Writing Journey

Write What You Know

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Should you or should you not?

‘Write what you know’ is a statement you’ll hear the moment you decide to be a writer. It’s a cliche advice with two camps: the camp that supports it and the camp that doesn’t. There is no unanimity with this notion. Having both pros and cons, it naturally creates opposing beliefs.

Should you write what you know, you save time. You save money. You don’t have to put in as much effort, as when you’re writing what you don’t know. Writing what you know is easier. But writing what you know also puts you in a box. It doesn’t expand your horizons or challenges your ideas. In a way, it makes you complacent. So should you or should you not, write what you know?

Let’s take a step back and look at the statement from a different perspective.

As people with expanding intellect, we have the tendency to complicate things that aren’t meant to be complicated. Simply taking this advice as it is will give us the answer we need.

Write what you know.

You know the sky is blue. You know salt is salty. You know silk is soft. You know birds chirp. You know death is heartbreaking. And you know the joy of reunion.

You also know the sky changes colour as the day progresses. You also know salt makes food less bland. You also know silk clothing is comfortable. You also know a chirping bird can be both annoying and pleasant. You also know life goes on after death. And you also know memories can bring about laughter.

You know a lot, don’t you?

So should you write what you know? Yes. You should.

Writing what you know doesn’t just encompass what you’ve learned in school. In fact, it shouldn’t encompass head knowledge at all. Writing what you know is simply drawing from your experiences as a human being, and giving life to whatever you’re writing.

When I was writing The Battle for Oz, I hadn’t read the original book I was spinning from. I only read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz long after the book was completed. I also didn’t read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland until after I was done reading Oz. Heck… I didn’t even finish Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. However, I still managed to complete The Battle for Oz with the help of Google and what I already know.

With my own life experiences, I was able to create a story without even being a fan of the original works. And that itself, made The Battle for Oz my book. Your book and your story is yours because you’re writing with what you and only you know. No one can write like you, or craft stories like you, because they’re not walking in your shoes or experiencing life as you do. The statement that ‘everyone has a story to tell’ holds true.

At the end of the day, writing what you know is only natural. Writing isn’t grounded in the knowledge of a genre or a specific idea, but writing is grounded in you. Knowing yourself plays a big role in writing. And focusing on putting yourself in your works, instead of merely gathering knowledge, makes a piece all the more believable… and all the more unique.

You don’t have to be the best, most knowledgable writer in the world, to write what you want to write. You can write about anything and everything, as long as you know yourself.

Now… for some Calvin and Hobbes humour.

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I hope this post answers this question, should you be looking for an answer. But even if it doesn’t, I hope you’ll write with you in mind.

You know a lot. Don’t underestimate yourself.

(Edit: Based on some comments, I’d like to clear a possible misunderstanding: I’m not saying don’t do research and write from solely what you know. Do research. But don’t ever feel like you don’t know enough to embark on any writing journey.)

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Monday Giveaway

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*TL;DR: Read the bold-ed words.

Phototastic-25_3_2016_3c0a52c3-badb-4ed3-9450-101a4fe90704Prior to the launch of The Battle for Oz, my publisher threw a Goodreads giveaway. 20 copies were up for grabs and over 1,000 people entered. I’m still in shock at the number of readers interested in the book. I know some books get way more participants, but for me, 1,000 is a lot! So anyway… now that it’s a little over six months, my publisher and I have decided to throw another giveaway.

Just like round one, there are 20 paperback copies to be won. And don’t worry, despite the blog title, the giveaway is not just open for today. In fact, it runs from March 28th to April 25th. The only downside is this paperback giveaway is only open to residents of the United States and Canada. Unfortunately, my publisher cannot extend it globally… yet. However, they’re more than happy to give 10 free e-books to my readers living outside of US and Canada.

So, if you’re living in the US and Canada, you can enter the Goodreads giveaway HERE. But if you’re not from either of these two countries, you can leave a comment below stating who you like better, Dorothy Gale or Alice Liddell, and stand a chance to win an e-book! Sounds cool?

I’m not sure if any of my blog followers won the Goodreads giveaway the last round. I saw a familiar name, but I cannot be certain. This time, I hope one of you do win a copy. It would be awesome to hear your thoughts on the book. So be sure to join! You have close to one month to enter, and I don’t advise waiting. What if you forget? Ok, ok, fine, I’ll remind you when the date is nearer. But if you have nothing to do now, enter/leave a comment today!

That’s it! I used a lot of ‘so’s in this post didn’t I? So I better end this here. Happy Monday dear reader! And thanks for always sticking around 🙂

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Let’s Go To War

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*This is a special note to those who have supported The Battle for Oz. If you’ve not supported the book, READ ANYWAY.

