Writing Journey

The Patreon Project

patreonproject

Have you heard of Patreon?

Patreon is a place where artsy-fartsy people share their work, and patrons (that’s you!) come and support their artsy-fartsy-ness. Patrons will commit an amount of money every month to support the creator in their hard work and creativity, giving the creator more time to create and less time worrying about paying the bills. Simply defined, it’s a crowd-funding site without the restriction of time.

Many artsy-fartsy people have been using this site for years. From YouTubers, illustrators, podcasters, musicians, to writers and bloggers, some of your favourite creators are on Patreon. Today, I officially hop on this bandwagon (and hopefully, I can be considered as one of your favourite creators too 🙂 ).

So, what is this Patreon Project?

Well, for many years, I’ve been creating fictional tales and posting them for free on my blog. I enjoy doing it and I love sharing my stories with you. However, I recently thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to earn some money from my stories?‘ Yes, my stories are meant to be free, but maybe someone would like to throw a penny or two into my hat. Hence, the Patreon Project.

The Patreon Project is me taking a step closer toward achieving my dreams of becoming a full-time author. Honestly, I’m scared. What if you think I’m not worthy of your patronage? What if this post blows over your head? But chasing my dreams requires me to take bold steps, and even if I fall face flat and break my nose, I’ll take those step anyway. Even if no one wants to support my artsy-fartsy endeavours, I’ll keep trying… I’ll keep swimming.

This… is the Patreon Project.

Now, you’re probably wondering, are there perks of being my patron?

Of course! I’m not going to leave you empty-handed. Come on, I’m not like that. So here’s what you’ll get:

– *Updates on, and chapters of, work-in-progress.
– Un-blogged and never-before-published stories.
– Discount codes and free eBooks.
– Advance digital copy of self-published books prior to publication.
– Have a book dedicated to you.

*I’ve not told many people about this, but I’m actually working on a new piece of work with an artist. I’m really excited about it! But because we’re still in the early stages, I haven’t said anything yet. However, if you’re a patron, you’ll be the first to hear about it once it’s confirmed (which most likely it will be). You’ll also get to read it first!

So yes, being my Patron has its perks.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to hear me out. If you don’t mind, please check out my Patreon page as well. You can support me at whatever amount you wish. If $1 is how you roll, then for that $1 I’m very grateful. Every dollar contributed brings me closer to my goal, and to have your support in this journey is a huge honour.

Thank you for considering this. And thank you in advance to my future patrons. Do know that without you, I am but a boat blowing its horn in the storm. You are the ship that helps me sail on.

Writing Journey

Dealing with Criticism

dealingwcriticism
Not-so-fun fact: No one can escape criticism.

Whether it is constructive, whether it is for our works, or whether it is based on what we believe in, we will always be judged. The question is: how do we deal with it?

Personally, I receive the most criticism in my written work. Freely putting my work out there has invited many opinions, and some of them aren’t very nice. So how do I deal with these not-so-nice words? My approach happens in 3 phases:

#1 Resentment

What do you know about writing? If it’s so easy, go write your own book. The plot sucks? Well, trying plotting your own novel. Wait, you’re not a writer? Ha! Haha! You talk big for someone without experience. Pfft!

I previously blogged in Does Blogging Help? on how blogging has helped me learn from and accept constructive criticism. But receiving criticism on the blogosphere from people who genuinely want to help me is different from receiving criticism from people who don’t.

When The Battle for Oz was published, advance copies were given in exchange for honest reviews, copies were placed in numerous bookstores for anyone to purchase, and free copies were thrown in giveaways. The more copies sold meant the more copies read. The more copies read meant the more reviews given. The more reviews given, the higher the chances of negative words to be written.

My response toward the first few negative reviews was outright resentment. I ranted and vented about them to my family. I posted passive-aggressive Facebook statuses. I went to bed angry. But the more I encountered such reviews, the number I grew toward them.

I’m not saying I’m resentment-free. I still internalise a sarcastic comeback toward said reviews, but I no longer rage over them. I believe it is normal to resent negative words. That’s what makes us human And that doesn’t mean we’re sour grapes. So if you need to deal with criticism with a little resentment, do so.

*Disclaimer: Please do not act on your emotion in a way you would regret. Do not verbally abuse a reviewer, and do not hunt them down and smash a bottle of wine on their head. As someone who is being watched (even by a few people), you want to live a life that inspires. Not a life that sets bad examples.


#2 Reasoning

Maybe you don’t like my book because it’s not what you usually read. Maybe you didn’t know this wasn’t an adult book. Maybe you just don’t get my writing style. Maybe you set too high of an expectation.

