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Growing Your Audience

This is a subject many have brought up. I guess… the first thing people do, when they visit my blog, is check out the subscriber count. And a four-digit number is pretty big for most blogs. However, that number doesn’t actually equate to active readers. Having gained a following over time, I cannot confidently say that everyone reads. People come, people go – some stay and lurk – and I don’t have control over my audience. But, I can most certainly grow it. How? Well…

#1 Know Your Audience

The first thing you have to ask yourself is ‘who’ – who’s your audience? Is your audience children, potterheads, Japanese, fitness junkies – who are the people you want reading your blog? This is one of the most important questions you’ll have to ask. Establishing your target audience is of top priority, whether you’re running a blog or writing a book. It’s crucial, because the people who read matter as much as the content you publish. If one is without the other, your blog will just be your blog.

#2 Find Your Audience

Now that you know your audience, the next step is to find them. When I first started this blog, I went on a hunt for readers. Since my initial target audience was potterheads, I scoured the internet for Harry Potter related blogposts. Once found, I’d read them and leave an opinion in the comment section. Doing so helped me build an initial following of Harry Potter fans, who read and supported my fan fictions.

This isn’t something I do anymore – with the amount of writing I need to get done, I don’t have the time to go on a manhunt. However, I can safely say that this is the quickest way to grow your audience. You have to first go to people, before people come to you.

#3 Study Your Audience

Do you know your audience? Yes. Have you found them? Some. Great! Now study them.

Your blog will evolve over time, and along with it… your audience. As mentioned above, you have no control over who reads your blog. You cannot beg readers to stay, nor can you shoo them away (even if you wanted to). They have their own desires – their own needs and wants. So how do you keep them engaged? You study them.

Head over to your stats page and you’ll know where your readers are coming from, and which post grabs their attention. Put two and two together, and you’ll learn what your readers are looking for – you’ll discover what piques their interest. But of course, we don’t just blog for our readers. We blog for our own personal reasons too. And with that said, we’re not obligated to accommodate to their wants. However, knowing what they want, will help you find a middle ground – where you can meet your need, while meeting theirs.

Growing your audience takes time – some people take longer, some people take shorter. So build your empire at your own pace. You’re not in a competition with that other blog. You don’t need a million subscribers by midnight. Racing against a non-existent clock will only result in a burnout. And you don’t want to risk your passion for a follower count that isn’t constant. Just do what you can, while focusing on what’s important: your craft.

At the end of the day, your craft is more powerful than your comment on Draco Malfoy’s hair. Your craft is what keeps people reading. Your craft is you. And the worst thing you can do, is lose yourself in your quest for numbers.

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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Writing Journey

 

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Flight From Reality

Once in a while, I’d go away. Well, actually, at least once a year, I’d go away. This year, twice. So when I’m away, I schedule a post to tell you I’m away. Lest some of you diligent readers think I’ve forgotten you. Though, I highly doubt that. Still I’d like to think the absence of a weekly post is noticeable… at least to some. But is it though? No, I shouldn’t ask. I might not like the honest comments.

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So, yes, I’m away this week. I boarded a plane and flew from reality. And despite the uncomfortable budget flight, I’m loving it. Seeing the world is a hobby of mine. Absorbing the experiences outside of the norm – being in a new environment that requires me to adapt – allows me to feel, see, touch, smell, and taste something useful. It helps a great deal in my writing. From the countryside of Guilin, to the hustle and bustle of Seoul; from going unnoticed in Tokyo to the hospitality of Tasmania, traveling feeds my imagination. What is reality to some, is fantasy to me. And that’s why I need to go away.

If you’d like to know what I’m up to, especially during my globe-trotting weeks, head over to Instagram and Twitter. I upload pictures on both social media sites more frequently in new territories. But if you have no interest except for reading, there are tons of wonderful stuff here. I’d like to think they’re somewhat wonderful. Though some might disagree – you can be the judge. Until I get back and write another chapter of The Clubhouse, I hope you find something entertaining. If not, don’t worry, I’ll be back. There will be more to come and I promise, the new materials planned for 2017 are going to be fun.

Random, post script, fun fact: Did you know there’s a ‘Categories’ drop-down menu in the sidebar? 

