Writing Journey

Write What You Know

writewhatyouknow

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.

calvinhobbes

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.)

Others

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!