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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #330


I was watching a documentary last night about the election process in the United States. Most of it I knew, no surprise since I’ve taught Political Science and I’ve actually read the Constitution, but there were some tidbits of information I did not know.

One such tidbit was about the 2016 Presidential Election. There are approximately 231.5 eligible voters in the United States. In 2016, 94 million of them DID NOT VOTE!

I would submit to you, all of you reading this from the cozy confines of the United States, that we need all eligible votes to vote in 2020. If dead people found the ability to vote in 1960, us live ones shouldn’t have any problem, right?

And with that we will take a look at the questions offered up this week.

The Mail Room!

The Mail Room!

The Cost of Publishing

From Mr. Happy: “Listening to people who want to publish in North America, I hear that cost is always a concern, in terms of having a publishing house do the publishing. I do not know exactly what costs are because I never published, nor do I care about publishing but my father just published his second book in Romania. He writes in Romanian, his audience is in Romania so it makes sense to publish there but I was wondering if people in North America could not use publishing houses in other countries to get books printed for a cheaper cost? Would language be a barrier? On the other hand, all they have to do is print letters bundled together so, it shouldn't matter as long as there is an editor who understand the language. Typing pages is the same in all languages. It's ink and paper.”

Mr. Happy, this is a sinkhole of a question. LOL I do believe I could make an entire Mailbag about this one question.

First of all, truthfully, I knew nothing about this when you asked, so research I did.

I started out by reading this helpful article about getting your book translated.

I also found out that KDP (Kindle) can access thirty-four languages, one of which is Romanian.

Then I found this article about getting your book translated. It turns out there are some very helpful applications which will do the translation for you – at a cost, of course. You can also hire a translator to do the translating for you, and the cost of that service is approximately .05 cents per word. Sorry, but I don’t know what five cents computes to in Canadian currency or Romanian currency.

And that’s all I could find out. Yes, it is possible and yes, it will cost some money. Would it be cheaper to have it translated in another country, like Romania? I don’t know. I am confident the cost will be affected by supply and demand in that country. If there are Romanians frantically looking for work, and need the money badly, it might be much cheaper to have it translated there.

Did I answer your question? Kind of??? Sorry if I didn’t, but I’m a bit like a fish out of water with this question.

Commenting on Maven Sites

From Shannon: “Um, for the mailbag. Maybe. Since I don't know of any other way to let people know what I discovered. I have seen a few comments here and there about people not being able to comment on niche sites and even had one person email me because he couldn't comment on mine and wants to know how I did on his. If you comment on a hub from the news feed on the homepage the comment still seems to post even if the hub is moved to a niche site.”

Shannon had sent this to me in an instant message the other day. It’s a common complaint I keep hearing about on HubPages. Truth be told, up until that moment, I had not run across any articles in my feed where I couldn’t comment, so I wasn’t really sure what the heck people were talking about.

But then the very next day, I went to comment on an article written by a friend months earlier, an article appearing on one of the niche sites, and I’ll be damned, I couldn’t comment on it.

So there you go. Catch those articles before they can be switched to a niche site, or forever hold your peace.

Does this upset me? I guess, but I’ve got much bigger things to be upset about, so I choose to ignore this minor complication. I’m not saying I don’t understand why it bothers many of my friends. I’m simply saying it doesn’t bother me.

Writing a series can be fulfilling and quite fun!

Writing a series can be fulfilling and quite fun!

Scroll to Continue

Writing a Series

From Jason: “I know you write a series you call The Shadow Series, and I’ve read two of those installments and I wanted to say very nice job to you. But I also wanted to know if you have any tips for writing a series of related novels? What process did you use, or what process would you suggest? Thanks in advance!”

Well, first of all, Jason, thanks for reading two of my Shadow books. My only question for you is this: why the hell haven’t you read them all?

Kidding! I’m only joking around, folks. I always feel like I need to say that in case the “hurt feelings police” are reading my words.

Tips and advice, eh? My process, you ask?

My process was haphazard at best. I hadn’t planned on writing a series when I wrote “Shadows Kill,” the first in the series. It was going to be a stand-alone novel, but I turned out enjoying the characters so much that I wrote a second one, which was going to be the end of it, but then I enjoyed that one so much I just went ahead and settled on making a series out of it.