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Others

 

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No Posts on 21 & 28

Heads up dear reader, there will be no posts today and on the 28th of April. That’s because I’m taking a vacation in the picturesque island of Tasmania! It’ll be a silent two weeks, but I’ll be back 🙂

If you’re missing me already (which I highly doubt) you can use the lack of posts to catch up on The Clubhouse, read already published short stories and fan fictions, or spam me with comments. I’ll also try to be active on Twitter. So if you wanna come along my little trip, you can do so over social media 🙂 I’ll try to tweet pictures daily, as proof I’m still alive and well. That should be fun. Haha! Also, did you know I have an Instagram account?

*Oh and don’t forget to join the Goodreads paperback giveaway of The Battle for Oz! Also, submit your comment HERE to win the e-book version! You only have 4 days left to enter. 

Don’t ask me why this is here. I just thought it fitting. And I don’t even know why.

 

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2016 in Others

 

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Does Blogging Help?

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If you’ve been on the blogosphere for a while, you’ve probably asked yourself this question. Heck, if you’re new, you’ve probably asked this question as well. More so if you’re a creative individual who’ve been told over and over again that blogging will help in your pursuits. And even more so if you’re a writer, as it’s been advised and advocated by writers everywhere.

Well today, I just want to tell you that blogging does help. This is my fifth year on WordPress and I wouldn’t have stuck around if it didn’t. So as a personal testimony (and hopefully as an encouragement for you to keep on blogging), I’ll share how blogging has helped me over the years.

*These lessons are what I learnt as a writer, but I’m sure they’re applicable to any form of creative work.

#1 Becoming A Serious Writer

You know what they say: if you want to be a serious writer, you gotta have a blog. Well, let’s just say I started blogging without this in mind. In fact, I started this blog for two reasons. One: to post the first chapter of my first novel, and two: to deal with my Post Potter Depression (PPD is real, guys).

If you’ve been here since the very beginning, you’ll know that all I wrote back then were Harry Potter fan fictions. It was my first time diving into the fanfic world and I was a complete newbie. But because I was upset Harry Potter was officially over, I needed to write to make myself feel better. And while I wrote, I was taught to take writing seriously.

Back in my fan fictions days, i had a habit of not capitalizing my ‘i’s’. It was me being a lazy writer and i was awakened by the fact through the comments i received on my stories. After the revelation, I began taking writing a little more seriously and started capitalizing. It wasn’t so hard holding down SHIFT, to be honest. But if it weren’t for those comments, i would still be typing like this.

Those early days of writing snapped me out of my delusion of being a good enough writer and forced me to see how naive and immature I was. Simply put, blogging forced me to grow up.

#2 Becoming A Better Writer

The desire to become better naturally came after deciding to take writing seriously. Blogging itself helped with the process.

The comments I received during my fan fiction days kickstarted this learning journey. With more people reading my stories and more comments pouring in, I knew I needed to improve. So I took every advice and polished my works as best as I could. When I ultimately transitioned to posting original works, I paid closer attention to my writing style and attempted different genres.

I wanted to be a better writer for myself and for you. And because of this blog and its readers, I’ll always endeavour to outdo myself and be the best writer I can be. Without this platform, I wouldn’t put much effort into writing. And without the much needed practice, I wouldn’t have improved over the years (or at least, I’d like to think I’ve improved. Haha!).

#3 Accepting Criticism

Oh, how we hate it when a stranger trashes our precious piece of work. What do they know, right? Sadly that’s reality, and it isn’t something we can escape.

I’ve had my fair share of criticisms – some harsh, some kind, some insulting, some gentle – and they all started on this blog. Though I must say, bloggers are generally nice. There is rarely any hate on the blogosphere, except for a tactless few. Dealing with different comments taught me to accept that there’s still room for improvement, that not everyone will like what I write, and that some people should be forgiven. It has taught me to embrace constructive and thoughtful criticism, and ignore those that leave nothing but heartache.

Unfortunately, this lesson has yet to end (and I doubt it ever will). There are times where I still struggle in facing harsh reviews on Goodreads, but my blog has prepped me in advance and for that I’m grateful.

#4 Believing In Myself

I won’t lie, I still doubt myself these days. But when I receive personal emails and read wonderful comments, I’m encouraged. Those words are like nitro to a car running dry. And without the faith of readers I’ve never met, I wouldn’t have shifted gears and started writing and posting original stories.

It it because of you that I braved myself and put up my own short stories and blog series’. It is because of you I stopped fearing being plagiarized (as though my writing was so awesome to begin with) and hit publish. It was because of you I stepped out of my comfort zone and attempted different genres.

The shift from fan fiction to original works was the biggest move I made on this blog. I was nervous because the readers then were mostly subscribed for my fan fictions. There was a probability that many would unsubscribe when I made the switch. Thankfully, no one did. And that itself made me believe in myself.

