Where’s that book you’ve been talking about?

Update: I’m publishing a book! Please support it.

I can't even finish a scrapbook.
I can’t even finish a scrapbook.

There’s a strange relationship between being a writer and publishing a book.

In the day of the possibility of publishing online to an audience of millions, having a solid book in hand is still the goal. The part where bringing out the Champagne is called for.

At least that’s for me.

Before travelling, I had hoped to be able to gather enough stories to piece together into a travel memoir, or a book.
During travelling, I kept a digital journal each day to remind myself of what happened.
After travelling, I went to the library to get my hands on books about writing books.

I also borrowed books after books of travel non-fiction published in Singapore and Malaysia, hoping I can find the right angle for my not-yet-in-existence book.

After reading those, I figured that self-publishing is the way to go. The local market tends to favor short story types of travel non-fiction. I prefer longer-form travel non-fiction. (Well, I have to actually start writing one before feeling so uppity.)

Perceptions of self-publishing

Prior to actually researching on self-publishing, my view on the subject was that only people with enough ego would actually commission prints of their books. I imagined myself at a photocopy shop, thumbing my A4 sized “book” that is held together by a file ring.

Turns out, you can reach millions of people in today’s self-publishing scene. (Well, how many of them are willing to buy, I’m not sure.)

One of the most useful books on self-publishing was Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing (2nd edition) by Catherine Ryan Howard. My takeaway from the book is that e-publishing is the way to go since it’s cheap and can reach almost everyone around the world.

That’s also the only book on self-publishing that I own because it sits in my Kindle and I can bring it anywhere I go.

Catherine has launched the 3rd edition of the book. She has very kindly organized the #selfprintedsplash where she answers questions from people with burning questions about self-publishing.

Blank white book w/path

E-publishing when the local market is not mature

This brings me back to my question about publishing locally.

I thought that since my story is about taking a career break in a region where not many people are doing so, my audience here would be more interested in the story than someone from abroad where gap years are as common as internships.

So I wrote my question to Catherine:

Hi, I live in a market (Singapore) where Amazon Kindle store is not available yet and e-readers are not as popular. I’d still make my book available in the other Amazon markets but how should I go about selling the book to the local market?

Her advice makes a lot of sense, Catherine said:

I’d forget local altogether. That’s the whole point of self-publishing in this way: to sell globally and to sell online.

You’ll find far more readers further afield and it’ll take less time to work on promoting your book to them than it will to find handful of readers closer to home. Always work smarter, not harder.

Then, when the popularity of e-books reaches Singapore, you’ll be ready! :-D

From her answer, I realized that I need to find an angle that can hook everyone, not just people who won’t/can’t take career breaks. So it’s back to the drawing board for me.

Since November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), maybe I can focus on actually writing then.


Where you can buy SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING.


More about Catherine

Catherine Ryan Howard is a writer, self-publisher and caffeine enthusiast from Cork, Ireland. SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING (3rd edition) is out now in paperback and e-book and available from Amazon. Follow the #selfprintedsplash on Twitter today (Friday 24th) and/or visit www.catherineryanhoward.com for chance to win an amazing prize that will get your self-publishing adventure started!

“SELF-PRINTED is my self-publishing bible. It taught me how to format, create and upload my e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks. It showed me practical things such as how to build a website/blog and how to promote my books. More importantly, it taught me how to compete with the professionals. Just look at the results – The Estate Series has sold nearly 100,000 copies and following that I got a traditional book deal with Thomas & Mercer too, so I’m now a hybrid author. Jam-packed full of hints and tips all in one place, I’m always referring back to it. In a word, it’s priceless.”

– Mel Sherratt, author of The Estate Series and DS Allie Shenton Series

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.