Having said all that, it is much better if you can decide ahead of time on writing a series. It will give you a chance to write out a storyline for the entire series, starting with Point A and ending with Point Z, and that allows you to fill in the blanks in a cohesive manner.

And while you are doing that, I strongly recommend that you keep detailed notes of all of the characters, all of their personal descriptions and pasts, and all the things they have done so far to date. This will save you countless hours going back and re-reading past novels to find details you may have forgotten.

I am speaking words of experience born from doing things the wrong way.

Start planning early and keep detailed notes.

And good luck! I love writing a series, but to do it properly you must be organized and focused on the past as well as the future of your series.

Problems With Letterpile

From Genna: “I'm at a loss to understand the new LetterPile format. (It has chopped up my poems with ads in between lines so they are almost unreadable.) And I don't know how to leave a comment, such as for your new article, The Wonders of Fall. :-( “

I already emailed Genna about this, so I won’t spend much time on it in this format, since we have talked about this recently here in the Mail Room. Once an article or poem is selected for a niche site, all bets are off. Genna’s concerns are quite common, and I honestly don’t think we are going to change HP’s collective mind on this. I have no idea how to talk them into allowing us to comment on those articles, and at this point I’ve pretty much given up trying to change their minds.

Sorry, Genna!

Vote please!

Vote please!

Back to Voting

This will be my fourteenth Presidential election, and I’ve voted in each of those previous thirteen, and I will vote next week for this one. I consider it my duty as a citizen to do so, and I firmly believe it is important. A part of me wants to say, to those 94 million who didn’t vote in 2016, that they have no right to complain about the current state of affairs in this country if they couldn’t be bothered to vote, but my kinder angel eventually softens that statement. I understand many are frustrated with the political system. I understand there are voter suppression efforts, making it hard for many to vote.

So my only message is this: find a way and do it! We need all citizens to make the effort.

Have a great week! If you have a question for the Mailbag, drop it in the comment section below, or email it to me at

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 17, 2020:

Ha-ha, Ann! Thanks so much, my friend, and Happy Weekend!


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 17, 2020:

Yes, I agree with you, Rajan, they are drab and dull. And to think, they chose that format!!!!!

Ann Carr from SW England on October 17, 2020:

Belated happy birthday, bill! The shock of making a birthday cake for Arthur must have been too much! Hope you had a great day.


Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 17, 2020:

Besides being unable to comment on niche sites I find these sites to be absolutely drab and dull looking. The mailbag as usual is full of a variety of questions and responses. Thank you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 16, 2020:

Thanks Audrey! Bev always spoils me. My job is to make sure she doesn't overdo it. lol



Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 15, 2020:

Hey, Bill. I love that the Mailbag covers a variety of questions. Heide's comments were especially helpful. As for the changes on HP, things will change until Maven figures it out...then there will be more changes. Make the best of it people!

I hope Bev spoiled you on your birthday.



Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 15, 2020:

Thank you Mary! Another birthday, another day of amazement that I'm still alive and functioning at a fairly high level. Let's hope it continues for us both.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 15, 2020:

True, Miebakagh!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 15, 2020:

Thanks MizB! The story about the dead people had me laughing for some warped reason. I guess it was quite common for the dead to vote in Chicago in 1960. I wonder how often that happens? I suspect that was the heyday of that activity, but I have no proof of that.

Anway, take care and be well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 15, 2020:

Alan, I will look that book up and hopefully find a copy. I love mirthful history. :) As for selling, I'm one hell of a salesman of other people's items. I run into a stonewall when it comes to my own books. Sigh! I need to be rich so I can pay someone else to market my works.

But that's not going to happen, so I'll continue to work in relative obscurity.

Thanks, my friend!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 15, 2020:

Hi Bill. I missed your birthday so here's a greeting and a wish for more blessings this year. Hope you get your wish this coming election. We had thanksgiving last weekend so that kept me busy and late for this mailbag as we did the closing of our cottage as well. I was also annoyed when I could not comment on some of the articles of people I follow. I hope HP will do something about this.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 15, 2020:

That's odd anyway. Or one better ask for Carter.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 14, 2020:

I'm back for seconds, Bill, because somewhere I missed that it was your birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope it was a great one.