Yes, I still have doubtful days. Yes, I still question if I have what it takes. But your emails, comments, likes, and reblogs, have the power to turn those days around. Don’t think your comments are worthless. Your comments mean a lot to me and they make a big difference in this writing journey. So… would you like to leave a comment now? Oh, please do!

#5 Receiving Support

When I started the crowd-funding campaign for The Battle for Oz in October 2014 (wow, time really flies), I reached out to you on this platform. Though not everyone responded, some of you did. Now if you didn’t respond, please know I don’t hate you. I was a nobody… I still am. And I didn’t expect to receive an overwhelming support. But to the few that responded, supported the project, shared it with your family and friends, gave a shout out on your own blog, I am extremely grateful.

If it weren’t for this blog and the readers who were willing to back an unknown writer, The Battle for Oz wouldn’t be published. I’m hoping that one day, should I attempt another crowd-funding campaign, more of you would be onboard. Still, all the support I’ve received up to now has been a blessing. And I’m very thankful to have you as my reader.

Well, there you have it… my testimony of how blogging has helped me.

The biggest challenge for every blogger is the discipline to be consistent. It’s my challenge as well. Sometimes, I wish I could skip a week with a lame excuse. But knowing that blogging, even when I don’t feel like it, is helping me in my writing journey, I keep at it. So if you’ve lost the mood to blog or you’re growing tired of having to blog, I encourage you to keep going. Don’t give up so quickly. Blogging is the kind of activity that takes time before you see its fruits, so just be extra patient.

Now, for some quick shameless plugging: if you have no idea what to blog about, you can join my 3 Words 1 Story writing challenge. This once a month prompt should be able to help you produce at least one post a month. There are no rules and it’s fun. Go check it out! Okay, shameless plugging over.

I hope this post has been somewhat encouraging. I’m an advocate of blogging, not because it gives you a web presence, helps you reach out to fans, and all those things people say – which are true – to help you grow your business, but because blogging helps you polish your craft and gives you the courage to be better in it. You can do it for the business, but you should also do it for yourself.

As I like to say, always blog for YOU!

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2016 in Writing Journey

 

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No Post Today!

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Technically, this is a post, but at the same time, this isn’t a normal post. What I’m trying to say is that this post is written and scheduled in advance to post today… because as you read these words, I’m most probably out doing family visitations in occasion with the first day of the Lunar New Year. Oh, and if you’re celebrating it too, 新年快乐! Happy Chinese New Year!

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Potterheads will get this reference.

Anyway, since there will be no The Clubhouse post today, the polls will be extended till this Sunday. For those who need time catching up, here’s your chance! But if you’re not into The Clubhouse and you want something to read, you can check out my short stories and fan fictions. And if short reads are not your cup of tea and you want something more solid, check out my bookshop. Also, consider making an investment, by pre-ordering my newest novel by Inkshares. Yes, today’s post is a shameless plugging post 😛 And I’m not done!

How indecent!

If you want to get in touch with me and stay updated, head on to Facebook! And Twitter! Follow and Like! I’ll probably tweet and post my outfit or the amount of ang pows (red packets filled with cash) I’ve collected today. Who knows? Maybe I’ll tweet/post about random stuff too, like a normal person. I’ll be more active on social media the next few days, because the holidays are the only time my life seems a little more exciting. Haha! So be sure to check out my pages 🙂 I’ll appreciate any response to my shameless plugging. Oh yes, I would.

Well, that’s it. I guess that’s all for today. Happy ang pow collecting and have a great weekend ahead!

*Btw I saw a real owl last week and I posted the story on Facebook. See, you’re missing out! The owl perched on my windowsill while I was sleeping. Can’t help but wonder… perhaps it had a letter for me 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Others

 

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FHB: Chapter 35

FHB Epilogue

My dear boy,

By the time this letter reaches you, I would be long gone. I do not have a choice and no one can save me now. From this point onwards, everything you do will be of grave importance. Your actions will determine the fate of this family. It is a heavy responsibility and I apologize for making you carry it. You must understand, that all that I have done was for us. I did not plan to leave like this and if I could change my fate, I would. At this very moment, the best I can do is to write you this letter.

I will never admit this verbally, but I am weak. The choices I have made were never my own and my actions were all for the preservation of our family. Family, honour and blood, has always been our motto. But the most important of all three is family. It may not seem like it sometimes, but I try my best to keep us together. Even if the world calls me a coward, a hypocrite, a liar, and a murderer, I do not regret my actions behind those words. You can look at me the same and I won’t blame you for it. It is the truth. I am not proud of who I have become, but I am proud of you.