1,000 copies sold!

I’ve hit a milestone in my publishing career that I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. Thank you for being a part of this journey and helping me accomplish this feat 🙂 I have never sold this many books before, that’s for sure. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

That being said, the question that begs to be answered now is, will it be possible to sell another 1,000 copies?

I say, yes. If and only if you’re still willing to stand beside me. I need an army to fight my way in this competitive publishing industry, and I could really use your help. Will you enlist?

If you think I’m worth partnering, if you think this war is worth fighting, here’s what I need you to do:

#1 Share The Battle for Oz with your friends.
Conveniently, the book can be bought on Amazon and Barnes & Noble at a lower price. The cover is also green… which makes for an awesome Christmas present! (Look —>)

#2 Leave reviews.
On Amazon.
On Goodreads.
And on your own blog, if you own one.

These are the only two things I need from you. I can only do so much, but you can help me do more. So, I’m leaving it in your hands.

You’re in command of this battle now, General. Should we go for war? It’s your call.

On a side note, The Battle for Oz was pitched to United Talent Agency. This book needs to get more attention should it stand a chance at becoming a movie! This fight might be all it needs, and this fight needs you.

(If you read this and have yet to get your copy of The Battle for Oz, please check the book out! You might like it. You really might. You might end up loving it, for all I know. So please, pretty please, give it a look.)

Writing Journey

The Making of The Battle for Oz

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The making of The Battle for Oz was more than writing The Battle for Oz. Here is the complete production process.

Pre Production

In film making, this is where the script is written, a budget is given, the cast and crew are hired, the locations are recce-ed, the production schedule is set, the costumes are made, and etc. When pre producing The Battle for Oz, I only needed the completed manuscript and $7,700. Seems like a much easier process compared to making a movie, right? Well, it is… except that raising $7,700 was not easy at all.

Since my manuscript was already completed, I simply had to focus on getting the funds. I reached out to my family and friends, and gotten my parents on board to reach out to their friends as well. I Facebook messaged everyone up to five times and thickened my skin during the entire process. I’ve tried different ways in the 3-month time frame and can now conclude on what works and what doesn’t.

What works:
– Spamming your Facebook friends, especially when they don’t respond to your first message. Tell them it’s OK for them to tell you to stop if they find it annoying. Many will ignore you, but some will turn around at the very end and support you because they admire your perseverance.
– Reaching out to family, because they will support you. Ask your uncles and aunts, cousins and cousins-in-law, nephews and nieces, and everyone in your family tree.
– Don’t be afraid to ask mum and dad for help, because mum and dad have contacts and mum and dad will shamelessly support you. Because they are mum and dad. (*Neither of my parents forked out any money, but they successfully convinced their friends to support my dream.)
– Email blog followers. Not all but some will respond. (Those of you who did, thank you!)
– Tweet Twitter followers. Not all but some will respond. (Those who did, thank you too!)

What doesn’t work:
– Messaging book bloggers.
– Promoting your book in Goodreads groups that you’re not active in.
– Spamming Facebook groups.
– Trying to get the support of famous YouTubers. (Not worth the effort no matter how desperate you are. Trust me.)
– Reddit.

Hitting $7,700 was almost impossible for me, especially when majority of my backers were from Malaysia. The currency exchange made it difficult for people to give more. Still, after a lot of convincing and praying, I managed to hit the goal. I would call it a miracle. So if I can do it with an exchange rate of more than 3.0, you can certainly do it too.

Production

Once my book was fully funded, I was introduced to Inkshares’ editorial manager who asked for my manuscript and gave me a questionnaire to fill. We also had a brief Skype chat where she answered all my questions. After that, she introduced me to the project manager from Girl Friday Productions. They took over the manuscript and began the editing process. From developmental editing, copy editing, to proofreading, they walked through each stage with me. It was my first time going through such a tedious editing process of my work and I learned that red lines do not necessarily mean bad.

When the editing was finally done, the project manager started with the cover design process. I was given three rounds to comment and change the design, but I pushed it to four. Once I was happy with the cover, the marketing manager from Inkshares came into the picture. She took the digital proofs and began the marketing process including getting early readers and press interest. Before the official publication date, the digital advance reader copy was passed around, a Goodreads giveaway was set up, and I was given an interview questionnaire to fill.

I think the longest production process was the editing, as reviewing edits for each stage took a while. I also had to reread my manuscript many times. It was worth it though.

