Interview: Mukul Deva

Hiya! What have you been up to lately, guys? Me? I’ve been writing postcards. Postcards, you ask? Yes, postcards to all over the world. If you’ll look to the right sidebar, there is a banner to the Postcrossing website. The idea is simple. You’ll get 5 different addresses to snail-mail your postcards to and for every postcard received, you’ll receive one of your own! The addresses can be as far-flung as Iceland or even as near as your own home country if you so choose. What an interesting idea, right? I personally love writing postcards as it allows me to practise squeezing whole paragraphs of what makes Singapore interesting into the small space that the postcard affords. LOL. After a while, you’ll start to realise that there ARE fun things about your country to wax lyrical about. =)

And the replies you get from the people you sent postcards are fun too coz they’ll also share a little of their lives on the other side of the world. XD

The “Liselle” postcards I bought from Lisa Lee seem to be pretty well-received by my Postcrossing recipients~! Hehe…maybe I should start creating my own Rainy Skies postcards myself. XD

Okie, on to today’s awesome guest: Mukul Deva! I first saw him at a APSS meeting in 2011, and I really wanted to chat him up. Unfortunately my natural shyness took over and I didn’t manage to get to know him. As fate would have it, however, Karen Leong not only chatted him up…she also eventually formed a partnership with him! It’s like such a lucky break for me. @_@

Anyways, Karen introduced me to him and we hit it off immediately. You wouldn’t guess it from his authoritarian air, but he is really a witty man of vast knowledge. His no-nonsense stance comes from years of being in the Indian military, which naturally provided the fuel for his bestselling military action books like  “Salim must Die” and “Tanzeem”. Impressive, huh? But then again, I usually interview impressive people. HEHEHE. Alright, enough of my random musings and on to words of wisdom from this man!


Tell us something about yourself that doesn’t appear in your public profile.

Are you sure you have the space…:) because there is a lot. It doesn’t say that I quit school pretty early in life – on realizing that education (not learning) and me were mutually exclusive commodities. It doesn’t say that I’m a die-hard romantic. And lots more juicer stuff which I’m keeping for one of those barely concealed biographies…:)

You are able to write and publish 10 books over the course of your writing career on top of establishing a security company & establishing yourself as a trainer/mentor/coach, how do you manage to find all the time, energy and inspiration to do all these?

It’s pretty simple actually.

Time – doesn’t need to be found. It’s right there – in touching reach – all rhe time. we have to learn to respect it and manage it wisely. Energy is inherent when you find that which inspires you. So all I would say is that we need to dream a dream and have the passion to live it. Everything else happens pretty much on its own.

Would you say that it’s important to live first before writing? Will reading widely suffice as well?

Not really. There are no set rules for any creative process – which is what writing is. Each of us has a unique perspective – we simply need the courage and discipline to share it with others

Where do you get the material for your books?

I guess I have a rather fertile mind – and ‘naughty’ too – which really helps since I write lots of thrillers..:) And of course I am a keen observer – of life and people.

How do you get readers to pay attention to you out of so many other writers of your genre in the world?

I guess I tell my stories well…:)

How will you advise a writer who has been writing for a long time but has yet to find any commercial success?

Keep writing…:) Practice DOES make perfect. And understand that writing is as much a science as an art – there is a process – by following which we enhance quality, quantity and speed. Learn to separate the WHAT and the HOW – that will make your job easier and the book more interesting

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Mukul will be making his appearance at the Singapore Writers Festival 2012 in the following events:

  • Multi-Hyphenate Writing Talents | 4 November 2012 | 10:00 am – 11:00 am
  • How to Write a Best-selling Novel and Screenplay By Mukul Deva | 9 November 2012 | 9:30 am – 10:30 am
  • Plenary Session with Mukul Deva, Lynette Owen and Malcolm Neil | 9 November 2012 | 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

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Interview: Lisa Lee (Fashion Artist)

Hi guys! Today’s awesome guest is going to be Lisa Lee, the fashion artist behind fashion icon “LIselle“. I met her at the STGCC where I bought a few lovely postcards from her. I’ve interviewed all manner of comic artists and writers but this is the first time I’ve met a fashion artist. XD

You can tell that she has quite the entrepreneur streak in her by the way she has successfully marketed her designs through fashion platforms like merchandising and licensing. So read on if you want to attain commercial success for your own art too! ^_^

Tell us about your journey as a fashion artist. How did you evolve from being an artist to a savvy entrepreneur?