The second phase I go through after my ears stop steaming is reasoning. I try to find a reason why someone had something bad to say about my work. This phase is not about justifying the critique, but justifying my work itself. This is where I question whether my work is horrible or decent. And the only reason I reason… is to make myself feel better. But my response toward all the reasoning is crucial.

You see, when you start reasoning with criticism, you start asking the big questions in life: why do you do what you do? Are you good at it? Should you give up? Is this passion worth it?

How you answer these questions determine where you go from there. Your answers will either build a strong foundation in self-faith or torch your dreams to ashes. My own answers have only grown my passion for writing. I am not without self-doubt, but I choose to believe I’m more than a negative review. Reasoning reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing. Reasoning helps me keep the end goal in mind.

#3 Realisation

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a right to an opinion. But I won’t let an opinion change my dreams, and I certainly won’t let an opinion change who I am.

Some days I reach this phase fairly quickly, some days it takes a while. But every time, I will come to realise that opinions do not have the power to tear me down or force me to change. Opinions are opinions, no matter how tactless they are. They are not a command or a law. They have no control over my life.

I can choose how I want to take a criticism. If it’s constructive, I learn from it. If it’s hateful, I use it to drive me toward my goal. I don’t write for the approval of men, I write for me.

Some people will tell you not to read reviews or critiques, because they are discouraging and they stir unwanted emotions. Personally, I encourage you to read and take negative reviews. You’ll learn to tame the monster within, you’ll discover more about yourself and your passion, and you’ll drive yourself to be better. There is always something positive to take out of negative circumstances. And dealing with criticism (not running from criticism) is one of them. When you come to this realisation, nothing can stand in your way.

So, there you have it: the phases I go through to deal with criticism. I’m not sure if this post is of any help, but if there’s one thing I’d like you to take away from this, is that you’re not alone. I face criticism – I have my own haters – but I choose not to give up and work toward becoming better. I hope you’ll face criticism the same way too.

Criticism has no power to alter your dreams. Only you have the power to do so.

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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.

 

Writing Journey

Keeping It Simple

keepingitsimple

I’ve been told, more than once, that my writing is too simple. It has been called juvenile and childish, among other hurtful adjectives. When I first read such comments/reviews, I wanted to cry. I mean, who wouldn’t? Nobody wants to be called a writer who lacks skill in forming complex sentences that wows the audience with such advance vocabulary. I, for one, didn’t. But then I realised, simple isn’t bad, simple is good.

Many well-known writers are advocates of simple writing. Some famous writers have even been criticized for their simple writing. But they never let those comments stop them, and they continue to find success through their simple style.

Faulkner vs Hemmingway

So why do people complain about simple writing? I don’t know. Why do people complain about complex writing? Trust me, I know writers who’ve been told their writing is too complex, they need to tone it down. True story. The fact is, you can’t please everyone.

So let’s keep this simple. Let’s just write.

In reality, not everyone is going to like your writing, your story, and your book. There will be people who hate it and there’s nothing you can do to change their minds. The one thing you can do, for yourself, is to keep writing the way you want to write. Whether it be simple, complex, or in between, just write.

I’ve been told my simple style of writing makes my stories fast pace and exciting. I’ve also been told my simple style of writing makes my stories bland. It’s all a matter of opinion. At the end of the day, I’ll write how I want to write. I’ll keep it simple… just the way I like it. I’ll order medium-rare for my steak, because that’s the way I like it. I cannot stomach it raw, and I don’t like the texture of well-done, but if that’s the way you like your steak, then order it so. Don’t let people tell you how you should write. Every writer has a unique voice. Own up to yours.

You're not alone.
You’re not alone.

*Now, I’m not saying disregard good criticism. If there are comments out there that help you become a better writer, embrace it like a long lost friend. But if someone tells you to change your style, tell them to write their own book/blog.

I’ve decided to blog about this today because I’ve come across a lot of writers who question their work based on people’s comments – particularly in style. They’ve contemplated changing their style of writing just to fit into people’s preferences. I’ve been in those shoes myself. But now that I’ve kicked those shoes off, I want to encourage you to do the same.

At the end of the day, you’ll have your fans and you’ll have your non-fans (I’d use the term ‘haters’ but it seems too harsh). Don’t let your non-fans dictate how you should execute your passion. They won’t support you even if you change. So write… write however you want to write. Write for you and write for those who like your style. Write because you like writing and stop asking yourself if it’s too simple or too complex.