Post Production

Now that the book is out, marketing becomes the primary focus. Getting reviews is an important part of this stage. Being that Inkshares is a crowd-funded publisher, both author and publisher have to put in effort in promoting the book. On my end, I have to seek reviews to boost the sales. I’ll have to reach out to people again and wear a thick skin once more. Though, I do believe readers would be more supportive this time around. After all, they’ve already bought the book… right? Right? I can only hope.

So there you have it, the making of The Battle for Oz!

Now, for some important post production work.

Click HERE to visit the book page. Buy the book if it piques your interest!

If you have read the book, please, please, please, leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Especially Amazon. Help me out! It’s difficult to get reviews. So please do lend a hand. I would really appreciate it!

Curious about the interview I did with Young Entertainment Magazine? They called my book a literary equivalent of a masterful musical mashup. Click HERE to read it! I talked about my background, inspiration, and personal favourites in it too.

OK, I’m done with my little post production segment. Thank you for your support in advance. *AND PLEASE LEAVE ME A REVIEW!*

I hope this post has been helpful for those who are considering crowd-funding their novel. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment 🙂 I’ll be more than willing to answer them.

Till my next post, have a great weekend!

Others

We Are Definitely Not in Kansas Anymore!

Check out what this book blogger has to say about The Battle For Oz: Exitium!

Exitium is the first out of three parts in the complete novel. It can be downloaded HERE for free. If you wish to see the complete novel in bookstores near you, be sure to check out the crowd-funding project for it. I need all the help I can get, and your support would mean a lot to me 🙂

*Do note that the artworks in Exitium would not be in the complete novel.

Scale of Books

The Battle For Oz – Book one: Exitium by Jeyna Grace:

I think we have all, at the very least, heard of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A delightful children’s novel by L. Frank Baum. The novel has had countless remakes, movies and plays, it has inspired new stories and been the focus of many literary commentaries, not to mention its presence in various classrooms.

Is it not then refreshing to find a whole new take on this beloved classic? Is it not intriguing to find out what might have happened after the death of the Wicked Witch and Dorothy’s return to Kansas?

exitium-cover

I thought so, at any rate, when I started reading the first few pages of The Battle For Oz, Book 1: Exitium by Jeyna Grace. And in truth, that thought remained with me throughout. Evil queens, magic, monstrous guards, and a heroine or two? What’s not to…

View original post 1,041 more words

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Would you… invest in me?

would you invest in me

Hey there!

Yes, you over there; the well-dressed human with good looks staring at this screen. Oh, don’t be modest. I am indeed referring to you. The very person I know would give me a few minutes to make this pitch. So, how was your day? Good? Well I sure hope so, but let’s not dilly dally, I’ll get straight to the point.

So… if you’ve been following my blog, you would know that I write. A lot. I’ve also released a few books, but most of them electronically. Today, I hope to change that. How? By starting a crowd-funding project! I’ve decided to take one of my works, The Battle For Oz (novel), and put it on a platform where you, yes you, still speaking to you, can help fund! Think of it as an investment 🙂

TBFO6You’re probably going, what’s an investment with no returns? I can only say, the returns would be tons more of my work, and The Battle For Oz in paperback! Doesn’t sound compelling enough? I’ll put it this way, if you invest in me, you’re finally helping an indie author go global. There are a handful of indie (a.k.a self-published) authors that have managed to make it big, but they would not have been able to do so without their readers. I’m hoping that you, my dear awesome reader, would consider backing me up this time. If one person donates 2 USD, I would be well on my way to getting this book out. 2 USD might be a lot to some, but please do consider. That amount would go a long… long… way.

Are you sold by my terrible investment pitch? If you are and would like to know how you can fund my book, these are the steps:

#1 Visit The Battle For Oz project page.

#2 Pledge any amount. Any amount would do. Yes, ANY amount! (Certain amounts will have perks though.)

#3 Spread the word! Clicking share will determine how successful the project will be.

I’m doing this project on Inkshares, a crowd-funding publishing platform. If my project is a success, they would edit, design, print, and distribute my books worldwide! It will be a huge deal to actually have a successful project! I know the monetary goal seems huge, but Inkshares sets the optimum amount for a well published book. (Fellow writers, be sure to check Inkshares out!)

I do hope you seriously consider in giving this project a shot. It would mean the world to me to finally see a book of mine in bookstores! I know some of you have asked if you could find my books in your countries, well… this will give me the chance to say ‘yes, you can’. For those who are planning on funding The Battle For Oz, thank you in advance! I really appreciate the support, I really do 🙂

If you would like to read the first 1/3 of the book, you can download it here for free. The free copy is just a teaser, collaborated with an artist. Do note there will not be any in-book illustrations in the complete novel, as that would make the project goal too high.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t think too much now, just check out the project!