It was back then Lisa Lee3 years ago, after my completion of my studies in UK, I started to venture back to M’sia to start up my fashion brand career, Liselle. Liselle is a feminine fashion character I depicted while I was studying in UK. From the surrounding and sentimental atmosphere in UK, I depicted Liselle and her lifestyle around her. During my exposure of Liselle, it started to caught attention from my professors and also others collaboration partners in UK.

And slowly these has led me to more opportunities of career development of Liselle and eventually turning her into a substantial fashion art brand. Through the process of developing and managing Liselle, I began to being exposed to many industrial professionals that has been there to guide and also influence in a way of how I should carry a great work with me. There I met a lot of different professionals, and involving with projects and events that has eventually engaged me to learn how the real industry is all about.

Why did you decide to become a fashion artist?

I decide to become a fashion artist because ever since young, my mom has put me on to many beautiful clothes, and I was always being curious how I can actually express my thoughts and feeling deep inside me of a clothing or dress. So I guess these nature of being a fashion artist eventually began a root to me.

ImageWhere did you get your inspiration for Liselle from?

I depicted Liselle when I was in UK, therefore, it can be observe my inspiration truly derive from the atmosphere and surrounding that has been influencing my artwork of Liselle.The coming years, I will travel to Vienna and Paris to continue my second series as again, a great atmosphere is good for originality.

What made you decide to brand Liselle as a viable marketing tool?

I still remember how my professor used to tell me “What do you want to do with that beautiful artwork of yours,..think again.”There’s when I realized, to express a good artwork needed more than just plain depicting it. There’s a long journey I see in front. Today, Liselle artwork is for licensing business, Liselle is a platform for fashion event and show and also for merchandising product application.

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What are some challenges that you met while developing Liselle?

People. In Malaysia, it’s always a challenge when you start to do something people never really tried. But my greatest challenge is how I continuously believe and influence people around me that a fashion artist can be more than that if you believe in what you are creating. From a fashion artist to organizing, managing, event planning and communication,-it’s all a package if you want to do something real to you. And now, I have established my own company “Lisa Lee Creative” as a creative platform for me and Liselle.Lisa Lee Creative is a design company for me to run my design and creative business to corporate clients, manage and developing Liselle as my in house brand and also providing fashion workshops.

What are some of the most memorable moments you’ve experienced on your journey as a fashion artist?

Being really daring to challenge myself to make an event or idea come true. Many people might think I have experience in business or experiencing in managing an event as often you see me out there. But honestly and truthfully, everything is a first time. Initially, I do hesitate and scared deep down but I know if I don’t try, there’s no opportunity at all. There’s when I believe we do not need to do something with experience. Just do it if you want to, but you got to believe and find solutions. There’s where my tagline of Liselle came about –“Dare to Dream, Dare to Shine”.

What is the one golden advice that artists should remember if they want to establish themselves as professionals or make a career out of their art?

“Dare to Dream, Dare to Shine”

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You can visit Lisa’s work at her office and showroom at: 

B-3-18, BBT One, Lebuh Batu Nilam 2, Bandar Bukit Tinggi, 41200, Klang, Malaysia.

Website: http://www.liselle.com.my

Enquiries: enquiries@liselle.com.my | liselle_lww@yahoo.com

Interview: Dave Chua

Yoyo! How’s your day today? Hope it’s been a fabulous one so far. =) To my American readers (if any), I know yesterday was the anniversary of the 911 tragedy. I know nothing I say will negate the pain and suffering of the ones who went through that awful episode but I have only the best wishes for you guys. Be safe, always.

Okies, today’s awesome guest is going to be Dave Chua! Born in Malaysia, he is the author of Gone Case that also happens to be a graphic novel adaptation collaboration with Koh Hong Teng. Gone Case also won him a Singapore Literature Prize (Commendation), which is like…super awesome if you ask me. His literary works include The Beating and Other Stories, The Divers, and Father’s Gift, which made him the joint winner of the SPH-NAC Golden Point Award for the short story category in 1995.