Keep it simple and just write.

Writing Journey

To Write 100 Books & Die

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Fellow blogger Zoey told me she is interested in hearing my self-publishing experience. So to start off this new year of blogging, I’ve decided to fill you in on what it’s been like for me. But before I get into my five years in this indie industry, let me share with you my writing goal. It’s pretty straightforward. My goal is to write 100 books and die.

Simply put, I want to write as many books as I can in my lifetime. Whether or not it becomes my full time career, whether or not I become a bestselling author, whether or not the world knows my name, I just want to write. Money and fame are not my goals as an author, they are added bonuses (bonuses I would love to have, of course). But ultimately, writing and writing and writing is my goal. That is why I chose to go indie.

I’ve self-published five titles independently: The Dreamer, Dream World: The Lost Child, Raindrops, Magnum Opus, and Dr. Slubgob’s Letters. Have I ever thought of pitching these books to publishers? Yes. Did I do it? Only once for The Dreamer. Why only once? Because the work that goes into it equals to another book being written. This is a personal statement: I rather spend time writing than looking for a publisher.

Of course, the self-publishing work that comes after writing a book is not easy. There’s editing, designing, publishing, and marketing. Being that I don’t have the finance to fund myself, my books are not given a paperback chance. Having no money to spend on professional editing, I edit my books with the help of beta readers. The cover design of all my books were done by friends who were willing to do it for free (quick tip: be friends with artists/designers). Asking for free help is something I had to do, and being honest about the struggle of being an indie author is something my artsy friends understood. I thank God for having friends who would do book covers for free – these people could charge me for it, but were willing to ‘collaborate’ because I was budget-less.

After all the pre-production work is done, to the best of my ability (note this: I don’t release books I’m not happy with – I’ve ditched some stories too), I export my books into pdf and place them on Gumroad. Gumroad hosts my books online and emails them automatically to buyers. They only take a small percentage out of the sales, much less than Amazon. The reason why I don’t put on Amazon is because of the tedious process (call me lazy) and the low royalty rates. Yes, the book might sell more copies on Amazon, but I prefer to use a platform I have full control over (price, format, and earnings).

Have I made a lot of money from those five titles? No, and it doesn’t matter… because I’m still writing.

I believe the reason why I don’t make much money from my books is because of poor marketing. I had a marketing module in university, but the 4p’s of marketing is a surface level skill. I fail at promotion because the only platforms I have for promotion is here on this blog and on my social networking accounts. Even here/there, I don’t expect great responses. And that’s how it is as an indie author.

I have been doing this for five years, and only a year ago did I attempt to try a new form of publishing: crowd-funded publishing. Last year, I learnt so much from the production of The Battle for Oz through a successful crowd-funded project. I had no idea how tedious the full process of editing was! But just like self-publishing, crowd-funded publishing is not for everyone.

The truth about self-publishing is this: it takes work and you might not earn the money you deserve from all the work. But you have full control and you get to see it come to life. Knowing this, I’m favouring crowd-funded publishing so much more, but that itself is a different ball game.

If you’re wondering which route to take, I suggest you first ask yourself what your writing goal is. Why do you write? And base on your answer, see which route best suits you. I chose self-publishing and going indie because I want to share as many stories with the world. I’m fine dying as an unknown writer, as long as I’ve inspired a few lives with my work. But to some, this is not something they want. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because we all have different writing goals. What’s important is you do what works best for you.

So there you have it, my experience in self-publishing. It’s pretty general as I still have a lot to learn. I’m not sure if I would continue on this self-publishing route or plant myself solely in crowd-funded publishing, but no matter which path I take, I still have a lot to learn. This is the best I can share with you at this point of time, and I hope it helps 🙂

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If there is something you would like me to share, leave a comment below!

Zoey has also asked about my writing process and if you’re keen about the same topic, let me know. Like I said in my A New Year, A New Journey post, this is going to be a different blogging year. I want to interact with you and I’m hoping to build a community of readers through this blog. Hopefully, the shift in blogging will help me in my authoring career. But even if it doesn’t, I hope it helps you, dear reader, in one way or another.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend ahead!

Others

Sunday’s Wake Up Call #InksharesReviews

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Yesterday morning, my phone rang the cliche Nokia (not a sponsor) alarm at 6am.

I crawled out of bed with the ghosts of my strange dreams and made myself a cup of coffee (of course, only after I’ve brushed my teeth). Then, I got ready for the Inkshares review-a-thon live stream!

