Writing + Publishing: A DIY mission that seems Impossible

Mission impossible 5, I may as well call it. It’s like training as the hurdle runner for Olympics only not the sporty kind! But the task is the same: sprint as fast as you can, after all, life is no less than a race, and when you come to an obstacle, or a ‘hurdle’ jump over it with as much gusto and strength, forever keeping ahead of others. However, much like in the game, the ‘art’ of clearing one hurdle after another is down to practice, practice and practice. That’s what I feel like at the moment, a hurdler, jumping through, or at least trying to, but more often than not smashing right into the obstacle and staring at it in daze and dismay.

Why do I say this? You’ll see. I got over the hurdle of language initially, and was met with the next hurdle, distraction of a student life. After that was done, some years later, the next hurdle come of holding onto a paying job, which meant writing took a back seat, then when that problem stepped aside on its own, the hurdle became the pursuit of publication. Many hurdles simply stood their grounds during this that I eventually went ‘you know what’ and took matters into my own hands: I walked around the hurdles and self-published like a silly bird.

What ever could be the hurdle now?! Marketing! It’s not simply a hurdle, no. It’s a fire-breathing dragon that’s guarding the literary world like a jealous viper from those of us just wishing and hoping for one chance.

It doesn’t even help that I have already done majority of the hard work and am offering a simple handshake so that the process can organically continue at a faster rate. And once again I am facing a hurdle the size of Mount Everest: how do I get the information out there that novel is in print? That people can buy it for their collection? That I’ll even sign on the inside decently (’cause I totally haven’t been practicing or nothing).

Suffice to say I’m still training to become a sufficient hurdler in life, and so far, life has the upper hand. Let’s see how I can possibly get around this wall. I was never strong at marketing.

At the moment, my marketing strategy for my printed novel has only been through FB, almost hijacking family and friends to become a sales rep at their work or outer circle, and approaching a book exchange to see if they are willing to keep a tiny section in their store.

I guess the truth of the matter is that nowadays an author mustn’t just be the writer of the book but the marketing strategist and sales rep. The sales rep part is okay, and is expected I guess. I mean if you can’t talk people into buying your book then who better? But this marketing strategist and implementer is a whole new ball game especially for a self-publisher.

See what’s wrong with that last paragraph? It’s a whole DIY situation in there: you write, you publish, and you sell. And this situation has suddenly come about over the last few years. You can’t blame a writer for not knowing the ‘publishing’ business as much because till just about a handful of years ago, this avenue was monopolized by big print/publishing houses only. Till now, that monopoly stays somewhat. I mean I was approaching couple of smaller distributor just a day or so ago and what reply do I get? ‘Sorry, we only distribute in house books, but good luck.’

So it’s a scary world out there. Having to learn on the go how to market&sell your books without the expertise and guidance of those who have been doing it for decades if not century.

I wish I could kidnap a publisher and pick their brain! Lol. Not that anyone walks around with ‘I’m a publisher’ written across their forehead, probably for the same reason I want to have a chat to them.

Ah well, DIY it is.

So how about I plug my book write now?! As good an opportunity as any.

So if any of you are in Australia and would like to support me by buying a hard copy of my novel, In Strange Company, then please drop me a word in the comments section. Or if you’d rather approach me privately then write to papermashed@outlook.com.

Price:
$15.95 plus $3.00 P&H — Total: $18.95

For international postage, please enquire as I will have to find out myself. All I know is NZ is about $10 P&H whereas USA is $15.50ish.

Also, it might help you to decide if I mention that I’m aiming to write/produce/direct a cross cultural feature film focusing on third world countries and their need to educate women and children, or any male afflicted, against abuse of all kinds. It’s a cause worth talking about. The money raised by the sale of the books will go towards funding this film.

Thank you very much, and have a wonderful weekend ahead.

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Phew! Done! Assignment that is. Now for the packing!

OMG! Less than 48 hours to go. I’m kind of really excited about it. I know it’s still quite a while to go, but can’t help it. I love flying! Don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like (or can afford, really). So where am I going in Nepal, and India? NO idea! Haha. Traveling with family has its perks I guess, I don’t have to worry about the planning. I just go, follow them around, enjoy my time, take loads of pictures, and come back all relaxed.

