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Tag Archives: the dreamer

100 Words, 6 Years Later

I wasn’t a good writer. I’m not a good writer now, either. But when I look back at my older works and cringe, I know I’ve come a long way. So if you feel like your writing isn’t great, I want you to know that you’ll get better. If you keep writing, you’ll improve. And it’s OK to admit that you suck. One cannot progress by already being the best.

To prove my point, let me show you the opening of my first novel and the opening of my most recent novel. Right off the bat, one seems more interesting than the other.

The Dreamer, 2011

Another day indoors. Tad sighed as he stared blankly at the book in front of him. He wanted very much to be out in the field playing ball with his brothers instead of reading a 500-page manual on “How to un-root an Energy Canister”, as though removing an Energy Canister was the job only for a highly professional engineer, if that was the case the world would have plenty of them. 

Tad shut the book forcefully and peered out the window. He could see his brothers being interrupted by his father in the middle of their game. He knew automatically that they were being ordered to get back to work. 

Trails of the Wind, 2017

Father is alive.

Those three words echoed in the depths of his cloudless mind. Standing before the wide glass window, he watched as day ended its shift. While night clocked in, the clear amber sky gracefully gave way to the moon. And in the peaceful arrival of darkness, the kingdom below lit with cheerful, vibrant lanterns – a reflection of the starry canvas above.

As the crackling logs in the fireplace warmed the bedchamber, Robb made up his mind. His heart was certain. And there were no more questions.

Father is alive.

Perhaps to you, I did a pretty decent job with The Dreamer. But if I handed you the entire book, I’m sure you’d change your mind. The Dreamer was self-published in 2011. It was my first ever novel, and I’m unashamed of it. I had to start somewhere, right? So I’ve left it in the world to be judged. Because at the end of the day, it’s the book that signifies the start of my adventure.

As for Trails of the Wind, I wrote it in 2015 but only finished editing in January. Currently, it’s being pitched to publishers. It’s part of a trilogy and I’m hoping someone would give it a shot. I know I would one day write better books than this. But for now, it’s the best I’ve written. Perhaps another six years down the road, I’d cringe again.

The great thing about writing is this: no one starts great. Sure, there are those who make headlines upon their debut. But what we don’t see are the years those authors spent on improving their skill. They could’ve been writing without a single soul knowing. Unfortunately, when they make their first appearance, many assume they’re literary geniuses. Many choose to compare themselves to a best-seller, without reading the backstory. And by doing so, many feel inadequate despite their potential.

Now, I’m not saying literary geniuses don’t exist – I think there are geniuses out there. But I doubt any success can come without constant devotion to one’s craft. Even geniuses have to put in work or their talent goes to waste. So stop comparing yourselves to others, and start comparing yourself to yourself.

The best gauge of improvement is through your own works. Acknowledging that some aren’t great isn’t a confession of incompetence, but a proof of determination. And determination is all you need to reach the finish line. You can be a great writer one day, dear reader. Today might not be that day, but that day would surely come if you don’t give up.

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Posted by on April 13, 2017 in Writing Journey

 

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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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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Writing Journey

 

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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!

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Others

 

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A Quick Update!

You’re probably wondering, ‘Another post so fast?’

Well, yes. I have an announcement.

I recently revamped the Bookshop page and added a new book to the shelf! I have compiled a PDF version for Dream World: The Lost Child, and you can purchase it for USD 1.50!

If you would like to support me, and if you have not read The Lost Child, let me assure you that its pretty cool 🙂

I’ve been told by some of the readers, that journeyed with the mini series, that it was a good ride, and I’m sure you would enjoy it too.

Besides, today’s my birthday, what better birthday gift than to purchase one of my works? Haha! Ok, I shouldn’t be using my birthday as a reason, but I hope you would personally give me a shot to impress you 🙂

By the way, today is also Bryan’s birthday. Bryan who? One of the main characters of The Lost Child. Actually, THE lost child to be exact.

If you are skeptical, you can check out the first 3 chapters on The Lost Child page. It would give you a little taste of what the main course will be.

And you know what, since it is December and Christmas is just around the corner, I’m throwing an offer! If you buy The Dreamer at USD 3, you get The Lost Child for free 🙂  I’ll call this the Christmas Bundle! On the bookshop purchasing form, just write Christmas Bundle on the Purchasing Title and I’ll know what to do.

I hope you guys would drop by the bookshop!

While you are at it, I’ll carry on writing more chapters for Dr. Slubgob’s Letters. I was born to write; what better day to do it than today 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Others

 

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Winner of ‘Finding The Dreamer Contest’

Think of me when you’re out, when you’re out there.

I’ll beg you nice on my knees.

The day had started so well. Emily had put on her new outfit, the one she bought just the day before. In her new skirt, her sexy top and her new high heeled boots, she felt pretty for the first time  since long. She smiled. She would go to Harry’s today, and surprise him. After all, it had been almost two months since she last saw him.

When the world treats you way too fairly,

It’s a shame I’m a dream.