Don’t worry, if you didn’t manage to catch the live stream while it was still live, you can watch it below.

My interview starts around the 10:20 mark (I wasn’t nervous at all! Pfftt.. yea right). I spoke a little about The Battle for Oz and The Slave Prince, as well as what I do as my day job.

But wait… don’t just watch mine. Watch the whole thing! We also had Gary Whitta (scriptwriter of The Book of Eli and the upcoming Rogue One) and Adam Gomolin (Inkshares VP) with us. Aside from that, there were mentions of many books worth supporting on Inkshares. So if you have a couple of hours to spare, check it out!

By the way, I know I mentioned in the interview that The Slave Prince is ranked #10 in the Sword & Laser Collection contest, but I just realised it has been bumped to #11.

Vader-nooooo
If you have yet to see what it’s all about, please do 🙂 I’ve added a new chapter too, and will continue to do so as more people come along for the adventure.
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World Builders — Jeyna Grace

Earlier this month, I shared my thoughts on world building and The Battle for Oz with fellow Inkshares author, John Robin.

Read a snippet below and more on the EpicFantasyWriter blog itself.

John Robin: Online Teacher

Today, my World Builders guest is Jeyna Grace, author of The Battle for Oz and The Slave Prince (which is currently in the early stages on Inkshares).

jeynagrace

Jeyna Grace never stopped playing pretend. One day, she decided to document her imagination on paper… And the rest is history.

Her first foray into the world of publishing was in 2011. Since then, she has released six titles. She also writes stories for her blog to practice her craft. She currently works for a children’s publishing house, where she creates a variety of material for young readers. Their letters in response to her stories bring her joy, but her true passion is writing novels. She dreams of becoming a full-time author one day and hopes her journey will inspire others to chase their dreams too.

Born and raised in Malaysia, she often retreats to the world inside her head, where she teaches…

View original post 1,028 more words

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A Break From Fiction

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Hello there, wonderful reader!

I have a couple of things to say today. (Gee, Jeyna, as though that isn’t obvious). Bear with me, as I will need your feedback at the end of this post 🙂

#1 I’m taking a break from The Clubhouse this week and next.

If you’re interested in diving into this blog series with me, this is the perfect time to catch up on all the chapters. It may seem like a lot, but each chapter is roughly 800-1000 words, so it’s like reading a novella. The story itself has only slightly past the halfway mark. Trust me, I never expected this series to go on for so long. It has been challenging to write. Anyway, the current poll will be extended, so you can place a vote too 🙂

Next week, in replacement of The Clubhouse, I will be sharing my crowd-funding journey and what I’ve learned throughout the process. The Battle for Oz is finally on bookshelves! So I thought this would be a great topic to write about. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I’ll answer them in that post.

#2 I need your thoughts.

This blog has been a fictional zone since its very beginning. It has been a platform where I share my imaginations with you. The only factual reads you will find here are updates, book releases, occasional blog tags, and thank you posts. Because my blog has been set up in such a way, I’ve found a few pros and cons with the system.

Firstly, not everyone visits my blog frequently. I’m not saying this because I want traffic, I’m saying this because I realise that some of you might not be interested in the latest blog series’ or stories that I publish. Hence, you’re just lurking around. I don’t want you to lurk around anymore.

Secondly, I would love to create a platform where I would be able to share with you some of my experiences as an indie author. Perhaps you might have questions on how my crowd-funding experience for The Battle for Oz was like, or my process in writing and self-publishing my other works. Maybe there are things that I can share that will be able to help you as a writer/ blogger.

On days where I take a break from fiction, I want to create content that will benefit you. If you’d like to see posts as such in the future, leave me a comment or send me an email on the topics you want me to write about.

#3 Place your vote!

I have a 50k+ word novel that I would really like to publish, but I don’t want to have it on an e-platform only. It is a fantasy retelling of a true story, where magic and prophecy exist! I have been holding off this novel from self-publishing because I want it to reach a larger audience. You being part of my audience, I need to know if you would support me if I crowd-fund it.

Currently, I have 2 crowd-funding options:
– Inkshares (again), where I need a minimum of 1000 pre-orders at $10.
– Unbound, where I need to meet 70% of the funding goal, with the minimum funding option of £10.

I don’t know which to go with yet. So please answer the poll below. And be honest 🙂

Well, that’s all for this post. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂 Just in case you didn’t know, they mean a lot to me.

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6500 & A New Book

6500

When was the last time I did a thank you post? I think it was during the 5000’s. I decided not to write these posts so frequently, not because I’m not grateful for having you around, but because I don’t want to water down my gratitude. Hence, I have decided to say thank you every 500 new subscribers. So, here I am again!