Ignorance is not my forte. I know that you are struggling with your identity. You should not be fighting this war, but you’ve been thrown into it because of me. I apologize for the pain I have caused. I wish I could have given you a better life, but that is merely a wish. Maybe when this is all over, you can give your son a better life… one away from this madness. I pray you will get that chance.

As this letter might contain my last words, I want to be honest with you. A parent should not say this to their child, but I have to. The day your mother and I brought you home from St. Mungo’s, I wanted to end your life. I wanted to spare you from a harsh fate, but after watching you peacefully sleep, I could not do it. Sometimes, I wonder if I made the right decision that night. Sometimes, I even regret not having done it. I’m a horrible father, I know.

You’re probably wondering what the point of this whole letter is. You’re probably seething with hate as you digest my words. I have disappointed you, and I will have to disappoint you again because I need you to do something. When the time comes for you to end a life, please do not hesitate. I know you would, but you will have to fight against it. Think only of this family and it wouldn’t be so hard. If you cannot bear to think of me, think of your mother. We have to do what is hard to protect those we love… even if we end up being hated.

Remember, you’re not weak. You have never been weak, Draco. You are far from a coward and you are not a hypocrite. You are not me and you will never be me. You may be my son, but you are a better human being. You are strong, you are brave, and you will never lose your soul in these dark times. I will lose mine, but I will try to find a way back.

Take care of your mother for me, and goodbye.

Your father, Lucius.

He could not believe what he had asked his son to do. Lucius hated himself for it; for following his own father who asked him to kill. He knew that the letter would only torment Draco further, but he had to write it. Lucius had to prepare his son and remind him to be strong. It pained him to see the confliction Draco had to go through for years, but he had a small hope that it would all be over soon.

Lucius folded up the letter and was about to seal it with some wax when his bedroom door violently swung open.

“They are coming for you!” Narcissa said with fear in her eyes.

“I’ll be fine,” Lucius lied.

“No, they cannot take you! On what charge, Lucius? What evidence? Can’t we call someone for help?”

Lucius shook his head before putting the letter in Narcissa’s hand. “Give this to Draco, please.”

“Lucius…” Narcissa trailed off, lost for words as her hope diminished at the sound of Ministry Officers storming up the stairs.

“Narcissa, I need you to do something for me,” Lucius quickly said, knowing his time was running out.

“What is it?” Narcissa’s voice had lost its strength as her eyes began to water.

“I want you to leave me. I want you to take Draco and leave.”

“What? I can’t do that! I will never do that,” Narcissa insisted, as she grabbed onto his hands.

“You have to.”

“No! Not now! Don’t do this now,” Narcissa choked.

Tears began to stream down her cheeks and his heart ached at the sight of her struggle. Why she loved a man that only brought her pain? Lucius wished he knew.

“When the time comes, walk away. Do it for Draco,” Lucius stressed on each word.

Narcissa could not respond to what may seem like a ridiculous request, but Lucius knew that she was strong enough to do it. She had kept them together, protected the family as best as she could, and talked sense whenever Lucius was about to lose himself. She will leave him at the right time.

Now, as much as it hurt him to do so, he had to go. All for family, honour, and blood.

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This fan fiction has officially ended!

Thank you to all who have followed it religiously and voted in the polls. I’m glad that it has finally come to an end and happy that we got to take this adventure together 🙂 I hope you guys enjoyed this story, so do let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

To commemorate the entire series, I decided to whip up a little something. I thought it would be fitting as it ties in with the original series. You can download it if you like 🙂

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Just to restate, this will be the last piece of fan fiction on my blog. From now onwards, everything will be original 🙂 If you are new here and would like to read my past fan fictions, you can visit the fan fiction page for all the links. Also, if you would like to read a short Draco fan fiction, click here.

Thanks again and Potter on!

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Fan Fiction (Novel)

 

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FHB: Chapter 34

FHB Chapter 34

Tanya stopped her pleas as her eyes glistened with the fear of Lucius’ next move. There was a part of her that actually believed he would do it. Lucius could see it too, but he knew he was too weak. A coward, perhaps; too afraid of what his decision would do to him.

“The secret is to not hesitate,” the annoying death eater added.

Lucius was glad he hesitated, because at that moment he knew what he should do.

“I can’t,” Lucius whispered.

“What is it, Lucius?” the Dark Lord asked, as he took a step closer to him.

