As some of you will know from December’s entry, here in Singapore I run a writers’ group who, at the end of last year, hosted Andrew Fiu, the best-selling New Zealand author of Purple Heart, for a fascinating talk. At that meeting, Andrew suggested that we get ourselves up and off our butts and use the powers of the modern world to publish a book ourselves. We are a very obedient crew and so this we have done!
ROJAK: Stories from the Singapore Writers’ Group will be published on Amazon in the next month.
The SWG is a real melting pot of different nationalities – people who have lived in Singapore all of their lives, jumbled in with people who have literally arrived off the plane and come straight along to a meeting (that has happened!). A good term for it is Rojak – the Malay word for an eclectic mix. So the book will be a reflection of that spirit, a global community of writing and expression.
The short stories within the book represent myriad nationalities and experiences. They include: murder in Colonial Kenya; theft in Bangalore; a Polish refugee snowball fight in the rural British countryside; a reflective train journey through Rome; a Spanish New Year’s ceremony. All of the stories have come from the imaginations and experiences of the twenty authors who contributed to the book – including a brand new short story from Andrew Fiu himself.
Andrew introduced us to the amazing Michele Gray of 27iD who has been the editor, cover designer and general inspiration behind getting the book up and running. Since its creation, Michele and 27iD have helped over two dozen authors to self-publish their books including setting up authors’ Apple and Kindle accounts and advising them on how to market their ebooks. For those authors that still want to have a print edition of their ebook, Michele has worked with them to publish their books through Createspace and market it alongside their ebook on Amazon.
Michele is a huge believer in self-publishing. The point is, she says, that self-published authors have the same shelf space on Amazon and the iBookstore as the Big Five publishers, but their royalties are better and they no longer have to over publish and be left with unread and unsold boxes of books in their garage. There are broader avenues for promotion through social media and once an ebook is created, the same edition can be sold over and over again with no on-going costs.
Frankly, there’s no better playing field at the moment for self-published authors – and the SWG is making good use of that!
It’s an exciting time for The Singapore Writers’ Group. There will be a launch party for the book of short stories. We have over 470 members now and will be extending our reach for the rest of the year with more talks, workshops and events with authors, editors and publishers in Singapore and beyond. If you are a member of a writing group in another country or have set up something similar yourself, do get in touch as the SWG is very keen to extend branches to groups in other places.