Arriving at Harry’s place, she entered through the back door. Her surprise would be ruined if she went to ring the bell now. Entering the living room, she couldn’t believe her eyes. On the couch, there was Harry. But he wasn’t alone. Not at all. Locked in his embrace, with her lips plastered to his, was Alice, her daily tormentor, and his ex-girlfriend.

Without another thought, Emily turned around and left. Tears ran down her cheeks, ruining her make-up she spent so much time on.

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

Back at her apartment, Emily went to her room immediately, lay down on her bed, and let her sorrow out. All she could think of, was how happy Harry had made her, how amazing it felt to be with him. Without realizing, she drifted off to sleep.

I think I’ll pace my apartment a few times,

and fall asleep on the couch.

When she woke up, she didn’t know where she was, until she saw herself in the mirror. Pale face, ruined make-up, tear streaked cheeks. The image of Harry and Alice came back to her mind.

And wake up early to black and white re-runs,

that escaped from my mouth.

Suddenly, Emily knew what to do.

She reached under her bed, pulled out a suitcase, and opened it. Looking at her, calling for her, were dozens of sharp objects.

Without even looking at any of the others, she took out a dagger, the one almost identical to the one Harry had as an ornament on his desk.

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

Putting the dagger behind the border of her skirt, she left her apartment, and she went towards one of her favorite places, the roof of an abandoned building.

I could follow you to the beginning, just to relive the start. And maybe then we’d remember to slow down, at all of our favorite parts.

Climbing the stairs, Emily thought of when she met Harry. The stuff they did together, their first date, many of their other dates, the gifts he bought her, their first kiss… She felt new tears wet her cheeks. That was all over now. When she reached the roof, she went to her regular spot, sat with her back to the wall of the stair house, took out the dagger, and brought it to her wrist.

All I wanted was you.

The first cut felt so heavenly, so blissful. Quickly, she made more cuts, enjoying the increasing flow of blood on her arms. When she was satisfied with the amount of flowing blood, she put the dagger aside, gathered some blood on her finger, and wrote her final goodbye. In blood red letters there was now the message:

Harry,

All I wanted was you.

This is your fault. You made me do this.

Farewell. Emily.

Next, Emily lay down, took up the dagger again, and brought it to her throat. She swallowed, wiped away her tears for the last time, and made the cut. Harry was all she wanted. Without him, life wasn’t worth living.

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you

All I wanted was you.

With a start, Emily woke up. The sight of Harry lying next to her made her relax. It was only a dream. He would never cheat on her. Turning on her side, she watched him sleep.

Her dream might have been very realistic, but she knew her Harry would never cheat on her, and definitely not with Alice.

For that, he loved her too much. Like she loved him.

There was no single trace of doubt  her dream would come true if she ever lost him.

Suddenly, Harry stirred and opened his eyes.

“Em? Why aren’t you sleeping?” he asked drowsily.

“I had a bad dream. That’s all.”

Harry looked at her. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Emily shook her head.

“You know you can tell me anything, right?”

“I dreamt about you and Alice.”

Harry took her in his arms. “Emily, you are all I wanted. Ever.”

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This harry potter fan fiction was written by Caroline Guisson from Belgium. Thank you for participating Caro 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Others

 

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A Week and One Third

Hey guys!

You have 9 more days to submit your short stories for a chance to win a copy of my e-book, The Dreamer! Your story would also be featured here with a customized banner 🙂

So be sure to post them in the comments of THIS post, with all the information required, by the 14th of July, 2012.

I’m really looking forward to reading some awesome stories, so get your thinking caps on and let that imagination of yours soar!

Till next time, enjoy this weeks fan fiction and the newest chapter of Dreamworld!

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Others

 

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Can’t.Stop.Writing

I’m in the midst of writing and planning a new book. It’s themed fantasy and I’m planning on getting my dear friend with his artsy skills to illustrate. I guess he is pretty busy at the moment, that is why you don’t see any of his new illustrations, but he is still working on some of the older Joanna posts, and it’ll be up soon, I hope.

So my new book, that’s right. I’m planning on a collection of short stories, well, not too short, but short enough. Since my short HP fan fictions are getting many likes, I thought of honing my writing skills in the area of short stories.

If you guys hope to read this new book, in which I plan to be published by the end of next year, you could support me by buying my recently published book. The profits I collect from this book will, no, not go to a new computer, even though I want one so badly, but to the printing and developing of my new book. So your support is greatly appreciated! If you would like to donate, do let me know as well, I will be really grateful.

On a side note, I might be putting up more of Joanna’s fan fiction more frequently (taking over the weeks of which I post up my short fan fics) as I have cooked up some spicy twist and turns I can’t wait to share. And as for the requested stories for the short fan fictions, I am still cracking my brain. Too much to write at the moment 🙂

Anyway, that is just a short update. To those awesome people who have purchased my book, do send me a review via email! I would love to post some of it up in the book shop!

That’s all for now! Till next time, have a snowy Christmas! (Even though it doesn’t snow where I come from.)

*In case you are wondering what my recently published book is about, you can read the first chapter here, and a bonus prologue here.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Others

 

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