I need ‘relaxed’ at the moment! Most people enjoy the whole process of deciding when to go, where to go, buying the tickets, deciding what to pack, and in what? So many exciting decisions to make before they go off – all of which tends to be fun. I didn’t have any fun yet, and I have less than 48 hours to make up for it. I’ve been too preoccupied by colossal uni assignments I needed to finish ahead of time before frolicking.

It’s done now. Geez, and I have no idea what I should do to celebrate. Finishing packing I guess!

I was going to do some scheduled posts for when I was away, but I have completely run out of time, as tonight, I don’t really feel like writing too many other things. It’s festival time for God’s sake, so I’m going to take a break tonight. Tomorrow, it’s all taken by visiting families and feasting as it’s the main day of Dashain for us Nepalese. And the day after, I fly. So, truly, I’ll be MIA for 3 weeks or so.

Just before I sign off for now, my book, In Strange Company, is going on ‘sale’ in an hour or so on Amazon. It’s the last ever promotion I’ll throw on the book! So for 48 hours from commencing, you all can grab a complimentary copy. My gift to you during this festival.

When I get back I’ll try to release my poetry collection with few exclusive pieces. In the mean time, hope you enjoy a read of the book!

An ‘Article’ on Myself? – Such a tricky task. HELP!

Nowadays, ‘writing’ or the world of a ‘writer’ isn’t exactly spent behind the pages, in the gloom of a dark room and scribbling away like a mad person trying to pour your brain out before it fries from all the self-inflicted pressure! NOPE. Not any more.

NOW, it’s more about how a writer can ‘market’ themselves. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? All you do is talk a little about you, why you write, and what you write, and do it in such a way that people are mesmerised and want to follow you, admire you, or simply go out there and get their hands on something you have written so they can judge you for themselves, rather than letting you tell them how ‘great’ you are and your offerings as unique and fresh. How hard can it be, to talk about something that you have lived with for years? Actually, it is very hard – for me anyway.

All that sounds quite complicated to me, but then again I don’t really like telling people a lot about me because I think, ‘They wouldn’t be interested…’. But, apparently I am wrong. I got told so! Yep, I got TOLD (a few times)…to inflate my head even if it is for a brief moment so that I can seduce people into my writing world and get them to read.

I have recently made friends with a wonderful Nepalese/Australian radio jockey here in…Aus…anyway, he seems to be very effective in how to advertise oneself. He should I guess, since his job requires that panache. The point is, he knows some people, who know some other wonderful people, who could help me get myself out there and known, by a few more people than my current circle. So, in light of these avenues, I have been asked to write a brief article on myself, my work and etc. as if I am a journalist, and this will be passed onto the various prints he has contacts in. I am thrilled. To have someone who can help me with this whole marketing thing, but the thing is, I feel a little silly writing about myself. I have attempted, and unfortunately am still attempting to sound like a journalist who knows what I’m doing, and writing the paper in a detached mode. I do not think I have succeeded in this venture at all thus far. So, I’m enlisting your help. Please, please, please, help a girl out, will you? 🙂

Below is what I have managed to pen so far. I would love any suggestions/corrections and more suggestions, or general direction before I submit it to the friend for review. I desperately need help and feel I’m in a bit of a corner at the moment with my travels looming just days away: Your help will be greatly appreciated. (Greatly!)

Here it goes:

‘From Dreamer to Storyteller: A Nepal-born young woman’s journey to becoming a published Author in Australia’ (?)

My name is Eva. What should I tell you about me and who I am? I was born in Kathmandu and am the youngest of three girls to my parents. As a child, I dreamt of being a doctor, an architect, a flight attendant, and an actress through my early childhood, the usual arsenal of career dreams kids share, I guess. Writing had never featured in that list till I happened upon it accidentally as another mode of expressing stories in my early teens.