If you love Dave’s work, then you should go stalk him at the Singapore Writers’ Festival 2012. He, like Jason Erik Lundberg, will appear at a couple of events there. Just don’t be…like…creepy or anything. =x


Tell us about one memorable event that has been most fulfilling for you as a writer.

I would have to say when Koh Hong Teng approached me to do a graphic novel adaptation of Gone Case. It helped to inspire me to take fiction writing seriously again.

You’re a freelance writer who has worked with publications and productions, what made you decide to take a foray into fiction?

I took part in the Golden Point Short Story contest in 1995 and took first prize, which encouraged me to join the Singapore Literature Prize later on.

How has your experience in various media such as sitcoms, films and children’s shows helped you in writing fiction?

I would say that I didn’t have that great an experience writing for television here, where production companies make changes and cuts as they wish. For writing you control the storyline and can do what you want on the page, which is great.

“Gone Case” was adapted into a graphic novel. Why did you decide to collaborate with Koh Hong Teng and what was the process like? 
Hong Teng approached me about adapting the graphic novel, with the key word being adaptation. As he was adapting the story to a visual form, I wanted to give him more freedom, and as long as he kept the framework and the aims of the story, I was fine with it.

You’ve done many things and been to many places, what is the one piece of advice you wished someone had given you when you were still an inexperienced writer?

Read. You can’t be a musician without listening to music, and you can’t be a writer without reading.

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Dave will make his appearance at the following Singapore Writers Festival 2012 events so if you love his work, don’t forget to get your tix!

  • The City as a Character | 3 November 2012 | 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
  • The Malaysian in Singaporean Literature | 3 November 2012 | 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

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Putting a story together

Today is a sad day. Tony Scott, best known as the director for “Top Gun”, “Beverly Hills Cop II” and “Days of Thunder”, died in what was apparently a suicide jump from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in California.

RIP.

Okay, today’s post is gonna be on how to put your story together with research. “RESEARCH?!” You may be thinking right now, “What a tedious notion.”

Ah, but research is vital to every piece of writing you are going to do. It doesn’t HAVE to be boring or mean being stuck in the library all day long (although I wouldn’t mind that) so I’m gonna list a few methods where you can get the necessary information.

Sign Up for Classes

What better way to describe the fight scenes than to ACTUALLY experience it for yourself? Sign up for martial arts or even sword fighting classes where you can fully appreciate the art and physics of fighting for your life. XD

In fact, Lorna Suzuki, author of the IMAGO series, has this to say:

“I’ve had a number of writers who do not do martial arts tell me they’ve studied the fight scenes in my novels to help write theirs, + 1 of my students is a writer. She has no experience with fighting or weapons, so I’ve been training her. She found it really helped to have practical experience to write these scenes!”

Talk to People

I’ve mentioned in my previous post that it’s useful to speak with different kinds of people, so get out there to meet new people! Speak to the cleaner who tidies your office every morning or banter with the hawker who makes your lunch. Everyone has their own story – a tale which you can base your next creation on. Even fantasy characters start with mundane backgrounds before they become great.

Tony Scott is a wonderful example because he based his characters on role models. In fact, watch this interview that he did end of last year on how he put his movies together.

Watch Videos

Too busy to take classes? No problem! The best thing about our world today is the sheer number of videos on almost every topic we want to know about. Lorna tells me that her particular martial arts style is known as “Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu“. You can easily Google for information or watch demos like the one featuring Lorna below.

PS: Or you can find videos of her Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi

READ

It’s really a no-brainer, right? To make your world realistic, you need to be able to know what works and what doesn’t. Yes, you may be creating a different world from the one where we are currently living in but things STILL has to make sense. You can’t conjure your own logic just because you are the creator. Make sure that you know how things work in your universe. Joyce Chng, a SFF writer from Singapore, prepared herself by reading up on wolves, SEA flora and fauna.

Reading is also useful because it gives you new ideas that you can play around. Better than staring at the computer screen trying to come up with an original idea that is not over-influenced by Hollywood, right? XD

So, how do YOU put your story together?

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From fan fiction to best-seller?

Hiya guys!

Would you believe it’s AUGUST already? OMGS. Time passes so quickly when you’re procrastinating. LOL.

