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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #333


One of my favorite radio programs is “The News Hour” on the BBC. It comes on NPR every day, here in Olympia, at 1:00 p.m. Why one of my favorites? I think it’s fascinating to hear a different perspective on the important events of the day, and I especially love to hear what the rest of the world thinks of American politics. We’ve certainly given them all something to talk about these past few years.

And, starting tomorrow, we will give them all new fodder as the elections unfold. My fervent wish is that the results of tomorrow’s election will be accepted, peacefully, by all. I know there’s no chance of that happening, but it’s nice to wish. LOL About 40% of our voters are going to be mad as hell, no matter who wins.

Let’s find out what the heck is happening in the World of Writing.

The Mail Room!

The Mail Room!

Article Theft

From Bill: “Nice mailbag, Bill. When someone steals an article from HubPages doesn’t that create a duplicate copy that should violate HP policy? But it is left up to us to track down the culprit and get them to remove the article. I gave up years ago trying to do this. It always proved very difficult and didn’t work most of the time. I wonder why HP doesn’t do more to solve this issue?”

Bill, no matter how I answer this question, I’m going to sound a bit cynical.

I’m not sure HP cares enough to fix the problem.

Come to think of it, that sounded very cynical. LOL

Listen, I don’t know anything about programming, or fixing problems like piracy and duplication. I wouldn’t know where to begin with all of that but, like you, it’s a head-scratcher why it can’t be fixed rather quickly. Maybe there is a very valid reason why they can’t fix it, but so far I haven’t heard that reason. And, like you, I’ve given up trying to track down the thieves.

Anthologies and Google Rankings

From Greg: “Your answer to the anthology question now has me curious about some other traffic I've been seeing lately, too, and really things I've been hearing since I started here, now seven months ago: will the links from inside a HubPages article to the desired anthology articles (assuming they are on the niche sites) have some sort of detrimental effect on the niche articles? Or, said differently, will Google or the Maven Mothership now look at the after-the-jump articles differently, treat them differently? I guess I'm asking because I love the anthology idea myself, could see use for it in my future, but I also don't want to publish something that's deleterious to the overall body of work...make sense?”

Holy cow, Greg, how smart do you think I am? Seriously, buddy, you must think I’m Bill Gates or someone else with serious brain power.

I am absolutely stumped by this question. I wouldn’t even know how to find out the answer. I’ve done what you are suggesting many times, but I never took the time to find out if it was affecting my overall body of work. Maybe someone will have an answer in the comments section.

It doesn’t happen often, Greg, but you completely stopped me in my tracks with that one.

Coloring Books

From Heidi: “Follow-up: I tried the Colorscape app to create outlines from photos, like you did for your coloring book. Very cool. I also contacted the app folks about any attributions that might be needed if I use what I create in books. They responded right away and were very friendly. Now I'm thinking how I can use it. Thanks for the suggestion!”

And that is great news, Heidi! Thanks so much for getting back to us and letting us know how it worked for you.

Anyone interested in creating a coloring book? Check it out! It’s easier than you might think.

What the World Needs Now

From Linda: “Does the world need one more nonfiction book on the history of food? I love writing about the story of food, even more than sharing recipes.”

And Linda, I ask you this question: does the world need another novel?

Scroll to Continue


Should you write another book about food? Should I write another novel?

You betcha! Writer’s write! Period! That’s what we do!

Does the world need new books?

Does the world need new books?

Books With HP Articles

From Umesh: “Bill, you mentioned that one can publish ones articles in HP in a book form. Do we have to mention in the preface or introduction in the book that these articles are mine and were published in HP and still stand there or anything of that sort so the readers know about it?”

Umesh, thanks for the question. I have never mentioned HP in the two books I’ve used my HP articles. I don’t suppose there’s anything stopping you from doing that, but it’s all your property so no, you don’t HAVE to mention it.

I do, however, have a copyright page for every book I publish, stating that all work contained within is mine.

Repeating Oneself

From Monica: “I’ve written several novellas, and with each one I’ve noticed a tendency I have to use the same words too often. Like I’ll use the word ‘beautiful’ a couple times in the same chapter. Do you have any suggestions on how to break that habit?”

Monica, in a word, NO!

Seriously, you are already doing what you need to do. You are editing with a trained eye, and you are spotting the repetitions. That’s a good thing. The fact that you are catching it yourself is fantastic. Just be aware of it during edits, correct it, and move on. I catch myself doing it in every single chapter of a novel I write. There are certain words which show up more than others in our writing. That’s just natural for any writer. The key is to know that and correct as you go.

The Creatives

From Nancy: “Do you think writers see the world differently than non-writers? Is that the reason they are creative while others do not?”

Yes, Nancy, yes I do, but not only writers, but artists and songwriters and sculptors and photographers – the grouping of humanity I like to call The Creatives. Our brains are just wired differently. Where one person sees a blue sky, a Creative sees a poem or a short story. I write while I’m out walking the dog. I can’t shut it off. My brain is capturing images and transforming those images into passages for my next book. My wife will see me staring off into space and ask me what I’m thinking about. The answer is almost always “a chapter in the book I’m writing.”

I was talking to a friend the other day who saw a cloud formation and ran home to write a poem about it. I have an artist friend, who lives across the street, who paints her dreams. They are branded on her memory, and she can pick up a brush and capture them in detail.

It’s just the way we are wired, and I think it’s very cool.

