Writing Journey

To Write 100 Books & Die

towrite100booksanddie

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!

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4,900 Subs, 3 Steps, 1 Interview

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100 more and I’ll hit 5,000 subscribers! But I shall not get ahead of myself. Hitting 4,900 is an exciting moment itself. Who would have thought that I would have this many readers? Certainly not me when I first started. I remember being so happy with my first 100 subscribers and I never expected my blog to keep growing. So I’m very thankful for all of you and your support.

Thank you for being the eyes and ears to my stories, thank you for the encouragement that keeps me writing, and thank you for being the 1 in the 4,900. Without you I wouldn’t be here today, so thank you for being awesome! Your presence makes a difference 🙂

Now, while you accept the fact that you are wonderful, I have something extra to add.

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of clicks on The Battle For Oz: Exitium but the downloads do not match up. I think I know why; those new on my blog do not know how to get the book for free!

So, I shall use this space to tell you how you can download any of my books that has a ‘0+’ price tag for free.

Step 1: Visit the Gumroad book page and click I want this.

Step 2: Type ‘0’ in the name your price column.

Step 3: Insert your email and download the book.

It’s that easy! I know the credit card part scares a lot of people, but don’t worry, if you’re downloading for free you don’t need to fill that section up 🙂 Now that you know, go ahead and click The Battle For Oz: Exitium book cover again!

If you want to check out my other books, head on to the bookshop page. There, you will find Magnum Opus at ‘0+’ too 🙂 So what are you waiting for? Go, go, go!

On a side note, I recently did an interview on another blogger’s blog. If you wanna read what I have to say about writing, click here! I like doing interviews, because I get to share more about myself without sounding brag-y or know-it-all-ish. So thanks for the platform, Aj Chaudhury 🙂

Well, that is all for this post. Thank you for being awesome and continue on with your awesomeness!

*Current blog post schedule: A post every Thursday alternating between an original short story and a Harry Potter fan fic novel.

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Celebrating 2,700

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Hey, if I had money I would fly all of you to Malaysia and throw a party. It would be awkward at first, but I’m sure it would be fun. After all, every single individual that supports me on this blog is worth a celebration. The likes, comments, shares, and the mere presence, makes me write more. I push myself on uninspiring days, I force myself to think outside the box, and I motivate myself to do better by giving my best to all of you. So thank you for just being here. You guys are the best 🙂

Skipping a boring get-to-know me content this round, I thought I should just share a little bit on my newest project. Personally, I have written a lot this year. I wrote my 2nd novel, a novella, a novelette and a picture storybook on top of all the short stories and fan fictions you’ve read on this blog. That… is a lot. BUT when I was approached by an artist to collaborate on a new project, I thought about it a little and decided to do it.

We’ve decided to do 3 novelettes (a novelette trilogy?), which could be mashed together to be a novel if we want to, based on characters and places most people know of. It’s basically a spin off… something I usually do not do, but since the artist pitched the idea, I went with it.

The progress of writing this trilogy has been rather smooth. Book 1 draft is completed and I’m working on Book 2 now. All books would be done by the end of November and the editing starts immediately after. As for the artworks, the artist has drafted some of the art already (one example below). He’s a talented guy and if you wanna see some of his stuff, visit his Deviantart.

bfo

I’m very excited about this project and I hope to share the books with all of you guys when it’s out next year. I’ll also start up a Facebook fanpage later on so both me and the artist can have a platform to promote the books. As for now, I just wanna share my excitement for this project with all of you. After all, what’s the point of writing if no one is reading, right?

Well, enough on this little sharing; the post is already long enough. Thank you all once again for the support, and I hope you guys have an awesome weekend.

(*If you have not downloaded my picture storybook, Magnum Opus, you can do so here for free! Happy reading!)

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Penguins and Pen Theft

penguinsandpentheft

It’s that post again. Yes, another thank you post! I just want to say a big thank you to all 2,600 awesome readers. I have no idea what kind of a writer I would be without all of you… probably not a writer at all. That would be sad 😦 So you have my sincerest gratitude! Lots and lots of thanks guys!

Since I don’t want to leave my thank you post as that, I’ve decided to do something fun! Now, instead of writing 7 boring random facts about myself, I searched for weird job interview questions to answer. Clever eh?

Here are 7 of them and my answers:

#1 How many cows are in Canada? Asked Google

As many as Canada wants to have.

#2 A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here? Asked Clark Construction Group

Great, another runaway from the zoo. He’s probably the guy you thought you would be interviewing next. If you know what I mean, cough*Madagascar*cough.

#3 What songs best describe your work ethic? Asked Dell

Do you hear that fantasy movie soundtrack? Yup… that’s it! Epic. (The one playing in my head right now is from Pirates Of The Caribbean.)

#4 How would people communicate in a perfect world? Asked Novell

The world will never be perfect, but the perfect communication would be face to face.

#5 My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend? Asked PricewaterhouseCoopers

Narnia? The best vacations are in your head, but if you really must go somewhere… I would say Malaysia. Our food is just so good!

#6 What kitchen utensil would you be? Asked Bandwith.com

Isn’t this obvious? A knife. Sharp and fast. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a knife, right? O.k, maybe just me…

#7 Have you ever stolen a pen from work? Asked Jiffy Software

You’ve got to be real low to steal a pen. I don’t steal anything. I have put my days of stealing coins from my dad’s coin box behind me (I was 8 and I wanted ice-cream).

Now weren’t those fun? Seriously, I wish job interview questions were more creative like these.

You know, I’m kinda interested in seeing your answers to these questions. So pick one and answer it in the comments below!

Well, that’s it for my 26th thank you post! If you have not read my latest picture storybook, you can download it HERE for free. So till our next vacation in my head, don’t be a pen thief!

(Current blog post schedule: A post every Thursday alternating between a Harry Potter fan fiction and an original short story.)

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Dedicated To You

2500 Subs

This is my 25th thank you post, which also means I’ve hit 2,500 subs!

Now, if you guys are tired of me writing a thank you post every 100 new subs, let me know. I’m hoping to write something on top of these posts (updates, get-to-know-me, etc) as time goes by… so it’ll be more than just ‘hello, thank you, goodbye’.

So, for this post I would like to thank all of you guys again. The lack of words created to show gratitude has made ‘thank you’ watery at this stage. If only I could thicken it up… hmm.

I know! I could announce that my first picture storybook is now available for download… free! Oh, and this book is dedicated to you guys!

Though this story may be different, but the theme reflects on every creative individual out there; as creators of our own works we are not only happy to finish a piece but to share it as well. Hence, I dedicated Magnum Opus to my readers for their support in all of my creations!

My beta readers classified this picture storybook for kids and young adults. It was written in a simplistic manner but I did include certain themes that only older individuals could relate too. Something like The Little Prince, though not as philosophical.

You can download the book HERE for free. Just type in 0$ for the amount, or if you wish to pay for it you can place whatever amount you like.

The art was done by a friend of mine (the one who did The Dreamer cover) and I just wanna thank him for doing so. He’s really good and he brought Magnum Opus to life. Thanks Tham!

Anyways, I really hope you guys like the book and I’m looking forward to your comments 🙂

Thanks again for your support and I can’t wait to go on more adventures with all of you!