Oh and you might have heard the news: Fifty Shades of Grey – a book that was born from an erotic fan fiction of the (gasp!) Twilight universe spun by Stephanie Meyers – had outsold all SEVEN of J. K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER books on Amazon. E. L. James, the author, had effectively cornered the market on “mummy porn” because it contained various exciting scenes of S&M sex between a drop-dead gorgeous rich guy & a impossibly-naive girl.

Now I’ve personally contributed to the author’s obscene million earnings by buying E. L. James’ “steamy” book on Kobo, but far from being intrigued like the “Porn Mummies”, I stopped reading Book 1 halfway coz it reminded me too much of Bella and Edward.  You might want to read the reviews on this book, if you don’t understand why there is so much fuss over it. I’m not going to bash it here, coz enough of it had been done around the web. My point to bringing this title is to show you that even a fan fiction can turn out to be a hit with your audience. E. L. James originally wrote it as a fan fiction, but due to its overly erotic content, she re-posted it on her website at FiftyShades.Com and later re-wrote it as an original piece.

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The world is bigger than you think

So you might have been writing fan fiction so far and even gotten a lot of positive reviews for it, but have you ever considered moving on from building on other people’s worlds to building one of your own? Sounds daunting, huh? Considering Tolkien not only built Middle Earth from the ground up, he also created the elvish language for it. Heh. Well, you’re not alone. I’m no expert myself and I do struggle with trying to make up a world that will fit my story. In fact, I worry that I may have too few details to lure my readers and I believe that’s a common problem that besets us writers. But build it slowly, no one said you had to build it in an instant. Do your research. Google is an excellent tool to have. Speak to people of various races, inclinations, religious beliefs, gender, hobbies, occupation etc. You’ll be surprised just what are the kind of people you will meet and who will inspire your work.

Why, just the other day, I met a retired doctor who told me all about the joys of watching Harness Racing in Australia. And I’ve never even heard of that sport before I met him. Richard Castle from the ABC dramedy “Castle” even follows a police detective around so he can base his latest book on her! Mukul Deva, a best-selling author from India, also does his research by speaking to people who have the necessary knowledge to further his plot. So really, there is so much to be explored out there in the world out there.

So leave the comfort zone of your fan fiction and write something that truly belongs to you, and not someone else.

PS: Before I forget, I want you guys to read this interview by Bestseller Labs on Lorna Suzuki. She’s the author of IMAGO CHRONICLES, which is also optioned for movie production! Impressive, ne!

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Make me look good

For some time now, I’ve been considering putting up posts on networking and image because other than the creative and production processes of our work, establishing professional relationships & dressing to make a first good impression are also important.

I also have intentions of doing a podcast on the social commentary of “why there seems to be more male comic artists than female ones?” Hehs. But that will come after I manage to get my panel together over Skype.

In any case, here is a video by Ms Sharon Connolly (an image consultant) on how to improve your image. Now I’m not advocating you to go for a complete transformation or undergo cosmetic surgery. Nor am I asking you to drop the kilos so you can look good in clothes (unless it’s for health reasons).  What I’m going to encourage you to do instead, is to present yourself in the best possible light. You don’t have to wear suits all the time if you’re not comfortable in them (and besides it’s sweltering HOT in Singapore right now). All you have to do is dress in well-made clothes that fit you and make you feel good. When you’re confident of your appearance, you’ll naturally shine and people will gravitate to you. =D

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the video! And do stay tuned for future posts of the networking and image nature. I know I’ve been terribly bad at keeping up in this blog but I WILL try my best. =)

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Why you should research your novel or manga

Hello all! Wow…it’s been almost two months since my last post. =x

But fret not! Today I’m not going to rumble on about meaningless things because I managed to invite Ms Wena Poon to share some great tips on how to do a solid research while working on our novel or manga. Enjoy!


At bullfighting school in Sevilla, Spain, researching for Smoke, the sequel to Alex y Robert.

Wena Poon jots down some tips to encourage you to research your writing projects. She is the author of Alex y Robert, Lions In Winter, The Proper Care of Foxes and the four Biophilia novels collected in The Biophilia Omnibus. She was born and raised in Singapore and now lives and works in the US. Her author website is www.wenapoon.com.

