Riding the Rails for Success

14 Mar

I’ve mentioned this before, here and in some of my articles, so hang with me while I tell it again.

My dad dropped out of high school as a sophomore during the Great Depression.  He packed a bag and jumped the first freight train he could find in Iowa, and for the two years he rode the rails in search of spare jobs.  He would do whatever was offered, make a few bucks, and send that money back to his parents to help them pay the farm bills.

I want to stop and let that sink in for a moment. I think we all live a reasonably comfortable life.  Oh sure, it would be nice to have some extra money, but by and large most who are reading this have the comforts of home and have food in the pantry.  I doubt seriously if any out there reading this are so desperate that they need to pack a bag, jump on a freight train, and leave home for two years in search of money to pay bills.

I find it amazing that he did that, and he certainly wasn’t alone on his travels.

Anyway, this was the man who was my father, and you better believe he taught his son lessons about self-reliance and determination . . . lessons that have stayed with me now for sixty-eight years.

My dad would not tolerate excuses, and he wouldn’t tolerate failure.  In his opinion, failure came when you gave up, and giving up was not an option…thus, failure did not happen!  End of story!

There’s a point to this story . . . I promise!


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill


So here’s the thing:  I refuse to give up on my writing journey.  I am determined to be a successful novelist. I may not be another John Steinbeck, but I do believe I can be a financially-successful writer.  I just have to find the winning path.

Enter The Urban Farming Coloring Book!

I just finished my first coloring book, and I had tons of fun making it, and now I hope that sucker outsells all of my novels combined.


Because guerilla marketing is all about getting your name out into the world any way possible, for the least amount of money, and I aim to do just that with the coloring book.  This summer I’ll sell my coloring books at farmers markets, where we also sell our quail eggs, and on the back flap of the coloring book is a reference to my novels.  I’ll also have point-of-sale materials to hand out at the markets, and people will get to know me as an author and not just a producer of coloring books.

It all ties together!

It is all about William D. Holland, Author!

It is all about my goal!


What’s holding you back from your goal?  Maybe it’s time for you to step out of the box and try something outrageous.

Just sayin’


Since marketing is the theme of the day, I’m going to give a shout out to a marketing genius….Heidi Thorne…and you can find her on Facebook by following this link.  Heidi shares her information in a practical manner that is easy to understand and oh, so helpful. I hope you’ll check her out.


So much to do, so little time.

Until next week, best wishes and love always.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


33 Responses to “Riding the Rails for Success”

  1. Janine Huldie March 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    Aw, Bill your dad sounded like an amazing man and truly think he’d be more than proud of you for all you have accomplished over the years. Thank you for sharing a bit more about him here today with us. Snowed in right now on my end and just happy though I could stop on by your site to read your words though today. Happy Tuesday now 😉

    • Billybuc March 14, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

      Well, Janine, I hope he would be proud of me. I try! As for the snow, stay safe and ride it out. As long as you don’t lose your power, life is good on Long Island. 🙂 Thanks Janine!

  2. Honey Halley March 14, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story and strategies with us. I can’t imagine how tough it was for your Dad to have to go off like that and try to find places to sleep and shower and on and on and on. I’m sure it wasn’t no picnic. I love the cover of your coloring book. I’m sure it will sell like hot potatoes at the farmers market. You have to be the most determined writer I know. Take care. 🙂

    • Billybuc March 14, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

      Aw, thanks Honey! It helps that I love writing, so my passion is also my favorite pastime. I appreciate your kind words.

  3. Mike March 14, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

    Hello Bill – Your Dad was a part of ‘The Greatest Generation’ it is acts like you describe here that gained them that title. All the best with the coloring book.

    • Billybuc March 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

      Very true, Mike…thanks for adding that. I suspect this coloring book will outsell all my novels combined. LOL How should I feel about that? 🙂

  4. Sageleaf March 15, 2017 at 1:53 am #

    Big Bro, I hope you sell the hell out of that book 😀 That’s part of why I’m doing a coloring book, too. I’m wanting to create a repertoire of books all under the Sageleaf name. 🙂 I’m determined, too…and for the past year, when I discovered how to download podcasts to my phone, I listen to internet marketing and ways to “make it” as an author/infopreneur online. Am I perfect? HAHAHA. No. Am I even close to where I want to be? HAHAHA. I need to create about 4 more hours in my day before I can think about that. And I’m a-makin plans. 🙂 That you for your continued inspiration!!

    • Sageleaf March 15, 2017 at 2:30 am #

      OH and PS – just curious: how’s Niume working? When I get more time this summer, I’m considering writing on a bunch of sites and doing guest posts (including here. 🙂 )

    • Billybuc March 15, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

      Lil Sis, I love to watch you work…your mind is constantly thinking of new ideas, and what makes you special is you have the courage to try those new ideas. Carry on, my sibling…you are doing well.

      • Billybuc March 15, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

        And NIUME is doing well without me. LOL I just don’t have the time to devote to that site, so I’ve been a no-show for a few weeks now.

  5. Michael Milec March 15, 2017 at 1:53 am #

    There’s something exquisite in your writing my friend. As I read (Kind slow) I can actually hear your enthusiasm in all your doing, making it contagious, “How About you”, “What’s holding you back…” Aren’t these perhaps your dad’s words resuscitating from your memmory? Or maybe it’s only me, my father send me out into the world with some memorable expressions I cherish and apply occasionally. Those were good times.
    Blessings and peace.

