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Showing posts from February, 2010

A Novel Business Plan by Avantika

Today, self-publishing has become a viable option for many aspiring authors. In theory, self-publishing allows the author to keep all the profits and have absolute control over the entire publishing process. In reality, instead of making money from their work, many self-published authors have sustained financial loss. A possible reason this occurs is because self-published authors are not aware that, fundamentally, the publishing industry is a business where issues like profit, loss and risk play as important a role as the quality of writing in the manuscript. Therefore, if you aspire to self-publish your work, you would be wise to create a business plan before you begin the publishing process.

To make more sense of the steps described below, assume that you would like to self-publish 2,000 copies of a manuscript for a novel you wrote. In addition, for ease of reference, your business plan will be called ‘novel business plan’.

The Executive Summary
Normally, the ‘Executive Summary’ is …

Celebrations of a Stay-At-Home Writer by Avantika

Yesterday, being the 1st day of Chinese New Year was also Valentine’s Day. For a long time, like a lot of people, I planned my holidays, trips to see relatives and parties around the days when these festivals such as these occur. I looked for cheap flights, offers for cut-price accommodation and, where possible, travel to nearby places. In the years since I started to write full-time, I have come to realise that my holidays no longer coincide with these religious festivals. Instead, I keep an eye out for festivals of a different kind – festivals within the publishing industry. For instance, last year, I planned my holiday after the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. That Diwali was around that time was an afterthought.

What, then, makes something like a literary festival become more important than a religious or cultural one? What goes on in these festivals? What benefit does an author derive from these festivals? For this story, I thought I’d share with you some of what I’ve learnt from…

Destiny and a Stay-At-Home Writer by Avantika

Almost everyone I know is writing, or at the very least thinking about writing. They’re writing their blogs, Facebook entries, websites, letters, memoranda, opinions, outlines, summaries, synopses, petitions and so much more. What are they writing about? A mother who recently lost her 2-year old son in tragic circumstances writes a blog to keep his memory alive. A journalist writes his blog to give so that what he writes is the whole truth and not vetted by editors. Lawyers prepare opinions for clients on whether they should pursue a claim or not. Politicians sweet-talk their way into getting as many votes as possible. A songstress writes about her beliefs and what inspires her. There’s the writer who chooses to make a living by writing full time. Some are experts in non-fiction work. Some have scaled the literary heights and become internationally published authors. Then, there are those who continue to dream of making it big in the literary world. All of them use words and this got …

Memoirs by Avantika

Like moths to a flame, they’re always the first to find you, even in the most glamorous party in town.

“So, you’re a writer?” they inquire. “You know, people keep saying that what’s happened in my life would make a great story. Will you write it for me?”

It’s at this point I paste on a big smile and say, “Oh, interesting …” Then, I pretend my hand phone just vibrated and I have to answer this call as it’s from my aged parent. As I tell a close friend of mine, if I had a ringgit for every time someone has asked me to write his tale, I would have enough money to go on the world-trip by now.

“You should just do what I do,” another writer friend of mine says. “Tell them you work for a dentist and they’ll talk about something else. No one wants to show you their decaying molars or chipped incisor in a party.”

I’ve noticed that many non-writers see a writer as some sort of dichotomy. On the one hand, they cannot believe that anyone can make a living out of “stringing a few sentences togethe…