  • Google, Wiki, YouTube the heck out of your subject first
  • Borrow all the relevant books at your local library (free!)
  • Refine and narrow down your list of queries
  • Set budget for research
  • Advance planning helps
  • Do not be shy about talking to strangers
  • Do not be afraid of getting lost: bring your GPS
  • Ask around for sources, explore all your networks
  • Friend the friends of friends, then their friends, to get your source
  • Helps on the money front if you have a day job
  • Plan your vacation days around book research travel
  • If you have to fly, and have no money, sign up for budget airfare deals
  • If you have small budget, be prepared to stay at hostels or strangers homes
  • When abroad, buy groceries instead of eating at restaurants
  • Do your research beforehand: nobody wants to talk to an ignoramus
  • Always go the extra mile to confront your subject or go to your location in person
  • Be prepared to be victimized, hurt, or hospitalized (and then use it for the book)
  • Be nice, not nerdy
  • If you know their language, speak it
  • Don’t ask open-ended questions
  • Respect people’s time, especially if you expect to get free advice
  • Ask specific questions to get good answers
  • Don’t exploit people
  • Be culturally sensitive. When in doubt: Google It.
  • Be humble, confess you know nothing and are willing to learn
  • Ask before you photograph your subjects or use their name
  • Respect privacy requests or you will never have another source
  • Offer to buy your sources drinks, coffee, meals
  • Thank them upon your return and acknowledge them properly in your book!

At falconry school in Ireland researching for The Biophilia Omnibus, a fantasy series starring talking animals.

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What I learnt from 7 authors & 1 publisher

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a APSS meeting thanks to Karen Leong, who is a really brilliant speaker cum inspiring friend of mine. I wouldn’t normally be found at a meeting targeted at nurturing speakers but this particular one had several published authors who were there to give valuable insights on the art of writing and publishing so Karen asked me along. =3 If you guys get the opportunity to attend such events, you should really go for it. You don’t just learn, you also meet people who could help you on your way!

Here are the esteemed authors who made their appearance at the meeting:

  • David Goldwich: Author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? Win-Win Negotiation Skills, and Getting into Singapore
  • Eric Feng: Author of Get to the Point!
  • Christian Chua: Author of How to be a Success Magnet, From Singlish to English, The Essential Teenage Handbook (and more)
  • Mukul Deva: One of the pioneers of the Indian thriller novel, and Author of three bestsellers in three years.
  • Shirley Taylor: Author of 8 books and Series Editor of 8 books in the STTS Success Skills Series
  • Tremaine Du Preez: Author of Think Smart, Work Smarter in the STTS Success Skills Series (Korean translation rights bought within 5 days of publishing!)
  • Michael Podolinsky CSP, Pearson Prentice Hall author of 13 books

Now, only 1 of the 7 authors present was a fiction writer. The rest were all motivational speakers/authors but hey, the tips are valuable nonetheless so I shall share what I learned here. All you aspiring mangaka and writers who want to get started on your Great Novel/Manga had better sit up and take notes! =3

1) It is possible to complete a book within 20 days: According to Michael Podolinsky, all you have to do is block out 90 minutes every day to write. It doesn’t matter when you do it as long as you devote 90 minutes to just pure writing. Tremaine Du Preez did it by switching off all internet access and her handphone.

2) There is no such thing as a writer’s block: If you know your subject, if you have a life full of personal stories, if you have an outline that details what goes into your book, you shouldn’t even be complaining about a writer’s block at all. If you don’t know enough about your subject, then research research and research!

3) Make a contract with yourself or your friends and family to complete your project: Many of us procrastinate. I know I do so I end up not completing my Rainy Skies project as I should. =x BUT! If you make a solemn promise to yourself or your friends/family to deliver by a certain date, you can do it! As Mukul Deva mentioned during his talk, “Any fool can have a dream, unless you put a date to it.”

4) Give your readers what they want: A few questions that publishers will frequently ask aspiring writers/mangaka: will your book sell? Will it appeal to your target audience? Does it fill in a lack in the current market? While you’re penning your great work, do it with these questions in mind because according to the statistics compiled by Bowker, publisher of Books in Print®, an average of 336,814 books were published worldwide each year from 2002 to 2008. So to sum it up…how can your book stand out as a drop in the ocean?

