how to discover them. As a young adult I chased after false truths, and some valid, attempting to discern which was which, often with painful results. And now I know the truth, and I’m just trying to milk it for all I can in the time I have left.

Do not assume however that this anthology is merely a compilation of advice for would-be writers. Something magical took place when what was originally conceived as a mere question-and-answer column became more, so very much more—a community. … the “safe place” where people from all backgrounds, young or old, newbie or pro, and from all corners of the earth could come together. Bill often referred to his community of commenters as the place where “all the cool kids hang out.” Bill’s followers emerged as a network of people who care about him—this kind, supportive man. We formed friendships with each other to last a lifetime.

Each week Bill requested that we do everything with love and ended with the encouragement to “spread our wings and fly.”

More Details

Volume 1 of Bill’s book is on sale at Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle (e-reader) format. Volumes 2 and 3 will be released during the month of June 2022.

© 2022 Linda Lum

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