I gotta tell you that I enjoyed the comments on this mailbag as much as I enjoyed the mailbag. The comments are important to keep us connected as a community, and I hope they will be restored soon on the niche sites. I tried to post something on one of Linda's articles and was very disappointed that I couldn't.

I miss the little "I voted" stickers, too, because I used to collect them. We didn't get any with the ballots in Arkansas, so I guess they are waiting to see how many are actually returned. I recall that in 1980, or perhaps it was 1982, when I was a reporter, 13 dead people voted in the gubernatorial election. I don't remember whether they were for or against Bill Clinton, though. It could be either, depending on whether it was 80 or 82. We'd all had enough of Frank White in 82 and wanted to see Bill back in office.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2020:

Hey, Rodric, it's good to hear from you again. I'm sorry to hear you've been sick. Hopefully you'll have some good health from here on. As for your question, hang in there until next Monday and I'll have an answer for you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2020:

Bravo to you, Devika! I'm never going to be rich from writing, so the niche sites mean nothing to me.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2020:

Yes we do, Flourish! I sense a landslide about to happen. I sure hope I'm correct.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2020:

Thank you, Dora! Many more years of healthy living sounds very good to me, and I wish the same for you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2020:

I like the fact that you can vote with no concerns, Ann. I have none either, but we have conspiracy theories flying around constantly in the U.S. We are a strange people, we Americans.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2020:

Mr. Happy, I'm sorry I didn't have a better answer to your question. It's a tough one to nail down, I'm afraid.

Duties? We all have them, don't we? Seems to me we have a duty to be a good human being. That would be a good starting place.

Best wishes, my friend!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 14, 2020:

Hi Bill everything important mentioned in this hub. I have given up on the Niche articles it doesn't give us the opportunities that help us in supporting one another.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 14, 2020:

I’ve already voted and have ensured that my family has also done so. We need all of the participation we can get.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on October 13, 2020:

... Sensitive issues are at stake, Bill, such as maybe either a drop of Green (China) Tea or Earl Grey (got my facetious face on again, cancha tell). to be honest I hope the green tea's not from Tik-Tok, as who knows there might be a cunning plan afoot to turn all Brits into card-carrying ... Asda customers.

Back on a serious note, on self-publishing costs: my last book was published mid-2017 and cost me around 200 smackers (pounds sterling), through a company called New Generation, a subsidiary of a US company, plus the cost of postcards I put out for people to take when I was at Battle Abbey in mid-October for the years 2012-2018. I also paid for bookmarks for each book and have a lot left. Total package amounted to around £325 (dunno what the exchange rate was then) per book for seven books, give or take the odd £10. I also went to one of their autumn/fall conventions but to be honest that was a waste of cash as well as I packed in the book writing and wrote off the loss. I did get a few hundred £££s back, some from selling copies of each book to friends and associates, mostly through the Battle Abbey shop (English Heritage*). The last person to buy a copy there of the first four books also took a copy each of the other three. I did a nice selling job on him, didn't I (like when I was outside the Lord's Museum as a museum steward selling books etc, making something upward of £200 a day - on my own - selling theirs including copies of a book by US author Beth Hise about the link between cricket and baseball). Am I blowing my own trumpet here? It's more like proving anyone can sell if they put their minds to it. Selling your own material is something else altogether, because of the 'personal attachment'.

*A book Penguin published many moons ago, from the late 1950's onward, is '1066 And All That', a brilliant little paperback that's sold in the 000,000's takes the mickey out of English history in a grand fashion . It's available through the bookshop at Battle Abbey and will leave you shaking with mirth. I recommend it, and it proves we don't take our history too seriously.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on October 13, 2020:

The new format for the niche articles hurts my feelings. I went to edit one of my niche articles and I had to jump through some hoops I did not think existed. It is doable, but I hate change. I know I'm not supposed to think that way, but I like the old things. I like not having to click more times than one to edit my writings. Bill, should we be backing up all of our hubs? Do you think these niche sites will take over creative rights to our writings?

Hello everybody, too. I have been ill again and out of commission for most of the year.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 13, 2020:

Happy that we can still comment on the mailbag, if only for me to say that I keep on learning from your attitude to life as well as from the sensible answers you give. Many more years of happy, healthy living and writing!

Ann Carr from SW England on October 13, 2020:

We can opt for postal voting, any of us, and there is no worry regarding it. We are postal voters and it means we dont have to worry about being away or going to the polling station in the rain!


Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 13, 2020:

"I honestly don’t think we are going to change HP’s collective mind on this" - We're not because we're not on the Board of Directors LOL

Thank You for battling that publishing question. It's something to consider I suppose, for those who wish to publish.

"I consider it my duty as a citizen to do so" - It is always so refreshing to hear someone speak of "citizen's duties". I do not hear many people talk about their duties as citizens. Everyone talks about their "freedoms", their "expectations", their "wants" ... not so much about their "duties". Just gonna sit here and shake my head.

Thanks for voting. Thanks for writing and thanks for Being You.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

I do too, Nell! I would hate for HP to lose that feature of the site. It's really the only reason I am still here, the interaction with you fine people.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

Hi Liz! Thanks for the comments and the nice words about me. What good is experience if it isn't shared, eh? As for HP and Maven, to borrow from our infamous President, it is what it is. I suspect it will improve shortly.

Take care, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

Thank you Mary! I'm not big on birthdays, but most of that is because I'm now 72, and that doesn't seem to me to be a reason for celebration. lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

No worries, Sha! Thanks for thinking of me. It's a good day so far. I'm wearing my new sweater. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

I haven't either, Linda! I think Alan is right: just publish it in English; most of the world speaks it already.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

Nothing to enjoy here, MizB. Raining cats and dogs in Olympia. As for voting by mail, I've done it for over a decade, and I love it. No standing in line for this boy, and our state is fraud fraudulent ballots in four million last time out.

Have a fabulous week in that glorious weather, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

I just find that amazing, Lori! I'm not being negative when I say that, but it's amazing nonetheless.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

Alan, things are better in WA than in some states, so that's the good news. The bad news is Americans are stubborn as hell, and there are many who simply will not take the necessary precautions.

I wish our voting system was that simple. We are obsessed with voter fraud here, even though there is practically no cases of it. We love our conspiracies here. It's a wonder we function as a country.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

That seems to be the only solution right now, Miebakagh. Hopefully HP will work out the problem soon.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

Twenty-one days, Peggy, and I can hardly wait for all of this campaigning to be done and we can return to our new normal. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

Kalpana, thank you for your thoughts. It's interesting that so many people, around the world, are paying attention to this U.S. election. We truly are a global society, aren't we?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

You just found me out, Linda. I'm making all of these questions up. Darn it, I've been found out!!!!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

Brenda, I'm not sure how much value there is in my opinions/thoughts, but it doesn't cost a thing to give them, and it doesn't cost a thing to read them, so it's all good from both ends.

Thanks, as always, for the visit.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

Not voting is just beyond my comprehension, Denise. Of course, there are reasons why some would find it hard to do, but to just choose not to, well, I don't get it.

Nice to know HP is working on the problem. As always, I'll just sit back and see what happens, which has always been my attitude about HP.

Blessings always, my friend


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2020:

I appreciate that, Sha! That's assuming I care if my profile is updated. lol Which I don't. But I might do it just for you.

Nell Rose from England on October 13, 2020:

HI Bill, I just checked on the forums and they are supposed to be figuring out the comment section. I do feel a bit annoyed at it, but of course most of us can chat on facebook and mention the article. But I do love the warm and fuzzy speak we can do here. Just hope they can sort it out.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 13, 2020:

I don't envy you with an election in the midst of a pandemic. But I understand completely your call to vote. In the UK, way back, women died in the struggle to get voting rights, so it seems disrespectful not to vote.

I always appreciate the way you share your experience, in this issue, on publishing and writing a series. We can all learn a lot from you.

I too am frustrated with the changes to the niche sites. Maps and polls have disappeared along with the opportunity to comment. I understand that the situation will improve, but it is taking a while. I hope you are keeping well.

Mary Wickison from USA on October 13, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Happy birthday.

Glad to hear you've voted. Here in Brazil, voting is mandatory.

Regarding the translation question, I thought he meant just to have the books printed and published but not translated. If that was the case, perhaps it would be cheaper.

Have a (choose your favorite adjective and insert here) day. LOL

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 13, 2020:

Happy Birthday, Bill! I apologize for not getting a card out to you. Time seems to slip away from me more and more these days. Yikes! That means I'm aging quicker than I realize.