Lucius took in a deep breath, readying himself to defy an order.

“I-”

“Avada kedavra!”

A bright spark shot from behind them, whizzed past Lucius’ head and struck Tanya in the chest. The emotions in her eyes faded into a blank glare before her lifeless body hit the ground. In shock, Lucius stood frozen in place. He did not even attempt to look at the person who fired the curse as his mind tried to process what had happened. Tanya was dead and dead silence waited for someone to acknowledge the murderer.

“Ah, it is nice to see you on your feet again,” the Dark Lord said.

There was no reply to his words. Lucius wanted to see who it was, but he struggled to pull his eyes away from Tanya’s body.

“You should be resting, Abraxas,” the Dark Lord added.

Upon hearing his father’s name, Lucius managed to turn his head just enough to see his father giving the Dark Lord a bow. Silence continued on for a few seconds before the Dark Lord announced, “I’m feeling tired. Walk with me, Abraxas.”

Everyone, including Lucius, watched as the Dark Lord ascended the dungeon stairs with Abraxas right behind him. The moment both of them were out of sight, murmurs were exchanged. Everyone had something to say, but no one said anything to him.

Lucius stood statue-like as the other death eaters finished up the job. As his mind seeped into a world of emptiness, reality sped up around him. Spells were fired, ending the lives of the remaining aurors, and bodies were dragged to a corner, before the death eaters apparated with the dead, leaving Lucius behind. There was no one around to tell him what to do any longer and suddenly, he felt lost. Constantly having to choose, the lack of a choice disturbed him.

Standing in the lifeless dungeon as the cold air wrapped around his conflicted soul, Lucius completely lost track of time. A few hours later, he heard the dungeon door open and a series of hurried footsteps. He would have turned to see the stranger, but he didn’t know how. He had become too comfortable, stuck in the same dark and lonely place.

“Lucius!” the voice called out, as the footsteps hurried to his side. “Lucius, my dear boy.”

His mother reached out for him and pulled him into an embrace. The sudden warmth defrosted his petrified state and he slowly returned to his senses. When his mother released her grip on him, she reached for his wand, still tight in his grip, and took it from him.

“Are you alright? Talk to me, Lucius,” his mother asked worriedly.

“I knew her,” Lucius replied instead.

His mother did not say anything and waited for him to continue.

“Her name was… Tanya,” Lucius continued.

Lucius could not help but imagine everyone who knew her; the pain in their eyes when they learn about her death in a few hours. All her friends and teachers in Hogwarts would be in shock. Everyone had such high hopes for her, thinking she would become a great auror, but none of them would have expected death to take her so quickly. The worst part of it all was the fact that no one would ever know that Lucius watched her die. It was something he had to live with, a secret he had to keep from everyone who knew her. How was he going to do that?

“Mother,” Lucius said softly, “she was a friend.”

“Oh, my dear-”

“She was not your friend,” a voice echoed throughout the dungeon, interrupting what would have been comforting words to a distraught soul.

“You did this!” his mother accused.

“I protected him,” his father replied.

“No. You never did! You cursed our family,” his mother stated, “I should have taken Lucius and left many years ago.”

“Why didn’t you?” his father shot back with a question he could never retract.

His mother simply shook her head before storming off. Lucius watched her leave, wishing she took him with her.

“She’ll understand soon enough,” his father said.

No. She won’t. I don’t.

“You should have listened to me, Lucius. People you care about are only a liability.”

Like mother and me.

“Don’t make the same mistake again. And the next time the Dark Lord asks you to kill someone, do not hesitate.”

I won’t have a choice the next time. Lucius nodded.

“It’s late. Go to you room,” his father ordered.

Lucius retreated to his room as he was told to, but he could not find rest on a night as such. So, he took the family album off his wooden bookshelf and took a seat by the fireplace. He did not know what he hoped to accomplish looking at the family tree and old pictures, but he found that it distracted him.

Halfway through the album, he stumbled upon a picture of his father and the young Tom Riddle. Taking it out and turning it over, Lucius saw a message that read, ‘Don’t be mean, Malfoy.’ and it was signed by a girl named Joanna.

“I’m sorry, Joanna. I’m sorry you were a liability,” Lucius whispered, and then turning to look at the two people in the picture, he added, “I hate you.”

“I hate you both.”

In a swift motion with no hesitation, Lucius threw the picture into the flames and watched it burn. That was the only thing he did that he wanted to… for the rest of his life.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Fan Fiction (Novel)

 

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