***For the first 10 days, starting today, Inkshares will donate 5USD to my project every time a person backs it. SO, it would be a huge help even if you’re donating 1USD in the next 10 days. 

(Tl;dr? Read bold words.)

Thanks for reading!

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Changing Things Up

chnagingthingsup4,800, yes, 4,800 subscribers! Woo hoo! Just so you know, I’ve never shouted ‘woo hoo’ out loud before… and I probably won’t because it’s a bit strange to do so in front of the computer. So here am I, internally and silently celebrating this new achievement. Come, celebrate with me too 🙂 After all, the number is rather insignificant if not for the the people behind it. Thank you for making that number worth something to me.

I’ve said this many times (saying ‘I’ve said this many times’ have also been said many times), but I’m really thankful for all of you. Your subscription, readership, and support matters a lot to me. I know my words may seem watered down, because I’m posting these ‘thank you’ posts too regularly, but the sincerity is still thick as glue. I really am grateful for your presence. Thank you, thank you, thank you 🙂

Moving on, I have something important to tell you guys.

There is going to be a change to the way I release the rest of the books in The Battle For Oz trilogy. Previously, TBFO was a novelette trilogy that I partnered with an artist. However, due to differing goals between me and the artist, he has decided to pursue other projects instead. BUT that does not mean The Battle For Oz is gone. No way! I promised you guys 3 books and I will now give you 1; The Battle For Oz novel!

The Battle For Oz: Exitium will still be up for download, but it will now be a free teaser for you to taste the story before considering buying the novel. You can download it free here! As for The Battle For Oz novel, even though there will not be an abundance of artwork like in Exitium, I will be converting it into e-pub and mobi formats as well. So now everyone with e-readers can read it too 🙂

Honestly, this is not the change I intended to make, but sometimes you got to work with it. Zaquard is very talented (check out his devianart) but the way we see our trade with The Battle For Oz does not gel. Unfortunately, it has come down to this, but I’m still very excited! I’m hoping to release the full novel May next year, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!

Anyway, for all those that downloaded Exitium, thank you so much and I hope you enjoyed it! I also hope you would be game to read the rest of the novel when it comes out. The plot gets ‘twistier’ than the yellow brick road, I promise 🙂

Well, that is all I have to say for this post. Thank you once again for your subscription and have a great week!

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All 4,500 Of Oz

all4500ofoz All of Oz makes a good team, wait… I mean all of US make a good team. Everyone is important in this team, which means YOU are important. My blog needs a writer and it needs a reader too, and for my blog to keep going, it takes teamwork! So yea, all of us make a good team and I appreciate your teamwork.

Thank you, all 4,500 team players! Thank you so much for your support, encouragement and readership. Thank you for being on my team! I could not have asked for better teammates.feedback_oz

Now speaking of Oz (pun intended)… I hope you guys are enjoying The Battle For Oz: Exitium so far.

If you have not downloaded it, you can do so here, it’s free! But if you have, thank you and I look forward to your feedback.

As you can see, that image (on the right) designed by Zaquard is so pun-y that you HAVE to consider leaving Oz a feedback. You can save Oz too with your comments and thoughts on Exitium! But of course, heroes don’t go home empty handed.

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In return, Oz will pull all the feedback together to create a little album of cute badges just like this one (<—). We won’t edit your feedback if you don’t want to, but we would love to add your thoughts to our collection. I guess you can say, we are thought collectors from Oz. So, make sure you let us know what you think! If you’re relatively new here, you can read the book release post on ways to leave feedback.

Well, that is all for this post. Thank you again for tagging along and backing me up. I hope to go on more great adventures with all of you… and trust me, I have a pretty cool one planned out just for this blog which I can’t wait to start. What is it? Stick around and you’ll find out!

Book Teasers

The Battle For Oz: Exitium

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The court erupted with angry shouts of agreement. They were urging an immediate action to have her banished to the wastelands and they were not backing down. There was nothing she could say or do to convince them otherwise as even her husband did not squeak in her defence. She was done for.

Before the sun could set that day, she was escorted out of the kingdom. A crowd gathered in the streets to bid her farewell, and she had a feeling they would be celebrating once she was gone. That made her even more furious, but she knew her orders for their banishments would only fall on deaf ears.

As she left the happy kingdom behind, most of her feather-skinned guards continued on with her. She told them they could stay and celebrate, but it was more of a threat than a kind offer. Nevertheless, she enjoyed their nervous and silent company.