Anyway, have a fantabulous birthday, my friend!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 12, 2020:

The section about translation was very interesting. It's a topic that I haven't thought much about before. Thanks for sharing the information and the links, Bill.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 12, 2020:

Bill, first off, I must tell you that Larry and I have already voted -- by mail. Yes, I'm one of those horrible mail-in voters, but I think that is better than standing in line for hours and taking a chance on catching COVID. I don't think I'm better than anybody else, just more cautious and I'm also disabled and can't stand in long lines. Neither can Larry.

Some good questions, especially about the cost of publishing. One cost that gripes me is the price of barcodes. If you use the free Amazon barcode, then you can't sell your book outside of Amazon.

Beautiful weather, sunny and hitting 80 the last few days, but cooler is coming. Let's enjoy it while it lasts, my friend.

Lori Colbo from United States on October 12, 2020:

I have a 61 year old friend who has never voted once in her whole life. She told me one day she didn't know what a democrat or republican means. All she knows is that there is a president (and usually at least knows the current one's name) and there is some sort of legislative body but doesn't understand what congress is. At least she never complains. She says she just doesn't care and she's just one person so her vote shouldn't be missed. I couldn't believe it.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on October 12, 2020:

How's things in WA these Covid-infected days?

On the subject of translation into other languages, I wouldn't bother. There are so many people around the world who want to improve their English and soak up anything and everything written or printed in English - whether British or American.

In the case of my own books the story would've been lost in translation, as many languages don't accommodate the peculiarities of an older English. Because my stories were 'told' by someone connected to the early mediaeval (11th Century) English and Danish courts I avoided French and Latin derived words as much as possible. And it is possible. Many languages have 'modernised', leaving their older vocabularies behind, whereas English has still kept a lot of its roots although many have forgotten them. Yet it doesn't mean they wouldn't understand the context, if you know what I mean. The grammar is straightforward, English not owing anything to Latin as many European languages do (sometimes tying their users into knots in navigating their way through).

We're not due another election for a few years yet, and the only ones entitled to postal votes are those who live or are abroad for work at the time of our elections (as they're not entitled to a vote in the country of their residence). Turn up, put your cross(es) in the box(es), fold the paper and drop into the big black box without showing anyone. No hassle, no thought police - as in George Orwell's "1984" - and no strong-arm tactics from a government that wants to hang onto power .

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 12, 2020:

Hi Bill, I found this mail bag interesting, and the question about commenting likewise. Like as you said, readers should try commenting on hubpages before that specific article goes to a niche site. Thanks for sharing this insight.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2020:

My thoughts echo yours about voting. It is not only a right but a duty! We mailed our ballots back the day after they arrived in the mail. We are eagerly tracking them to make sure that they will be recorded. We do get the little "I voted" stickers. Not long now before we will find out the results of the election!

Kalpana Iyer from India on October 12, 2020:

I enjoy reading your mailbag installments.

The U.S Elections are something even the people of India are looking forward to. More so this time around, because of all the drama surrounding the people involved.

Regarding ads on niche sites, I keep seeing them right in the middle of comments too! I have had to scroll down to continue reading a comment.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Bill, just one more on the topic--without the ability to comment you would not have topics for the Mailbag (unless you're making all this stuff up).

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 12, 2020:


I enjoyed reading your mailbag today.

Publishing in another country might be cheaper but I would ultimately worry about mistakes being made where one probably couldn't proofread beforehand.

The comments...well, it is what it is. We might as well accept it and keep writing.

I can only imagine what tough work goes into writing a series. Keeping track of all the characters & what they say or hat goes off to you.

Thanks for sharing your mailbag.

It is great that you take time out of your schedule to offer advice to others.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 12, 2020:

I appreciate your encouraging people to vote. When someone says to me "I don't like either candidate. I just won't vote," I go completely off the rails. People marched, fought, and died, women went to jail and were beaten for us to be able to vote. It should never be a commonplace thing. It should be held in great honor knowing what those before us went through so we could have that privilege.

As for the no comment problem with the new niche sites, I wrote a complaint like many others. The response I got was sort of an apology for our problems. The new niche sites are just that; new. And apparently, they are still working out the "bugs". I was told to have patience and they would eventually fix the problem. Who knows when "eventually" is but at least they are working on it.

Great mailbag once again.



Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 12, 2020:

Bill, I mention a new photo so you can update your profile pic. Please give it some thought.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

Sha, I have just adopted an attitude with HP that they don't care about what we want, so why should I expend any energy or angst over it? It maddens me, the changes they make, but they truly do not listen to anything I suggest, and I'm fairly well-known on this site. Sigh!

What stickers? I never got a damned sticker! :)

A pic of me? Keep dreaming, my friend.

Happy workweek to ya!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

Heidi, I love your no-nonsense approach to the writing business. Sometimes you just have to hit people between the eyes with the truth.

On my first novel, I went with a local printer/publisher, paid out $600, and then was left with all the marketing and shipping and headaches. I still have forty of those damned books in the closet. lol Never again!

You have a great week too, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

Let's get out and vote indeed, Pamela, Historically, a large voter turnout usually means a Democratic victory. We need large number out there!!!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

Ann, I don't think it's pathetic at all. I know for a fact I'm only here for the community aspect of HP. I also know HP doesn't give a damn what I want them to do, so I don't blame you at all for not doing any fiction on HP for awhile. Let me think on that anthology question, and I'll get back to you next Monday.

Have a splendid week ahead, my friend.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

Yep, that would be a pain in the patoote, Linda, but then consider an old man who does not measure his success by the number of comments he receives. I guess we will all have to be quicker about commenting until Maven/HP comes to their senses.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

We all have much at stake in this U.S. election, even citizens around the world. Let's hope the results are worthy of us as a country, Rosina.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

I did not know that about you, Chitrangada Sharan. Thank you for sharing that. Just one more reason for me to like you. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

John, I didn't know that about voting in Australia. I think that is very cool. Of course, it would not work here in the U.S. because we are so damned independent and ornery, but it's a lovely thought.

Good information about the niche sites. Thanks for sharing that.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

I do my best, Eric! Actually, I don't always do my best, truth be known. I sometimes settle for second-best, or third-best, and use age as an excuse. lol It's better than saying I'm getting lazy, eh?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

Good for you, Alyssa, on teaching your son the importance of voting, and look at you, the first to comment this week. Bravo for your quickness!

I doubt Maven is going to change things for us, but it's a lovely thought.

Have a great week ahead, my friend.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 12, 2020:

Anyone who's read my article "HubPages 3.0 - Death of a Community" knows how I and all who have left comments feel about the loss of the ability to comment on articles once they're moved to a niche site. Then there's the ugly, intrusive opening video and ads that interrupt the copy all the way down the page.

We hope HP means what they say when they assure us comments will be brought back. That'll be a start.

As far as voting, I'm mailing out my ballot tomorrow. I forgot today is a Federal holiday. I read Alyssa's comment that she misses not having the little "I Voted" sticker with the mail-in ballot. I guess my county has heard the same thing because included with my ballot was the sticker and a link to track the ballot online.

Have a great week, Bill.

P.S. When are you going to have Bev take a pic of you, Maggie, and Toby?

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 12, 2020:

Yay, it's Monday and I'm in the Mailbag before noon!

Re: Voting. I just cannot fathom not voting. Please, people, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. And while you're at it, fill out the damn census form. That determines whether your state and local governments get money to serve you. If you don't do either, don't complain because I'm not listening.

Re: Cheaper Printing and Translation. There is nothing cheaper than printing for free with print on demand with KDP and similar sites. Why self published authors insist on printing and distributing books on their own is just beyond my comprehension. Why, oh why, would you want to print something overseas and pay for shipping, customs, and international taxation? And if you've never purchased printing before, even in your home country, what makes you think you're even prepared to make this purchase? I bought and sold printing and imprinting for years and I won't even do it for books.

As for translation, that is a completely different issue. You need native speakers of the translated language to do it. And good ones cost plenty. I remember when I had to have a brochure translated into Chinese. Yes, Chinese. Yeah, that went about as well as expected. Too long a story for the Mailbag.

Stick with what you know when it comes to self publishing until you can afford to throw away a lot of cash on your mistakes.

Re: Changes to HP and Commenting. I finally ran across some articles where I wasn't able to comment on a niche site. Oh well. I noticed that commenting is open to HP users until the article gets moved to the niche site. I don't know if this is a permanent change or just something that's happening as the integration of Maven sites continues.