A big thank you to all 6500 readers of my blog! Thank you for paying my blog a visit, reading my stories, liking and commenting on them, and for spending your precious time on my little space on the internet. The daily growth of my blog is a huge encouragement. Having you say you enjoy my stories, whether new or old, whether original or fanfic, really makes my day. Thank you so much for being my reader and I hope you will continue to support me as I tread the waters of this big ocean of writers.

Thank you!

Now apart from my little gratitude segment, I would also like to announce that I will be releasing a new book in May. No, this is not The Battle For Oz, but another spin off.

If you have been following me since 2013, you would have remembered the blog series called Dr. Slubgob’s Letters. It was written based off C. S Lewis’ book, Screwtape Letters. This year, I was happy to discover that C. S Lewis officially entered the public domain. Which means, I can now self-publish Dr. Slubgob’s Letters!

Of course, my writing style has changed since 2013. So, I’m spending a lot of time editing, editing, and editing this piece of work. Once I’m done, I’ll convert it into a novella. I also have a graphic designer friend working on the book cover. The moment both parts of the book are ready, I’ll put it for sale. Don’t worry, there will also be a giveaway.

The reason why I decided to ‘re-publish’ Dr. Slubgob’s Letters is because The Battle For Oz is still in the process of publication. It has just completed the editing stage and will take a while before it hits the shelves. I wanted to give you something else to read before that book is published.

My plans for my unpublished works has changed since The Battle For Oz was successfully crowd-funded. I might even crowd-fund another novel in the future but for now, I’m just going with the flow. I hope The Battle For Oz will propel me forward as an author and give me a chance to play with the big boys soon. So, if you’re interested in checking the book out, please do so. It’s on Inkshares, Amazon, and a few other online bookstores if you would like to pre-order it.

791 copies have been pre-ordered so far – only 209 before I hit the 1k mark! Would you lend a hand? It’s a milestone I have yet to achieve 🙂

Anyway, there will be more news to come as time goes by. For now, know that I’m releasing a novella soon. I don’t want to write a short story out of this, so I’ll end it here. Once again, thank you so much for your support and readership. I really appreciate it. I hope you have a good weekend and continue to stay awesome!

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Happy Christmas, Merry New Year!

happychristmasmerrynewyear

For some of you, it would still be Christmas Eve, but… there’s no harm is being wished earlier, am I right? So Happy Christmas everyone and a Merry New Year!

December is my favourite month because of the digital snow gracing my blog, the jolly mood in the malls, and of course, Christmas. Even though the uncertain new year is just around the corner, everyone is in a festive spirit! What’s not to love about that? In my country, we don’t have snow or house decorations but there is still something about this season that is magical. I hope it’s magical for you too 🙂

AND I hope that magic continues on till the new year strikes. Once Christmas is over, we will all have to start our countdown (have you completed your 2014 resolutions?). For me, this year is a little different. Tomorrow will actually be a reminder that I have 10 days left. 10 days for what? 10 days to complete my crowd-funding project!

I have been mentioning about my crowd-funding project for the past few months, and this would be the last time I mention it. The next 10 days will be a make it or break it season. Either I finally get my book fully funded and see it hitting bookstores in 2015, or… let’s not think about what happens after ‘or’.

So! If you have excess Christmas cheer to share and would like to support an indie author in going global, check out my novel’s crowd-funding project HERE. I hope to end this year with a bang, and it can only happen if you hop onboard and ‘pre-order’ my book.

If you’re still contemplating, I know, boxing day is tomorrow… I know, there’s a sale. I hope you find some really good deals, but before you head to the stores, please check out my project and make my Christmas wish come true! I’m already at the 76% mark and I just need a little push to hit 100%! Your support will go a long way.

*Want to be creative with your gift giving this year? Fund my novel under someone else’s name and surprise them when they find their name at the back of my book 🙂 It would be an unexpected gift when they receive it next year!

Anyway, I hope you are having/had a great Christmas this year. Naughty or nice, snow or the blazing hot sun, I hope you’re spending this holiday with cheers and smiles. You might have had a rough year, but don’t let that put a damper on your spirit. A fresh start is just a couple of days away! So lighten up and end the year with a cheer.

Well, that’s all for now. Here’s to a new and exciting year together with more magical adventures and fictional journeys! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

(There’s no The Clubhouse chapter today, as I don’t want to double post on the same day. Polls are still open though, so if you have not voted, you can do so :))