I hope you had a great Halloween! Now let's move on with November.

I hope you had a great Halloween! Now let's move on with November.

Let There Be Peace

Seriously, folks, let’s hope people can accept the outcome of the election tomorrow, and move forward for the “common good.” I’m not sure what it’s going to take to lessen the ugliness I see on social media. I’m not sure how we all became so divided, but it needs to stop if we are ever going to fulfil the vision of the men who created this nation.

In the words of Bill Mertz, champion marble-player in our neighborhood back in the 60’s, “there are winners and there are losers, so suck it up and live with it!” We survived four years with Trump, and we’ll survive the next four years, and the next, no matter who’s steering the Good Ship U.S.A.

Have a great week, my friends, and thank you!

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


John Hansen from Gondwana Land on November 05, 2020:

No problem, Bill.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Thanks for your help, John! I'm sure everyone appreciates it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

I think a change is coming, Rajan, and that makes me happy for our country.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Best of luck, Rodric! The Google situation changes quite often, and it's difficult to tell what to do sometimes. I'm afraid most of us are in the dark most of the time.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

You are very welcome, Linda! Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on November 05, 2020:

You are welcome, Rodric. Yes, as with my anthologies ‘Poems From the Porch’..they are all on HubPages because they don’t accept a series on the niche sites either. I hope that changes for the new ‘discover.hubpages’ that is being introduced. Supposedly everything that gets what they consider enough traffic will be listed there.

It is ok to link to other articles on niche sites, or between articles still on HubPages.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 04, 2020:

Very different questions this time but very interesting. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the election results. Have a great day!

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on November 04, 2020:

John, I did not know why Hubpages was so hated by the niches. Knowing that makes me want to not list any hubs not already on a niche site. Thanks for that info. I would like to think it flattering that the editors would edit out the links rather than move my article back to Hubpages. At least some of my articles have proven green enough and interesting enough to still be niched. I suppose I will go into the next phase of writing looking for high ranked links to put in my articles. Once they become niched, I can then use them in my links where appropriate. To make an anthological work means that there would need to be two works of an anthology: niched articles and Hubpages articles--if I understand correctly.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 04, 2020:

I found Heidi's follow-up comment about the app especially interesting. Thanks for sharing the information, Bill.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 04, 2020:

Great help here, John! Thanks for coming back to shed light on the matter.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 04, 2020:

Keep praying, Mary! We are close to turning this around, but we need all the prayers we can get.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on November 03, 2020:

For Rodric, if you have any articles on the niche sites they don’t want any links back to articles on HubPages. So if you have links to any other articles still there they will be deleted or your article moved back to HubPages if you want to keep the links.

The whole idea of the nice sites was to distance articles from HubPages because Google holds the site in low regard, so they don’t want any links to it in any way. That’s why even clicking on the author’s name won’t take you back to their HubPages profile.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 03, 2020:

We are closely watching your election and hope that it will sort itself peacefully. We'll have some sense of this tonight, or more likely, tomorrow. Our prayers.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Thank you Devika! Strange times for all of us, but I have faith we will return to calmer times soon.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

No kidding, Flourish! Heidi knows her stuff for sure. That's why I hang out with her. LOL

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Rodric, maybe someone will see your question and be able to answer it. I'll include it in next week's Mailbag, so stay tuned.

Have a good one, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

MizB, you're breaking my heart with your weather woes. LOL The rain continues through the rest of the week, here, and then cold weather next week and a chance of snow. We have to pay our dues so we will enjoy summer much more. :) Have a good one, friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Thank you Heidi! If you don't mind, I'm going to copy part of your answer in next week's Mailbag. I am sure many will find it informative and helpful.

Peace indeed! Let's hope we all experience it after today. We need to find a way to come together and solve our collective problems.

Have a great one, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Thank you Dora! I plan on turning the television on at four this afternoon and being glued to it all evening. Let's hope sanity returns.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Good morning Ann!

I can always count on your for an interesting question. I'll tackle that one on Monday if you don't mind.

Unrest - I think COVID certainly has not helped the situation. I think, too, that there are many Americans who are just barely scraping by to make a living, and many who are not even doing that well, and that leads to fear and anger and a rather large, unhappy populace here in the U.S.

It's a powder key here waiting to explode. I sure hope I'm wrong.

Have a fabulous week, Ann, and cross your fingers for the U.S. today.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Bill, we can only hope for a peaceful outcome of this election. I highly doubt it will happen, but we can always hope. :)

Have a great week!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Thank you Linda! Yes, make a book of your writings. It may not sell, but it will be a source of pride for you, and you deserve it.

Blessings to you and yours, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

I like your attitude regarding piracy of articles, Alyssa. I know many who wouldn't agree with me, but I have too much to do to worry about tracking down stolen copies of my work. My God, I probably have fifty, if not more, stolen. I just don't have the time or energy to worry about it.

Happy Election Day, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Pamela, truthfully, HP and their scoring system has never made sense to me. Back to when I started, I would watch those numbers closely, and I could never figure out what affected them. I still can't. Good thing I just write because I love to write.

Be well, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Thank you Brenda! I think it would be boring if everyone looked at the world the way I do. It would also be frightening. LOL

I really do think Creatives see things differently. I know several people who are amazed by what I do, and have no idea how I do it. That makes me feel good about my writing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2020:

Thank you Kalpana! We are a global society, for sure, so what happens here directly affects the rest of the world. I hope it all works out well for all of us.