As for the poetry that's interrupted with ads, well, if you don't want to get any money, you can choose to turn off ads on your poems here on HP. Or step up and pay for your own self-hosted blog site so you have all the control you want. But you'll probably not get as much traffic, you'll have costs, and you'll probably not make much (maybe zero) from ads. HP is not the place if you want a lot of control over your content and how it's presented. Pick your priority.

Well, I'm in a "get with the program, people" mood this AM. Yes, I'm writing some more posts on self publishing nonsense. Maybe that's why. We can early vote next week and you bet I'll be there. Have a great week!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 12, 2020:

Happy Monday, Bill. This is another interesting mailbag. I can't imagine how difficult it woud be to translate a booke into a different language to get it published, but then I am not in that situation.

As to these niche sites, I do not like the fact that someone cannot comment. Since I write many medical article I often get questions to answer or maybe someone just wants to tell me about their health situation. I have received emails just thanking me for an aricle since they could not leave a comment. I guess we'll see what changes in the future.

I have read in a couple of places about people not voting and I wonder why they do not know what a privilege it is to vote, which is surely not true in many places. So lets all get out an vote!

Ann Carr from SW England on October 12, 2020:

Very good, bill! The voting thing is the same here; people are too lazy to pick up the pencil and put a cross in the box. I can't understand that. As you say, they have no right to complain when things go wrong.

I have decided not to write fiction for a while, until LetterPile have a reasonable format and give us back our comments. I can't live without feedback! Is that pathetic? I'm not looking for praise, I just like talking to everyone who's kind enough to say anything!

So I'm going to concentrate more on getting my already-published fiction together to put into an anthology. It'll be an interesting and hopefully educational experience. Any really good tips for me, bill?!

I'm writing a few other non-fiction hubs meanwhile.

Hope you and Bev and your family are well, including those wonderful dogs of yours.


Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Good morning Bill, and thank you another good one. Still waiting for my ballot, but goodness YES I will vote.

Regarding comments, consider what would happen if your Mailbag was available on Hubpages for only 1 day then was whisked off to a niche site--no more comments?

Rosina S Khan on October 12, 2020:

Intriguing and helpful mailbag, Bill. It would be interesting to know who wins the election this year in the US. Thank you for your mailbag this week and always.

Have a great start into the week.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 12, 2020:

Hello Bill!

Great mailbag, good questions and answers.

I agree with your views on voting and elections. Voting is a fundamental right, as well as a duty of the citizens.

Good to know that you were teaching Political Science. I had the same subject as my master's degree, and I was also a Political Science teacher.

Thank you for sharing.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 12, 2020:

Bill, for what it is worth HubPages (Samantha Cubbison) stated in forum posts that they would trying to restore the comment capability on niche sites as soon as possible...but that was said in early September, and we are still waiting.

Voting is compulsory here and I am pleased about that. If we don’t vote we are not entitled to complain if the Government does anything we don’t like.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 12, 2020:

Bill you are very subtle yet guide us in civil citizenship. Of course you can imagine going through a ballot with a ten year old. I think we have to vote differently than Oklahoma. California is different, yet our nation is a tie that binds. Wow, everyone is so far above the curve than I. But your always bring me up to speed. Thanks Teach.

Alyssa from Ohio on October 12, 2020:

Excellent mailbag this week Bill! I have also found that I cannot comment on niche sites articles which is very inconvenient for me. I'm not always quick enough to catch articles before they've been transferred over. So when I go to catch up on my reading list, I find that yes, I can read the article, but no, I can't leave any thoughts or feedback. I'd love for Maven to include a comment section, but I don't know that it would add anything to the aesthetic they're going for. I figure I'll just have to adjust my schedule and try to catch articles as they're published the best I can.

As for voting, I've always believed, and have taught my son, that it is not only a right, but a privilege and a responsibility. I stress the importance of being an educated voter and I refuse to vote based on party affiliation alone. We are fortunate in Ohio to have many options when it comes to voting. My husband and I have taken advantage of mail-in voting for the past six years. Talk about convenient! In fact, we just filled out our ballots on Friday. They are all ready to be placed in the mailbox tomorrow morning. I thought it best to wait until after the holiday to mail them. My only complaint is that the county board of elections never sends us the cute little stickers. That's the only thing I miss about mail-in voting.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

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