By the time they reached the black, flat, foul smelling wastelands, her guards found her a large rabbit hole that led to a giant burrow. She wanted to strike them on the head for finding such an unfitting place for her status, but she held her hand back when she found a motherless litter of muttbits curled up among each other.

Muttbits were like dogs, except for their rabbit ears, long whiskers and two sharp front teeth. They were a banished species for their wild and aggressive behaviour. Honestly, she once thought of them revolting but after being able to identify with them, she thought they would make good pets.

She also had an idea… a crazy idea she was not going to let go.

The muttbits were strangely welcoming towards her as she invaded their home, and it was probably because of the raw meat she was feeding them. So while she bonded with her newfound friends, her guards began to make the stinking place liveable. Torches were placed around the dome like burrow and a pile of pillows were stacked up at a corner for her sleepy head. They even sprayed some perfume in the air, hoping to rid the nose scrunching smell.

The burrow itself had a rather high ceiling and plenty of space. It was a suitable place for a home in the wastelands, but she knew she was not staying. How could a royal live in such a God forsaken place? She may be insane as what the court had called her earlier that day, but she was not stupid. This burrow was merely a temporary home until she found a new one; a new palace to be precise.

As she held back her mad urges of reclaiming her throne, she took her time in raising and breeding her muttbits. Two weeks in and she had doubled the number, with half as big as full-grown bears. Her guards were terrified of the muttbits because they would snap violently every time her guards approached them. But when it came to her, they were angels. She was convinced they saw her as their mother, and she soon started calling them her babies.

Once she had raised an army of muttbits, she knew the right time had arrived. She was going to claim the throne and be called queen again. Her muttbits would fight for her and she would regain her power. But she wouldn’t be fighting for the throne of this land, as most people would have expected her to. Instead, she found another land filled with powerful magic she coveted. That land was Oz.

She first learned about Oz from a book in the royal library. It was a place with magical creatures, picturesque mountains, lush forests, and a city built with green glass. Green was not her favourite colour, but jewels were definitely her favourite accessories.

On top of that, there was powerful magic; magic that she could later use to seek revenge on everyone that agreed to have her banished. Oh, wouldn’t that be glorious? she silently asked herself with a smile plastered on her fair face.

With her imaginations floating around her head, she became even more excited. When she could not contain it any longer, she ordered her guards to bring her a small velvet pouch. Of course, no one knew what was in that pouch except her, for if they did she would have been banished much earlier.

The contents of this little pouch were actually stolen from the royal archives, where artefacts of different realms were displayed in glass casings. Weeks before her trial, she snuck into the archives and stole the tail of a winged monkey that was supposedly from Oz. She then had it burnt and mixed with black fairy dust. From the words of different magic books, the powdery substance should take her to Oz, and she was so sure of it.

Rounding up her guards and her muttbits, she placed the small pouch in the centre of the burrow. Everyone was waiting for a special spell of some sort, but instead she ordered, “Burn it!”

The guards who were unfortunate enough to be standing near the torches, pulled the torches out of their holders and walked up to the pouch. As the guards lowered the flames, the pouch immediately caught on fire but nothing expected happened. After a few minutes of nothing, she thought the magic had failed and her chest began to bubble in anger. But when her disappointment was about to burst into fury, a deafening pop startled her angry heart.

The velvet pouch had exploded into a large cloud of dust and the dust began swirling. The air in the burrow was so still that all eyes were locked on the dust in fascination. Unfortunately for the guards in the centre, they only had a brief moment of awe before they were pulled into a rapidly growing tornado. There were screaming and growling, and also a hysterical laughter that was escaping her lips. The magic was working and she couldn’t be happier.

 As the tornado burst through the top of the burrow, it swept everyone off their feet. A few seconds after the outburst of the tornado, it died down quickly and the wastelands returned to its usual silence. The only difference was the big hole in the ground that no one would have ever noticed.

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This is chapter one; a teaser to The Battle For Oz: Exitium.

Exitium is book 1 in my latest novelette trilogy and it would be released at the end of May. It will also be free to download! To get you excited, I have a slideshow below that will introduce you to some of the characters and the contents of the book. Check it out!

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As you can see, the book is filled with awesome illustrations that I myself cannot get enough of 🙂 I hope that you guys would feel the same way too! To know more you can visit the Facebook page, but for now this should be enough to ‘tease’ you with.

***UPDATE: The Battle For Oz trilogy will be combined into a novel. A crowd-funding project was done to make it possible. Visit HERE to find out more!

The Battle For Oz © 2014 – 2015 Jeyna Grace