Just like any well-meaning Nepali parents, mine are pretty much the same, always concerned for the future and success, a great worry to most parents. However, despite having nervous apprehension against my choice, my parents have encouraged me greatly to achieve the dreams I dared to dream. I can’t recall much of my childhood, but I remember I used to ‘make up’ stories, to entertain myself or other kids in the family. Basically, I was never a bored kid. Though the days of making up epic stories on the toiled wheat fields of outskirts Kathmandu, Kapan, those many years ago are now gone, I nevertheless have indulged in the guilty pleasure of continuing to write stories.

Writing is an act of pure creation and it allows so much space for a story to develop and mature. Although, I knew not much of maturing back then, it was with this newfound love of writing while still a teenager that I first attempted my long, arduous journey as an author-in-the-making. In Strange Company, is my first published novel, available on Amazon, was one that I started as a 14-year old bleary-eyed teenager. It is about a young woman’s journey into self-discovery, emotional growth and formation of profound friendships/relationships she had previously been incapable of. Pretty heavy topic for a teen to write, and I have been asked previously: how do you come up with the stories? My answer: the world and the people around me. There is a lot of fuel out there to ignite the imagination. I do however tend to pick at only the flames I know I can manage and portray as honest as I can.

Today, being a young Nepali female within an Australian society and trying to establish myself as an Author has been a journey filled with challenges and revelations. I have achieved the dream I set out to, of being published, but I dare say I continue to dream. The next point I dream of achieving in life is to produce-write-direct a Australian-Nepali film focusing on the cross-cultural message of self-preservation, and woman’s voice, and am currently seeking writing partners to develop the idea further. For the moment however, I am focusing on adding the final polishing touches to my second novel, which I may choose to self-publish, or pursue publication with a company.

It would be a moment of absolute pride if one day I am known not simply for what I do, but the very humble beginnings of my journey, from bustling, vibrant city of Kathmandu, to the quite school days of New Zealand, and now, a life I am trying to carve in Australia. Perhaps, those who read this, whether you are from big cities of the world, or a quite hamlet, whether you are a male or female, I can only say, dream big, dream achievable and do what you can, one small step at a time.

I am still taking small steps with the hope that one day, I’ll reach the top and smile at the journey that’s left me enriched. This is simply a start to my journey, from the foothills of the Himalayas, to the wide plains of Australia.

*

(Waiting with abated breath… Yikes… haven’t even been this nervous giving a live interview.)

Muse left me today, so this is what I got up to

IMG_0513[1]My million and bazillion henna tattoo designs – okay, more like 50, maybe, if that.

Why am I showing you this? Well, partly because that’s what I’ve been working on this evening – designing, cutting and laminating. And partly because they are pretty and you will like them!

Since I kind of wrote about my ‘muse’ chucking a tantrum yesterday, she hasn’t been very kind to me in the writing sense today, so instead, I’ve taken my black pen out and sat down to design some more henna designs – I needed them anyway.

You see, once or twice a month, I go to markets with couple of my friends, and we have a stall there. One does painting, gorgeous ones, the other does ceramic pottery and pendants, and I? Well, I sell few silver jewellery and mostly offer a henna tattoo service for a meagre sum. It’s fun – though the Sun gets a bit too much some days. Anyway, the point is, we are going to a three-day show this coming weekend, and I just felt I’m going to need more designs than I’ve got. So there, I’ve done about 20 today – and frankly, I’m tired, but not from the designs. It’s one of our religious day, and like in all ethnic families, we Hindus love our food! A bit too much. You’d be tired too if you’ve spent hours in the kitchen…hence the picture of the sweets I made. It deserved a spot! Don’t know if you know it, it’s called Gulab Jamun. I made them myself from scratch – not a bad effort I believe, though I may have burnt a few – maybe about 80% of them.

It’s been a productive day regardless! ‘Cause they were yummy!

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As for tomorrow…geez…I’m a bit nervous. I have an interview with a radio station and honestly speaking, I’m worried about looking like an idiot. Here’s fingers’ crossed that I say the right things, and don’t meander too much from the questions.

Excited much?! (A little) Wish me luck!