    • Billybuc March 15, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      Michael my friend, those are, for sure, my father’s words. What’s holding you back, Bill, he asked me, and my answer was always the same….absolutely nothing!

      blessings always


  6. suziehq March 15, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

    Onward and upward my friend your dad would be super proud of all you have accomplished particularly in recent years. Love how you have fingers in many different pies all forming aspects of your life and passions. Rock on bud!

    • Billybuc March 15, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

      Rock on, Irish! You should talk….look at how you have re-invented yourself over the last couple of years…well done, you!

      Hugs from wet Olympia

  7. Lawrence Hebb March 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    “Attitude, a little thing that makes a big difference”. Winston Churchill
    I love that phrase!
    Keep it up bro.

    • Billybuc March 15, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

      Thank you Lawrence. You do the same, my friend!


  8. Sarah Potter Writes March 15, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

    All brilliant …the story of your father, your determination, and the coloring book idea (a little reminder here — you were going to email me a link re producing coloring books). Thinking of the story of your father: these days people often say they’re poor when they have a whole load of possessions that would have been classed as luxuries a few decades back, and they go on holiday every year. Really poor people can’t afford new shoes for their children or school meals, or heating, or whatever. I get so cross sometimes with people who have more than enough moaning because they can’t afford the latest wide-screen television, blah-dy blah-dy dah (or however you write it!).
    Well said, Bill, as usual. I wish you loads of luck with sales of your coloring book and your quail eggs etc.
    PS I’m enjoying your novel. It’s very noir and your style of writing is very similar to that of the best-selling Norwegian author, Jo Nesbo.

    • Billybuc March 15, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

      Thank you so much, Sarah! I’m so happy you are enjoying the novel. It is a violent one for sure, and not for everyone, but I’m glad you found something of interest in it.

      As for being poor…I was homeless for exactly one week…it gives a person a new perspective on being poor. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts….I’ll email that link to you today.

      • Sarah Potter Writes March 16, 2017 at 11:29 am #

        Once one has been there with poverty and/or homelessness, it certainly changes one’s perspective. In my early twenties, I had two years of living below the poverty line. My diet mostly consisted of baked beans, bread, and oranges. I also nearly became homeless once, when I got a notice to quit from my digs. On that occasion, I staged a sit-in at the borough council offices and refused to leave until the chief housing officer would see me! These experiences have made me appreciate the things I have now, so much more.
        Re your coloring book — who have you used to print and collate it?

      • Billybuc March 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Sarah! A sit-in? I love it!

        The coloring book was printed by CreateSpace, online….pretty easy process using their templates. 🙂

        I’m glad we have both found happier times.

  9. Linda Lum March 16, 2017 at 4:19 am #

    Bill, your dad and mine were certainly cut out of the same cloth, although mine never road the rails to send money back home to his parents. When the Great Depression hit he was already working and had a family to feed.

    I was going to mention that the youth of today could take a chapter from his book; his life makes our little problems seem just that–pretty little.

    Good for you for having a plan. Good for you for trying, picking yourself up, and trying again. Rest assured that your dad is looking down on you from Heaven, and he’s proud of you.

    • Billybuc March 16, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      I think he would be, Linda! He was a hard man, but a fair man. He did not tolerate excuses. Excuses were for people looking to fail, he often said. Not sure I totally agree, but I love the spirit of the statement. 🙂 Anyway, thank you for your kind words.

  10. Christy B March 16, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

    You’re inspiring, Bill! You have such determination as a writer and I commend you for it. As for your question of what is holding me back? With my third book it’s my fear of not getting as good of a response as the first two books. Sigh.

    • Billybuc March 16, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

      Christy, my first thought is hooray for getting great responses on the first two books. You do know, of course, there are many writers who get no response at all, or nothing but negative responses? Ride the wave, my young, talented friend.

      • Christy B March 18, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

        Your comment back is a great reminder to get out of my head and be thankful! ((extra hugs for that))

      • Billybuc March 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

        Christy, you know as well as I do, we can never write according to the reviews of others. We need to be free to write unchained of worry….so write, my friend!

  11. phoenix2327 March 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    Bill, when I first discovered you and your writing on HP, I knew I had discovered someone who was on the path to greatness. I look forward to the day when I can say ‘I knew him when’. I want to be just like you when I grow up.

    Speaking of inspiration, I lost mine a while back when one of my tools when belly-up (thank you Windows 10). But my wonderful genius of a son managed to get it up and running again. Since then, I pulled out an old story and have been working on it ever since. I’ve done up new character studies, reworked the timeline, revised the storyline, researched, torn my hair out, in short, having the time of my life. I didn’t realise how much a part of my life these characters were until they weren’t. It’s wonderful to be back in the swing of things. I feel like me again. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

    • Billybuc March 17, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

      Zulma, that is so kind of you to say. I’ll tell you, friend, there are many days when I think I’m just wasting my time, and self-doubt is my constant companion. But I love writing too much and, like you stated, there is just too much joy in what we do. So thank you for pushing my self-doubts back in the closet for a few hours. I do appreciate you.

  12. Shauna L Bowling April 13, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    Bill you have a very strong (and courageous) upbringing. I don’t think any of today’s high school kids would do what your dad did. And all to help out their parents? I think not!

    As I commented in the Mailbag today, your coloring book is awesome. It should be a huge hit. Have you sold any yet?

    • Billybuc April 13, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

      Thanks, Sha, and I’m very grateful for the upbringing I had. As for the coloring book, it outsold my last two novels in the first two weeks. LOL So yes, it is doing well, and we haven’t even started the farmers market season yet.

      • Shauna L Bowling April 13, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

        Awesome! I’m so happy for you, Bill! 🙂

  13. Billybuc April 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    Aww, thanks Sha! Happy Easter to you and your son!

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