5) Books sell best in series: What does JK Rowling, Laurell K Hamilton, Tite Kudo and Masashi Kishimoto have in common? They’re all bestselling creators with wildly popular series.

6) Come up with a plan: Shirley Taylor, who is another great speaker, showed us a template she used for her books. Since she’s a communication specialist, her books are more of the how-to variety. She divided her chapters into manageable sections that people can easily digest in an instant. Of course, we can’t do the same for fiction books or manga but at least come up with a plan. It’ll get you going when you run out of juice while writing or drawing. =3

7) Social media is your best friend: We’re now living in an age of social media. Involve your readers in your creation. Get them to run votes on the type of product they’ll like to see. Like what Eric Feng would say, “don’t just bake a cake, ask people what type of cake they want to eat.” Sounds logical hoh. He also mentioned that readers who get involved in your product are more likely to buy your book. Makes sense, doesn’t it? =3

8 ) Self publishing vs published by a publisher? Both have their plus points: We had this really handsome dude from Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) come in to talk to us about being published by a publisher such as MC. Chris Newson, who is the GM of MC told us that being published by a published is vastly different from being self-published because the publisher takes on the unenviable task of marketing. They will put your books in the bookstores, arrange for book signings etc etc. Oh, one thing he mentioned: bookstores are the worst places to launch a book because the general public don’t really give a damn about your book unless you are James Lee or JK Rowling or Tite Kudo. Chris then went on to recall how heartrending it was to organise book signings but no one turned up. =x

And if your book is launched at the same time as MM Lee’s book? Good luck, pal. =x Hence, social medial such as blogs are very very important in pushing your book into the public awareness. =3

Christian Chua is a self-publisher, but then again he owns a printing company of his own. While publishers sell in bulk, he sells his books by first doing a small print run, then sending free samples to his target audience. For example, Christian first printed 450 copies of a book before sending them as free samples to ALL the primary schools in Singapore along with an order form. Only after receiving orders did Christian run another bigger print run. =3

Another self-publishing benefit that Christian mentioned was the ability to cut side deals, like sponsorships if you happen to mention a particular brand/company (several times) in your book. =3

9) Work with the publisher you’re most comfortable with: Someone asked how to choose a publisher during a meeting and the general consensus among the guest speakers was this: work with someone you can click with.So what if Publisher A can give you 10 times as much upfront as compared to Publisher B, which makes a more affable partner? A long-term working relationship is what gives you the best opportunities and least headaches. =3

10) A book is really judged by its cover: I’ve said this before and I will say it again. Books are judged by their covers so do invest in a good designer or artist to do your cover or you will regret it. =x Go to the bookstore and sit there for a few hours like Eric Feng to find out what are the type of covers that attract people. Or run votes on your Facebook page to garner opinions. Trust me, a cover can really make or break your book sales. It’s just like how a pretty girl will catch your eye first before the average one will, right? =3

AND SO! The top 10 gems that I managed to glean from the meeting. It has been a really wonderful experience because everyone is such a good speaker! NO ONE, and I repeat, NO ONE stumbles over their words (like moi). T.T

And everyone was so energised, I felt thoroughly exhausted after the session. LOL. But hey…you guys should really go for such sessions if you can coz it’s really galvanising and inspiring. =3

In fact, I’m going to wake up earlier every day to write for 90 minutes! Girl Guide Promise! >.<

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Image: domdeen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why didn’t you make it?

Why hello there, my faithful readers. =3 It’s Deepavali today! Some of you are slogging away while others are probably clogging up the Causeway for a short getaway to Malaysia, Truly Asia. Well, whatever you’re doing, have a good day today! It’s TGIF! =3

Okies, today’s post follows up to my previous interview that was done with Ms Wena Poon. Remember what I mentioned about Wena’s difficulties in getting local bookstores to accept her books? Well, the thing is she’s not alone. Many indie authors face the same problem and while some succeed in getting positive exposure for their books, others don’t. Why? Read this to find out. It all has something to do with determinedly emailing all possible venues with your pitch and never giving up. Of course, this is under the assumption that your story has been fine-tuned to its best. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get the responses you want and give yourself a good pat on the shoulder when you do. =3

It’s never an easy thing to be a creator these days.

Build An Audience For Your Book With A Blog By Jimmy Moore

Do you have a book that has been released online or offline? If so, you ought to read this article on how to draw in more readers! =3

This post was first published on Writers Weekly on January 18, 2006.

Shhhhh. I’ve got a secret to share with you that you may not even know about.

In fact, if you have ever written a book or thought about writing a book, I’m gonna let you in on something that won’t cost you a dime of money, but could produce an incredible opportunity to effectively market your work.

What is this dream plan for building an audience of enthusiastic buyers for your book? Simply put, it’s a blog. What’s that?!

A blog, short for weblog, is a web site journal where you can post just about anything you want about whatever subject matter interests you the most. For me, after losing 180 pounds on a low-carb plan in 2004, I knew I had found a topic that I was very passionate about sharing with others and that there would be an audience who would be willing to listen.

In April 2005, I started my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” blog located on the Internet athttp://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com. When I first started my blog, I had just begun work writing on my book, also called “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb.”

The early days of a blog are kinda like being on a 100-watt radio station out in the middle of nowhere. You talk and talk and feel like nobody’s listening. And if you expect to find instant success with your blog, then just don’t bother.

But if you write freely about what is in your heart, share openly and honestly about what’s on your mind, and provide relevant content that people will want to read, then you will begin to build an audience who will follow you and want to come back for more.

To let others know about my blog, I went to other similar kinds of blogs and web sites to introduce myself and to let them know about what I was doing. I probably posted my URL on about 50 different low-carb message boards to get the word out about it. In my first month online, I had about 5,000 pageviews.

By the third month I was online, the pageviews at my blog grew to 10,000 that month. In the meantime, I continued to post articles on a daily basis to keep the web site looking fresh and new all the time and I bought the domain name for my book, LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com. I had the domain forward all of the traffic to my blog. This is an excellent way to build those repeat readers by making it easy for them to find you, and the faithful will come back to you often.

Whatever you do, don’t just suddenly stop posting to your blog. Nothing frustrates a reader more than to come to your blog for three or four days in a row with zero updates. Some people may wonder if you’ve gone away forever and may never come back. Don’t leave ’em hanging. If you can’t post for a few days, then let your readers know it.

When my book debuted six months after I began my blog, I was getting about 15,000 pageviews per month. This built-in audience for my book gave me an instant marketing strategy to provide them with an additional resource for information about low-carb, something that I had already been providing them at my blog.

Since they knew my writing style and felt confident in my ability to write, I noticed that many of my blog readers began buying my book. While that was not my sole purpose in creating the blog, it certainly didn’t hurt to build an audience that would be receptive to my book when it was released.

In the three months since my book has been released, the pageviews at my blog have simply skyrocketed. November and December each had 20,000 pageviews and the month of January is expected to easily surpass the 30,000 pageview mark. WOW! I would have never thought something free would ever bring about this kind of success.

But it has and you should learn to capitalize on it, too. Don’t be afraid to stir up a little controversy in what you write. Readers like to root someone on who is willing to fight for a cause they believe in. No matter what the subject content of your book may be about, there is always an audience looking for a leader. Be that leader!

Don’t be afraid to change the format of your blog often so the web site looks like you are working hard on it — and you are! Also, don’t be afraid to market your book front and center at your blog. You are providing your readers a service by imparting information to them. Many of them will reward your consistency at your blog by getting your book and telling others about it, too.

One of the things that helped me grow my blog was when other blogs posted links to articles I had written. This brings in many new readers who would have otherwise never come to your web site. Feel free to do the same for anything you see on someone else’s blog. You can even post a permanent link to their blog which many will reciprocate with a link to yours.

Building this community of readers can and will help you market and sell your book. I have had the fortune of having three fully-paid speaking engagements/book signings in Huntington Beach, CA, Milwaukee, WI, and Brooklyn, NY in the past two months because key people discovered me and my book thanks to the work I invested at my blog. Never underestimate the power of this invaluable tool for building a growing audience for your book.

Jimmy Moore is a customer service specialist and freelance writer from Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is married to Christine and enjoys working out and writing on his Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb blog. A former 410-pounder, Jimmy is now a healthy man thanks to the low-carb lifestyle. You can visit his website (and blog) at http://www.LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com and you can read more about his book at http://www.booklocker.com/books/2183.html.

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